tv Inside Story ABC June 14, 2015 11:30am-12:01pm EDT
philadelphia mayor's race. "inside story" starts right now. good morning, everyone. i'm matt o'donnell. it is sunday, june 14, 2015. welcome to "inside story." and we're feeling extra spiffy around here because we have a new look here, and you'll get some looks about it, and it's just gonna make our panelists that much more fast in terms of how they think. and let's meet our insiders of the week here. sharmain matlock-turner, nonprofit executive. >> how you doing, matt? >> good morning, sharmain. christine flowers, attorney and journalist. >> good morning, matt. >> hello, christine. journalist larry platt. >> good morning. >> good morning, larry. and sam katz, documentarian and a panelist who's going to be joining us here on "inside story" every now and then. it is a pleasure to have you with us, sam. >> it's an honor to be here, matt. >> what do you guys think, first of all? nice and bright? >> it is very nice. >> shiny. >> beautiful. >> awesome. >> help you guys think on your feet. >> we've come out of the depths of the darkness. >> right. absolutely. into the light, right? >> all right, well, let's talk about our philadelphia mayor's
race. as everyone knows, jim kenney is a democratic candidate, won 56% of the vote on primary day. businesswoman melissa murray bailey is the republican candidate. she was unopposed. sam, let's go to you first because as everyone knows, you had considered getting into the race. the day before the primaries when you told everyone that your heart really wasn't in it. kind of explain things. >> my heart was in it. it was the rest of my body that wasn't kind of going along with the idea. [ laughter ] i was actually ready to go. i'd hired a campaign manager. i worked out a finance plan. and i was in this line that kid i've been in before, this fast-moving stream, and i decided to step back and ask myself, "is this right for me personally?" and i'm a grandfather now, and i've got my documentary film business, and i just felt that this wasn't the right time. this was a long-held dream, and i thought the best thing to do was step away. >> the polls had jim kenney well ahead, and they were right, as it turned out. did his candidacy have anything to do with your decision? >> absolutely not.
i think that having run before as a republican, i was in an uphill situation, and i was going to be as an independent. and it mattered not against whom i would be running. it was more important about what i wanted to say. and i will say what i want to say, but i'll say it in a different way and from a different platform. >> including right here on "inside story." >> and hopefully whenever you invite me back. >> all right, well, anyone else want to chime in here in terms of what surprised you in the way that this race shaped up? >> well, the morning after the election, neil oxman was quoted as saying -- he went all seinfeldian and said it was an election about nothing. and i think he was exactly right, which is why, full disclosure, i lobbied sam to try and get him to run because philadelphia needs a debate. we don't even know if this is a status quo or a change election. when you had jim kenney on here two weeks ago, i was disturbed because it sounded like we're going back to an all-too familiar past with a paucity of fresh ideas. and we need a competition for
best practices in how to govern the city. >> everyone believes, sharmain that jim kenney is going to win because he's the democrat. that's how things work here in philadelphia. does his associations with the unions, particular with john dougherty, concern you? >> well, no, i mean, i think everyone pretty much knows that philadelphia has some very strong unions. and i think when you look at issues around fairness and wages, it's important that we have a voice from the union community involved here. but i think what jim, at least from what i've known of him, he has been able to show his independence from a number of different constituency groups. you can't say that his work in really sort of connecting to the lgbt community was really something that was really strong with unions. and i talked to a union leader in one of the sort of closed-door meetings that i know he had with labor, and he was very strong as it related to making sure that minorities, women, and the disabled were
gonna be treated fairly in construction of philadelphia. so, i don't see him as being captured by any particular constituency. he's been around for 20-some years. he knows philadelphia politics quite well. >> i'm sorry for interrupting you, christine. go ahead. >> no, i love sharmain. i disagree. i think that the union connection, which is a traditional connection, is problematic. and i agree with larry. what i was hearing jim kenney say through the campaign and then after the win, it harkens back to some very old tropes in philadelphia. and, unfortunately -- and also personality-wise, i truly hope that jim kenney, if he is elected -- you know, if, if, big if -- is going to be able to work with people who have differing opinions, who disagree with him. i wrote a column in "the daily news" rather critical of him and his candidacy. and he threw his brother -- there was a letter to the editor responding to that -- that was
extremely critical and rather personal. and so, i hope that possible future mayor kenney is going to be able to have the equanimity to deal with people who criticize him and who have issues with him in a respectful manner. >> and his plans, if he becomes mayor, sam, to expand ticketing with philadelphia parking authority is something that you take issue with already. >> well, i worry about the business as usual. the words "21st century," to me, require that we step away from some of the things we've done in the past. it may well be that giving the parking authority responsibility for putting tickets on trash cans is a good idea, but turning more patronage jobs over to the parking authority, which i think will be required, is not the direction i'd like to see us move. and i think yesterday -- earlier this week, when the school district was asking for the right to try to staff up with nurses by outsourcing for the hiring of that capacity -- and
that was basically put as a condition precedent to city council funding an additional $25 million -- says we don't have confidence in bill hite. this man has been here for four years, and every single day has been a struggle about survival. and what he desperately needs is a mayor who is going to stand by him, who's going to take political flak for the things that he thinks we need to do in order to right the ship. those are the things that i'm worried about, and that's an opportunity for jim kenney to say, "i can say no." >> and we'll talk about the schools in a moment, a little bit later. larry, mayor nutter has had a strained relationship with city council. jim kenney, coming from council, has a great relationship. and, in fact, darrell clarke basically endorsed him right before the primary. is that a plus? >> unfortunately, not necessarily because i think they will work together. but the question is, will they work together on the right things, on the right things for the common good? and that's where there's a huge
