Monday, May 09, 2005

The Corruption Conviction

As most people know by now, the City corruption trial saw verdicts delivered today, and for former City Treasurer Corey Kemp, it was guilty on something like twenty counts of corruption. Ouch. Commerce Bank officials, including their PA president, were also convicted, while Ron White's "paramour" was convicted of perjury.

See all about the conviction here.

Unfortunately, the saga will still go on. First, because the jury deadlocked on a bunch of counts, the judge has to decide whether to send them back to continue those deliberations, or whether to declare a mistrial, where we could get a whole new trial on these charges specifically. And, of course, Kemp and others will clearly be appealing.

Some people yell that what Kemp and others did was reprehensible. Others have contended this is simply the US Attorney going after business-as-usual in Philly. Well you know what? They are both right. This was awful, and I strongly believe this was generally business-as-usual, or a simple escalation of it at the very least. So, while Kemp should serve time, the city government should be served notice: the pay to play culture is simply unacceptable.

What can we do? Well, an obvious first step is Michael Nutter's ethics bill. (See to sign a petition for the bill.) But, clearly, that watered down ethics bill is only a first step. It strikes me that if we really want to end much of the corruption that is in the City government, we have to get money out of the political process. It may be pie-in-the-sky to demand that Presidential elections are publicly funded, with strict limits. But what about municipal ones?

Why don't we publicly fund our elections? Once and for all, get money out the process in Philly?

I will put it like this, as the power of this blog grows along with others, as the power of alternate progressive power structures build, I think we need to figure out how to make this a signature issue. It could be simple- raise 50,000 or something, and get 1 million dollars in public funds, or something like that. But only if you agree not to spend a penny more.


I went this afternoon to a GOTV rally on my lunch hour. Speaking were an impressive cadre of people in Philly driving for change- from Joe Hoeffel to Beth McConnell of PennPIRG, to Brett Mandel of Philadelphia Forward. Everyone in the rally was officially non-partisan, and not taking any sides in the primary. But what was clear is that virtually everyone wanted Seth Williams in office. Yet, of course, conventional wisdom says he is still a long shot. Why? Why is the person that everyone wants still shut out by the powers that be? MONEY. If he had it, if he was advertising as much as Abraham, she would be dead in the water. But as it is now, it is too easy for ward leaders, et. al to ignore underfunded challengers. Take out the money from campaigns, and we will get far better candidates running for office, and far less pressure for elected officials to use their office as a feeder to their checking account. And the culture that bred Corey Kemp? Nah, it will not be totally wiped out. But it would certainly be dealt a swift blow. And in the process, we just may get a government less concerned with preserving their own fiefdoms than running this City as best they can.


At 1:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corey Kemp deserves time? Are you a judge? The man has children and a family; you just had to kick someone when they were down.

>>>>>>>>I will put it like this, as the power of this blog grows ....<<<<<<<

Power of your blog? You can't even afford a web designer, just an $8 a year domain name called and a free blogspot at

You've stepped on some pretty big toes this month; Allyson Schwartz and Lynne Abraham. Philadelphia may have problems, but what city doesn't? This is a city, remember.

What is Lynne Abraham suppose to do, go out in military garb with a bullet proof vest and ak on her shoulder and patrol the streets herself in an armored vehicle? However, she is for putting surveillance cameras all over high crime areas--which I think is a great idea.

She's the DA. She prosecutes criminals. She doesn't influence economic and educational policy, which is reflected in the crime rate as to how good the policies really are. I think you blame the wrong person when you blame Lynne Abraham for the criminal problems of Philadelphia.

The contempt you have in your writing for some is unprofessional, and in the professional world the unprofessional get snubbed. Being young is no excuse for being immature, but as much as you use Philadelphia Inquirer articles to fill your blog space, you are just another pawn in the paper's long history of perfecting that "Trashadelphia" image.

I wish Seth Williams the best, and if he wins, I'm sure he'll do a great job as DA. But until that happens, if it does, Lynne Abraham is still the DA and has been for a very long time.

You should show some respect for someone who is as close to a real Philadelphian as you're going to get. A true class act that has done her job, exceedingly well.

I think it's disgusting that the race card was played in this blog concerning the DA election. One months worth of blogging in here, all you find are nothing but b*tches and complaints about Philadelphia and everything in general, and the one idea we've seen is for publicly financed elections in Philadelphia with $1 million per candidate made available, while if you haven't been reading, some are saying Philadelphia has a $100 million budget deficit.

$1 million dollars, per candidate? Are you nuts? That is why we have "privately" funded elections. It's like a public school, a free public art display, a public pool--it's not going to be like an Andover Prep, the Getty Museum, or the Bellagio pool.

Do us a favor bro and write some stuff that reflects how much you love the city of Philadelphia, and the good going on here.

Remember, only 20% +/- of Philadelphians are college-educated, and over 70% +/- make $30k +/- or less. We aren't Los Angeles, we aren't San Francisco, we aren't Boston, we aren't New York City. How "nice" a city is is reflective of its tax base. Philadelphia is a middle class city predominantly. Don't like it? Move.

At 5:29 AM, Blogger DanielUA said...


You know you are doing well when trolls begin showing up.

At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Brian said...

I think that's what the previous poster just said, Daniel.

At 9:11 AM, Blogger DanielUA said...

Sniff sniff. If you cant stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

The status quo just is not good enough.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger ACM said...

The biggest gripers seem astonishingly anonymous...



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