By Tom Waring
At one time, Marty Bednarek could count on the support of six of the nine ward leaders in the Democratic primary in the 6th Councilmanic District.
Last week, when ward leaders met to endorse a candidate, three of them abandoned Bednarek to support Bobby Henon.
Henon, political director of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, won the backing of Connie Rodgers (41st Ward), Harry Enggasser (45th), Alan Butkovitz (54th), Bob Dellavella (55th), John Sabatina (56th) and Pat Parkinson (57th) to officially become the endorsed candidate of the Democratic City Committee.
Rodgers recently took over leadership of the ward from state Rep. Mike McGeehan, who resigned, in part, to focus on his duties as minority-party chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
Bednarek is being supported by ward leaders Marge Targaglione (62nd), his wife Lorri Bednarek (64th) and incumbent Councilwoman Joan Krajewski (65th).
Butkovitz and Parkinson had earlier switched their support to Henon, but Bednarek still had enough backing to win the endorsement because the district's divisions in the 55th, 62nd, 64th and 65th wards were greater than those in the wards loyal to Henon.
Then, Dellavella asked Bednarek to meet and informed him of his defection.
In a news release announcing the endorsement, the Henon campaign mentioned that Tartaglione, a city commissioner, and Krajewski are suffering "intense public backlash" due to their participation in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan.
The release noted that Krajewski is retiring, in part, because of the DROP controversy, while Tartaglione is running for re-election "despite her intentions to collect hundreds of thousands (of dollars) through DROP, retire for one day, and resume her job as commissioner."
Henon, the release said, "has advocated for the end of the abuse of DROP by elected officials like Krajewski and Tartaglione."
Marty Bednarek believes Henon and the ward leaders supporting him are "taking their marching orders" from John Dougherty, head of Local 98.
Lorri Bednarek, Tartaglione and Krajewski did not attend last week's endorsement meeting, held at Pasiano's, a restaurant in Tacony.
"He wasn't able to twist their arms," Marty Bednarek said. "He's calling the shots from South Philly. We don't need a South Philly ward leader and labor leader controlling the Northeast Council seat. This election is going to be determined by the voters of Northeast Philly."
"I'm very happy to have the Democratic endorsement. In my eyes, I had a unanimous endorsement because his ward leader supporters never showed up," Henon said.
Bednarek said he's happy to run on his record of being a community banker, youth sports organizer and member of the School Reform Commission.
"Henon's one big accomplishment is working for Johnny Doc. He's done nothing else up in the Northeast," he said.
Henon said he and the union have done plenty of volunteer work at schools, churches, synagogues, athletic associations and war memorials. He plans to be an independent councilman.
"Marty seems to be a little confused about who his opponent is. Bob Henon is running for the office," he said. "The district ends at Allegheny Avenue. It doesn't go down to South Philly."
Bednarek and Henon were among more than two dozen candidates who attended last week's Mayfair Civic Association meeting.
Republican Sandra Stewart, who'll square off in the general election against the Bednarek/Henon winner, described herself as "the quality-of-life candidate."
Others in attendance were Republican mayoral hopefuls Karen Brown and John Featherman; at-large City Council candidates Elmer Money, Blondell Reynolds Brown, David Oh, Steve Odabashian, Frank Rizzo, Andy Toy, Bill Greenlee, Al Taubenberger, Ralph Blakney, Dennis O'Brien, Michael Untermeyer, Malcolm Lazin and a representative for Bill Green; Republican city commissioner candidates Al Schmidt and Marie Delany; Democratic sheriff candidates John Kromer and Jacque Whaumbush; Republican register of wills challenger Linda Wolfe-Bateman; judicial candidates Anne Marie Coyle, Daine Grey, Ken Citrino, Sayde Ladov, Maria McLaughlin and a representative for Drew Aldinger; and Democratic Traffic Court candidate Fred Mari.
The Committee of Seventy and the League of Women Voters of Philadelphia will hold forums for City Council candidates.
The schedule is as follows: 1st district: April 20, Arch Street Friends Meeting House, Fourth and Arch streets; 7th district: April 21, Urban Hope Training Center & Community Church, 210 E. Tioga St.; 6th district: April 28, Tacony Free Library, 6742 Torresdale Ave.; at-large: May 12, WHYY, 150 N. Sixth St.
The forums are scheduled for 7 p.m. The public is invited.
Former Gov. Tom Ridge will appear at a fund-raising reception for David Oh, a Republican candidate for an at-large City Council seat, on May 2 at the Union League.
Ridge also served in Congress and as the nation's first secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Oh handled the itinerary when Ridge, as governor, traveled to South Korea on a trade mission.
The Democratic City Committee has made its endorsements for judicial races, although plenty of candidates not backed by the party remain in the race.
The endorsed candidates include West Torresdale attorney Mike Fanning for one of 10 openings on Common Pleas Court and Castor Gardens resident Christine Solomon, Democratic leader of the 53rd Ward, for a single opening on Traffic Court.
The other endorsed candidates for Common Pleas Court are Maria McLaughlin, Charles Ehrlich, Sean Kennedy, Angelo Foglietta, Joyce Eubanks, Carolyn Nichols, Scott O'Keefe, Roger Gordon and Edward Wright.
The Jerome Barrish Political Shootout, which can be heard on WIFI (1460 AM) on Sunday afternoons, will welcome Ehrlich on April 24 from 4 to 5 p.m.
The call-in number is 609-447-0236. The show is also available at www.wifiam1460.com
Barrish will interview another judicial candidate, Jim DiVergilis, on May 10 and 17 from 10 to 11 a.m. on WNJC (1360 AM). The call-in number is 856-227-1360. The show can be heard at www.wnjc1360.com
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or email@example.com