question mark. when you had him on "inside story" two weeks ago this gets to sam's point about being able to say, "no, he deserves a lot of credit for building a wide coalition," right? but when you get all that support, when you govern, you have to be able to say to your supporters, to your political benefactors, "no, you know, your special interest is not in the interest of the common good." and is he going to be able to do that? when he was here, he said -- the question put to him was, "will you stand up to your union supporters when you govern?" and he said, "well, i wouldn't use the word 'stand up.' we got to cooperate." and i think that was a signal that he's not gonna do what kasim reed did in atlanta and actually stand up to special interests. >> do you have a counterpoint, sharmain? >> i really do, because i think it's -- when we talk about the common good, i think it's important for us to have some basis for what we're talking about. i mean, if you look at poverty in philadelphia, if you look at what people are looking for, they're looking for us to bring the poverty level down, and
they're looking for jobs and opportunities. and i think jim is going to fight very hard for those issues. and i think it's gonna happen because there's gonna be a coalition of people who are gonna try to make those things happen. so, when we talk about getting and moving the city forward, i think it's critical that we not forget about people who've really been left behind for too long a period of time, and i think that there's going to be some increased commitment there. i mean, if you take a look at the issue with council pushing hard around the airport contract and asking the airlines to pay $12 an hour -- i mean, people are saying, "oh, my goodness. is that, like, a really bad thing?" no, we're talking about trying to pay people $24,000 a year which is just above the poverty level. these issues are real. we have to put some new emphasis there, and i think a kenney administration in partnership with council gives us a chance to have some of those kinds of conversations, too. >> let me talk about the republican side here for a moment. melissa murray bailey, as we mentioned, is a candidate.
sam, you were a republican very recently, in fact. the republicans in the city seem to be shopping around for candidates. melissa murray bailey was not the first choice. she is, for the second time in a row in a mayor's race, a former democrat, and recently a democrat, also a woman, but someone that a lot of people believe is not going to be competitive whatsoever in the general election. is that a problem for a city that holds elections that seem to be on primary day rather than on the general election day? >> well, it's a huge problem that we don't have a debate. you could have had a debate in the democratic primary. i would argue we did not. i thought this democratic primary went far beyond what neil oxman characterized as about nothing. it wasn't even a fight. there wasn't even a contentiousness between the candidates. and when they came to the 3,000 forums that they ended up going to over the course of the campaign, they all started to sound like each other. so philadelphians were really not offered much of a choice.
and the low point, to me, in the campaign was at one of the televised debates, the candidates were asked "yes or no -- we have a racial problem." yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. well, we checked that problem off the list. we don't have to talk about that. i thought that the campaign was insipid, and that's to the loss of philadelphia. and when you look at the numbers, millennials who didn't vote -- something like 12% of the kids in the city, this is the future -- don't see politics as a solution to their problems in the future. i think this is a troubled thing. and the absence of a republican competitiveness, i proved, i think, that a republican can't win because i think the brand, the national brand of the republican party, can't be sold. >> you came close the first time against mayor street in candidacy. >> in that business, that's called losing. >> [ laughs ] >> but, you know, sam is right in the sense that no one was tried by fire in that primary. it was pretty much -- if anything, there was some personality differences and
there was, you know, jim kenney attacking anthony williams about the chief ramsey comment and the charters and then anthony williams attacking jim kenney about the union issue. but it really wasn't about substantive issues, and they did -- >> but i would argue that we have to -- we have to take some responsibility for that. i mean, and certainly for the media, too. these were set up by community organizations and media to sort of bring the candidates in. and i remember questions like, "okay, what do you give mayor nutter? an 'a,' 'b,' 'c,' 'd,' or 'e'?" i mean, the questions themselves were not substantive. we didn't set up substantive structure, so i think you just can't beat up on the candidates for that. >> but in their campaigns, they didn't define themselves that differently from one from the other. >> and i think we should touch on the transformative issues that didn't get talked about right? the fact that our pension fund is vastly underfunded, the fact that the campaign talked about how to fund the schools, but very little talk about how to fix the schools, which is really
what campaigns are about. these are the issues, and i would say crime, as well, that sharmain, that i feel there's still a haziness about where mayor kenney would lead us 'cause he was interested in building this coalition, not necessarily in talking about these transf-- 'cause these are hard issues. they require -- >> bill green -- i'll throw his name in here. he once led the src recently until governor wolf took him out of that position. he's still on the committee. is he going to get in and run as an independent? >> it's hard to know, but even if he has -- if he's a long shot, which arguably he is definitely a long shot, the fact that somebody of that caliber would create an alternative perspective on the future of the city would be valuable to the city even if it didn't result in a successful outcome. i doubt that he'll run, but if he does run, it's a good thing for philadelphia to have that competition.
