Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Welcome to the 5th!

Welcome to the 5th.

Say goodbye to the 7th and 1st.

Two different courts yesterday turned thumb's down to Republican appeals of the new Congressional map for Pennsylvania enacted by the state Supreme Court.v You know, the one that puts all of Delaware County into one district - the 5th - along with a sliver of Montgomery County on the Main Line and a bit of South Philly.

The court acted after their earlier ruling that the Congressional district map in use since 2011, done by the Republican state Legislature, was unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans.

Republicans filed a number of appeals during just about every step of the process.

All of them failed.

The result? The new map will be in effect for the May 15 primary. Even most Republican officials who fought against the new map seem resigned to the new shape, which most experts believe will make it easier for Democrats to regain some of the seats they have consistently been losing to Republicans. The GOP holds a 13-5 edge in the state's Congressional delegation.

We have reaction from both party leaders in Delaware County.

And we note that Delco Republicans have offered an endorsement in the 5th District race. They're standing behind Pearl Kim, a former assistant district attorney here in Delco and also a former senior deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania. Several other Republicans have dropped out of the race. What we don't know yet is whether any of the remaining Republicans will challenge Kim in the GOP Primary, in particular Clare Putnam Pozos, a former assistant U.S. attorney.

Democrats still have as many as 15 candidates seeking the nod. Party leader David Landau said Democrats likely will try to unite behind a candidate and offer an endorsement sometime after today's filing deadline.

Today is the last day for Congressional hopefuls to file their nominating petitions. We'll be back with a full update on who's running and who's not.

In the meantime, here is our editorial. The new map is a clear improvement over the old one. Most of all, yesterday's court rulings clear up at least some of the confusion that has shrouded the race.

Read it here.

So how much snow do you think we're going to get?

Are you ready to 'Spring Backward.'

No, we're not ending Daylight Saving Time early.

Today is the first day of Spring. Hope you enjoy your free Rita's Water Ice.

But it's not going to feel much like spring. And it won't for several days.

That's because we are staring into the teeth of Nor'easter No. 4, which has been chewing up the South and is now rumbling up the East Coast.

This is expected to start later this morning, the first part of a two-part storm that is expected to slam the region with rain, freezing rain and even some sleet before turning to mostly snow tomorrow.

The National Weather Service has already issued a Winter Storm Warning, starting at 6 p.m. and lasting right through the day tomorrow.

Today likely won't be a problem, although it's not going to feel much like spring.

We're actually at our high for the day right now at 34. Rain will arrive mid-morning and be on and off most of the day. The ride home tonight is likely to be wet, with just the chance of some freezing rain.

Tomorrow is likely going to be another story.

Snow is expected to start in the morning and heavy snow is being forecast for the afternoon.

The forecasts on this one vary anywhere from a few inches to up to a foot of snow.

So let's have some fun with this, if that is possible.

How many inches of snow do you think we're going to get?

I say we get 4 inches. An accumulation on grassy surfaces and a slushy mess on the roads.

Offer your prediction now.

Here's what the National Weather Service is saying:

Today: Rain, snow and sleet, possibly mixed with freezing rain before 1 pm, then rain and sleet between 1 pm and 4 pm, then rain and sleet, possibly mixed with freezing rain after 4 pm. High near 36. Northeast wind 10 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Little or no ice accumulation expected. Total daytime snow and sleet accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Tonight: Rain, snow and sleet, possibly mixed with freezing rain before midnight, then snow, possibly mixed with freezing rain between midnight and 3 am, then snow and sleet, possibly mixed with freezing rain after 3 am. Low around 29. Northeast wind 15 to 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch possible. New snow and sleet accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Wednesday: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Some thunder is also possible. High near 33. North wind around 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 5 to 9 inches possible.

Wednesday Night: Snow likely, mainly before 8 pm. The snow could be heavy at times. Cloudy, with a low around 29. Northwest wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 42. Northwest wind 11 to 14 mph.

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 28.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 43.

Get the full forecast here.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Can we get a ruling on the congressional map, please?

Candidates interested in running for Congress have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to file their nominating petitions, with the required 1,000 signatures.

Now all they need is confirmation of what district - and what constituents - they are running to represent.

That's because the Pennsylvania Congressional map - redrawn by the state Supreme Court after a lawsuit ruled the old one was unconstitutionally gerrymandered, is still being debated in court.

Republicans challenged the new map enacted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which basically obliterated the old 1st and 7th Districts that used to represent Delaware County.

The new map puts all of Delaware County into one district - the 5th - along with a sliver of Montgomery County along the Main Line and a portion of South Philadelphia. Gone are the old 7th and 1st Districts.

Making all this ever more interesting is the fact that the region's two incumbent congressmen, Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7 of Chadds Ford, and Rep. Bob Brady, D-1 of Philadelphia, have decided not to seek re-election.

A horde of candidates from both parties are seeking the nomination.

The period to gather signatures on nominating petitions for Congress was extended because of the legal battles. The deadline is Tuesday, but the eventual fate of the map is still up in the air.

