tv Inside Story ABC April 3, 2016 11:30am-12:01pm EDT
>> i'm monica malpass on "inside story." will a proposed soda tax help residents' waistlines but hurt their bottom line? let's get the inside story next. ♪ good morning, and welcome to "inside story." let's meet out insiders today. they are george burrell, nonprofit executive and attorney. welcome back, sir. dom giordano, radio talk show host. >> thanks, monica. >> good morning, dom. jim eisenhower, attorney. welcome. we're glad to have you back. >> thank you, monica. >> and sam katz, documentarian. thank you all for being here today. we appreciate that. the new mayor, jim kenney, is proposing a possible 3% tax on soda in the city of philadelphia. that's three times, by the way, what the only other city in the country, berkeley, california, has passed and had a successful run with. he says it will raise about $430 million over four years to help out in tight budget times, which is certainly a good thing. but the controversy, i guess, is whether the soda manufacturers will do a huge pushback and
whether the tax, in fact, will be passed along to consumers. that's a double-whammy for folks if in fact they have to pay for it. what do you think, sam? >> well, this is a very complicated story because it's not just about the tax, it's what the mayor wants to do with the tax. the pre-k initiative that was part of his mayoral campaign is meritorious in every way except implementation. and there are stories that are coming out now about the number of high-quality what are called seats in early childhood education. this is a plan that's being rolled out as we speak. it hasn't been put together. we're talking about a school district that's in serious financial as well as operating stress. so there's a lot going on here. plus, the rec centers and the bond issue. to kenney's credit -- and i give him credit -- he laid out his vision and he's put a plan together to try to execute on it. but little by little, there's been cuts of 1,000 little nicks. first it was 3% and there was a tax -- the tax was not clear how it was gonna apply to manufacturers.
then they rolled it back to 2%. and i think the other side has really organized itself well. so this is gonna be a very tough fight. >> but, you know, sam, i was pica chairman when michael nutter proposed it. it was in the middle of all that. and i don't sense the strength of opposition that there was then. so that's point one. the other point is, you know, there's a really interesting article in the journal that in britain, they have a gradation of the tax depending on the amount of sugar in the drink. >> hmm. >> and it makes it much more health-related, and therefore more sellable. >> which was what mayor bloomberg in new york tried to push, that, you know, improving people's health by banning what he calls "an addictive poison," if you will. is this -- you wrote an article i found very interesting about it, dom. is this the new big tobacco -- big soda? something that's addictive and bad for us but we're certainly, by the way, not taxing doughnuts and cookies and candy, either. >> to quote ed rendell, exactly right. and also, monica, i gave up diet green tea because it occurred to me that diet stuff, i believe, is worse or just as bad.
so i think the mayor's given up the health argument. jim should have helped him. that would have been a good point. that doesn't work. i see this as as egregious as it comes, particularly when mayor kenney, when he went to the recreation center in olney, he demonized these big sodas guys, talking about they've been taxing neighborhoods for years, and now neighborhoods get something back. and i look at the rank and file union guy who said that a case of soda at walmart is $2 cheaper than the entire tax you would pay -- just the tax -- in philadelphia. when people actually calculate that, i don't think they're gonna sign off on it. >> and it's supposedly hurting different socioeconomic groups, george. are those the groups that we're trying to help here with the schools, obviously? >> well, i think you have to do the cost-benefit analysis. is the benefit greater than the cost? i don't think there's any question that some part of this cost gets passed along. i don't think it all gets passed along to the consumer, but some of it gets passed along. but i think mayor's message about early childhood education was one that resonates. and that's why i think there's less opposition and more support on the city council now. what i think is important,
though, is that as the council and the mayor deal with it -- and i don't know that he's gonna get three cents -- i think there is some sense that he's gonna get something -- that they make sure it's dedicated funding so that when next year's budget problem comes up, this money can't be diverted to something else. >> all right, let's talk quickly about the race for attorney general in pennsylvania. it's gotten more interesting this past week. three people running for the race on the democratic side. and now the white house has actually endorsed one of them. josh shapiro, is the montgomery county commissioner who would like to be the ag in the next go round. very unusual for a sitting president to endorse someone running for a state attorney general's office. what did you make of that? >> well, i think josh shapiro is a rising star. that's one thing i make of it. i'm not sure otherwise why the president would intervene. and i think people here have better knowledge -- they've actually run for this. i think this job, though, is as important, if not more so, than governor. and we've seen that with kathleen kane, we've seen it with tom corbett, who became governor. we've seen some of the biggest scandals -- sandusky and others -- and they all come back to this office in pennsylvania. >> it's certainly a launching
point. so, what do you think, jim, because you did run for attorney general. the allegheny county da, stephen zappala, and northampton county da, john morganelli did not get this endorsement. they were both a little disappointed, frankly. >> well, you have kind of a classic east-west matchup. you also have in the ag race, who you've always had for all time he's been elected, the prosecutor, someone who's got real on-the-ground experience. and josh shapiro, who, at least has been very straightforward in that he really doesn't have prosecutorial experience and hadn't been in the courtroom as a prosecutor. morganelli's kind of a spoiler. he ran against me twice. he's run, i think, four times for attorney general. could have an impact. but i think the obama endorsement is really extraordinary and i've been following this race not only when i ran for it, but for many years. i don't think that's ever happened. >> will it translate, though? is he gonna come do some fundraisers? will he do an advertisement? and what was the real net result of having obama? >> well, i think that both zappala and shapiro are looking at the minority vote. so if you look at zappala's ads, they're all about police abuse and how he prosecuted dirty cops -- which is really extraordinary in pennsylvania -- and then this endorsement.
