Tag Archives: Ed Rendell

RIP David Montgomery, Phillies minority owner and club chairman

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David Montgomery was a Phillies driving force for nearly five decades

The Philadelphia Phillies announced this morning that club chairman and minority owner David Montgomery has passed away at the age of 72 years. Montgomery had battled cancer for more than five years.

In an official release from the team (see below Twitter link), majority owner John Middleton stated the following:
David was one of Philadelphia’s most influential business and civic leaders in his generation. For 25 years, he has been an invaluable business partner and, more importantly, an invaluable friend. He was beloved by everyone at the Phillies. Leigh and I are saddened beyond words at David’s passing and extend our love and sympathy to Lyn, his children and grandchildren.
Born and raised on Pembrook Road in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia, Montgomery graduated from both William Penn Charter High School and the University of Pennsylvania. He then continued his education at The Wharton School, where he graduated in 1970.
While at Penn, Montgomery was a classmate and friend of future Philadelphia Mayor and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. The two would attend Phillies games together at old Connie Mack Stadium, and per a 2008 piece by Tyler Kepner in the New York Times, they were typical Philly fans. Kepner wrote:
“They would try to eat all the food that $5 could buy — back when hot dogs cost 50 cents — as they shared their thoughts with the players. “I remember one time riding Turk Farrell,” Rendell said, referring to a Phillies reliever of the 1960s. “He got so mad he looked like he was going to throw a ball at us, and Turk could really hum the ball. We were scared to death.””
After they graduated, Rendell tried to get Montgomery to apply for a job with basketball’s Philadelphia 76ers franchise. Instead, in 1971 Montgomery got a job in the sales office of baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies through a connection with the club’s former pitching great, Robin Roberts, as well as through his connections made while coaching with the Germantown Academy football team.

Phillies chairman and minority owner David Montgomery passed away earlier today after a six-year battle with cancer. (Centpacrr)
In that first job with the team he sold season and group ticket packages. Montgomery was also briefly the scoreboard operator at Veteran’s Stadium in the early years of that facility.
Within a few years he became the Phillies director of sales and marketing, and then in 1980 became the head of the Phillies business department. That same year, the franchise celebrated the first World Series victory in its then 97-year history.
In 1981, Montgomery joined a group headed by Bill Giles to organize the purchase of the Phillies from the Carpenter family. Montgomery was named as the executive vice-president following that purchase, and then was elevated to the role of chief operating officer in 1992.
In 1994, Montgomery acquired an even greater ownership interest in the team. Then in 1997 he was named to replace Giles as the 14th team president in franchise history. He was the first Philly native to run the club in six decades.
In the club’s official release (below Twitter link), Giles stated the following:
David was truly a great man. I have never known a person with more integrity or who truly cared so much about everyone who worked for the Phillies. He and I worked hand-in-hand for over 30 years. During that time, I saw his unparalleled love for his family, the Phillies and the team’s fans, and of course, the City of Philadelphia…He will be tremendously missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Cancer first affected Montgomery in the operation of the team when he left on an interim basis for treatment of jaw cancer in August 2014. After returning in January 2015, Montgomery took on the title of chairman, which he held until his passing, with Pat Gillick replacing him as the club president.
During his long career in baseball, Montgomery also served as the vice chair of the Board of Directors of Major League Baseball Enterprises (formerly MLB Properties) and was a member of the MLB Executive Council. He was a member of the MLB Schedule Committee, the Labor Policy Committee, and the Commissioner’s Special Committee for On-Field Matters.
Last March, the Phillies named their new indoor facility at the Carpenter Complex, their spring training home in Clearwater, Florida, as the “David P. Montgomery Baseball Performance Center” in his honor. On the occasion of that honor, Montgomery was quoted as follows in a piece by Matt Breen for Philly.com:
The word is overwhelmed but the reality is that it was special that the whole organization was here because, as you know, that’s what I believe in. I believe that in whatever capacity you work for us, you determine the Phillies family. I believe that.”
This past November, the former ‘Daisy Field’ ball fields on which Montgomery played during his Little League days with the Andorra A’s out in Wissahickon were re-named in his honor as well.

Montgomery is survived by his wife Lyn; their three children, and three grandchildren. Memorial services are pending, and we will pass those along at our social media sites when available. Our entire staff joins with all of Phillies Nation in mourning the passing of not just a great baseball man, but an outstanding Philadelphian.

Concern Over New Philly Newspaper Owners

At an auction conducted on Wednesday, the struggling and increasingly irrelevant Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News as well as their Internet arm “Philly.com” were all purchased by a group of creditors.

The new owners have quickly come under fire from the top politicians at both the Commonwealth and the City levels.

Governor Ed Rendell, the former 2-term Mayor of Philadelphia, voiced his concern that he believed that newspapers should  be owned by people from the area. He further stated “In the end, the newspaper is nothing if not the people who work for it. If you take that away, you take away it’s soul.”

Mayor Michael Nutter, the current Philly head honcho, called on the new owners to make their decisions on how to proceed with the operation of the papers “based on great journalism” rather than being overly concerned with the financial bottom line.

Both of these comments mask the actual concern of these two leading Democratic Party politicians. Their real primary concern is that with new ownership will come a basic change of direction in the editorial content and presentation of the two papers.

For decades, the Philadelphia Inquirer and even more overtly the Daily News have been outwardly liberal in their political and social commentaries and with the vast majority of their political endorsements. It is this liberal ideology as directed by Rendell and Nutter’s Democrats that has demoralized Philly and reduced it to a shell of it’s former greatness.

Rather than using their status as the city and region’s main newspapers and internet presence to call for reform and change to a system that has resulted in massive numbers of citizens and businesses fleeing the city over the last few decades, the two papers have continually backed the status quo.

The newspaper business has been dying all across America for the past couple of decades. This is partly due to the Internet, partly due to 24-hour news, sports, weather, and entertainment television channels. But there is still a niche that properly run newspapers could fill. Unfortunately most have been taken over, as Philly’s papers were, by partisan political shills. As this became more and more obvious, more and more people turned away from regular readership and subscriptions.

The “soul” that Rendell speaks of, those editors, writers, and staffers who put the newspapers out on the streets, and the old ownership that hired them, supported them, and encouraged them to push that liberal agenda and back those Democratic politicians is directly to blame.

Rather than maintaining the former status quo and leaving every worker untouched, and leaving the newspapers to continue their failed direction that has in turn failed the citizens of Philadelphia, the new owners should do exactly the opposite of what Rendell and Nutter are hoping.

If it is determined that Philadelphia needs and has the viability to support two newspapers, which is dubious at best, or if only one should survive, change is absolutely vital. The editorial direction and content of the papers and website in every department needs to reflect a much greater diversity of opinions. Particular attention needs to be paid towards making Philadelphia, other localities, Pennsylvania, and national pols much more accountable.

Ed Rendell and Michael Nutter, as well as a number of individuals who work for both newspapers, and any number of liberal activists all around the Philly region are concerned over the possible direction that the new ownership will take. They should be concerned that their domination of the conversation, one-way in the wrong direction for decades, will cease, and that Philadelphia may indeed see it’s newspapers become what they were meant to be all along, a true watchdog.

We’re not supposed to mention race…but I’m gonna

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Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama at Democratic primary debates in Philadelphia during October 2007

 

When evaluating someone as a person, or professionally, or for a position, their race should not matter, right?

Almost everyone would agree with this statement. Not all people, but most everyone, no matter their background. Certainly this would be most folk’s public posture. Race should not matter. But does it?

I put it to you that it most certainly does, and for proof we need look no further than yesterday’s Democratic Party primary on the Democrats side.

In that primary there were two candidates. Two “people” were battling for the votes of the Democrats in the Keystone State. One “person” was named Hillary Clinton; the other was named Barack Obama.

That’s who was running…two “people.”

So why then did exit polling show that 92% of black voters cast their ballots for the candidate named Obama? What did this “candidate” have that the other did not to gain that large a backing from any single constituency?

Did this candidate support a position that they so agreed with, more than the other candidate, that such on overwhelming degree of support resulted?

Was this candidate just so much better that anyone with half a brain could see it, and thus predict a landslide of such epic proportions across not only the black community, but across the general electorate?

Why, if indeed this candidate were so obviously superior, everyone should see it clearly, and then of course this candidate won the primary by a landslide, right?

Wrong.

This “candidate” named Obama did not win the primary battle in Pennsylvania. In fact he lost by ten full percentage points, a margin of over 200,000 votes across the Commonwealth.

How can that be? How can someone receive more than 9 out of 10 votes from a large constituency, and yet still lose the election?

Was the fix in? Did “the Man” rig the vote? What magic, what deception, what larceny could possibly have caused this travesty?

No travesty. No deception. No larceny. No magic. This race was decided on one overriding factor: race itself.

In my local newspaper of record, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the paper displayed a graphic on page A9 that, if you know anything at all about Philly demographics, tells the entire story. It breaks down the vote for either Clinton or Obama by voting Wards. Clinton support is shown in blue, Obama support in tan coloring.

Clinton won, and by huge margins, in the largely white sections of South Philly, Fishtown, Port Richmond and throughout the Far Northeast.

Obama won West Philly, Center City, and North Philly up into Germantown. If you are from Philly, you tell me what that tells you about the support that they each received. Honestly.

When 92% of any single constituency votes for any one candidate in an election that is seen by most observers as evenly matched, there is some overriding consideration being given by those voters.

When large sections of a city are so clearly divided among two candidates, and those sections of town have an overriding characteristic that defines them, you probably gain a clear insight into the voter’s minds. Again, if you are being honest.

The Inquirer, however, runs from that honest evaluation. They never, not once, show or describe the results by racial breakdown. They touch on it a couple of times.

On page one, buried six paragraphs deep, they speak of “Clinton’s big margin among white working-class voters”. On page A8 they mention that Clinton scored her victory winning “white men” among others, and Obama winning “blacks” among others.

