The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 3, 1994 · Page 75
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The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · Page 75

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Tuesday, May 3, 1994
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Tuesday, May 3, 1994 THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER VG3 U.S. Senate Pennsylvania legislature Suburban contests for Pa. legislature offer diverse field There's a longtime lawmaker who wants to stay. There's a son who wants dad's old seat. There's . By Reid Kanaley INQUIRER STAFF WRITER An veteran rural lawmaker's fight for survival, a contest to replace a state senator who dropped in from Pittsburgh, and a 23-year-old's bid for his controversial father's old state-house seat are among the notable legislative primary races in the suburbs this spring. ' Conservative, anti-abortion state Rep. Joseph R. Pitts, of the 158th legislative District in southern Chester County, failed to win the nod from the county GOP in February. He is opposed in the May 10 primary by Chris Ross, London Grove Township supervisor and businessman. Ross, 42, who supports abortion rights, said abortion is just one issue on which he differs with Pitts, but is the one on which Pitts "is out of step with the district." He also said the incumbent has failed to get enough state money for local road repair, and has been too willing to avail himself of state perks. ,. Pitts, 54, a 22-year veteran of the legislature who is the minority chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, spent $85,000 a huge bill for a rural primary fending off a primary challenge two years ago from another abortion-rights Republican. . He blamed his problems on a "vendetta" by certain committee members, whom he declined to name. i"They know who they are," he said. He said the big issues for voters are crime, too-high taxes, and a need for welfare reform. Democrat Libby .Swingle of East Marlboro Township is unopposed in the primary. -. State Sen. Frank Pecora, a Democrat, stunned the locals in 1992 when, in a reapportionment fluke, he moved right along with his 44th Senatorial District from the Pittsburgh suburbs to the Pottstown area. ' Republicans failed to persuade the courts to oust the western Pennsyl-yanian from the transplanted seat, but this year he decided on his own to pack for home. '. Three Republicans are eager to replace him. They are 155th Legislative District Rep. Jim Gerlach, 39, of Downingtown; temporary-employment agency owner Joel A. Adams, 45, of Phoenixville, and freight broker Timothy J. McCloskey, 38, of Downingtown. Democrat Barry F. Robertson of Pottstown is unopposed in the primary. ' The 44lh comprises parts of four counties Chester, Montgomery, Berks and Lehigh. Months of cam Philadelphia City Charter City seeks to chart(er) change A revision is proposed for the document that defines Phila. government. But foes have gotten it off the May ballot, and promise to do the same this fall. By Amy S. Rosenberg INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Not since 1951 had there been as historic a decision for Philadelphia citizens who care about the nuts and bolts of how their government is run. . In 1951, citizens approved a new Home Rule Charter that was designed to put an end to the corruption, mismanagement and rampant patronage that made the city a national joke. The charter spelled out everything from the various powers of the departments and officials to obscure details about purchasing and entering into leases. It invested the mayor with most of the power of running the government. Civil service protections were strengthened. Restrictions on spending, hiring and contracting were tightened. Now, in 1994, the Philadelphia Independent Charter Commission has been spearheading a move to tinker with that document, considered a triumph of good government but also increasingly called an obstacle to truly efficient management. ... The commission has proposed 60 changes to the old Home Rule Charter as a way of bringing added efficiency and modernization to city government. Charter supporters including the mayor, business groups and government watchdog groups said the changes would merely streamline government and allow the city to run government in a cost-efficient, productive manner, The panel planned a ballot question on the issue in Tuesday's primary. But as the date for the vote approached, opposition grew. A coalition of union, consumer, neighborhood and park groups said the changes would give too much power to the mayor and city council and leave citizens in the dust. paigning reveal more similarities than differences among the three Republicans. All want to create more jobs, put criminals behind bars, reform the tax system, cut spending, institute term limits and allow more voter input through referendums. In a domino effect, with Gerlach running for the Senate three people are vying for