Tributes to David Cohen
- The Daily News offers a timeline of his life including such highlights as
A lousy paperhanger, but a bright student, he is sent off to the University of Pennsylvania by his brothers, first in family to go to college.Not a man for the sidelines.
. . .
Graduates from Penn's Law school, but, after a one year fellowship with law school dean, finds Philadelphia law firms aren't hiring Jewish lawyers. Goes to Washington to practice law with FDR's New Deal Rural Electrification Administration.
. . .
When other lawyers fear government retribution, Cohen agrees to defend a Philadelphia man in the anti-Communist witch-hunt of the McCarthy era.
. . .
Leads a group of attorneys taking testimony in Mississippi to prove racial bias in voter registration. Joins Martin Luther King's march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.
- The Inquirer offers a sober summary of much of the same history, but fleshed out a bit more into prose, and complete with quotes from local leaders. (This piece also gives the time for the funeral and related information.)
"He was our conscience," said U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, who also is the city Democratic Party chairman. "David fought for people who couldn't fight for themselves."He may seem a fixture now, but he had to fight his way into city politics from far outside the machine...
"You always respected him because you knew the things he talked about were things he believed," Rendell said. "He didn't have any ulterior motives. How can you not respect someone like that, especially in this day and age when so many politicians believe in so little?"
- The Inquirer also carries a brief editorial tribute, titled "He was a towering figure in city politics."
- The Daily News offers two additional longer pieces, one somewhere between profile and tribute, called Voice for the voiceless is forever silenced.
"I think his key belief was the common humanity that we all share, regardless of race, religion or class. He believed we all shared common values and that there is potential goodness in everyone," said [State Rep. Mark] Cohen, the oldest of four children.The second, called Political landscape won't be the same looks a little at his impact and a little at what will come now, especially the possible battles over nominating and/or electing his successor.
"David was the political conscience of the city and his voice will be missed," said former Councilman Angel Ortiz, Cohen’s key ally in the 90s and until his defeat in 2003. "The powerless of the city, without voice, have lost the voice today."
- Finally, the Inquirer also has the obligatory political speculation piece (very short), looking ahead to the special election that could be called to fill Cohen's At-Large Council position for the two years remaining in his term. Apparently such an election takes 60 days notice, so it can't be combined with the regular fall elections. Would seem strange for his position to stay open for a year, but I guess that's a possibility.
Update: Young Philly Politics has an open thread for personal memories of David Cohen and other related sentiments.