The paper covers how younger voters, older voters, women, men, churchgoers voted. But they didn’t tell us or discuss the numbers racially.

Why not? Because they didn’t have those numbers?

Certainly not. You know they had those numbers.

The Philadelphia Inquirer and other local media outlets didn’t emphasize the voting along racial lines because it doesn’t fit into their social agenda. It doesn’t fit into what they, as elite thinkers, feel should be important to the rest of us.

However, it is those ‘rest of us’ who speak, in this case with ballots. And as happens time and again here in Philadelphia, and time and again across the country, an honest evaluation points out the obvious, no matter how much the media wants to bury it – race matters.

Our immediate-past Mayor, John Street, a black male, was once famously quoted being rarely and frankly honest about race:

“The brothers and sisters are running this city. Running it! Don’t you let nobody fool you, we are in charge of the City of Brotherly Love. We are in charge!” 

Did Senator Obama’s strategists see Philadelphia, and the election, in racial terms? Did they feel that they could count on those brothers and sisters coming out in droves for their candidate, simply because he is black?

The Inquirer reported that Obamabet heavily on winning big in Philadelphia” and elsewhereObama was counting on Philadelphia…

Why would this be so? What would make Obama and his insiders think they would win Philadelphia? Not only win it, but win it big?

After all, the only white Mayor in the city over the past 2+ decades, and the current Governor, the influential Ed Rendell, was supporting Hillary. Rendell is supposed to be a favorite son in Philly, and remains an influential power-broker here.

Not only that, but the current newly-elected Mayor, Michael Nutter, a black male, was firmly and publicly in Clinton’s corner? What could possibly make Obama think he could win here at all, let alone ‘big’?

One word: race.

Last week at my workplace, a black co-worker overheard Obama speaking on television, and commented in my presence that Obama inspired this person, and that this person couldn’t wait to vote for him.

I asked what positions of Obama’s had inspired this level of support. What beliefs did he have, what specific programs was he putting forth, what ideas was he espousing that had inspired so much support and enthusiasm.

The co-worker responded only with the statement “You know, just once before I die. Just once…” before trailing off in thought.

I replied with “Just once, what?” The person replied “Just once. That’s all I’m sayin.” Nothing more.

Left as the implication was that just once this person would like to see someone of their race elected to the presidency, and that was why Obama was receiving their vote.

No other reason. No policy. No idea. No program. Only one thing mattered: race.

I put to you that this person was a microcosm of black voter thought throughout the city and across the Commonwealth. Otherwise, what else would cause 92% of blacks to vote for a candidate who otherwise received the support of less than half the party, and indeed lost, state-wide?

Now, I may surprise you with my next statement: I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing, or an illegitimate reason to support a candidate. I fully understand and sympathize with the idea that one would love to see someone of a similar background to theirs win election to our nation’s highest office.

Do you really think that my Irish-Catholic ancestors a generation ago weren’t ecstatic when JFK was elected, in large part relating to his Irish-American heritage and his Catholicism? They absolutely were, and they should have been.

But let’s not pretend that race is not only one factor, but the single, overriding, decisive factor, at least in the minds of the vast majority of the black community.

I also may surprise you with another statement, especially those who feel that the mere mention of race makes one a racist, a bigot, a Neanderthal, whatever: I would absolutely vote for a black candidate for the office of President of the United States, or any other office for that matter.

Of course for me, I wouldn’t be doing it because they were black, just as I won’t vote for a white man, an Asian woman, or anyone else because of their race or sex. I would vote for someone because they actually support many of the same ideals that I support.

This is where I believe the black community is making a mistake.

I could be wrong, but I believe that the vast majority of the black community does not want further taxes taken from their paychecks. I believe they do care if Islamofascist terrorists blow up the arena in which their favorite basketball team plays. I do believe that they care whether those same terrorists take over the school that their children attend. I believe that they do not want to go to work for forty or more hours each week, only to have their money taken and given to someone else who could work but won’t.

I believe that most black Americans are proud to call themselves Americans, are proud to serve their country. They understand that America is the greatest land in the history of mankind for equality and opportunity.

I believe that most Americans regardless of race are God-fearing folks who don’t want to hear rhetoric and excuses and whining. They want to be told the truth, and they want serious people in office representing them in all important matters.

In other words, I believe that at heart, most black Americans would be far better off served as to what they truly believe are their core values by the Republican Party.

If they can begin to see through the rhetoric spewed by many of the race-baiting leaders in their community, men like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and begin to evaluate what the candidates stand for rather then what the color of their skin is, those black voters would find attractive candidates of every race.

Race matters, make no mistake, and it will play a huge part in the upcoming Presidential election if the Democratic candidate turns out to be Senator Obama.

I wish it weren’t so, I wish it didn’t matter; I wish everything could simply be decided on ideas alone, but that is simply ignoring reality.

If the Inquirer or anyone else wants to prove me wrong, produce the numbers to back up your claims. But my bet is that the topic continues to be ignored, or minimized, by the increasingly irrelevant established media.