tv Inside Story ABC May 15, 2016 11:30am-12:01pm EDT
>> philadelphia city council president darrell clarke is our newsmaker. will there or won't there be a tax on sugary beverages? let's get the inside story. ♪ good morning, and welcome to "inside story." i'm tamala edwards, and again, our guest this morning is city council president darrell clarke. always good to have you here. >> my pleasure. >> and i'm sure everywhere you go, people want to talk about soda tax, so let's do it here. >> absolutely. >> what is your sense at this moment? is something -- we may not know the details. is something going to pass on sugary beverage tax? >> well, first, i'd like to say that these are very worthy causes, and everybody understands that you got to do pre-k. early education is extremely important. having our recreation centers and our libraries fixed to the level that they should be is very important. so i don't think there's any argument there. the question is, how do you get there? this proposal is a narrowly based tax, and it is created at the level of division that i
haven't seen in quite some time. people are extremely passionate on both sides of the issue because you're talking about children, but you're also talking about the potential loss of jobs. so we're getting that level of debate in the council, in the street. wherever you go, people want to talk about sugary drink tax. so, i think, at some point, we will come up with a solution, 'cause we do need to figure out a way to do these very worthy causes. i'm not sure how we do them. the actual implementation phase is still not clear to me. i have a lot of questions, as the other members do, as it relates to, why do you set up a totally new pre-k system when there already is a pre-k system? why don't you just give the money to the existing pre-k system? how do we get the diversity that we need to have as it relates to construction on new rec centers and libraries? all of those things need to be discussed. >> let's take both ends of that question. let's start with the money. everybody that i've called in city hall, nobody thinks 3 cents is happening, and it's question of where it comes down the
scale. >> right. >> some people say 2, some people say 1. you put out some things your staff looked at. what if it was a quarter of a cent? what if it was a half of a cent? you, personally, where do you think this ends up? 'cause you asked questions in the budget meetings about revenue. what is that sweet spot where you raise a decent amount of revenue and you think it'll work? >> well, we prepared a document that was given to members. somehow, it got out in the press. things happen. and the reality is, we laid out the revenue associated with the half a cent, quarter of a cent, three quarters of a cent, a penny. the penny will raise approximately $57 million. there's some thought that that could actually run all of the programs. i'm assuming that the administration doesn't think that's enough. but the reality is, if we can address all of those particular programs, i think that's most important. will there be the need to do additional dollars? that's probably not the only way you can get the money, by a sugary drink tax, but that's the purpose of having the debate and sitting down and looking at the
revenue side of this, to make sure that we can do something for these young people. >> is the idea that maybe you get some from this and something else happens? the people have talked about court fees, about finding money in the budget, about container tax. will any of those things get moving, or it's just talk? >> well, there are a lot of things that we can do, but you do -- and i agree with the mayor -- that you do need to have one level of funding for this program that is going to be sustainable. but then there's some question about that, 'cause you have one side of the equation with people saying, "well, you got to drop down consumption of sugar." but as you drop down consumption of sugar, you drop down the revenue. what's more important -- health or the ability to fund a program? so that needs to be clear as to what our priorities are on that one. >> what are you hearing from the mayor about how this actually happens? where would these seats be? what would the standards be? could i open up a pre-k in my kitchen and come up with whatever standards i want? was something going to be laid out? have you heard answers to that
question? >> well, they have a proposal. the pre-k commission has worked on it for quite some time, and they talked about the star system -- the 1, 2, 3, 4 star system. 3 and 4 is our "quality" pre-k's. a number of the 2s and probably 1s, we would like to see them have an opportunity to become 3 and 4s. i am concerned, and i've said it publicly, about the notion that you have a pre-k system that has no income guidelines. the reality is, every federal, state, and other programs talked about a cap 300% above the poverty level. for whatever reason, this proposal does not have that. so i don't know why, to some degree, we should be subsidizing individuals who can clearly pay with taxpayer dollars. i don't know why we have to set up a system when we currently have existing systems that do a good job, as it relates to administering pre-k programs. so those are the kind of conversations that we'll be having over the next two weeks. >> you keep saying, "i don't know why."
