Around the politicians (Wednesday)
- Unsurprisingly, Sen. Rick Santorum defends his mortgage as obtained legitimately and not through political pull. It appears that he got the market rate, but also that he wasn't one of their investment clients, to whom their loans are otherwise restricted.
- Another Inquirer piece looks at the stormy relationship between US Rep. (and city party chairman) Bob Brady and union chief (also party treasurer and mayoral aspirant) John Dougherty. They report rumors of heightened tensions between the men that could affect Dem. party elections in June.
- In separate news, Dougherty is no longer on the witness list in the federal trial of Councilman Rick Mariano. He has already testified to the grand jury about his involvement with Mariano and his financial woes. The feds still have some 23 other witnesses on deck . . .
- Mayor Street is directing some of the year's budget surplus to overdue pay-hikes for City Hall staffers (the nonunion contingent, who don't have automatic raises). Many other offices bemoan their pay rates and the resulting brain-drain...
- Rep. Chaka Fattah is starting a new push to strengthen his scholarship program for needy students in the city, by setting up a permanent endowed fund. The program gives small amounts where they're most needed, but only covers the first year of college, which may make it more symbolic than effective.
- Another contender has thrown a hat into the crowded 2007 mayoral ring: Queena Bass, who apparently also ran in 1999 (of which I have no memory). She sounds like a bit of a colorful local character.
- A Daily News opinion piece looks at a gun-safety report card on state legislators prepared by a group called Men United for a Better Philadelphia. See how your senators and representatives stand on the one-gun-per-month bill...
- Dan at YPP starts are regular feature on why Rendell is a better choice for Governor than challenger Lynn Swann. Today's reason involves hiring smart people who actually do their jobs.