so i think that's really what it's directed at. and in a low-turnout race, which this will be, you know, i think it could be significant. >> that's gonna matter. and speaking about that ad, it's very controversial that he used three cases of domestic abuse. the folks even who are the ones trying to help victims of domestic abuse are saying, "pull that ad. we don't you capitalizing on the pain and suffering of a community to try to get yourself elected." so there's been a sort of backlash, if you will. >> i think there's a backlash, but i think candidates like cutting-edge commercials. if it generates a passion on one side, it's gonna generate an equal passion on the other side. somebody's got to determine where that works out. but also with respect to the president, unless josh is gonna put some money behind that on television, it's not gonna -- people will have forgotten about it by election day. i think the darrell clarke commercial's much more impactful. >> and i also think you've got to take into account the fact that dougherty -- zappala supported dougherty candidacy for the supreme court, and i
would not underestimate the impact that dougherty will have in eastern pennsylvania, particularly in philadelphia. these east-west races always seem to be going west-east until about 1:00 in the morning. >> right, and then they flip. >> i've found that to be true. but the zappala name in the west -- i was out there during one of steve zappala's da campaigns -- and the only thing that his billboard said was "z." that's all it said -- "z." >> that much name recognition. >> yeah. >> and state -- >> and his father and the rest of his family. >> sorry -- state senator anthony hardy williams also supported him. and josh has some other people supporting him -- darrell clarke and others. so they're sort of lining up, if you will. it sounds like it's gonna be an interesting race. >> my bottom line is we'll better off whichever one of these guys wins. >> well, speaking of kathleen kane, i know she's on the way out. she did just hire bruce castor from montgomery county to be in her office for a position that had never existed. she created a job for him. >> mm-hmm. >> what do you think that's all about, sam? [ laughter ] he's speechless. >> yeah. >> i -- you know, everything that she does is always the opposite of what seems to be logical as the next step.
i can't see what the deflection value is for having bruce in there. i don't even understand the nature of the job. i think it was -- i thought the job that she was hiring him to do -- i read about it in the newspaper -- was the job that she was doing because she can't be a lawyer. >> doesn't have a law license now, right. >> so, you know, everything that the attorney general does, there must be a reason for it, but she very rarely shares it with the rest of us. >> [ laughs ] she's also trying to sort of take away some of the power from people currently in the office that she's not getting along with, it sounds like. so he's now the new defense attorney, and there's a deputy attorney. >> [ laughs ] >> so, where is that gonna lead us? she's got a trial coming up this summer. she's gonna, you know, be out of office in about six months. what are all these hires and sort of power reshuffling gonna give to the people of pennsylvania? >> nothing. it seems to me -- from the very beginning, i've been an opponent of this -- she's been outside the law and has made things up as she went along. and, again, we've talked about it even on the show, monica. she has set this office, this key office, because of all these things that have gone on up and
down the line, into a mess. and that's why i think people are looking not so much at a prosecutor necessarily, but they're willing to give a look at a manager like montgomery county's got. >> right. >> i think that's a possibility. >> isn't there a conflict of interest, though, gentlemen, because he's got a private practice still? he's still allowed to have it. >> interesting thing here is this shows the power of self-interest. if castor weren't the guy, he'd probably be on the outside criticizing the votes for the conflict of interest. there's clearly an appearance of conflict of interest, whether there's, in fact, a conflict of interest i'll leave to jim. but there clearly is an appearance, and castor should do everything he could to minimize that if he's going to move forward with this. >> and, you know, castor himself has run for this seat. >> exactly. >> had a bitter race against tom corbett and lost back in 2004. >> all right, let's quickly wrap up. the former justice of the supreme court who just resigned, michael eakin, is allowed to keep his pension, that we weren't sure of last time we talked. but now it has been ruled that he can keep it. he won't go to trial. he did resign, though, and many folks in those areas are saying