are you hearing enough from mayor kenney the answers to those questions, and are you surprised if you're not? >> well, i'm not talking directly to mayor kenney. these are conversations that are had in the budget hearings about these programs. i think that's clearly something that we have to do. i mean, there's no doubt about it. how we do it and when we do it is obviously something that we're gonna work on in the next two weeks. i like to have a better perspective on some of the other opportunities that exist, as it relates to funding. i think there is a number of places we can find some money to support this if the sugary tax, in fact, gets implemented. but that's gonna happen relatively soon, so stay tuned. >> all right. what i'm hearing is, something will happen, but maybe not 3 cents, but we'll see what happens. >> oh, we're gonna do pre-k. i'll make it clear. we're gonna do pre-k, figure out the way to support pre-k, and we're gonna figure out a way to support our infrastructure, as it relates to our rec centers and our libraries. >> speaking of support, the city commissioners came before you this week to talk about their budget, and they've been getting
beaten up from all ends. former council member marian tasco. former commissioner says, "i don't see why we need this office." other groups have said, "let's get rid of it." your comments seem to support the idea of keeping the office -- at least, that's how it was heard -- and that was a surprise to some. why so, at this moment, when many people thought they could be pushed off the boards? >> right. well, the real reason that people are expressing their concerns about the commissioner's office is because the chairman of the commission "allegedly" did not come to work. i mean, let's be clear -- the issue was around -- >> i don't think there's an "allegedly." that's been documented. >> well, i have to say that. i'm not sure my lawyers will represent me appropriately. but the reality is, allegedly, this person did not come to work. that's why there's this brouhaha, and that's a problem, if, in fact, that's true. but the reality is, is that the commissioners have functioned for a long, long time. as you referenced, commissioner tasco. she was a commissioner. my issue has to do with the fact that you had, basically, a year of press on individuals -- an individual -- and somehow, he
managed to get more votes than anybody else in the commissioner's race. he actually -- i'm told he got more votes than the person that did not win the mayor's race. so, if there's something wrong with our election process, where a person who is criticized roundly goes out and gets the number of votes that they got, that needs to be changed. >> do you want to keep this office, or do you think we should get rid of it? >> i think it's an office that functions properly. let's target the issue, and the issue is -- and i brought it up in the hearing the other day. it was the elephant in the room, and they need to reform that. >> very quickly, we saw the end of the case between ori feibush and councilman kenyatta johnson. the larger issue, many people have wondered, will this call into question councilmanic privilege -- or, prerogative? are you concerned that this could end up being an issue in your district and other districts, or was this a one-off just between the two of them? >> well, first, i don't know what that is, councilmanic prerogative. i know what the charter says is authorization of disposition of land as required by the charter. >> the idea that councilpeople have a hand in what comes before for land distribution, land
sale. >> i'm doing my charter-mandated responsibility. this issue with feibush and councilman johnson will work its way through the courts. i understand there's gonna be an appeal to the decision that was made. at the end of the day, we're required to pass legislation that disposes of publicly owned land in the city of philadelphia. >> it doesn't scare you that you could start to see lawsuits when something doesn't go somebody's way? >> oh, no, we have good lawyers. >> all right. city council president, thank you for joining us this morning. >> you're welcome. >> and we'll take a short break and come back to our "inside story" panel. >> "inside story" is presented by temple university. remarkable change isn't easy, but for those who take charge, it comes naturally. explore temple's impact. visit temple.edu/impact. ans age 50 to 85:
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(colonial penn jingle) ♪ >> welcome back to "inside story." i'm tamala edwards. time now to bring in the panel. let's introduce you to everybody. we'll start with pollster terry madonna. good morning. >> morning, tam. >> radio talk-show host dom giordano. >> morning, tam. >> journalist larry platt. >> good morning. >> and communications executive jeff jubelirer. >> morning. >> good morning. we just had darrell clarke here talking about the sugary tax. it's all they seem to be talking about downtown. this is what i heard. something's passing, it's not 3, i'm thinking 1. that's me reading between the lines. >> oh, okay! >> that is my reading between the lines. what did you guys hear? >> i don't see -- i think big soda, the villains, can't allow that, because with them, it's not about the amount of money and lower sales. they're being made a pariah. berkeley already did it.
if another city does it, across the country, you're gonna see a bunch of people do it. >> really? two cities? can that be enough to start a trend? >> oh, yeah, because -- >> it's also a precedent. it's also a precedent. let's say it's one. then it becomes two, then it becomes three. >> will they go for more? that's the starting point. and if people like pre-k, maybe they'll start to say... >> but so far, we've only seen three council members come out and say they're not doing it, and i didn't hear him suggest that people are absolutely against it. the more i talk to people, the more it sounds like this could pass. it won't unanimous, but this could get through. >> and the fact of the matter is, councilman clarke, the fact that he broached it -- he didn't put it off the table. he said, "how about a half-cent tax? how about a quarter-cent?" means i think something's going to happen. 80% of the voters in philadelphia, i think, the last ti-- when mayor kenney ran in the primary -- voted for this pre-k commission to study. there is nothing more important -- i think, around this table, we would agree -- than pre-k, to get people out of poverty, into schools, into jobs. it all starts there. something is going to happen. >> larry, there are a lot of questions that are being raised that i thought were interesting
on his part. who gets to do the work on the parks? how many kids get seats? where do those seats belong? what are they gonna be taught? like, these are a lot of questions as you get down a couple of weeks out from voting. >> well, there already is pre-k in the school district. there are about 9,000 students, i believe. why are we not going through the school districts? it's actually a lack of -- it's a lack of a vote of confidence in the school district to be able to pull this off. but i do think that, just getting back to -- i think dom's right. there -- the industry is going to pull out all the stops to try and stop anything from passing. if something -- i think your instinct is right -- something will pass. something modest will pass. i suspect the beverage industry will then sue, based -- >> yes. >> they're expecting a suit. >> that's right. and based on this idea that it's really a backdoor sales tax, which you need the legislature for. >> yeah, it's interesting that, literally speaking, it's not a tax on the people drinking the soda and the sugary beverage. it's a tax on the distributors. and not everywhere have they passed on the full tax to the
end user. >> they will here, though, without a doubt. >> can i ask you a question about that? if you pass the whole thing on and you make my soda so expensive that i don't buy it, how do you not cut off your nose to spite your face? pass on a little bit so i'm mad about it, but i buy your soda. >> well, i think it's something else, though. a column in the daily news recently, stu bykofsky made the point -- soda's already down. health-conscious people are not drinking soda. i don't remember the last soda that i had, literally. and the diet-soda thing hasn't helped. so they're afraid they're gonna be made ultimately into a villain. that's the part that i resent most. >> but they can do what they do with alcohol. >> right. >> you don't have to buy it in the city. you can go somewhere else and buy it. buy it bulk, you know... >> yeah, but, you know, there's a lot of -- with cigarettes, they still made a lot of money on people. not everybody lives on a border. over the course of time, they forget about it, and they'll pay. >> other taxes you have to pay. here's a tax you don't have to pay. don't drink the soda. sorry. it's easier said than done. you don't have to. >> but there is -- and i think one of the things that president clarke is hearing, especially from
african-american members of council, that there is a regressive nature to this tax. >> bernie sanders said it. >> bernie sanders said it, and clarke even said it in an earlier announcement, when there was discussions about the 3 cents, right? he made that point. >> but what i also heard is, they might do the sugary tax, but something else, because he was flat-out, "we support the idea of pre-k." so you got to pay for it somewhere else. where's somewhere else? >> yeah. >> well, first of all, i keep going back to the issue of, "why are we taxing -- with a $4 billion budget, why are we taxing anything?" why can't we make -- elect leaders who make the hard political choices about what to actually fund? we didn't have this -- we just had a mayor's race, and we didn't have the discussion about how you're gonna pay -- kenney talked about pre-k, but if you remember, his answer to how you're gonna pay for it was, "i'm gonna do zero-based budgeting." >> yeah. >> and that fell by the wayside, which was supposed to lead to all these savings. >> well, the funny thing is, that's exactly what councilwoman sanchez is also saying -- "go find it in the budget." >> and she's a very progressive