What is not is the Delco Republicans' choice. They met Sunday night and endorsed Pearl Kim, of Radnor, a former county assistant attorney general and former senior deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania. It will be interesting to see if she faces a primary challenge from one of the other Republicans interested in the seat, including a former assistant U.S. attorney, Clare Putnam Pozos, who is also from Radnor. Other Republicans who are seeking the nod include U.S. Navy veteran and volunteer firefighter Joe Billie, of Aston; attorney Jeremy H. Gonzalez Ibrahim of Chester County; tax attorney Greg McCauley of Chadds Ford; Haverford developer Wally Smerconish; and Radnor Commissioner Richard Booker.

On the Democratic side of the ledger, no less than a dozen candidates are seeking to "take the 5th."

That includes two latecomers who have raised a few eyebrows with their intentions to seek the seat. They would be state Reps. Greg Vitali, D-166 of Haverford, and Margo Davidson, D-164 of Upper Darby. Vitali first announced a few weeks ago, then changed his mind, then just last week decided to get back into the race. He's also rubbed more than a few people in Haverford the wrong way with his decision. Vitali plans to run both seats.

Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland is seeking the seat, as is former Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Rich Lazer, who has the backing of Mayor Jim Kenney, as well as the financial might of John Dougherty's union clout.

Other Democrats running for the 5th Congressional District include attorney Mary Gay Scanlon of Swarthmore; former Morgan Stanley wealth manager Lindy Li of Malvern; attorney Dan Muroff of Media; scientist Dr. Molly Sheehan of South Philadelphia; former CIA officer Shelly Chauncey of Glen Mills; entrepreneur and journalist David Wertine of Haverford; attorney and consultant Dan Boyle; political science professor Mary Ellen Balchunis of Ardmore; and George Badey, chairman of Radnor Township’s Democratic Committee.

This race could well be one for the record books.

Now all we need is confirmation on what the district actually will look like.

Confessions of a Toys R Us parent & newspaper editor

It was when we were writing the obit for Toys R Us last week that I realized the newspaper industry - at least our print editions - have a lot in common with the struggling, iconic toy store.

And it's not just the fact that so many of us who toil in this industry don't what to grow up.

I guess at some point, I will have to figure out what I want to do when I actually do grow up.

I wasn't a Toys R Us kid. I was a Toys R Us parent.

And I have the scars to prove it.

Now, my industry is dealing with some of the same enemies.

It's in my weekly Letter From the Editor print column.

Anyone else never want to hear the word Nor'easter again?

Raise your hand if you never want to hear the word Nor'easter again.

Tell me about it.

If that's the case, you're out of luck. This is not going to be a good week.

Yes, spring arrives tomorrow.

So does the next threat of a Nor'easter.

Is it just me, or do our local weather people seem just a tad too excited by all this Nor'easter mania.

Today actually will be nice, with lots of sun and a high near 50 for the last full day of winter.

It goes downhill pretty quickly tomorrow and we'll be dealing with our next Nor'easter right through Thursday.

Here's what I can tell you.

It will certainly douse your spring fever. It's going to be a mix of cold and wet.

Just what will it do?

I have no clue - and I'm beginning to wonder if our local weather folks do either.

I've heard people saying anything from mostly rain, to some sloppy wet snow, to one station saying some parts of the area could get 6 inches of snow before this is over.

This is actually two storms that will hit the area starting tomorrow, all day Wednesday and even into Thursday.

I'm putting my money on a slight accumulation on grassy surfaces and roads that are merely wet.

Don't blame me if I'm wrong.

After all, no one seems to blame the local forecasters when their breathless Nor'easter forecasts don't exactly pan out.

Get the full forecast here.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Toohil vs. Miccarelli

I guess this is what you might call a win-win situation.

If you listen to the participants, both state Rep. Tarah Toohil and Rep. Nick Miccarelli got what they wanted when they went to court yesterday in Luzerne County.

Toohil, R-116 of Butler Township, got an extension of the Protection From Abuse order she got against Miccarelli last week.

Miccarelli, R-162 of Ridley Park, did not admit any wrongdoing. He can return to work at the state Capitol. The Delco Republican says he feels 'vindicated.' As you might expect, Toohil's camp doesn't see it quite the same way.

All of this stems from a private complaint filed with House leaders by Toohil and another woman, a Harrisburg consultant, that claimed physical and sexual assault by the Delco rep.

In Toohil's case, she says she feared for her life and that Miccarelli once pointed a gun at her head.

The consultant alleges that Miccarelli came to her home after their relationship ended and forced her to have sex.

Both women were at one time in consensual relationship with Miccarelli.

The final word on this saga might just come from the Dauphin County D.A.'s office. They continue to investigate the allegations and now have in their possession a report filed by House Republican leaders. The GOP brass have declined to talk about what was in the report, citing confidentiality agreements.

In the meantime, Miccarelli says that if simply staying away from Toohil puts this issue behind him, he's "OK" with that and that he just wants to go back to work for his constituents.

He insists he has no intention of stepping down and plans to stay on the ballot and seek re-election.

You can get all the details here.

Hear this Lamb roar

The silence of the Lamb?


The roar from Tuesday's special election in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District special election is being heard across the country.

The stunning upset by Conor Lamb might just offer a blueprint for Democrats to return to their roots, and the blue-collar, labor vote that deserted them in favor of President Trump in 2016.

It also no doubt set off alarm bells for Republicans who fear a blue tidal wave in the November mid-terms.

We talk about it on today's editorial page.