PHILADELPHIA taxpayers have contributed at least $2,268 to print a glossy new magazine which just
Donna Reed Miller
It's a 34-page publication called Focus on the 8th, ostensibly devoted to the 8th Councilmanic District. The cover of the first edition features the councilwoman's smiling photo and a story entitled "Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller: She's NO Bump on a Log".
It describes Miller as the leader of Council's efforts to deal with guns, surveillance cameras, workforce diversity and other issues. But it claims she has been the victim of "racist, elitist or down right hateful" coverage by the Daily News and Inquirer, leading to her description as a "bump on the log" when the Inquirer editorial page backed her opponent last year.
Clout called up the magazine's publisher and editor-in-chief, Michael Quintero-Moore, who also draws a $54,554 city salary as Miller's special assistant for public relations and communications. Why, we asked, should taxpayers be financing this magazine?
"Every Council person in this building puts out a newsletter or some sort of information guide to help their constituents," Quintero-Moore replied. "We used to send out a newsletter, but nobody wanted to read it. So we're trying this."
Besides the feature on Miller, the first edition has articles on Wissahickon Creek, Nicetown, Chestnut Hill, state Rep. John Myers, Germantown, wind power, epilepsy and Miller's legislative agenda. Some were written by Miller's Council staff, others by independent groups or activists.
Anne Kelly King, City Council's chief accounting officer, said she approved the use of tax dollars to print 1,500 copies. "It can't say, 'Vote for me,' or bash someone's opponent," King said. "I would say this was more glossy than others have been but we're kind of moving in that direction."
Quintero-Moore said he's hoping to find another funding source for future issues, but the city Law Department shot down his proposal to sell ads.
The next edition - if there is a next edition - will likely have another article on Donna Reed Miller. "She's NO Bump on a Log" is supposed to be a two-part series.
Joe Torsella, the guiding light of the National Constitution Center since 1996, announced yesterday that he's stepping down as its president, looking for time to figure out what he does next.
"I'm leaving every option open, including perhaps another run for public office," said Torsella, a former Rhodes Scholar, still boyish-looking at 45, who worked as a deputy mayor for Ed Rendell and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2004.
"I truly don't know what I'm going to do next, but I do feel it's time for me to find the next mountain to climb."
Torsella took charge of the Constitution Center project before it was built, when fundraising was lagging and many questioned the future of the project. It opened in 2003. In 2007, Torsella recruited former President George H. W. Bush to lead its board of trustees, and next month, former President Bill Clinton will take over from Bush.
Big time in the City
This is the weekend when you'll find more Pennsylvania pols in New York City than the Keystone State.
A horde of lawmakers, lobbyists, political consultants and other swells will be drifting through the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in tuxedos and evening gowns, dining on filet and steak tartare as they visit the parties, receptions and other events collectively known as the Pennsylvania Society.
Meanwhile, a bunch of Harrisburg spoilsports, aka reformers, are sponsoring their 4th annual counter-event Saturday night. It's a pot-luck supper, just outside the cafeteria in the cold, darkened halls of the Capitol Building. They call it the Real Pennsylvania Society Dinner.
"We have a permit from the Department of General Services, but there's no heat or lighting," said Eric Epstein, founder of Rock The Capitol.org, who organized the event with veteran gadfly Gene Stilp. "We use candles."
They predicted a turnout of 35 to 40 people and a menu including vegetarian lasagna, chicken wings, salad, some Mexican Christmas dishes and pizza. "Anyone showing up in a tuxedo will assume the waiter duties," Stilp said.
Ms. Lotperson goes to D.C.
Back in 1972, when Gov. Milton J. Shapp named Arline Jolles Lotman executive director of Pennsylvania's Commission on the Status of Women, the oh-so-clever Harrisburg reporters got a big kick out of calling her Ms. Lotperson. "My friends still call me Lotperson," she says today.
She used the post to draw attention to widespread discrimination, including the health-care industry's neglect of women's health problems, from the callous treatment of rape victims to unnecessary hysterectomies.
Now, after 30 years as a lawyer, Lotman's career is turning full circle. While keeping her home and law practice in Philadelphia, she's joining the faculty at Georgetown University, as an adjunct professor in its Center for the Study of Sex Differences in Health, Aging and Disease.
From prison into court?
Leon King, who ran the city prison system for the last five years of the Street administration, may be looking for a job toward the other end of the criminal justice system, as a Common Pleas judge. King, 45, from Mt. Airy, is leaving the staff of City Councilman Frank Rizzo and says he is looking "very, very, very, very seriously" at a judicial campaign. He worked in the city Law Department for 12 years before becoming prison commissioner - a job he lost when Mike Nutter took office. *
Staff writers Bob Warner, John Baer, Gar Joseph and Dave Davies contributed to this report.