member of council, right up there with the most progressive. >> and you can't say, "go to harrisburg," 'cause that's not gonna happen. >> not at the rate things are going. >> what you could say is that if hillary clinton wins, she's pro soda tax, pro pre-k. maybe the feds -- >> how do you do a national soda tax? [ laughter ] >> they do a grant program, a block grant program for cities. >> that's true. >> let's talk a little bit about the national election, and we'll start locally, looking at senator toomey, who did some interesting things. this poor man, he's trying to go left and right at the same time, writing an editorial in which he did not endorse donald trump but said, "here are the things you could do to come back in my direction." and at the same time, he seems to be very open -- not finally confirmed but open -- to not going to the convention this summer. is he doing the right things to split the difference, or is he gonna get burned on both ends? >> i think he's doing the right thing so far, but i thought that inquirer editorial was a step forward. when he was on with me, he went
through, "i endorse rubio, then cruz, then trump," and all that. he didn't put in all that language he had. that was a step further. if he doesn't go to the convention, i think that's a mistake, because he's gonna be linked with all these others that are nationally going after trump. >> terry, you do polling, and quinnipiac polling came out with something that said he had lost 8 points in the last month, that he had had a 9-point lead over mcginty. now it's down to 1. do you believe that poll is about right? >> yeah. i mean, i think the race is closer. you know, the problem right now is deciding who's going to vote. we're going to ha-- we could have a very different kind of electorate this fall than we've had in modern american history. we don't know yet. but i want to make a point. here's the problem -- the biggest problem that senator toomey faces. in the '80s, one out of every two voters split their ticket, meaning they voted for a president of one party and a senator or a member of congr over. toomey's biggest fear -- and i'm not saying this will happen --
is a wave that, if hillary clinton -- this is a hypothetical. if she were to carry the state, 8 or 10 points, down ballot, toomey is in real trouble. i think that's his biggest concern, that he loses this notion of being an independent. you know, he's a republican -- >> so maybe he doesn't go to the convention because he's really busy. [ laughter ] >> the other thing is that, it's just to his -- the piece he wrote in his public commentary on this is way too tortured and nuanced. we all soak this stuff up, but most people are looking at this, you know, in the headline mode, and he seems like he doesn't have a core conviction. that's the problem. >> well, to me, the opportunity is, if he can get back from, again, moving to the middle on this gun-control issue, where he showed bipartisan nature working with the senator from west virginia, manchin, and he's got to. >> is that a big enough issue? >> i wouldn't do that again. >> but dom's gonna say he's gonna lose his base. it's a seesaw. >> right. but, no, he's doing exactly the right thing, i think, at this point.
>> he's got to localize it. >> but, look -- he also wouldn't allow the government to shut down. you know, he supported the budget deal, no shutdown. he also, on social issues, is conservative, admittedly, but when it comes to issues like transgender and should you discriminate against people for sexual orientation, he is not -- he has stood up against that. >> hey, terry, let's talk about some other things coming out of that quinnipiac poll, because they took a cut of the national race, and this was surprising. they found that, in florida and pennsylvania, clinton bested trump but by just 1 point, and, actually, sanders often did better than she did. and in ohio, they said trump led her by a couple of points, suggesting that the race is a lot closer. and you're shaking your head. you don't seem to think they have this right. >> i have doubts that it's that close. again, i'm back to my point -- we are way far away from these elections. i think this electorate could bring out people who haven't voted before. let's start with that. >> big-time. >> with trump. yep. it could do that. and we're now getting people who
are participating who vote in general elections but not in primaries. you get the point? different kind of electorate. i think, right now, hillary would be favored to win the state. note, i said "now." almost anything can happen. we've got two conventions. how are they gonna play out? we got at cleveland, we got philly. we're gonna have to see. >> the thing that's -- neil oxman, the insane political consultant. [ laughter ] like, clinically insane. he likes to say that elections are about three things -- defying yourself, defying the opponent, and defying the stakes, and whoever does those three wins. you're seeing toomey defying mcginty right now. that revolving-door commercial is really smart. and she's trying to do -- and we're about to see it at the presidential level. >> well, does anybody beat donald trump for defining himself? [ laughter ] >> he's a brand, he's defying. >> but he's doing a good job, even though i think it's a lame crook at hillary. i don't think that has so much cachet, but i think it's working for him. >> that's right.
