Trump Fundraiser Sparks Criticism
Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today:
Donald Trump is still scheduled to headline a GOP fundraiser at the Pennsylvania Society gathering this weekend — but pressure is mounting on Republicans to call it off.
Mayor Nutter may think Donald Trump is a (bleep) for calling to ban Muslims from entering the United States, but he’s still the guy Pennsylvania Republicans are depending on to help raise campaign cash at this weekend’s soiree. But they’re careful to say it’s not an endorsement of Trump’s candidacy. “Each candidate has their own vision for the future, and it’s up to the voters to decide their preferred choice,” state party spokeswoman Megan Sweeney tells TribLive. But some high-profile Republicans, like Sen. Pat Toomey, won’t be attending. And pressure is rising from outside the party to cancel the speaking gig. At PennLive, John Micek editorializes: “Trump is not presidential. He’s a carnival barker. And his joke isn’t funny anymore.”
Kathryn Knott, the final defendant in last year’s Center City gay-bashing incident, is scheduled to go on trial today.
G Philly’s Bryan Buttler reports: Jury selection for the trial for Kathryn Knott, the now-lone defendant in the Center City gay-bashing case from 2014, begins today after a series of pre-trial hearings. According to court documents, Knott’s trial will take place in courtroom 908 in Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center at 1301 Filbert Street. She’s facing a number of charges — including aggravated assault, conspiracy, and recklessly endangering another person, among others — in the September 2014 attack against two gay men in Center City. Knott’s two male co-defendants in the case took plea bargains in the case back in October.
Temple has delayed action on a new football stadium after Mayor-elect Jim Kenney announced his opposition.
Kenney announced his opposition in an email to the Philadelphia Business Journal, which the paper published Tuesday afternoon. It detailed his views on the stadium: “If the Eagles were living up to their commitment to Philadelphia and our public university, just as the Steelers live up to their commitment to Pittsburgh by renting their stadium for free to Pitt’s football team, there wouldn’t be a need for a stadium at Temple University,” he wrote. Philly Mag’s Dan McQuade reports that short-circuited Tuesday’s discussion by the Temple Board of Trustees. Patrick O’Connor, who leads the board, pledged to meet soon with Kenney. “We are going to engage all aspects of this community, including a meeting with the mayor-elect, to ensure that what we do for our students and our programs will be good for Temple and good for the great city of Philadelphia.”
Pa. House Republicans may be depending on online poker to help end the state’s budget mess.
Card Player reports that a bill — authorizing online gambling operated by the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos — will get a vote in the Pennsylvania House today. The bill would tax online gaming revenue at 14 percent. PennLive reports that an analysis of the House budget plan suggests online gaming could provide up to $120 million in ongoing revenue, another $24 million for one-time licensing fees, and an undisclosed amount from the legalization of slot machines at off-track betting parlors and airports. CardsChat.com — there are a lot of websites dedicated to covering the gambling industry and related policies — reports, however, that Pa. Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman doesn’t think the plan will fly. “We don’t have the votes for it,” he said. “I mean, that’s just plain and simple that won’t happen.”
The Sixers’ decision to hire Jerry Colangelo this week was reportedly the result of pressure from NBA owners tired of watching the team stink.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst writes that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was “instrumental” in pairing the Sixers and Colangelo. The Sixers, being a big-market team, are expected to help create league revenues, he wrote. Instead: “For many teams, games featuring the starless and woeful 76ers as the visiting team have been the lowest-attended of the season, sources said.” Other teams have fought to change the league’s draft rules to discourage the kind of intentional losing that Sixers fans have witnessed for three seasons now, but those efforts failed. Instead, the league pressured the team instead to start trying to be good. The result? Colangelo.