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GIORDANO: Parker Makes Right Choice With Police Commissioner Pick

Philadelphia Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker got it right when she chose Philadelphia Police Department Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel as the new police commissioner.

Parker has been a frequent guest on my show over the past 18 months or so, and several times, she told me she wanted someone as commissioner who could find “Broad and Spring Garden without using a GPS.” She wanted someone who knew the DNA of Philadelphia and the police department. She also wanted a data-driven person to proactively prevent crime.

Former Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said that when he, former Mayor Michael Nutter, and former Police Commissioner Ramsey worked together to make Philadelphia a safe city, Bethel was the point person. Bethel suggested and executed strategies to fit their master plan. Williams commended Bethel’s emotional intelligence and agreed with me about how Bethel would engage with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who we both view as a major obstacle to Philadelphia’s safety.

I think Bethel gave us a clue to his plan in his opening news conference. He diplomatically said he looked forward to working with Krasner but then pivoted to saying that he would enforce all laws and consistently present the public with the records of arrests and police operations.

That tells me that Bethel, unlike former Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, will enforce and document police actions on things like shoplifting. Krasner famously issued a directive to his staff not to prosecute shoplifting crimes that were under $499.

As a result. police looked the other way for most shoplifting, and shop owners felt they just had to endure these crimes–or close up shop and leave Philadelphia.

Parker said she would challenge this $499 rule in her victory speech.

I was heartened by Bethel’s comments on the role of police.

“I can sit here and tell you, I ain’t gonna lock up a 10-year-old child for coming to school with a pair of scissors,” Bethel said. “But I also could tell you that I’m gonna lock up somebody who comes in a store and robs somebody with a gun. I am gonna talk about locking up somebody who sits there and kills people in our streets. We are gonna talk about that. I’m gonna talk about my mother-in-law, who’s scared to come out of her door. My mother-in -law has been in her home for 50 years, but scared to come out of her door. Why can she not sit on her step? So, we have a job to do as part of policing. Our job is to enforce the law.”

Bethel also has a record of treating police officers fairly while holding them accountable. My police sources vouch for him in this area.

So, Danielle Outlaw is gone, and Mayor Jim Kenney is down to around his last 30 days. I expect very good things from Parker and Bethel. I also don’t expect Krasner to change. I do think Bethel will challenge Krasner’s position regarding leniency for felons carrying firearms. Bethel will prove that the police are enforcing shoplifting laws and Krasner is not. I also hope Parker and Bethel can make the case in minority communities that Krasner is an impediment to safety.

And, arguments are being made this week before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to certify Krasner’s impeachment, which could lead to his possible removal with a trial in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Looking in my crystal ball, I see improvements in Philadelphia with a big battle ahead.

GIORDANO: Parker’s Primary Victory a Win for Suburbs, Too

If you’re like me, your initial reaction to Cherelle Parker’s big win in Philadelphia’s Democratic Party’s mayoral race is the like the relief people feel when you’re driving and you narrowly miss a collision or the joy you feel when your medical tests come back clear.

Philadelphia dodged the disaster of Helen Gym, the darling of White progressives, becoming mayor. That’s good news for everyone in our area, not just in the city. And I believe Cherelle Parker will be a suburban-friendly mayor who draws suburbanites back to Philadelphia.

Parker started to come on my show about a year ago, and we openly discussed that some of her advisors cautioned against going on my station and talking with me. Listeners bonded with her over her joyous and infectious spirit, her support of restoring quality of life in Philadelphia, and her staunch opposition to safe injection sites.

On the other hand, Helen Gym put out a press release to the media attacking six Democrats who joined me for mayoral debates. The release noted I had said that I’d have to move away from Philadelphia if Gym were elected mayor. I took it as a high honor that the release directed me to “Start packing.”

I believe Parker will reach out to the suburbs because when she served in Harrisburg, she reached across party lines on many big issues. And on my show, she has dispelled the idea Philadelphia can’t work across geographic lines with suburban leaders.

Her approach is important because, even though Helen Gym was defeated, she still had a strong base of support. She did best with White progressives, particularly those making over $100,000 yearly and living in places like Center City and Chestnut Hill. Those people have largely been insulated from the violence plaguing Philadelphia. Those people loved Gym events featuring AOC and Bernie Sanders and touted the money and support Gym got from Jane Fonda.

Parker rolled up huge support from Black and Latino neighborhoods that have suffered under the wildly progressive policies of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. It’s hard to concentrate on the latest chic policies of the merry band of radicals when the bullets are flying.

Even though Parker has the nomination, she will face a quality challenger in Republican nominee David Oh. On my show this week, Oh pushed back on Parker’s apparent support for an arena that the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers want to build on Market Street. He also opposes her call for constitutional stop-and-frisk stops by the Philadelphia Police. Oh feels these stops are overreach by the government, and he plans to link that position to the theme of overreach by Philadelphia’s city government.

In addition to the Philadelphia races, there were two big developments in suburban races. Republican Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale was defeated by two Republican Party candidates endorsed by the Montgomery County GOP. Liz Preate Havey, former chairperson for Republicans in Montco, told me the endorsement sealed the defeat of Gale and that going forward, the Republican State Committee should endorse candidates in primaries to head off candidates like Doug Mastriano, who Josh Shapiro destroyed in the recent governor’s race.

The special election held in Delaware County held to fill the position of former state Rep. Mike Zabel showed how ineffectual the Delco Republicans are and how abortion is a critical issue. Democrats spent more than a million dollars to defeat Republican Katie Ford. And even though she told me that women should have the right to choose, Democrats relentlessly portrayed her as the vote that would restore Republicans to power in the House in Harrisburg and then take away all abortion rights in Pennsylvania.

The bottom line from this week is Philadelphia showed signs of sanity, and it’s good for our region.