that he paid a big price already for porngate. what do you think? was that enough, jim? >> you know, i think so. i've represented people that were charged with criminal offenses, elected officials, by the ag's office, for instance. and in some instances, pursuant to a guilty plea, they would forfeit the pension. in other instances, they wouldn't or they wouldn't be made to. since he's not been convicted of a crime here, i think the resignation in and of itself is a pretty draconian penalty for him. >> he actually will get two pensions, if anybody's counting, from when he was prior -- >> well, he was a da for many years. i think he had some military service. i mean, you can't negate the man's life for mistakes that he made in the last couple years. >> also think it points out why people in these kinds of situations don't resign their jobs early in the process. >> there's a lot of money at stake. >> well, the job becomes a negotiating point. >> it accrues, right. >> it accrues, but it becomes a negotiating point. >> right. >> but the folks said, had he not resigned, the penalty might have been greater. >> yeah. >> $250,000, $300,000 if you're counting two pensions. that adds up. >> but maybe it's apples and oranges, but jerry sandusky's still collecting a pension.
>> right. >> the pension is something that's pretty hard to take away. >> the most interesting part of the week, it seems to me, is the supreme court justice debra todd... >> mm-hmm? >> ...urging the judicial conduct board to look at every single pornographic e-mail and take action as required on behavioral issues within the judiciary. >> right, they may go after max baer and also kevin dougherty, as well, at this point. >> that could be a long list of people. >> right. >> well, that comes back to another kane "alice in wonderland" thing, because she says she's appointed this special prosecutor, former attorney general of maryland. there is no such position under pennsylvania law -- special prosecutor. >> mm. so another one create. >> yes. >> but i guess that's in her power realm. >> that's right within the realm of the story. [ laughter ] >> all right, the race for pennsylvania senate's getting interesting. katie mcginty also got the backing of the obama white house. so she's adding more people into her fold. do you think that's sort of a foregone conclusion now for her? >> no, i don't think so. i think, actually, to the contrary. the democratic state
senate committee coming in, the president and the vice president coming in, to me, that signals a campaign in serious distress. and i think that what's interesting, why are the democrats so unwilling to have joe sestak be the nominee? they don't like him. they don't think he's a collaborator. they don't think he's entirely too, i guess, liberal, because, against toomey, who can hug the center in a general election -- >> but the word is that he couldn't beat toomey, so that's why they don't want him. allegedly. i'm not quoting them. >> he's pulling away in the polls. >> right. >> this is all very, very unusual for -- and bob casey came in for katie mcginty. this campaign just has never gotten any traction, and i don't think endorsements change that. >> and the x factor is i know joe sestak very well. the man cannot be stopped. he will not be outworked. he just keeps going and going and going. and there's a lot to be said for that in politics. >> in fact, a lot of advertisements are hitting the air right now. he's got a big ad campaign running. but so does toomey, who is using his daughter in some of his.
or sestak is, as well. >> i think a lot of this depends on who the republican nominee is... >> right. >> ...and then what toomey does, if it's something like trump and he has to try to distance or not from that. but i think it shows to me, again, democrats and most of the people around that i've seen around sestak don't like him, can't get along with him, can't work with him. so all of his advantages -- he has many -- they are putting their chips. >> being a congressman, former congressman, being in the military formerly. >> military -- an admiral. >> right. >> yeah. >> impressive record. >> but he's demonstrated the ability to win tough races. he beat senator specter when everybody was for senator specter. >> right. in the primary. >> so the guy's crafty. and i think his commercials right now are actually better than katie mcginty's. >> and it certainly worked -- the daughter-factor, if you will, worked, some would say, for mayor nutter. some say his daughter helped get him into office. >> this is the establishment sort of circling the wagons. i'm not sure 2016 is the year that you want to be the establishment candidate, even within the democratic primary. >> because of what's happening higher up the ticket, of course. >> the public is upset. >> right.