>> well, he has tapped new jersey governor chris christie to head up his vice presidential search team, and he said christie is on the list. christie said, "i'm flattered." we'll see if anything comes of this. and a lot of people are saying, what trump needs to do is get a figure of stature. could this figure be chris christie at this point? >> no. >> one thing trump said was that he wanted someone -- he's got all the business experience. he wants someone with government, political experience. it's not gonna be christie. christie does nothing for him except make him lose new jersey even more and doesn't help him with the republicans or the democrats. >> he's not a washington guy. >> he's not a washington guy. he needs foreign-policy experience and, in my opinion, someone with -- >> former vice president dan quayle came out and said, "i want it to be rob portman of ohio," and i'm thinking, "if i'm rob portman, leave me alone." [ laughter ] >> he has a tough enough race on his own. >> he's up for election himself. >> right. it's john kasich. i mean, if i want to win ohio -- the republican's got to win ohio. i know he mocked him, his eating and all that, but trump, in the end, as crazy and unpredictable, i say he picks kasich. >> it'd be smart, but i don't
know if kasich would go for it. >> if i'm kasich, i say, "i peaked too late. we'll see you in four. i'm not doing this." >> i don't think he does v.p. >> you don't think so, huh? >> the other point i would make is that, 1/3 of the voters that have supported trump -- remember, he got his support early, and it's firm -- they don't care that he's inconsistent on position. >> of course not. >> he is sticking his finger in the eye of the establishment, he is telling it like he is. they love the fact that he's all over the map. they don't care about that. >> what he did with paul ryan was straight out of that tom hanks movie, "captain phillips." when the pirate gets on the ship and says, "i'm the captain now," that's exactly what donald trump said to paul ryan. when he said, "i don't know if i support your agenda." "i'm the captain now." >> yeah, well, it didn't end so well -- it did not end well for the pirate in that movie. [ laughter ] let's take a turn and come back locally and talk about state senator larry farnese, who is now the subject of an indictment from the feds. larry, why don't you start us off on this, because, for many
people, it was just a middle-of-the-paper story, but you say this is really important. here's why to pay attention. >> i think there is a renewed enthusiasm from the obama justice department to attack political corruption in philadelphia and in pennsylvania. and this is just the tip of the iceberg. you've got this seemingly small case in a ward election, but then -- >> but wait. let's explain it. they're saying that he made a $6,000 contribution to a committeewoman, to her daughter's college, so the daughter could take a trip overseas, and they say that was meant to get her to support him as ward leader. >> correct. >> and this is really deep down. >> now, that's a big office. i mean, the ward leader... >> right, right. >> so you're saying there's something more here. >> yeah. i mean, the way these things typically work -- i mean, look at -- we just had rob mccord and john estey wearing federal wires for years. the way these things typically work is you get guys to flip, and you get guys to wear wires and get them to talk about other information. >> jeff, you were talking about the fact democrats are having a hard time on this corruption thing.
i mean, you look at just the judges, the people who've gone away, the numbers is not a good picture. >> the first senatorial district in pennsylvania, three of the last senators have either been convicted or accused of corruption. eight judges, one former congressman. but, dom, republicans aren't capitalizing. >> no. >> you can't beat corruption with nothing. [ laughter ] there's no candidate even right now against larry farnese. >> they're saying they may change that. >> doesn't matter. he'll win. i'm sorry. he'll win. >> well, it's philadelphia. you're right. >> it's philadelphia. he'll win. >> i've been doing this a long time, and i'm not gonna tell you how long. i have never seen the feds get involved in a case involving the bribery of what? of a committeeperson for a ward chairman? >> that's right, that's right. >> on no level does that make any sense for the feds to assert that kind of time and effort and resources.
i'm not saying he's right. >> it only makes sense if it's part of a much more aggressive strategy. >> you got it, you got it. >> we got probably 45 seconds. very quickly, governor wolf saying that he's going to veto a republican idea, that rather than looking at seniority, would test teachers, give them rankings, and keep or fire them accordingly. is that the right call, especially when he's back with the republicans, trying to negotiate budgets in education? >> it's a horrible call, and i think i've said on the show, there was an example of two teachers in the same department, first day, in philadelphia. one drove and had to park the car. the other signed in. that one was kept and the other one was not just on that seniority. that's crazy. it ought to be a performance. >> what other profession do you just say, "doesn't have to do with performance"? it's not just tests. it's other things, as well. get rid of the bad ones. that's what parents want. >> part of my performance is judged on getting us to commercial, so i'll get us to commercial, and we'll come right back. ♪
but for those who take charge, it comes naturally. explore temple's impact. visit temple.edu/impact. >> welcome back. thank you for joining us. that's our show for this week, and we look forward to seeing you right back here on "inside story" next sunday. ♪ >> i'm nydia han along with gray hall. coming up next on "action news," developing right now, one person is dead after a fire at a bucks county motel. tragedy in texas, 8 people are killed in a charter bus crash. today the feds take over the case. plus president obama is in new jersey to deliver the commencement address at the rutgers university of the those