and even had i not been able to win, i think it would have been good to have that kind of debate. kenney ran a brilliant campaign, but he was not challenged in any serious respect. the coalition building was magnificent. his staff was brilliant. he had neil oxman, saul shorr, and ken snyder doing ads for him. how do you lose an election like that? i mean, that's an all-star team. kenney has the potential to be a great mayor. but he's going to be tested very early on two major issues -- teachers contract and municipal employees contract, both of which need to be dealt with by june. >> let's talk about the schools real quick. as we saw, council is gonna provide $70 million of the $103 million that the schools want. this is something that happens every year, where they go to council, they need more money, the state's giving less, the federal government's giving less. how do you see jim kenney, if he becomes mayor, dealing with this? 'cause they're gonna raise taxes again to solve part of the problem. >> and they've consistently raised taxes. i mean, you have to give council some credit for the fact that they have raised taxes every
year. this issue of, in my opinion how we're ultimately gonna fund education is about what is the state's role and responsibility. i still believe it's the state's role to adequately fund education across the commonwealth, including for poor kids. and we've allowed the conversation to be focused in on city council. did they do $100 million? did they do $70 million? did they do $75 million? yes, absolutely important. but in the end, it is the commonwealth's responsibility to fund education adequately for poor kids. >> exactly, sharmain. and, you know, we've talked about this over and over and over again, that property-tax based system where you fund the school, it's unjust. it's unfair that someone who lives three miles from somebody else gets half of the educational benefit. and it really -- there has to be something done, but it can't simply be just raising taxes raising taxes, raising taxes. there are people who live in areas where -- or, excuse me
there are people who don't have children in the public school system and their taxes are being used for something that they're not contributing to any longer and they're not getting a benefit from. i just think that the whole property-tax system is so archaic and antediluvian, and it hurts the children more than anyone else. >> sam. >> the argument, i think sharmain, that you're making is a sound one intellectually and practically. but we've been making this argument for so many decades with so little in the way of positive results that, at this point, in my view, the political message -- harrisburg has to do more, which was the message of this mayoral campaign -- only condemns another generation of kids to an inferiorly funded educational system when harrisburg doesn't do what it's supposed to do. 60% of the members of the legislature were elected not to raise taxes. that's the republican caucus. and to go into harrisburg with the view that this will be the
year because of the new governor -- and hopefully he'll do better -- that that will change, i don't think reads the math properly. in philadelphia, we spend $450 million a year to fund, amortize the cost of pensions. if we could reduce the pension liability by putting more cash into it, sale of pgw as an example, we'd free up money for the city to fund education. >> got to go to a break. we'll be right back. >> "inside story" is presented by temple university. temple fuels students with academics and opportunities to take charge. plugged into the city, powered by the world. temple.edu/takecharge.
>> another video surfaces renewing debate over excessive force by police, this one in mckinney, texas. and i'm sure you've seen this. police officer david casebolt has resigned over what he is seen doing at a pool party that raged out of control. youths were trying to scale a fence to get in, and casebolt is seen slamming a teenage girl to the ground. now, meanwhile, a recent wall street journal article offers a new view of this debate over policing across the country. it cites the ferguson effect -- as in ferguson, missouri -- as part of the reason why homicide and other violent crime rates in chicago, new york, atlanta, and particularly in baltimore have
taken a sharp rise. and the article suggests that police may be backing off not only to protect themself, but also to not incite things, and that may be other people in these communities -- criminals -- are taking advantage of this. do you buy it, sharmain? >> well, i mean, look, there's probably a little bit of each of those. i mean, they could really sort of, like, be slowing down just to say, "look, you know, you guys are beating up on us, and you really shouldn't be." i mean, there was a really great article i think in january in philadelphia where they went back and looked at philadelphia and how the homicide rate has been dropping not only here but around the country. and it's called trying to have smart policing. and it doesn't mean that you aren't gonna have incidents, but that you're really trying to get in to find out who are the people who are really doing the crime, what's going on in the community, and what are the right kind of interventions, and that's not profiling. that's smart policing. and that's what we're ultimately trying to get to.
