The Best Five Parts of Frank Keel’s Amazing Lawsuit Against David Axelrod

John Street, David Axelrod,gle at Bochetto's  and Frank Keel.

John Street (Jeff Fusco), David Axelrod (Twitter) and Frank Keel (Facebook).

Whatever else you think of Frank Keel’s lawsuit against David Axelrod over who came up with the idea to blame Republicans in then-Philly Mayor John Street’s FBI bugging scandal, we want you to know this: It’s one heck of an entertaining read.

Keel’s attorney — George Bochetto — has a flair for the written word, and a kind of noir sensibility. If you’re tempted to giggle at Bochetto’s slightly over-the-top description of Keel as a man’s man, getting things done with brashness and style in the dirty world of Philadelphia politics, well, the overall description of behind-the-scenes power struggles during 2003 feels just a bit cinematic. Who is going to make this into a movie?

You can read the whole lawsuit. Or you can let us do the hard very fun work for you — here are our five favorite passages: Read more »

Who Saved John Street’s Career?

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Philadelphia political fixer Frank Keel has filed suit against strategist David Axelrod claiming it was he, not Axelrod, who came up with the strategy that saved John Street’s political career from an FBI probe during the 2003 mayor’s race. Read more »

Wolf Holds Firm on State Police Nomination

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Gov. Tom Wolf is holding firm in backing Marcus Brown’s nomination to head the Pennsylvania State Police, despite opposition from Republicans and the troopers themselves.

The Pennsylvania State Troopers Association on Monday gave Brown a vote of no-confidnce, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Wolf gave no signs of budging on the issue.

“Again, as I said over the weekend, I nominated him because of his strong background,” Wolf said. “He was a beat cop in Baltimore, he was head of the state police in Maryland and I think he’s a good choice. He has a great background and I would like to see him confirmed.” Read more »

Brady to Dems: Reconsider Manny Morales Endorsement

Maria Quinones-Sanchez | Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Maria Quinones-Sanchez | Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

On Tuesday, we asked: “Why Have City Dems Endorsed a Council Candidate Whose Facebook Page Compared Gay Men to Flatworms?” Turns out Congressman Bob Brady, the city’s top Democrat, wants to know the same thing.

As we reported, ward leaders in the Seventh Council District instead endorsed Manny Morales, who few had ever heard of before, over incumbent Maria Quinones-Sanchez. Morales, it turns out, is pro-voter ID, anti-abortion, thinks George Zimmerman handled things just fine, is an immigration hawk, is pro Ron Paul and, yes, wondered aloud on Facebook if gay men, like flatworms, “use their bifurcated penises to fence one another.”

Morales has denied making the Facebook posts, and has said he is contemplating legal action aginst Quinones-Sanchez for posting the purported Facebook posts on a site called MeetMannyMorales.com..

Brady says ward leaders should reconsider the endorsement. “I am sure that the ward leaders, when they did the endorsement, they did not know that this existed,” he told KYW. “And we still don’t know whether its accurate. But if it is accurate, it’s very troublesome. Anybody can make an allegation. But if they’re true, I would make a recommendation to the ward leaders that they withdraw their support from him as a candidate.” Read more »

Bill Would Make it a Crime to Look at Porn on Pa. State Computers, Phones

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Last year’s porn scandal helped cost one Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice his job and ended or damaged the careers of many other men inside the state’s top law circles — but the fallout may not be over.

State Rep. John Payne on Friday introduced a bill that would criminalize the use of state-owned computers and cell phones to look at pornography. Violations would constitute a third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.) Read more »

Two Stats That Show Harrisburg Is Stacking the Deck Against Philly Schools

Dear Sen. Jake Corman:

I’ve been thinking about you lately. Admittedly, I wasn’t too thrilled to see you displace local favorite Dom Pileggi as the majority leader in the Pennsylvania Senate. But you’ve been on my mind ever since you did an interview with NewsWorks and said something kind of nice about Philadelphia.

“As a Republican, we’ve made a living over the years picking on Philadelphia. I don’t think there’s any question about that,” you said. “But we’re as successful as they are. If Philadelphia is a tremendous, thriving city full of opportunity and cultural advances that communities from around the state and around the country want to come see, that’s good for everybody in the state.”

It was so surprising to hear a Pennsylvania legislator say something nice about Philly that I made a big joke of it here at Phillymag.com. But as the legislative year has gotten under way, it’s occurred to me that you might mean what you say — and that you might just be the man to help lead Pennsylvania Republicans down the path of helping the Philadelphia school district finally succeed and thrive — provided you understand exactly the problem that ails it.

And the problem is the poverty. Read more »

New Jersey, Pennsylvania Really, Really Stink at Pension Funding

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New Jersey and Pennsylvania have America’s most-underfunded public employee pension systems, says a new report from the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. In fact, the report suggests, the two states have fallen so short of making the annual required contributions to the funds that they’ve managed to separate themselves from the pack.

Political battles are being waged in both states over how best to deal with the underfunding — Chris Christie versus the teachers unions in New Jersey, while House Republicans in Pennsylvania say pension reform must be part of any budget deal with Gov. Tom Wolf — but the report traces the underfunding back to the flush days of the late 1990s. Read more »

School Funding Suit Against State Advances Despite Promises From Wolf

It’s time for Pennsylvania’s courts to force the state legislature to properly fund state schools, attorneys representing a coalition of money-hungry school districts argued today before the Commonwealth Court at Harrisburg.

“We argued today in court the schoolchildren of Pennsylvania have an enforceable right to be heard,” said Maura McInerney, an attorney for the Education Law Center, which helped bring the case. She spoke during a conference call after the court appearance. “The court,” she said, “has a vital role to play in enforcing the state constitution.” Read more »

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