FORMER GOV. Ed Rendell, a longtime booster of Hillary Clinton's presidential ambitions, tells Clout that her campaign has built a "tremendous field operation" to turn out votes Tuesday in Pennsylvania. But Clinton's campaign apparently isn't budging on its refusal to put up so-called "street money" for the Democratic City Committee, cash that filters down to the division level to help fund the push for voter turnout.
President Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns broke the same tradition. Gov. Wolf didn't pay, either, in 2014.
Rendell said the asking price for street money is $200 per division. With 1,686 divisions in the city, that's $337,200 in street money. But we heard from another Democratic source that the payout could be as low as a measly $150 per division.
A Democratic operative who heard about the $150 figure chimed in, telling Clout: "They have to get to $200 per division. They're asking people to work a 10- or 12-hour day. You can't pay them less than minimum wage."
We called up electricians' union boss John Dougherty to see how $200 compares to the street money that was flowing when he was treasurer of the Democratic City Committee.
"My goal back then was to do about $750,000 to get out the vote," said Dougherty, who left the committee a decade ago. "That would be at least $400 to $500, instead of $150."
So much for inflation.
Rendell said U.S Rep. Bob Brady, chairman of the Democratic City Committee, has come up with about half of the $337,200 in street money through the committee's annual pre-election cocktail party and contributions from Democratic candidates seeking statewide office. Dougherty confirmed that he sent an email to building trades officials, asking them to contribute for the cocktail party.
"The goal here should be a 525,000-to-550,000- [vote] plurality [for Clinton]," Dougherty said.
Rendell said he and Comcast honcho David L. Cohen scrounged up more than enough to make up the other half, about $168,600, from "a relatively small number" of local deep-pocketed Clinton supporters.
Rendell had tried to convince Clinton's campaign to resume the street-money tradition. That didn't work.
It's been awhile since Clout checked in with City Commissioners Chairman Anthony Clark, who used to appear frequently in this column – and infrequently at work.
Last Friday, Clark was supposed to be in federal court. The Pennsylvania Republican Party, suing for a last-minute change in the rules regulating poll watchers, wanted to put a Philadelphia official on the stand to help make their case.
Clark was a no-show, despite a subpoena issued by the state GOP.
But although Committee of Seventy President David Thornburgh nicknamed Clark "the Invisible Man," and Brady called him an "absolute disgrace" for repeatedly skipping out on his job, when it comes to this whole subpoena business, Clark insists he's not to blame.
The subpoena was dropped off at his office, Clark told Clout. He just didn't receive the subpoena because . . . wait for it . . . he wasn't there.
"I never saw it," Clark said. "I wasn't served."
Reminder: Clark is set to receive an estimated lump-sum DROP payout of $495,000 plus interest if he retires on Dec. 31, 2019, when his current term ends.
Worth every penny, that guy.
A quick public-service announcement from Clout:
We're receiving reports of feces-smeared Clinton-Kaine yard signs in Delaware County.
"Is this what American democracy looks like?" one woman wrote on a Swarthmore Borough message board, with a photo of a pooped-on sign.
The answer is yes, unfortunately. But, please, stop pooping on the signs, people.
Republican State Rep. Martina White - you might recognize her from that sign on the side of a tractor-trailer parked illegally on an I-95 overpass in Northeast Philly - had her attorney Larry Otter write to Comcast last week, demanding that the cable giant stop airing a commercial produced by the State House Democratic Campaign Committee in support of her opponent, Matt Darragh.
That video shows White being, shall we say, less than hospitable when immigration activists visit her Harrisburg office for a chat. White, while praising America for its freedom of speech, orders them to leave.
Otter claimed in his Comcast letter that using the video in the commercial violated the state's Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act.
"Let's cut to the chase, a felony was committed in obtaining the tape which is the large part of the commercial," Otter wrote.
Attorney Adam Bonin wrote to Comcast on behalf of Darragh and the HDCC, noting that the video had been published on Al Dia's website and picked up by other news organizations.
"The public has a right to know that Martina White is just as uncivil and unkind to recent Americans in her personal conduct as she is in her legislative actions," Bonin wrote. "They deserve to see that she can be just as hateful as Donald Trump when meeting people affected by the policies she seeks to advance."
Apparently, Comcast agreed. The ad kept airing.
Otter told Clout he didn't know at the time he sent his letter that the video had been published by media outlets.
"Upon further review and consideration, we chose not to pursue the issue," Otter said.
"@KatyTurNBC 'crazy year' was brilliant' real, unbiased look @ very insecure man. now that u lost the french bf, how about a Philly boy? lol!"
- State Sen. Larry Farnese, feeling frisky on Twitter Thursday while reaching out to NBC News reporter Katy Tur about an article she wrote, detailing her coverage of Donald Trump's presidential campaign (which touches briefly on her break-up with a French boyfriend.)
- Staff writers Chris Brennan and William Bender contributed to this column.