The bulletproof-glass debate between City Council and beer delis appears to be spiraling out of control, with Asian American beer deli owners threatening wide-scale armament (last resort, they say) and a Council staffer's car getting vandalized with massive amounts of Chinese food (sounds like a frame job, we say).
More than 200 protesters packed Council chambers on Monday to protest a bill proposed by Councilwoman Cindy Bass that could lead to removal of safety glass windows inside delis.
Bass has called the windows an "indignity" that makes customers feel like they're in "prison," while Adam Xu, chairman of the Asian American Licensed Beverage Association of Philadelphia, says her bill would put beer deli employees in danger in high-crime areas.
Later Monday, a staffer for Council President Darrell Clarke, a co-sponsor of Bass' bill, found her SUV parked outside City Hall covered in Chinese food – a lot of Chinese food.
"It was like a giant who ate a ton of Chinese food threw up on the car," a Council source said.
Now, that could be unrelated to the safety-glass issue. Or maybe it was a salty setup by someone trying to make the Asian American deli owners look bad. But we can all agree: No one deserves to have lo mein wedged in their windshield wipers after a long day of doing the people's business.
"She needed to get help" to clean off the car and drive home, the source said. Apparently, this required buckets of water.
Xu told Clout Thursday that he didn't know anything about the vandalism. But, he said, deli owners and employees already are being harassed by neighborhood residents.
"The basic message is, 'Wait until your bulletproof glass is down. I'm going to beat the s— out of you,'" Xu said. "Everybody is scared, very scared."
Xu, who represents 230 beer delis, said the association is planning a Friday afternoon news conference in South Philly to let Council know that it intends to keep fighting the bill. He said deli owners and employees likely would be forced to start carrying guns if the city bans bulletproof glass.
"We don't want that. Nobody wants guns," Xu said. "But once it comes down, everyone will be forced to get guns. We have to prepare. You are encouraging us to get guns."
Someone needs to broker a peace deal here. Where's Bob Brady when you need him?
Pence’s ‘eloquent’ (non-)speech
Vice President Mike Pence was a no-show last Friday for the big Commonwealth Club kickoff luncheon at Pennsylvania Society in New York. Duty called. He had to stay close to the U.S. Senate while it considered approving tax cuts.
But for a brief time — about a day or so — Pence still managed to be a smooth talker at the lunch, a fundrasier for the Pennsylvania Republican Party, held in the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center.
Salena Zito, a Pittsburgh journalist and CNN pundit, wrote in a column published Sunday by the Washington Examiner that Pence "spoke eloquently of the White House's accomplishments over the past 10 months" and helped raise "nearly $500,000" for the state party.
Zito, who has a book coming out in May examining the results of the 2016 presidential election, clearly got ahead of herself here and then failed to catch up. Sounds like someone in the White House gave her a sneak peek at Pence's speech, which she then wrote up, assuming it happened as scheduled. As a guy once tweeted: Sad!
We broke the news Monday to Zito, who declined to comment. But the Examiner quickly shifted her prose to better reflect reality. It said this of Pence:
"Although his speech was canceled at the last minute, his plan was to speak eloquently…"
Zito coined one of the most repeated political idioms of the 2016 election — that President Trump's foes take him literally but not seriously, while his fans take him seriously but not literally.
Drive, Eagles Drive …
Ever notice that police cruiser leaving Lincoln Financial Field after Eagles games with its lights on? Don't worry, it's probably not an emergency.
More likely, the officer is just giving another escort to Christina Weiss Lurie, ex-wife of Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.
A Clout tipster – who may or may not be a former elected official – texted us the other day to grumble that Weiss Lurie gets a lights-and-siren police escort out of the stadium after every home game.
We found this hard to believe. But, sure enough, Capt. Sekou Kinebrew, a Philadelphia police spokesman, confirmed that cops do, in fact, give Weiss Lurie an escort after home games. And, in most cases, the escorting officer will activate lights and sirens, which is typical, he said.
Hey, Clout wouldn't mind some official assistance finding our way home after Birds games. Traffic around the stadium can be brutal. Where do we sign up?
Kinebrew informed us that the cost for the police vehicle and officer (eight hours of overtime) totals $656.64, which is reimbursed by the Eagles organization.
No thanks, officer. We'll just continue to make that long walk back to our car at FDR Park, along with the rest of the working stiffs.
"And God bless the United Staysh." — President Trump, who slurred his words while announcing plans on Thursday to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump suffered from a dry throat, while Twitter pundits theorized he was plagued by runaway dentures.
Staff writers William Bender, Chris Brennan, and David Gambacorta contributed to this column. Tips: firstname.lastname@example.org.