It’s Primary time again in the City of Philadelphia (Tuesday, May 16), which means that all registered voters should do their duty as citizens and vote.
The big race in May’s primary is the race for District Attorney of Philadelphia. This race is especially important given the current DA’s fall from grace, a saga that still leaves me a little dazed, especially considering his holier-than-thou attitude when he first took office and went on a triumphal crusade to over prosecute Catholic priests (Msgr. Lynn) not directly involved in clergy sex abuse cases. As Philadelphia’s newly minted DA, Seth Williams came across as a Puritan crusader straight out of The Scarlet Letter.
This year’s candidates for DA are a curious bunch.
Let’s consider Teresa Carr Deni. Her name, at least for me, carries a lot of emotional baggage. ‘Teresa’ was my mother’s name, so I can’t help but like it; then there’s ‘Carr,’ the last name of some marvelous childhood friends of mine. With this said, she sands to get a 5 star rating from this writer but that’s not the case at all. Perhaps if we were to use language, as in a name, as a base “determiner,” her last name ‘Deni’ is what does her in. Sound ridiculous? I’m not so sure. If life is the best teacher, I’ve often found that people born with common names but spelled in an inverted, “difficult” manner (like Judi for Judy) are often difficult people in some ways. It is as if over time the offbeat spelling of their name has worked to create a distorted image like what you get when you look through cinder block glass. I’ve had too many coincidental life experiences confirming this fact and I’ve found the coincidence or adverse serendipity of this to be odd and mesmerizing.
On the surface, Deni has good credentials—1985 Temple Law grad, a judge on Philadelphia’s Municipal Court. Yet the truth goes deeper than resume statistics, which can always be misleading. I witnessed a blatantly unfair Judge Deni ruling when a good friend of mine was hauled into court by his dysfunctional family for something that he did not do. Judge Deni’s obviously biased mind radiated out into the courtroom at that time like a noisy neon sign. And her eventual ruling was shocking. She continues to leave a bad taste in my mouth, like the taste of sour buttermilk left out of the refrigerator for a week during the month of July.
Sometimes just looking deep into a person’s face can seem to unlock secrets. Really sensitive people know what I am talking about. An armchair visual analysis like this must be handled with extreme care but when it’s on target you can sense character flaws, weaknesses and even “see” certain propensities. Such is the case with DA candidate Tariq El-Shabazz.
While lots of tough looking guys are really gentle giants, you don’t get that feeling with El-Shabazz, who is so rustic looking that he was often mistaken as part of Seth Williams’ security detail when he worked as first deputy to Mr. Williams. El-Shabazz served as assistant DA from 1988 to 1993. As a kid in Brooklyn, NY, he was a Golden Gloves champion. Maybe that’s why he’s always punchy and on the defensive, since he came out with a charge of racism in late April. I’m not even going to go into El-Shabazz’s racism charge because it is so absurd.
DA candidate Joe Khan has the slick look of a professional politician. Former Governor Rendell, in fact, has endorsed Khan for DA. Khan went to one of the most politically correct colleges in the nation, Swarthmore, which doesn’t mean it is a bad school, just a little myopic in how it sees the world. Khan is also a graduate of the prestigious University of Chicago Law School. He’s an Assistant US Attorney and teaches at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, the perfect resume for a guest spot on Marty-Moss Coane’s Radio Times. Khan’s TV campaign ads tell us little about what he will do if he is elected DA. All they do is talk about how much he hates President Trump. I hate President Trump much more than the other candidate, so vote for me. Please Mr. Khan, tell us what you can do for Philadelphia.
DA candidate Lawrence Krasner jumped into the race late but made a big splash. A defense attorney and a public defender, Krasner has defended protestors arrested at the RNC in Philadelphia some 16 years ago and protestors arrested at last year’s DNC. His candidacy is supported by former Occupy Philly leaders and current Black Lives Matter leaders. Krasner recently caught the eye of Hollywood’s Susan Sarandon, who endorsed his candidacy on Twitter.
Krasner has also been singled out by megalomaniac, billionaire globalist, George Soros, a fan of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, for a 1.4 million campaign gift. The money will go towards television campaign ads, brochures and door-to-door Krasner cheerleaders. Soros has been obsessed with DA and Sheriff races around the country and is on record as donating millions to various races. The Soros-connection sours me on Krasner.
DA candidate Jack O’Neill might as well be the stepchild of the great Philadelphia Democratic Party Machine. At 35, he looks like a second tier Hollywood actor who might star in a film alongside Tom Cruise. O’Neill is a ten year veteran of the DA’s Office. He went straight into the DA’s Office from Law School. He resigned as Assistant DA in 2016 and has been in private practice ever since. O’Neill was recently endorsed by 8 building trade unions and if elected, promises to create a Deputy Labor liaison. One might say that O’Neill is Labor (Pope) Johnny ‘Johnny Doc’ Dougherty’s candidate.
After Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump last year, Johnny Doc wrote:
“The Democratic Party is too fixated on cultural liberalism and not focused enough on the populist economy. Wake up, Democratic Party leaders. You can no longer expect us to pay all the bills, but seldom get a seat at the table. You can no longer expect to receive our financial contributions, borrow our members, and count on our votes if you’re not going to give us jobs. Those days are over.” The question is: Can O’Neill triumph over Soros’ money?
DA candidate Michael Untermeyer, a New York native, is an attorney and real estate developer (but not related to Ori Flatbush). He ran for the DA’s Office in 2009 and for City Council-at-Large in 2011 as a Republican. Untermeyer’s chances look slim.
Candidate Rich Negrin, former City Managing Director and Deputy Mayor under Mayor Nutter was endorsed by the FOP. Much has been written about Negrin, the most common being that for the FOP endorsed candidate he is amazingly liberal although he has not come out completely against “stop and frisk.” Daily News columnist Will Bunch, for instance, believes that even if Negrin were to win he would still “move the DA Office in a more progressive direction on criminal justice. ‘ Happily for Negrin, his name will be listed first over and above the other Democratic candidates on the May 16th ballot. This is considered a major blessing because as Bunch reported, “Philadelphia voters have the attention span of a hormonal gnat during gnat mating season.”
As for the only Republican DA candidate, Beth Grossman, a prosecutor for over 20 years, it’s unfortunate that this candidate is such a huge champion of the city’s civil asset forfeiture program. As Philadelphia magazine put it in March 2017, “Grossman is proud of her time in charge of the city’s civil asset forfeiture program. She says she used the law to seize drug dealers’ homes and improve the quality of life in neighborhoods.” (Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has stated that asset forfeiture programs have led “to egregious and well-chronicled abuses.”)
You don’t need to take someone’s home, or their car, or their pocket cash after a drug arrest.
That’s called stealing.