the GOP nomination in his House District, the 155th, in northern Chester County. They are Chester County Prothonotary Curt Schroder, 32; former Downingtown school board member Barbara K. Kenna, 38, and Malvern lawyer Jim Fogerty, 29. There is no Democratic candidate. Fogerty, a political newcomer, comes to the race with some baggage. He is accused of assault in a civil suit filed by his former secretary. Fogerty says in court papers that the charges are the result of a love affair gone sour. State Rep. Greg Vitali, a Democrat from the GOP stomping grounds of Haverford and Radnor Townships in Delaware County, has three Republicans vying to oppose him in the 166th Legislative District. The contenders include Christopher W. Freind, 23, son of controversial former Rep. Stephen Freind, who left the 166th seat in 1992 to run for the U.S. Senate. The younger Freind, who works for his father's conservative lobbying organization, is a chip off the old anti-abortion block. He is running against Radnor Township Commissioner James J. Marks, 54, a sales manager for a heating and air-conditioning company who is backed by the local GOP committees, and by longtime Haverford tax fighter Joseph R. Breslin, who says he neither formed a campaign committee nor sought contributions in order to maintain independence. In Montgomery County, four Republicans want to fill the seat being vacated by state Rep. Ellen Harley, a Republican whose 149th District includes Upper Merion, West Consho-hocken and the western part of Lower Merion. Harley is running for Congress. The four contenders are Mac Butcher Sr., 54, an investment banking CEO from Lower Merion; lawyer and ex-police officer Fiore Vagnozzi, 53, of Upper Merion; Angelo C. Fara-galli, 52, an investment broker from Lower Merion, and Colleen Sheehan, 38, a professor of government at Vil-lanova University and a resident of Upper Merion. A Democrat, Felice G. Wiener, is unopposed. On Friday, the commission voted to withdraw the question from the May ballot and present it instead in the November general election to give voters more time to understand the proposed changes. Yesterday, the matter was before Commons Pleas Court Judge Russell Nigro. The commission wanted Nigro to order the Board of Elections to remove the charter question from Tuesday's ballot. Should that happen, the question itself would still appear on the ballots, which were printed some time ago. However, the levers voters would push to record their choice would be locked. The actual question on the ballot hardly reflects the intricacy of the changes: It will read, simply: "Shall the new Philadelphia Home Rule Charter filed by the Philadelphia Charter Commission with the Council of the City of Philadelphia on March 25, 1994, be adopted?" Among the changes proposed are allowing the mayor to restructure the executive branch creating, abolishing or merging departments, boards and commissions. He can do this only with approval of city council, but would not need to change the charter as he would now. The new charter would also create a Department of Housing now only an office created by the mayor and an Environmental Hearing Board. Under the new charter, the mayor gets to appoint the 10 members of the Fairmount Park Commission, who are currently elected by the Board of Judges. City Council would have to approve. The mayor would also appoint the city's personnel director, who is now appointed by the Civil Service Commission. Changes to civil service regulations include loosening the dependence on written exams and allow mi For The Inquirer JILL ANNA GREENBERG Seeking to stay in office is Joseph Pitts of Chester County. Pitts (left) and West Chester Mayor Clifford DeBaptiste applauded state Rep. Elinor Taylor last month as she became a local Hall of Famer. ft vk ' 1 l 1 Chris Ross has had his share of rainy days as he seeks the 158th District seat in Chester County. Going door-to-door last month, he stopped voter Kathleen Adams in her Willowdale driveway. There are also races in two Montgomery County districts where state representatives veteran George Saurman and freshman Martin L. Laub are not seeking re-election. In Laub's 153d District, there is a two-way race between Republicans. Abington Township Commissioner Ellen Bard, 45, is running as the endorsed candidate against scrappy Bud Hannings, 51, a former Abington commissioner who lost to Laub in the 1992 primary. The winner will face Democrat David Barol, 37, in November. Barol lost to Laub in the general election two years ago by just 277 votes. In Republican Saurman's 151st District, two Democrats are facing off. Charles M. Bolig, 48, a computer consultant and Upper Dublin Township commissioner, is opposed by Ronald M. Levicoff, 47, who works in the wholesale cosmetics business and is ' also from Upper Dublin. Levicoff lost to Saurman in 1992. The only Republican running there is Eugene F. McGill, 38, of Hor ing experience and job performance to be taken into account in certain