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Category: Wolfe Op-Ed Articles

Matt Wolfe Slams Council for Meek Mill Weekend on St. Patrick’s Day

Matt Wolfe Slams Council for Meek Mill Weekend on St. Patrick’s Day

Philadelphia, PA – Matt Wolfe, Republican Candidate for City Council At Large, denounces City Council’s decision to declare March 15-17 as “Meek Mill Weekend.”

“This is a disgrace on so many levels,” stated Wolfe. “This is a slap in the face to Philadelphia’s Irish community. I am proud of my Irish heritage, and St. Patrick’s Day is our day.” Wolfe has been a long-time member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and an AOH chapter which is no longer active. “Council either did not care about the conflict, or did not even realize there was a conflict. Either way, it shows that City Hall gives no consideration to the Irish community when making decisions.”

The resolution creating this “holiday” weekend was sponsored by 14 of the 17 Council members and stated, in part “Robert Williams, known to the world as Meek Mill, is a critically-acclaimed multiplatinum hiphop artist, songwriter, entrepreneur, actor and criminal justice reform advocate that hails from North Philadelphia.”

“Even putting aside the conflict with St. Patrick’s Day, should City Council be spending their time honoring a convicted felon? Philadelphia has real problems – high taxes, unemployment, crime, drugs etc. – and the fact that they spend their time honoring a rapper is ridiculous. But it is obvious that this is an attempt by incumbents on Council – each of whom will have an opponent in the upcoming elections – to appear ‘hip’ to what they perceive as a younger voter base. Simply put, City Hall is using their positions to increase their chances of reelection – which is a betrayal of the public trust – but has also made Philly a national embarrassment, again, in doing so.”

Meek Mill has been arrested for illegal firearm and drug possession, assault and parole violations.

“And if City Hall is going to honor somebody, why select an individual who has repeatedly committed crimes over the past decade? He is not Nelson Mandela.  Just two years ago he assaulted two people in an airport. Regardless of how you feel about how he was treated by the criminal justice system, we can all agree that there are more deserving people from Philadelphia who we can promote as a role model to our youth. Guion Bluford – the first African American in space and Philly native – is someone who is much more accomplished and could serve as a role model for our youth. Sadly, City Council cares more about reelection than setting a positive example for our children.” Wolfe concluded.

About Matt Wolfe: Matt Wolfe is a former Deputy Attorney General.  He also served in the administration of Governor Tom Ridge as the Chief Counsel of the Department of Labor and Industry, which played a key role in helping Pennsylvania’s economy grow and attract new jobs.  Before that he was Assistant Counsel at the Department of Transportation and he was appointed a Special Assistant District Attorney and Special Prosecutor in several counties.  In Philadelphia, former District Attorney Ron Castille appointed him a Special Assistant District Attorney to represent the city to close down nuisance bars in his neighborhood.  He helped close down the notorious Times Café and the Purple Fox.  He also served with Sam Katz when Sam was on the School Board as a member of the Philadelphia School Board’s Task Force on Scholastics and Sports, which developed academic standards for public school students to meet in order to be eligible for sports and extracurricular activities.

Matt Wolfe has been a community activist in West Philadelphia since he was in college.  He was a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the Spruce Hill Community Association, also serving as its Vice President.  Matt has served as a member of the 18th Police District Neighborhood Advisory Committee and was Vice Chairman of the Woodland District of the Boy Scouts of America.  He is active in his parish, St. Francis DeSales, and has served on the Parish Pastoral Council and as a Eucharistic Minister.

Matt Wolfe has been an active Republican since college, is the Chairman of the University City Republican Committee and has served his community for years as a ward leader and committeeman.  Wolfe is a lawyer, having graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova Law School, practicing election law and has taught other lawyers in continuing education classes in the area.  He currently maintains his own law office, understanding the challenges that a small business owners face.  His law office is in West Philadelphia where he lives with his wife, Denise Furey.  He has two adult sons, Jay and Ross.

