Top 5 Live –WURD Tuesday March 17
1. Dougherty plans $1 million spending spree to unseat Council incumbent, source says
At a fundraiser in January, Philadelphia Councilman Kenyatta Johnson triumphantly clasped his hands with party boss Bob Brady, surrounded by Mayor Michael Nutter, former Governor Ed Rendell, and mayoral candidate and state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams.
The message was clear — the city Democratic Party was standing with Johnson in his heated bid for re-election against big bucks developer Ori Feibush. Johnson and Feibush face off in May for the Second District seat.
But electricians’ union boss John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, one of the biggest donors in Philadelphia politics, apparently didn’t get the memo.
2. Attorney: Ferguson Shooting Suspect Didn’t Target Officers
The man accused of shooting two police officers last week in Ferguson appeared in court Monday, a day after his arrest on charges that he fired on the men during a late-night protest.
Jeffrey Williams, 20, did not make any statements during the brief hearing. St. Louis television station KTVI said a judge read the charges — felony assault, armed criminal action and a weapons offense — and gave Williams a list of possible private attorneys. His next appearance was set for March 31.
Williams is accused of shooting the two officers Thursday outside Ferguson’s police station, which has been the scene of protests since last summer’s fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
3. New Pew Poll: Philadelphians View K-12 Education as Top Issue
A new poll from The Pew Charitable Trusts finds that Philadelphians view education as the top issue facing the city, have an extremely low opinion of the performance of the public school system, and favor replacement of the School Reform Commission with an elected school board.
In addition, city residents have mixed views on the value of charter schools and their role in the future of education in Philadelphia. A majority sees charters in a positive light. But on the question of how to improve K-12 education in the city, a similar majority also backed the idea of spending more money on traditional public schools rather than creating additional charters and other new options.
When asked to name the most important issue facing the city and the next mayor, 32 percent of respondents said education. Twenty-three percent chose public safety, and 22 percent selected jobs and the economy.
4. City councilwoman says opponent posted racist messages on Facebook
Seventh District Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez is accusing her party-endorsed rival of posting dozens of racist and anti-immigrant messages on Facebook.
Quinones-Sanchez said she was “outraged” at what she discovered on the alleged Facebook page of her opponent, Emanuel ‘Manny’ Morales. She released a website “MeetMannyMorales.com” with screen shots of the postings.
“From his words, any rational person would conclude that he is: anti-black, pro-gun, anti-Obama, pro-voter ID, anti-Choice, pro-stand your ground, anti-woman, pro-drug testing for welfare recipients, anti-poor, pro-Corbett/pro-Republican anti-Gay, pro-Ferguson police and George Zimmerman, anti-immigrant …” Quiñones-Sánchez said in a release.
5. Why the School District can’t afford to leave its 10-year-old, too-big HQ
The School District of Philadelphia headquarters at 440 N. Broad St., has room for 2,000 staff, but after years of cuts, it’s down to 590.
The district owns the property and has to pay off what it owes before it can afford to leave, according to an Inquirer column by Joseph DiStefano.
The School Reform Commission bought the building from a Goldman Sachs affiliate in 2003 for $45 million. The school system spent $90 million more renovating it in 2005. Today, the district still owes $110.7 million for the underused site. It will have to cover that debt, plus moving expenses, before it can afford to move.
DiStefano ran that number by developer Bart Blatstein, who bought the two neighboring buildings — the ex-Inquirer complex for $23 million, and the former state office building for $21 million. Blatstein thought the School District’s debt on the property was so high, he laughed—twice
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon