Top 5 Live-WURD Wednesday May 20
1. Jim Kenney wins democratic nomination for mayor
A former longtime Philadelphia councilman with broad union backing is poised to become the next mayor of the nation’s fifth largest city after his resounding win Tuesday in a six-way Democratic primary.
Jim Kenney captured the nomination despite a pro-charter school group spending nearly $7 million in support of challenger Anthony Hardy Williams, a state senator.
The victory all but assures Kenney will be the next mayor in Philadelphia, where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 7-1. Early results showed the 57-year-old Kenney beating Williams by about a 3-1 margin.
Kenney served on the council 23 years before resigning in a bid to replace term-limited Michael Nutter. He wants to end police stop and frisk, provide universal pre-kindergarten education and raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.
2. Judge awards $318,520 to whistle-blower
A federal judge has awarded $318,520 to a former Philadelphia School District administrator who jurors said was wrongfully suspended and later fired in retaliation for talking to The Inquirer about a $7.5 million no-bid contract for security cameras.
Judge Juan Sanchez ruled Monday that Francis Dougherty was entitled to the money to compensate for lost wages after he was fired from his job as the district’s acting chief of operations by the SRC in April 2011.
The judge entered the judgment against the School District, its former top human resources official, Estelle Matthews, and the estate of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who died in 2013.
“In every way, Mr. Dougherty is the kind of public servant a city can only hope for,” said one of his lawyers, Alice W. Ballard. “He would never have been fired had he not blown the whistle on the School District’s wrongdoing. Now the court has awarded him the pay he should have earned for serving the public so well.”
3. City Council newcomers oust incumbents
Two Philadelphia City Council incumbents failed to win the Democratic Party’s nomination Tuesday, guaranteeing there will be four new council members next year.
Fifteen-year veteran W. Wilson Goode Jr., and Councilman Ed Neilson, both at-large members, were outpolled by newcomers Derek Green, former aide to retiring Councilwoman Marian Tasco; Allan Domb, a real estate developer; and education activist Helen Gym. Incumbents Blondell Reynolds Brown and William Greenlee won nomination. A fifth at-large seat became vacant when Jim Kenney resigned to run for mayor.
In the Ninth District, State Rep. Cherelle Parker ran unopposed to replace Tasco. Parker will face Republican Kevin Strickland in the November general election.
“We’ll see how the future unfolds,” said Green, who pulled 10 percent of the vote, more than any other Democratic candidate. “We’re bringing a new energy, new faces, to Council.”
Only two of the 10 district Council seats were contested.
4. Dougherty wins spot on November ballot for Supreme Court race
Philadelphia Judge Kevin Dougherty and Anne Covey, from Bucks County, were among six candidates who won the right Tuesday to vie for three open seats on the state Supreme Court.
“I’d like to believe that my message of being the advocate for the marginalized, the at risk, the working poor . . .” Dougherty said Tuesday night, “resonated throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
Along with Dougherty, the Democratic nominees for the high court are Allegheny County’s David Wecht and Christine Donohue, both Superior Court judges.
Commonwealth Court Judge Covey is joined by Superior Court Judge Judith Olson and Adams County Judge Mike George as the Republican nominees.
5. Kenney’s job could get harder in ’16
IN LESS THAN FIVE MONTHS, Jim Kenney went from nobody’s short list to the brink of becoming Philadelphia’s 99th mayor, and he did it with a coalition this city has never quite seen before: from union guys from the old neighborhood in South Philly to high-tech millennials, from black ward leaders in the Northwest to gay activists and schoolteachers.
But seven months from now, winning yesterday’s 2015 Democratic primary may be fondly remembered as “the easy part.”
The 56-year-old veteran City Council member will face a little-known GOP challenger and the possibility of an independent on the November ballot.
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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