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Matt Wolfe Top Challenger in Straw Poll Among Council At Large Candidates

Matt Wolfe Top Challenger in Straw Poll Among Council At Large Candidates

Matt Wolfe, Republican Candidate for City Council At Large, finished ahead of all non-incumbent challengers in a straw poll Tuesday night, coming in 2nd place overall out of 8 declared candidates. The straw poll was held Tuesday February 19th at the South Philadelphia Republican Coalition’s candidates night, which 200-300 people attended. Wolfe finished first among non-incumbents, and second overall.

“I want to thank the South Philadelphia Republican Coalition for hosting such a great event, and all the Republicans from throughout the city who attended. This was a great night and I am honored to have received such strong support in the straw poll. I am the true Republican voice in this race, and last night’s results showed that voters are excited by my promise to offer a true Republican voice in City Hall that will challenge years of Democrat corruption and failed policies.” Stated Wolfe. Read More

Matt Wolfe Top Challenger in Straw Poll Among Council At Large Candidates

Matt Wolfe, Republican Candidate for City Council At Large, finished ahead of all non-incumbent challengers in a straw poll Tuesday night, coming in 2nd place overall out of 8 declared candidates. The straw poll was held Tuesday February 19th at the South Philadelphia Republican Coalition’s candidates night, which 200-300 people attended. Wolfe finished first among non-incumbents, and second overall.

“I want to thank the South Philadelphia Republican Coalition for hosting such a great event, and all the Republicans from throughout the city who attended. This was a great night and I am honored to have received such strong support in the straw poll. I am the true Republican voice in this race, and last night’s results showed that voters are excited by my promise to offer a true Republican voice in City Hall that will challenge years of Democrat corruption and failed policies.” Stated Wolfe. Read More

Press Release: Wolfe Reacts to Local 98 Indictments

Press Release: Wolfe Reacts to Local 98 Indictments

For Immediate Release
Date: February 1, 2019
Contact Information:
Ross Wolfe
Rosswolfe@comcast.net
(610) 745-1626

Republican Candidate for City Council at Large Matt Wolfe Calls for Councilman Henon to be Removed as City Council Majority Leader – Asks City to Come Clean

Philadelphia, PA– The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the indictments of City Councilman Bobby Henon, union leader Johnny Doc and several other members of Local 98.  Republican City Council candidate Matt Wolfe spoke out about the indictments.

“These indictments expose the corrupt side of Philadelphia politics.” Wolfe said.  “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty in the criminal courts.  That being said, Councilman Henon’s ability to function on city council with the allegations against him has been compromised.”

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City Council Candidates’ Views on Education: Matthew Wolfe

City Council Candidates’ Views on Education: Matthew Wolfe

Originally Posted By The Notebook on March 16, 2015. Please click here to view the article on the publication’s website.

On May 19, Philadelphians will hit the polls to winnow the field of City Council at-large candidates. Out of 28 declared candidates, only seven will be elected in November (including at least two from a minority party). Each party can run five candidates in the general election. The Notebook reached out to the candidates, asking their opinions on the election’s most gripping issue: education. Read More

Supreme Court Clarifies Danger of Council Inaction on PGW By Matt Wolfe

Supreme Court Clarifies Danger of Council Inaction on PGW By Matt Wolfe

This article was authored by Republican candidate for Philadelphia City Council At Large Matt Wolfe. The article was originally published by The Weekly Press on November 7, 2014.

The state Supreme Court recently came down with an unsurprising ruling that the Municipal Tort Claims Act is constitutional. This is the statute that states that most municipalities are only liable for $500,000.00 for any negligent act. I worked with this statute often when I served as a Deputy Attorney General.

Why is this topical right now for Philadelphia? Not to beat a dead horse, but because of PGW. The city itself and PGW are covered by this law. This means that a catastrophe such as a gas main explosion, no matter how negligent PGW was and no matter how much damage is done, that PGW will only be liable for $500,000.00 in damages. Read More

Killing PGW Deal Bad for Philly By Matt Wolfe

Killing PGW Deal Bad for Philly By Matt Wolfe

This article was authored by Philadelphia Republican City Council At Large Candidate Matthew Wolfe. It was published by PaTownHall.com. Please click here to read the article on the publisher’s website.

