Kane Ouster a Step Closer

Morning headlines: Pa. Senate votes unanimously to start process that could remove attorney general from office.

Kathleen Kane. AP | Bradley C. Bower

Kathleen Kane. AP | Bradley C. Bower

Good morning Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today:

The Pa. Senate has unanimously — and unprecedentedly — voted to start the process that could end in Kathleen Kane’s removal from office.

The 50-0 vote took place Wednesday night — and the next step is a Jan. 12 hearing, the Morning Call reports.  But senators were at pains to emphasize that their role isn’t to judge whether Kane is guilty of the criminal charges that she leaked grand jury information for political gain. The question at hand is whether she can perform the duties of office while her law license is suspended because of those charges. Kane’s removal would require a two-thirds vote of the Senate, followed by Gov. Tom Wolf’s final decision on the matter.

The Senate is following a process that has not been used before. “We are setting new ground,” Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said. “Somebody, maybe, 100 years from now will look at our procedures and we were very cognizant of that to make sure we do this in a very fair and open way.”

Philly’s teachers’ union has shared awful images of the city’s “filthy schools” with Al Jazeera network.

The pictures — aired on the network’s show “America Tonight” — include “rotting walls, standing water, mold and crumbling ceilings,” as well as one image from Mitchell Elementary School of building blocks covered in rodent droppings.  “It’s clearly not acceptable,” said Jerry Roseman, an environmental scientist with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.  “The deficiencies are egregious and the conditions are urgent and immediate.”  School district officials say continuing budget shortfalls prevent them from cleaning up. Says one: “There’s really a big challenge between our outstanding need and our ability to be able to address it.”

A court has dismissed Frank Keel’s lawsuit against David Axelrod over who saved John Street’s 2003 mayoral campaign.

That’s the campaign, you’ll recall, where an FBI bug was found in Street’s office. Street’s campaign responded with a counteroffensive claiming FBI investigation was a Bush Administration “dirty trick.” Street won re-election and was never charged. David Axelrod, who went on to fame as a strategist for Obama, claimed responsibility for the “Republicans did it” strategy in his memoirs last year; Keel, a longtime Philly pol, sued earlier this year, claiming the strategy was his idea, and that Axelrod had hurt Keel’s business by making the claim. A federal court’s ruling? Axelrod told the story to promote his book — not his political consulting services — and thus failed to cross the line of “unfair competition” required for the suit to continue. Which means we won’t get a final, official answer to the question: Who saved John Street’s campaign? [Bloomberg BNA]

The dispersal of Mayor Nutter’s cabinet has begun: Deputy Mayor Rich Negrin is one of the first out the door.

Negrin — credited with developing the Philly 311 call service  and the “Philly Rising” neighborhood initiative — is joining an unspecified city law firm. He also held the title of “managing director” in Nutter’s administration. “Rich Negrin has been an outstanding public servant and leader in the Administration. He’s tackled major issues like property assessments, vacant land, voting and much more as Deputy Mayor and Managing Director,” Nutter said in a written statement. “He has helped this Administration find innovative solutions to long-standing problems and Philadelphians have garnered tremendous value through his work.”

The Phillies have sent closer Ken Giles to the Astros for four players.

Remember the good old days when the Phillies were awesome and regularly made trades with the awful Astros to get Houston’s good players? That’s how Philly got Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt, and Hunter Pence, if you’ll remember. (It’s been so long, though, we understand if you don’t remember.) Well, the shoe’s on the other foot. Philadelphia on Wednesday night sent one of its best players — Giles, the heat-throwing closer — to the Astros for four players: pitchers Vincent Velasquez, and Brett Oberholtzer, along with outfield prospect Derek Fisher and a player to be named later to come. ESPN reports: “The Phillies see themselves as being several years away from contention, so they’ve been looking to add depth and as many young arms to their system as they can collect.”

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