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GIORDANO: Next Mayor’s Race Is An Inflection Point for Philly

I hosted six Democrats and one Republican running for Philadelphia mayor on Talk Radio 1210 last week. A listener from Delaware County tweeted at me, “Totally awesome format! I am not a resident of Philadelphia, but I live in DELCO, so what happens there affects me.”

Public safety was the key issue that I raised with the candidates. If you live in the suburbs but work or play in Philadelphia, you want to feel safe when you visit the city. Under the current administration and District Attorney Larry Krasner, no sane person feels safe.

Maybe, more importantly, the lawlessness in Philadelphia is bleeding into the suburbs. Abington Police Chief Pat Molloy is often on my show. He tells me that since the Philadelphia City Council, supported by Mayor Jim Kenney, passed the Driving Equality bill, Abington officers are making many more car stops for vehicles with no registration and often with illegal guns and drugs.

The premise of the bill is that cops can’t be expected to stop people of color for motor vehicle violations relatively. Therefore, for a significant number of violations, they are to write down the license plate information and send a ticket in the mail. A mayor concerned with public safety would veto a bill like this.

A Philadelphia mayor concerned with public safety would also remove Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw from her position.

Outlaw was hired because Kenney promised to put a Black woman in that position. I don’t see any clear plan from Outlaw to turn things around, and according to several sources, the morale in the police department is very low.

Only Democratic candidates Derek Green and Jeff Brown said they would remove Outlaw, and Republican David Oh would replace her with a former or current member of the Philadelphia Police Department. Allan Domb told me he believes Kenney tied Outlaw’s hands. On a very positive note, a candidate said to me off the record that former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsay would be in charge of public safety if that candidate were elected. That would be a tremendous development.

My biggest disappointment was that the candidates did not seem energized by my argument that Philadelphia needs at least a thousand more cops, and the current police salaries are not moving the needle. I argued that we need to increase wages a great deal more but also need to develop a campaign using athletes, celebs, influencers, etc., to say that being a cop is a great, noble profession.

This problem of recruiting cops is not just confined to Philadelphia. David Kennedy, president of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, wrote in the Pittsburg Tribune that when he applied to be a state trooper in 1995, he had to compete for the position with 10,000 applicants. Last year he reported that last year the Pennsylvania State Police had only 1,000 applicants.

I don’t recall any widespread issues with the state police, but it indicates progressive critics’ tarnishing of the profession. This trend cannot continue without putting every citizen at risk.

I’m still hopeful that even though I say deficiencies in the candidates, every one of them would protect Philadelphia better than Jim Kenney. The candidates in descending order that I trust the most to get a handle on crime are David Oh, Allan Domb, Cherelle Parker, and Amen Brown.

Former Councilperson Helen Gym declined to respond to our invitation. If she is elected mayor, Philadelphia will become more lawless and violent. The phrase “inflection point” is often overused, but this mayor’s race result is clearly an inflection point.

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GIORDANO: If Gym Gets In As Mayor of Philly, I’m Outta Here

When Delaware Valley Journal asked that I make my last column of the year about the biggest stories of the year, I was thrilled.

I decided that right out of the box I’d tell you 2022’s biggest story was the fact that we have nine candidates to become Philadelphia’s next mayor. And I believe at least three of them would make a marked difference in increasing public safety.

But one would make public safety much worse if elected.

I have interviewed former city council members Allan Domb and Cherelle Parker and state Rep. Amen Brown on several occasions and they are solidly pro-police and have good plans to turn Philadelphia around. Parker last week on my show unprompted attacked so-called safe injection sites and amplified her big plan for community policing. Domb was very adamant that he would flood Kensington with cops and shut down area drug corners. Brown has gone after the Philadelphia district attorney’s lenient on criminals policies and is very pro-police.  These three candidates would give Philadelphia a fighting chance to turn things around.

However, if former city councilperson Helen Gym becomes mayor, I will move out of Philadelphia.

She is the darling of every radical group in the city and many across the country. She would drive hundreds of policemen and women to leave the force and the woke policies she would enact would also set Philadelphia back. She might even make Jim Kenney’s eight years look decent.

The biggest suburban story this year was the work of Bucks County activists Megan Brock, Tim Daily, and Simon Campbell, Pennridge School Board President Joan Cullen, and the leaders of the Central Bucks School Board. Brock, who was voted the person of the year by my listeners, developed a number of devastating stories about local doctors and hospitals supporting minors using puberty blockers and getting surgery to change their biological sexual identity. Daily and Campbell won a big lawsuit against the Pennsbury School Board over First Amendment issues. Cullen and also leaders of the Central Bucks School District had to weather tremendous assaults from local activists and groups like the ACLU. They championed parental rights in the middle of numerous controversies.

The two biggest stories that gave me and my listeners the most satisfaction due to our involvement were the impeachment of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and the removal of the box that was covering the Columbus Statue in Marconi Park in South Philly. One listener said we got Columbus out of the box and put Krasner in the penalty box.

I love sports and the Phillies surprise run through the playoffs and World Series was fun and dramatic. And the Eagles with the best record in the NFL conjures up thoughts of the championship of 2017. The Lia Thomas swimming drama at the University of Pennsylvania came a happy ending to me when Thomas was defeated at the NCAA swimming meet.

2022 was a year that had everything for our area. Sadly, Philadelphia passed 500 homicides again and set records for people shot and carjacked.

So, when I had Steve Keeley of Fox 29 on my show and I asked him about the story that jumped out at him, he came up with a big silver lining. Steve recounted the story of Buddy the Cat, who had been mauled by dogs turned on him by some kids in Philadelphia. Buddy was saved by great medical people and adopted by one of them. Thanks to Keeley, the inspiration of Buddy will be top of mind when I think of 2022.

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