>> matt, you know, i would hope -- exactly -- i would hope that every police officer would act as if he were being filmed as if what he was doing was not in the shadows but in the light of day. however, you have to understand the circumstances sometimes in these cases, where it's very easy to monday morning quarterback when you're looking at a particular film, you're looking at a particular melee and saying, "well, the police should have done this and the police should have done that." and i think that taking mckinney and comparing it to baltimore or ferguson is apples and oranges because while mckinney was troubling in the attitude of the police officers there, there was a brutality missing that was in baltimore and ferguson. >> but, christine, he pulled a gun. i mean, let's be honest here. not only did he throw this girl to the ground -- if it hadn't been for other officers and people who were there, he pulled a gun on two teenage boys who were trying to intervene. >> larry and sam, what do you think about this? >> but that also goes into the
stress that a police officer -- if you knew the backstory, that day he had comforted a woman who he had seen -- her husband had shot himself in front of her and he also talked a young girl off of the ledge from committing suicide, so it's an issue of stress for the police, as well. >> i think this is exactly why i wish we had talked about crime in the primary. the fact is that philadelphia is still, despite the lowering homicide rate the last two years, the most violent big city in america, even on a per capita basis worse than chicago. and jeremy nowak in the philadelphia citizen for me wrote a great piece about what we're not doing. we're not doing this -- there's this test program, focused deterrence, in south philly, that does exactly what sharmain's talking about. but it's still two years later just in this test phase instead of city-wide. and gunstat, which is a great -- like compstat but where you track the guns, and that's not being done to the degree that it ought to be here.
>> what do you think, sam? >> well, i think, first, at the end of the day, that police officer resigned. i think he saw his own behavior as inappropriate for being a police officer. the stress that christine talked about clearly caused him to crack. he pulls his gun out without being -- his life is not under threat. that was really over the top. stop and frisk, which was the only criminal issue in this primary campaign, ultimately broke what little trust existed in the minority communities of the city, mostly african-american, in the police department. the most compelling statistic to me in philadelphia today is not the murder rate. it's the number of cases of murder in african-american neighborhoods that go unsolved. because there's no cooperation in the community with the police, and those murderers who are not going to jail are committing more murders. so, you know, the number of people who are murdered is really irrelevant to the people who are affected by murder. >> sure.
>> "inside story" is presented by temple university. temple fuels students with academics and opportunities to take charge. plugged into the city, powered by the world. temple.edu/takecharge. >> inside stories of the week. we start with sharmain. >> yes, matt. matt, a young man in the city of baltimore who was a gang leader, when they talked to him about what was going on there, said, "look, in the end, we just want jobs. i want a job. i'm looking for someone to care." in philadelphia, we do care about our young people, and i'm encouraging all of us, all of our panelists, everyone in the city, hire a teen this summer. it makes a huge difference in what their future's gonna look like. >> thanks, sharmain. christine. >> matt, in 2003, congress passed a law which allowed people who were born in the city
of jerusalem to put israel as their country of origin on their passport. well, someone tried to get a passport that said he was born in israel, and the administration refused to issue the passport. it was challenged in the supreme court. this week, the supreme court came down on the side of president obama and said the administration gets to determine recognition of foreign countries. score one for the president. >> christine, thanks. larry. >> i want to give a shout-out to connor barwin of the eagles, who is a real citizen of philadelphia. on friday, he surprised a family by installing a solar roof on their home. he rides his bike everywhere. he goes to museums. he really lives here. and next week, his make the world better foundation, which he runs, will host a concert to benefit the smith playground. >> thanks, larry. sam. >> i think the state legislature will pass a budget. it will be a budget that balances but does not fund the proposals made by governor wolf. he will veto it. and we're in for a long, hot harrisburg summer. >> and maybe they won't have to stay there for the entire time. they'll go back to the beach and
come back and we'll see what happens. >> [ chuckles ] >> we'll see. sam, welcome to the panel. it's great to have you here, and it's great to have all of you. thanks for watching "inside story." i'm matt o'donnell. we'll see you next week. i'll see you monday morning on action news at 4:30 a.m. >> i'm nydia han coming up next on "action news," a live update on the huge water main great that went gushing into a west philadelphia neighborhood. a little girl at a family gathering loses her life at a retention upon the. hundreds of passengers are stranded and almost forgotten after their plane breaks down. those stories and more on "action news" next.
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