City Council has announced that they are killing the proposed sale of PGW without holding a hearing and without taking a vote. The city is not selling PGW? This is the stupidest thing that City Council has done in recent years. Their doing it without hearings or votes is particularly spineless.

The city should not be in the business of selling gas. Period. There is a reason that few municipalities own gas utilities across the country. In addition to owning these unneeded capital assets, we have a ready need for the money that the sale would generate. Our ridiculously underfunded pension plans would have been recipients of the money. These are long-term commitments that we have an obligation to meet. Read More

Nutter the Nanny By Matt Wolfe

Nutter the Nanny By Matt Wolfe

This article was published by PATownHall.com. Click here to read the article on the publisher’s website.

Some of City Council’s worst ideas pass unanimously. I think we’ve seen that again.

City Council has passed an ordinance that adds e-cigarettes to its existing ban on smoking real cigarettes in public places. For those unfamiliar with the concept of e-cigarettes, they look kind of like regular cigarettes, but they are battery-powered devices that use a heating element to vaporize a liquid solution with flavoring and normally, but not necessarily, nicotine. Mayor Nutter proudly signed this bill into law.

The jury is still out as to how harmful these e-cigarettes may be to our health, or whether they are harmful at all. Even Mayor Nutter admitted that at the ceremony where he signed the ordinance into law. Common sense would indicate that if they do carry health risks that such risks will be far less than the cocktail of cancers that come with regular cigarettes. Conversely, there are those who swear that e-cigarettes were a big help in getting them to stop smoking regular cigarettes.

Against this background, with the health risks of e-cigarettes uncertain but almost certainly not as bad as regular cigarettes, Philadelphia’s City Council lumps them together with regular cigarettes. This would seem premature, to say the least. How many Philadelphians will die because City Council made it more difficult for them to use e-cigarettes and quit smoking regular cigarettes? Well, that’s probably an exaggeration, but not necessarily a question that should not be considered.

I hate being around smoking. That being said, there is no reason I have to patronize a restaurant that allows smoking or does not have a non-smoking area. And most people that I know in the restaurant industry would rather work where smoking is permitted because they think that they receive better tips. Why is the city making the decisions for us? That being said, I certainly understand the very real health risks of smoking and the risk of second-hand smoke. I see the other side of the coin. But e-cigarettes? Different situation altogether.

Thomas Jefferson is attributed as having said “That government is best which governs least.” Philadelphia’s City Council certainly could not be considered the intellectual successor to our Founding Father. What ever happened to people taking personal responsibility for what they do? Why should the City of Philadelphia take on the role of nanny to its citizens?

In this case, the ban is probably just wrong, and by wrong I mean that it will create more health problems than it solves because some smokers will be less likely to quit because of restricted availability of e-cigarettes. But even if the city is “right” that something is a health hazard, they should not be the ones making the decisions. If the federal government has not concluded that something is such a great hazard that access should be restricted, why does Philadelphia think it knows better? Who do you trust to make decisions restricting your freedom to act? It is simply over-regulation.

Looking beyond this particular law, whenever Philadelphia makes a law that interferes with commerce ONLY in Philadelphia, we do more to chase businesses, taxpayers and residents out of the city. Eight percent sales tax. Slavery Disclosure Law. Philadelphia 21st Century Minimum Wage and Benefits Standard. Wage Tax. It goes on and on. Philadelphia is the poorest big city in America. And it didn’t happen by accident. It is the result of deliberate actions taken by Philadelphia’s City Council, normally with the complicity of the Mayor, to pander to special interest groups that keep them in office.

Matt Wolfe is a candidate in the special election on May 20 for the City Council at Large position left vacant because of Bill Green’s resignation to take over as Chairman of the School Reform Commission.

 

 

City Council Asks Voters to Vote Blind on Bond Issue Republicans Recommend a “NO” Vote By Matt Wolfe

City Council Asks Voters to Vote Blind on Bond Issue Republicans Recommend a “NO” Vote By Matt Wolfe

This article was published by The Independent Voice. Click here to read the article on the publisher’s website.

