5 Reasons Fall Could Be Great for Politics in Philly

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All hail the end of summer.

Sure, that means it’s time to stop being lazy and get back to work. But for journalists, that means the dog days are over — actual news will start to happen again, and we can find new things to write and opine about. Hallelujah.

In fact, this stands to be a very newsy fall. And if everything breaks right, it might even be a really good fall, with city and state government finally making some breakthroughs on issues that have needed breakthroughs for a long time.

Here are five things that could make this a very good political fall in Philadelphia:

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‘Crown Prince Emperor’ Found Guilty of DUI of ‘Botanicals’

guy-1024px Crown Prince Emperor El Bey Bagby was found guilty on Tuesday in Bucks County for driving under the influence of botanicals.

Let’s back up.

Crown Prince Emperor El Bey Bagby is known legally as William McRae. The botanicals are marijuana. In 2009, a Lower Makefield police officer pulled over the Crown Prince — I’ll play along here, unless my editor decides I’m not allowed to — for driving a vehicle with a temporary, hard-to-read tag. The officer said he spotted blunt guts in El Bey Bagby’s car — which reeked of marijuana. Judge Wallace Bateman found McRae, 41, guilty of the DUI.

Simple, and not really much of a story except that El Bey Bagby asserts he has the rights to 689,000 acres of the United States, including most of the area that made up the Louisiana Purchase. “We would ask him things and he would go off into pretty much nonsense,” Richard Meehl, a Lower Makefield police officer, testified. In court yesterday, the Crown Prince said he wouldn’t say “marijuana,” calling it a copyrighted word. He said he used “botanicals” for his blood pressure.

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Mayor Nutter’s 3 Worst Arguments Against Pot Decriminalization

Buying pot legally in Colorado — the stuff of Mayor Nutter's worst, most distopian nightmares.

Buying pot legally in Colorado — the stuff of Mayor Nutter’s worst, most dystopian nightmares.

If Mayor Nutter is capable of making a good argument against marijuana decriminalization, he hasn’t shown it so far.

It’s clear by now that the mayor doesn’t want to sign City Council’s marijuana decriminalization bill. And it’s clear the council’s veto-proof majority in passing the bill leaves him precious few methods for putting a stop to it. So Nutter has been dragging his heels and, this week, making the worst-ever arguments against letting the bill become a law.

Here are Michael Nutter’s three worst debating points against marijuana decriminalization:

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Are Narcotics Corrupting the Police Force?

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Six Philadelphia Police officers facing federal corruption charges.

Well, it finally happened: Philadelphia’s war on drugs finally caught some white guys in its net.

The bad news: They all happened to be working members of the Philadelphia Police Department.

It’s actually a great thing, the timing of the indictment of a half-dozen Philly narcotics officers (above) on corruption charges. It comes while Mayor Nutter still has on his plate a decision on whether to approve or veto City Council’s bill to decriminalize marijuana in the city.

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420 Marijuana Arrests Since City Council Voted to Decriminalize

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Two weeks ago, we told you that there had been 264 people charged with marijuana possession in Philadelphia in the month following City Council’s June 19th vote to decriminalize the possession of small amounts.

And since that report, there have been 156 more arrests, according to court records, bringing the grand total to 420. (Yes, 420.) That’s 420 people who now have criminal records for possession, and the vast majority of them were not charged with any other crimes. Read more »

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