instances. The rule of two a manager must choose from the top two test scorers in promotions would be expanded to a rule of three. And probation periods could be as long as 18 months in some jobs, up from a maximum of six months now. The new charter would allow more nonunion employees per department, up to seven for the largest departments. Currently; the maximum is two, but the mayor has gotten around this by appointing deputy managing directors or deputy mayors and then farming them out to the departments. The new charter calls for the cre Where Election officials offer these pointers on where to go and whom to call if you run into a voting problem in Tuesday's primary election. The polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. If you are in line outside a polling place by 8 p.m., you will be permitted to vote. The Philadelphia County Board of Elections will have three telephone numbers voters may call if they encounter problems with a voting machine. Which number depends on the type of machine. For old Shoup machines, the number is 686-7800; for new Shoup machines, 686-7806, and for Jamestown machines, 686-7808. For information on Philadelphia polling places, call 686-1523 and -1524. For any other questions or complaints, call 686-1590. Voters who find they are not registered to vote at a polling place, but think they should be, may take their cases to any election court in the city. The main election court will be in City Hall. That court will be in session from 7 sham. In Bucks County, 20-year veteran state Sen. H. Craig Lewis, a Democrat, is giving up his Sixth District seat in the county's lower end, sparking a primary race by two Democrats. Bristol Borough lawyer John F. Cordisco, 39, and political consultant Martin O'Rourke, 37, of Levittown, have been trading barbs. The two have done battle before, in 1986, when O'Rourke managed Lewis' primary campaign against Cordisco. At the time, Lewis edged Cordisco. Whoever wins the primary will run against Robert "Tommy" Tom-linson, 48, in November. Tomlinson is currently the Republican state representative from the 18th Legislative District in Bensalem and parts of Middletown and Upper South Hampton Townships. Inquirer staff writer Sandy Bauers and correspondents Savannah Blackwell, Nancy Petersen and David Rohde contributed to this article. in course ation of a Utilities Commission, which would set water rates and hear consumer complaints. Water rates are now set by the Water Department. The new charter would also call for a consumer advocate to represent water customers. Although this is a big departure from current practice, consumer advocates say this commission will be powerless because it does not also regulate the operation of the Water Department. The makeup of the Pension Board would be changed: The city solicitor would be replaced by a mayoral appointee. The city controller would be replaced by the president of City Council. to get help a.m. to 11 p.m. Other courts will be in session from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the 17 district police stations. It is illegal to interfere with voters, to electioneer within 10 feet of the entrance to a polling place, or to help anyone inside the voting booth, other than a person who is registered as needing assistance. If there are allegations of election abuses, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office will have officials available to investigate. To report a suspected election crime to the District Attorney's Office, call 686-8731, -8735 or -8787. Others also will be watching the voting. The Committee of Seventy, a nonpartisan group that monitors elections in Philadelphia, will have a hotline to provide information to voters. Calls will be taken at 545-0104 from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. In Bucks County, voters seeking information about registration or information For Wof ford, name of game is so far his Two Republicans long to reclaim John Heinz's old seat. But Rick Santorum is little-known in eastern Pennsylvania, and Joe Watkins is inexperienced. By Peter Landry INQUIRER STAFF WRITER When Democrat Harris Wofford upset Dick Thornburgh to win the John Heinz U.S. Senate seat, state Republicans vowed that Wofford would be retired at the earliest opportunity. Nearly three years later, the GOP is poised to pick a nominee for U.S. Senate, yet neither Republican in the primary has developed a statewide profile to match the in cumbent Democrat's. Two-term U.S. Rep. Rick Santorum of the Pittsburgh area has the endorsement of the state GOP organization, but still is struggling to build name recognition in the east. Businessman Joe Wat-kins has the advantage of a Philadelphia base, but has neither the experience nor the track record in state politics to have developed a reputation. Ignorance and indecision have left "Undecided" the clear leader in most polls, even as the GOP campaign closes. Wofford is unopposed in his primary. Santorum, 35, has