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Public Corruption in Chester County, PA

I believe an unlikely mix of alleged drug trafficking related politicos and alleged white nationalist related politicos united to elect the infamous “Bloc of Four” in the abysmal voter turnout election of 2005. During their four year term the drug business was good again and white nationalists used Coatesville as an example on white supremacist websites like “Stormfront”. Strong community organization and support from law enforcement, in particular Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll has begun to turn our community around. The Chester County drug trafficking that I believe centers on Coatesville continues and I believe we still have public officials in place that profit from the drug sales. But the people here are amazing and continue to work against the odds to make Coatesville a good place to live.

Friday, April 11, 2008

“Barack Obama may lose support in Philadelphia over 'street money'”

I think that I just heard a collective sigh of wind coming out of sails.

This may be an election loser in Philadelphia and maybe the entire state. It’s not only about ward leaders. The Obama campaign is essentially saying that we want you to take off a day of work and we will not compensate you for it. They are saying this to the working poor who live day to day and can’t afford to lose a day’s pay.

Clinton and the Republicans will pay campaign workers.

The message from the Obama campaign is that we are for Blacks and Whites but only middle class Blacks and Whites and will continue to exclude the poor. I know that’s not true but when you are dealing with people who are perpetually lied to and expect to be lied to; actions don’t just speak louder than words they shout.

The Republicans in Chester County also will have “street money” available here in Coatesville; a lot of money. Most likely the “street money” that the Republicans use here will be directed against Obama.

There are always some people who show up at the polls here in Coatesville and claim to be supporting Democratic candidates. They tell voters to vote for a candidate that the Republicans want to win. They may even carry Democratic campaign handouts and hide different handouts underneath. You have to know the people by sight and be familiar with their tricks.

Keep in mind that this is a rough city. A man was dragged out of his home. Kidnapped, shot and left to die on the streets 4 blocks from my home in the “nice section” of Coatesville. That was on Thursday morning.

We recently had a celebration march over not having a murder here in a whole year. The 4 people that were critically wounded by gunshots and the 500 or so rounds left in the streets during that year were ignored.

You also need the muscle to counter the ever present intimidation at the polls here; intimidation that can keep people at home.

Are the Obama volunteers ready to provide that muscle? Even if they are; do they know how to tell the “good guys” from the “bad guys”?

I don’t know if we will lose any local support from seasoned election workers without “street money” but if we do it may mean that key people who know the neighborhood and the people in it will not show up at the polls. And if the people who do show up are not local to the neighborhoods those poll greeters will be easily be snookered.

The Republicans here know all the tricks. They have been doing it here in Chester County Pennsylvania for 150 years.
Jim Pitcherella

From the Los Angeles Times
Barack Obama may lose support in Philadelphia over 'street money'
Candidates traditionally get out the money to get out the vote. That sets up a culture clash for the April 22 primary.
By Peter Nicholas
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

April 11, 2008

Fourteen months into a campaign that has the feel of a movement, Sen. Barack Obama has collided with the gritty political traditions of Philadelphia, where ward bosses love their candidates, but also expect them to pay up.

The dispute centers on the dispensing of "street money," a long-standing Philadelphia ritual in which candidates deliver cash to the city's Democratic operatives in return for getting out the vote.

Flush with payments from well-funded campaigns, the ward leaders and Democratic Party bosses typically spread out the cash in the days before the election, handing $10, $20 and $50 bills to the foot soldiers and loyalists who make up the party's workforce.

It is all legal -- but Obama's people are telling the local bosses he won't pay.

That sets up a culture clash, pitting a candidate who promises to transform American politics against the realities of a local political system important to his presidential hopes. Pennsylvania holds its primary April 22.

Obama's posture confounds neighborhood political leaders sympathetic to his cause. They caution that if the senator from Illinois withholds money that gubernatorial, mayoral and presidential candidates have willingly paid out for decades, there could be defections to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. And the Clinton campaign, in contrast, will oblige in forking over the money, these ward leaders predict.

"We've heard directly from the Obama organizer who organizes our ward, and he told us it's an entirely volunteer organization and that I should not expect to see anything from the Obama campaign other than ads on TV and the support that volunteers are giving us," said Greg Paulmier, a ward leader in the northwest part of the city.

Neither the Clinton nor the Obama campaign would say publicly whether it would comply with Philadelphia's street money customs. But an Obama aide said Thursday that it had never been the campaign's practice to make such payments. Rather, the campaign's focus is to recruit new people drawn to Obama's message, the aide said.

The field operation "hasn't been about tapping long-standing political machinery," the aide said.

Carol Ann Campbell, a ward leader and Democratic superdelegate who supports Obama, estimated that the amount of street money Obama would need to lay out for election day is $400,000 to $500,000.

"This is a machine city, and ward leaders have to pay their committee people," Campbell said. "Barack Obama's campaign doesn't pay workers, and I guarantee you if they don't put up some money for those street workers, those leaders will most likely take Clinton money. It won't stop him from winning Philadelphia, but he won't come out with the numbers that he needs" to win the state.

A neutral observer, state Rep. Dwight Evans, whose district is in northwest Philadelphia, said there might be a racial subtext to the dispute. Ward leaders, he said, see Obama airing millions of dollars worth of television ads in the city -- money that benefits largely white station owners, feeding resentment. People wonder why Obama isn't sharing the largesse with the largely African American field workers trying to get him elected, Evans said.

"They view it that the white people are getting all the money for TV," said Evans, an African American and former ward leader. "And they're the ones who are the foot soldiers on the street. They're predominantly African Americans, and they're not the ones who are getting that TV money."

Hardscrabble neighborhoods across the city have come to depend on street money as a welcome payday for knocking on doors, handing out leaflets and speaking to voters as they arrive at polling places.



  1. I hope the Obama campaign does not give in. We need to take the money out of politics.

  2. Volunteers who are inexperienced with the locals in elections may work out fine in “nice” neighborhoods. But in some areas in Philadelphia and Coatesville men who people rightly or wrongly believe are associated with organized crime can be at the polls. If the volunteers don’t know them by sight and the experienced people stay home the thugs could control those polling places.

    The “witness” that was kidnapped shot and left on a street to die on Thursday morning here in Coatesville remains in critical condition.


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