>> that's why bernie sanders has done so well in so many states and in pennsylvania. while he probably won't win pennsylvania, he'll be north of 40% in the state because that's how people are feeling. and in the senate race, john fetterman -- this guy is really interesting. i'd read an article this week by john baer in which fetterman is quoted as saying, "if 30 years ago we had fought a war on addiction versus a war on drugs, where would we be today?" i thought that was really insightful, because he's attacking the demand for drugs... >> right. >> ...not the issue of supply. >> right. and it certainly people's viewpoints have changed on addiction and drugs, it would seem. >> some of his web ads are really thought-provoking and great. he doesn't have the money to get them across the state, but they're on the web and i encourage people to look at them. they're very, very thought provoking. >> gonna be an interesting race. all right, we'll take a break. more inside story coming your way right after this. >> "inside story" is presented by temple university. temple fuels students with academics and opportunities to take charge. plugged into the city, powered by the world.
always looking out for us. he worked to create a thriving commercial district. and he's brought new grocery stores to underserved areas. dwight evans is committed to revitalizing neighborhoods in all of philadelphia. he'll be a block by block congressman for us. i'm dwight evans and i'm proud to
approve this message. ♪ >> welcome back to "inside story." president obama last week commuted the life sentences for 61 convicts. many of them were drug convicts. this says a total of 248 cases so far that he has pardoned here in his final year in office. that's more than the last six presidents combined. anybody nervous about how this is going? he still has another, you know,
eight or nine months to go here, george. >> well, he said that he's going to do many more over the next nine months. he is gonna go on a national program with respect to, you know, sentencing guidelines and what happens. and most of these -- there are a couple that have guns involved, but most of them are non-violent offenders. and i think there's a lot of discussion going on about when you look at the prison pipeline that's almost tripled in pennsylvania in the last 20 years, many of them non-violent offenders. many non-violent offenders sitting in jail cells, waiting for two years to even get a trial. i think it's a legitimate issue for the president to be taking on. >> and in a couple of the cases -- i haven't read all 248, but in a couple that i did read, someone had one crack offense but also tax evasion, probably from not declaring drug sales or something. so, anyway, there does seem to be unfairness in the way that the legal system has worked. >> i don't think 248, though. the one guy in the philadelphia area, i believe, a gun was involved again. and the precedent, and rightfully so, is usually that's something that sets it over the line. so, i think these are too many,
monica, and i think even rand paul, on the right, was talking about sentencing guidelines, the mandatory minimum, the crack cocaine versus the powder cocaine, and why crack cocaine got more of a sentence. those are fine, but this seems to be willy-nilly to me. it's too many. >> you know, i was a federal prosecutor during the period of the sentences, and asked for a lot of those sentences. and i think a lot of us were uncomfortable with the cookie-cutter nature of it. so, for instance, say a gun. >> right. >> you could have a gun in a crack house, could be six guys there. and under the law, you could produce evidence that he could have constructive possession of it, meaning he could get to it. you don't necessarily have to have it on you. >> against all six. >> exactly. >> essentially. >> exactly, and that in and of itself was a mandatory five years on top of everything else. >> what's interesting about this is that there is bipartisan support to reform prison terms. in fact, a key senate committee's already proved that. but it's not gonna get done in 2016, according to the house majority leader. so, is this sort of just a final parting gift, if you will, from president obama to people that he believes have been disenfranchised and have been hurt by the system?
