Who knew, when the week started, that Pennsylvania’s largest city would be able to proudly claim a place on the burgeoning list of President Donald Trump’s cavalcade of prevarications? Joining such instantly memeable classics like inauguration attendance, the CIA visit and, of course, millions of illegal voters, Trump’s false claim that Philadelphia’s murder rate is “terribly increasing” was roundly criticized and debunked as soon as people could click on, you know, data. While facts were once again a loser this week, we’re handing out the first wins to Mayor Kenney, who forcefully pushed back against the falsehood, and to the Philadelphia Police Department, which has done such an exemplary job of protecting the city and its citizens. As for the rest of our crew …
Pat Toomey: Pennsylvania’s junior senator got a huge assist this week in his quest to enact legislation penalizing sanctuary cities, including Philadelphia, by denying them federal block grants. Thanks to President Trump’s executive order to pull funding from sanctuary cities, the topic is on the front burner and the front pages again.
Tom Wolf: The governor got a clean bill of health less than a year after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Freddie Ramirez: In what is becoming a familiar ritual for southeastern Pennsylvania voters, they will be going to the polls for a special election. This time, it will be on March 21 to elect a replacement for convicted former state Rep. Leslie Acosta. Ramirez, president of Pan American Mental Health Clinics, was picked in a split vote to be the Democratic nominee.
Stephen Reed: The former Harrisburg mayor, whose long-awaited trial relating to missing artifacts from a never-realized Wild West-themed museum to be built in the capital, unexpectedly pleaded guilty to 20 felony counts related to the theft of those artifacts. He claimed “carelessness, not criminality” when making the plea.
Gary Tennis: One thing is clear: Tennis, the now former Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs, was fired this week. Depending on which version of events you believe, his termination was either because of his cozy relationship with a lobbyist, or because he disagreed with Gov. Wolf’s plan to consolidate his department into the Department of Human Services.
Joe Khan: The Democratic candidate for Philadelphia District Attorney filed a formal complaint with the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania over current DA Seth Williams’ acceptance of more than $175,000 in undisclosed gifts. No problem there – that’s one of the reasons the board exists. Unfortunately for Khan, by publicizing his filing, he himself broke the board’s Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement. No word yet on any filings against him for the action.