been working for the nomination since February of last year, meeting local and county leaders, winning the support of GOP lights such as U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, national chair of the GOP Senatorial Committee. But the primary has proved he must spend some of the $500,000 he has on hand to put his earnest, energetic brand of conservatism before the voters. Watkins, 40, has never run for office in Pennsylvania, although he lost a congressional race when he was living in Indiana 10 years ago. He is a former staffer to both President Bush and then-U.S. Sen. Dan Quayle, but will be lucky to raise much more than $100,000 a distinct handicap. His greatest notoriety came from hiring consultant Ed Rollins shortly after Rollins sparked controversy by falsely Harris Wofford is unopposed now, but faces a fight this fall. Rick Santorum, of Pittsburgh, needs to work the east. J oe Watkins got headlines by hiring Ed Rollins. claiming he had paid off African American minis- ters to suppress the black vote in New Jersey's gubernatorial race last year. Watkins is both African American and a Baptist minister. Santorum's conservative agenda has been outlined in a series of position papers. Watkins has relied on personal appearances and interviews to spread his generally more moderate views. The GOP point person on welfare in the House, Santorum is pushing a package of hard-line reforms. "We believe the number-one solution to poverty and the problem of welfare dependency is work," he asserts. He would set a two-year limit on benefits, after which recipients would have to work 35 hours a week or file complaints for the base payments. He would require single mothers to name the fathers of their children and "if they don't give the name, they don't get any welfare.'.' He would say to minors, "We are no longer going to pay cash assistance to have a child out of wedlock.1-' Watkins acknowledges In speeches the popularity of getting "cheaters off the backs of the people" who support the welfare sys-' tem, but stresses that root causes must be addressed as well. "Most people on welfare don't want to be there," he said. "The important thing is how we help people whose self-esteem has been taken, who feel hopelessly trapped in that environment." He says "workfare can be a good thing" but stresses "one of the most important things is keeping the family together." He would change prar grams such as Aid for Families with Dependent Children because it "mandates that the male be out of the household" before benefits can be paid. "While we talk about the importance of family in our society . . . such programs break those families apart," Watkins said. He said he would be willing "to provide incentives for women not to have addtitional children" and would allow recipients moving to paying jobs "lo retain benefits for a pe-riod of time until they get on their feet." Santorum said that to reduce crime there needs Q be "certainty of punishment," Including carrying out of the death penalty. He supports the three, strikes-and-you're-out concept and asserted, "obviously we need to continue to build new prisons." ' "Jobs and crime are related," Santorum said. In the long term, "we will never solve the crime problem unless we solve the welfare problem. They are deeply intertwined." Watkins said, "Any one of us who have loved ones wants to live in a safe environment ... but if the only vision we have for reducing crime is to build bigger prisons and have stiffer sentences, then we are in trouble." "We have to look beyond that and see how we can change the behavior of people," Watkins said. He promotes stronger education programs and early-intervention programs such as Head Start to ease the conditions that lead to crime. "Not only is it cost-effective keeping people out of prisons and helping them be productive at the same time it is doing society a favor," Watkins said. Crime in poor neighborhoods, Watkins said, demonstrates that "within our communities there is a gross lack of opportunity." '" about polling places may call 348-6163. Judges will be on duty at the courthouse in Doylestown to resolve questions about the validity of registrations. In Chester County, all questions about the election should be directed to the Voter Services Office, 344-6380 or 344-6410. In Delaware County, questions about registration can be answered at the County Registration Commission, 891-4659. Questions about polling places and election procedures can be answered at the Bureau of Elections, 891-4670. County solicitors will be on duty to investigate reported problems. To report problems with a voting machine in Delaware County, call 874-8780. In Montgomery County, questions about registration should be directed to the County Registration Commission at 278-3280. Other questions can be answered at the Board of Elections at 278-3275. Problems with voting machines should be directed to 278-3820.

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