Yesterday the Philadelphia Daily News ran a story titled “Libertarian City Council candidate facing new federal drug troubles,” about our candidate for Philadelphia City Council Nikki Allen Poe. Mr. Poe and his campaign staff are neither shocked nor embarrassed that the article highlighted the more eye-grabbing mention of the candidate’s failed drug tests, within the US Probation’s office request to modify the terms of Mr. Poe’s 1 year probation. We are disheartened that Christopher Brennan, the News’s political editor and author of the story, selected that element to the exclusion of almost any other and misrepresented its role in this latest move by the federal authorities to extend restrictions upon Mr. Poe’s political activity and associations.
We would prefer not to dignify smears with response, however the incomplete information provided by Mr. Brennan in his online article now combined with a plainly misleading title for the print edition compels us to release the following statement:
Mr. Poe has made his current legal circumstance an open matter of discussion in his campaign, and he is not ashamed about any public disclosure regarding his case. He is currently serving a year of probation for misdemeanor offenses incurred as a result of his organization and participation in Smokedown Prohibition.
There are no conditions of Mr. Poe’s probation which limit his capacity to run for or serve on City Council, nor would any of the requested modifications to his sentence which were reported in the Daily News detract from his ability to campaign or hold office in the City of Philadelphia.
Mr. Brennan based his story on the latest filing, which set the date for a hearing before Judge Perkins, the judge who sentenced Poe. The hearing will be held tomorrow afternoon in Allentown, and was requested by Mr. Poe as the alternative to waiving a judge’s approval and accepting his Probation officer’s proposal without any challenge.
The hearing was not, as reported in the Daily News, precipitated by any issue with drug use by Poe, though the document cited by Brennan, which the Daily News neglected to provide a link to or reference for, does include drug use admitted by Poe under the heading for causes for the Probation office’s request. The mention of Poe’s admitted taking of pills and cocaine and his failed drug screens is not, however, the featured issue cited by the Probation officer and is in fact a recent addition. It is also one that has been resolved via referral to one hour a week outpatient drug counseling sessions (a fact mentioned in the document available to Mr. Brennan).
We’d like you to read both documents for yourself. Below is the original request, click for a larger image, and the most recent can be found here.
While we are disappointed that the Daily News has chosen the vapid and uncannily constructive over the substantive, and failed to report on our promoted campaign issues, we do welcome this opportunity for additional dialogue. The drug use was admitted by Poe, occurred prior to his candidacy. He has been clean since, with two negative screens to prove it. Part of what we love about Poe is his resistance to arbitrary authority, but he opted for a council run to become a part of returning authority to all of us. We will not allow ourselves to be stigmatized offhand by drug use, recreational or otherwise, and we the Poe for City Council Campaign are, again, very much on the go, and we intend to win the vacant at-large seat for the people of Philadelphia.
We will issue a short informational statement tomorrow afternoon giving the disposition of the hearing, and tomorrow night, Poe wants everyone there for his reddit AMA at 7:00 pm.
On behalf of the Committee to Elect Nikki Allen Poe, thank you, thank you thank you, for helping us Spark a Change.
-Kenneth Lipp, Campaign Manager and Consigliere to the Raven