The Philadelphia Republican City Committee has voted unanimously to recommend to the voters that they vote NO on the question on the General Election ballot asking approval of a bond issue.  We make this recommendation because of the shameful failure of City Council to give the citizens of Philadelphia any transparency or assurance that the funds will be used properly and for projects that advance the city’s mission. Read More

Time to Teach Philly ‘How to Fish’ By Matt Wolfe

Time to Teach Philly ‘How to Fish’ By Matt Wolfe

This article was published by PATownHall.com. Click here to read the article on the publisher’s website.

Once again it’s budget time and Philadelphia is asking the State Legislature for a fish. It’s about time that the legislature teaches them how to fish.

This year the problem is the schools. The problem is real. The current School District budget would be catastrophic for the city and, most importantly, the children.

The problems, however real, are not new or unpredictable. An aside. I was recently helping to move the Republican City Committee offices and found an article from a series that the Philadelphia Inquirer did entitled “The Shame of our Schools.” It was dated 1981.

Remember how we got into this mess. Philadelphia’s problems with its schools are due to its being one of the poorest cities in America. That didn’t happen by accident. Choices were made that drove businesses, jobs and taxpayers out of the city. Our poverty is directly related to high tax rates, irrational tax structure, corruption, mismanagement and misplaced spending priorities. There was no natural catastrophe. There was no plague. Politicians made decisions, sometimes out of a failure to understand the consequences of their actions but more often to pander to special interest groups as a reward for past or anticipated electoral support. It’s really just that simple.

Getting out of this is also simple. Reverse the bad choices. Lower tax rates, reform the tax structure, eliminate corruption and mismanagement and spend only on core municipal functions: public safety, public education, sanitation and maintenance of the infrastructure. Simple does not mean easy. It will be painful, but it couldn’t be as bad as the misery that poverty has brought us.

It is reported that some of the ideas to “help” Philadelphia are things like allowing the City to place a $2-per-pack tax on cigarette sales and extending Philadelphia’s “temporary” 1% sales tax, which is supposed to expire at the end 2014.
These are not solutions to the problem.

Let’s look at the cigarette tax. They are thinking about giving Philadelphia’s City Counsel additional taxing authority. Think about that. Giving Philadelphia’s City Council additional taxing authority??!!! How’s that worked out in the past? Both the cigarette tax and the sales tax will drive sales out of Philadelphia and not all of it goes to Pennsylvania suburbs. Every dollar that goes to Jersey, Delaware or the Internet means that Pennsylvania loses more tax revenue than Philadelphia loses. Who exactly does this help? How about this. If the legislature thinks that the policy is such a good idea, such as the cigarette tax, why don’t they let every municipality in the state do the same thing? I didn’t think so. But if it is bad policy to allow the tax statewide, how is it good for Pennsylvania to allow Philadelphia an exception.

If the legislature wants to help Philadelphia, allowing it to shoot itself in the foot by raising taxes is not the way. Any funding for the schools should be contingent on positive change.

The School District should be required to hire, fire, promote and assign teachers based on what is in the best interests of the children, not seniority.

The School District closed 23 schools and deserves credit for that. It was traumatic. The problem is, they probably should have closed another 25-30, but did not want to expend the political capital. There are still too many under-capacity schools. The School District should be required to close schools and re-draw catchment areas so each school operates at approximately 85% of capacity.

The School District has been trying to restrict charter schools from expanding. This is despite the fact that the amount of money it turns over to the charter schools for each child enrolled is less than what it costs to educate children in the School District operated schools. The School District should only be able to restrict the creation and expansion of charter schools based only on how well they are teaching our children, not funding. If more parents choose charter schools, the School District can close even more schools and concentrate the money on educating fewer children.

Philadelphia needs and wants help. That being said, allowing it to increase taxes on itself to drive more business and taxpayers out do much more harm than good.

J. Matthew Wolfe is a former Deputy Attorney General and the Chairman of the University City Republican Committee in West Philadelphia.

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