or is there some traction we can get from this? >> well, first of all, i doubt that very much will get done in the balance of 2016 in the congress of any significance. and certainly around judicial and law-enforcement issues. >> because of the election? >> and starting with the supreme court nomination. we had a reaction to this expansion of drug addiction and the sale of drugs, and the violence associated with the sale of drugs that resulted in the mandatory sentencing provisions, which took a lot of flexibility out of the hands of judges to look at cases and make decisions that were prudent as opposed to required by the guidelines. this is a natural reaction to it. the prisons are grossly overcrowded. the amount of crime that i think gets reinforced in the prisons is probably significant. and we are spending a fortune to incarcerate people. so, i think the president's reaction is understandable, even if in every case it may not be defensible. but if it gets way out of hand, so, who's going to stop him? you know, president obama has
effectively figured out how to govern the country without congress. >> and clemency is one of the powers the president has. >> one of the biggest. >> certainly. all right, let's talk about presidential politics and the folks who want that job next. many of them coming to pennsylvania. of course, our primary's just in a few weeks -- april 26th. bernie sanders and john kasich both here last week, making appeals to local voters, of course. pennsylvania traditionally has gone for the big party candidates, so it's clinton and obama in the past -- democrats. but this may be a different year altogether. in fact, registered voters are flipping in different directions, george. 1/4 million people switched their affiliation. you can now do it online. that's 3% of the whole 8 million voters in the state are switching parties. half of them became republicans, a third became democrats, and some people are saying there's actually a little sort of ouija board going on here, because it's not always a direct correlation with who they would like in the end. it's just they're switching for the primary to set up who they want their real candidate to be opposed against. >> i think there's no question that there's a trump phenomena going on everywhere. and a lot of these folks are
switching -- some of them are for him, some of them are against him. but i think that's clearly a trump phenomena. i'm not sure that it has predictability -- predictable capability for the general election. i think those people -- i think all of those people will make an independent decision, i think, in the general election. >> so, they can switch back, technically, jim, before the general. >> do you remember in the first rendell governor race, a lot of republicans switched parties in the primary, when he ran against bob casey, to vote for him in the primary, and then switched back. >> right. >> but i think hillary's gonna be very difficult to beat in this primary in pennsylvania. her family's from scranton. she, remember, did beat president obama in 2008 in the pennsylvania primary rather handily. >> mm-hmm. >> on the republican side, i wouldn't rule out kasich. i mean, he's got western pennsylvania roots. he grew up out there. and he can talk with some credibility about that. and the turnout is always higher in the west. >> hmm. and do you think this ability to have strategic votes, where you can vote one way in the primary, in effect to set up the candidate you want to be the weak opponent to your real
favorite, is that fair? it smells like -- it doesn't pass the smell test. >> well, i'm telling -- i'll speak for myself. i changed -- i'm an independent, and i will continue to be an independent, but i registered in a party so i could vote against somebody. i'd rather keep the fact that i'm going to vote against donald trump a secret... [ laughter ] ...and the party that i registered in, but i think people are -- we don't give the voters very much credit for any brains. and voters are not stupid. you may not like what they're doing, and think what they're doing is stupid, but when they're motivated -- and they have clearly shown a motivation in both the democratic and the republican primaries to express themselves against the establishment, against the direction that the country is in, and as an expression of their own fear for themselves. i think what trump has done is, he's created winning as the sort of standard bearer of what his candidacy is about, and for everyone in the country who feels like they're losing -- and that's a lot of people -- donald trump's message has resonated. >> right. all right, we're gonna leave it
i've always taken on the status quo. in harrisburg, they didn't like it when i stopped their perks and pushed for reform. as head of pennsylvania's third-largest county, i cut out wall street middlemen to protect pensions, stood up for marriage equality and protected our environment. now i'm fighting for criminal justice reform. i'm proud to be backed by president obama and people who care about our families. i'm josh shapiro. i'll be an attorney general who always fights for you.
>> "inside story" is presented by temple university. temple fuels students with academics and opportunities to take charge. plugged into the city, powered by the world. temple.edu/takecharge. >> time for inside stories of the week, and let's start with dom. >> a good one. usually mayor jim kenney and i don't get along too well, but i commend what i'm hearing from the veterans community about july 4th, the big event on the parkway, what it'll be much different than it was under mayor nutter. the rumors out there. the roots will not be the lead band, and there will be more patriotic, if you will, themes and hometown themes in. i happen to think that's a good thing. >> all right, george. >> you know, people wanted joe biden to run in the democratic primary for president because they thought he would challenge hillary clinton and that she needed to be challenged to be a good candidate in the general election. well, bernie sanders has
challenged hillary clinton pretty good in this election cycle, and he's gonna bring more to the party assuming hillary wins the nomination. he's gonna bring more to the party than i think a defeated joe biden would've brought. >> certainly a lot of young people. sam. >> we're 10 months in, and finally a state budget is going to become law without the governor's signature. a new budget is in process. it's unlikely in an election year that the same message that the governor expressed last year will be supported by the legislature, and it is not inconceivable to me that this administration could spend many years without ever getting a budget. >> my goodness. jim. >> monica, insiders are looking very closely at the congressman fattah campaign and the election, what's gonna happen there. dan muroff, dwight evans, well funded, running great campaigns, they're on tv. congressman with very little money, under indictment. and yet it looks like he could still win this race. >> it wouldn't be the first time. >> would not be the first time a federal official under indictment gets reelected. >> all right, interesting. we'll have to keep an eye on that one, and we'll welcome all of you back to talk about it again.