Thursday, January 31, 2008

Political intrigues

Two big and one small intrigue in the news over the last week, which could make the spring quite interesting:
  • Showing that some incumbents are more equal than others, the Democratic City Committee is once again bypassing State Rep. Tony Payton in favor of endorsing one of his more establishment-connected opponents. Nothing like embracing the youthful and energetic wing of the party and encouraging the flourishing of progressive politics citywide! Even Ed Rendell thinks this move is folly. I guess the local hacks would rather have back the empty suit who occupied the seat before Payton came along...

  • Meanwhile, matters in the 1st State Senatorial District just took a turn for the even more bizarre, with news that Johnny "Doc" Dougherty is circulating petitions for the primary. Lessee, voters in the district either (a) like Fumo (either from past favors or the sense that he's being unfairly prosecuted), in which case they're unlikely to switch allegiance to perpetual nemesis Doc, or (b) are disgusted by Fumo's hundreds of indictments and see him as a representative of All That's Wrong In Harrisburg, in which case consummate insider Doc doesn't seem like quite the breath of fresh air they'd be looking for (while activist Dicker is a prime alternative). I suppose that there are some folks who (c) have never really liked Fumo but never had another choice, in which case Doc could represent a familiar and thus nonthreatening option (of the One of Us sort) -- but are there really many folks in this category anymore? (And if Doc had a big fan base of his own, wouldn't he have run for mayor?)

    I guess only time will tell how this plays out, but count me as among those hoping that Doc would serve to split the Old-Timer vote, leaving Dicker a wide-open field for those looking for reform, energy, and good ideas.

  • Meanwhile, progressive Ward Leader Terry Gillan is stepping down to take a city job in the Nutter administration. (Does this mean that Nutter is stepping down too? I find the Ward Leader rules, ahem, a bit opaque.) Gillan was instrumental in the revolt that led to a subset of WL's endorsing Nutter rather than Brady, and I suspect she sowed other good sorts of trouble out of the public eye. She also ran for State Rep. some years back, but will hardly be missed in the already crowded race to challenge Babette Josephs this year. Anyway, I hope that Gillan has great ideas for economic development in Philly, especially in bringing some progressive outlooks to a traditionally more conservative aspect of city government. (I don't know enough about the 30th Ward to guess who might step up to succeed her there.)


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gleanings from last week

(Sans Monday, which I had off in every sense...)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Senate primary forum

I've got some round-up stuff from last week to get to, but am totally working on half the sleep (and thus half the work-rate) that I need, so that's all on hold. Just wanted to point out Albert's write-up of the Neighborhood Networks forum for the 1st District Senate race, also known as Fumo v. Dicker. Should be an interesting test of the strength of a corrupt old warhorse against a determined reformer, but in a context where there's just much more to it at every stage, especially with a rainmaker of Fumo's stature. Anyway, Vince passed on this forum, but it was a chance to hear from the challengers, at least...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Gleanings from last week

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A smattering of recent stories

A few that still stand out after several days have passed:
  • Nutter's appointee as the Director of the Office of Research, Planning, and Policy is somebody well qualified to address the city's needs for zoning reform and community housing development, which bodes well for the new mayor's attention to those topics. Thanks to Jen for helping us see the significance of one in the deluge of recent picks.

  • Philly's new police chief signals that things are going to change with him at the top. Some groans from mid-level commanders, but this sounds like wise stuff.

  • Nutter can't do anything about Street's legacy or last-minute pay-grab, but apparently he's going to review his late appointments, which conveniently included his son, among other pals (and even himself).

  • PA's freshman US Senator Bob Casey defends his record of quiet work and hefty earmarks for the state. Um, yay?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Defibrillator, please!

Can somebody tell me how we can still be at this point in discussions of property tax revaluations in Philadelphia? I mean, the numbers have been available (at least everywhere that homes have been selling), the issues have been pretty clear (nobody wants to tax grandma out of her house now that it's worth something), and I've heard nothing about Council bills or activist coalitions to get something substantive underway. Each article over the last 3+ years has read almost identically to this one . . .

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

We have a new mayor

Yunno, John Street just left a bad taste, what with his last-minute money-grab at the expense of city coffers. But for incoming Michael Nutter, it's all garlands so far.
My mom's in town, so couldn't make either the inaugural or tonight's planned open house, I'm sorry to say, but I hope to have other opportunities to see the new mayor in action. Best of luck to him and to the city!