Fans of stirring mayoral races were left with little to look forward to after former Deputy Mayor Tom Knox announced this week he had decided not to take on Mayor Michael Nutter in a rematch. Instead, he joined his own former boss, Gov. Ed Rendell, in endorsing Nutter at a press conference in the Hyatt at Bellevue. In return for his backing, the Mayor announced Knox will head a newly formed Task Force on Facilities management and Disposition, to help the City pare down its building stock.
“I seriously considered entering this race,” Knox admitted. “But in order to succeed at it, I would have had to run a negative campaign. And that’s not me.”
Knox went on to stress Nutter has faced difficult choices during his first term in office. “It’s not easy to run a City when you have no money,” he stressed.
The ex-Governor, who has long been close to Knox, hailed a string of accomplishments by Nutter. Rendell said he had succeeded in attracting and retaining business, had promoted Philadelphia’s dynamic tourism industry and had pushed the city into the forefront of green planning. And he pointedly said Nutter “has been the best cheerleader the city’s ever had in advocating for it in Harrisburg. I was only moderately good at that when I was Mayor.”
Nutter said of Knox, “He loves this city and I am excited to be working with him.” The new Task Force would tap Knox’s legendary business and financial skills, he added.
With Knox out, Nutter faces no potential challenger with the stature, the resources or the endorsements which would be needed to unseat an incumbent in the May 17 Primary, petitions for which must be circulated now.
FEATHERMAN NEEDS A G.O.P. FIGHT
You would think John Featherman, the only Republican who has declared a run for Mayor this year, would be psyched that nobody else from his party wants to get into the race.
But Featherman is a political insurgent, part of a group that wants the Republican Party to stop acting like a subsidiary of the Democratic Party. So he could really use a GOP primary challenger to attack.
He worries an uncontested primary will mean little attention from the media and pollsters. He’s right.
Michael Meehan, general counsel for the Republican City Committee, said the search continues for a candidate to endorse.
One Republican ward leader asked us this week if we’d be interested in running for mayor. But he was only kidding. We think.
Meehan told us it is “highly unlikely” the party will back Featherman if no other candidate steps up for the Primary.
The GOP faces a tough challenge. Imagine considering a run for Mayor as a Republican in Philadelphia – where Democrats have a 6-to-1 voter advantage – but first you have to mud-wrestle Featherman in a Primary. That’s like being ordered to shoot yourself in the leg before heading off on a suicide mission.
7TH IS A REMATCH TO WATCH
Danny Savage, a former 7th Dist. Council Member and small-business owner, formally announced his campaign to return to Philadelphia’s City Council. Savage addressed supporters at a campaign kickoff event in the heart of the district.
“Four years ago, I had the privilege to serve my neighbors in the 7th Dist.,” Savage said. “Although I was in Council for only a short time, I am proud of my accomplishments and would like to build on the positive change I started.”
Savage was elected to City Council with nearly 90% of the vote in a 2006 special election. While in office, Savage improved his District’s business corridors and open spaces and streamlined the Dept. of Licenses & Inspection as chair of the L&I Council Committee. Savage also restored several playgrounds and recreation centers and launched community organized sports in many neighborhoods that hadn’t hosted a youth sports team in decades. Savage also worked to improve the quality of life for the District’s seniors, visiting more than 4,000 elderly residents and allocating nearly $200,000 to local senior centers.
Savage, a fourth-generation Frankford resident, has opened several successful small businesses and served in a variety of public positions. Since leaving office in 2008, Savage has coached several neighborhood youth sports teams and has been recognized for his efforts by several local and national youth sports organizations.
“I’m running to represent the 7th Dist. because I grew up here and I love my community,” Savage continued. “But we have too much crime and too few jobs, and it’s time for government to focus on protecting our neighborhoods and not just downtown.”
In conjunction with his announcement, Savage’s campaign launched its official website, www.savageforcouncil.com, which features his plan for the 7th Dist. According to reports filed in January, Savage’s campaign has more than $25,000 cash on hand and is currently expanding its staff.
CARN – REMOVED OR NOT?
Suzanne Harmon Carn, a candidate for the 5th Council Dist., is a registered voter at 3407 Ridge Avenue, along with her husband Andrew Carn, who is also registered to vote at that address.
Her husband purchased a CD of all the registered voters in the 5th Council Dist. on Feb. 15, 2011, and also picked up a set of Street Lists for the District.
Mr. Carn and his wife appeared at the Voter Registration Office on Feb. 16 to complain their names were removed from the voting rolls.
The Registration Commission reports, contrary to their charges, their names were never removed from the system. Registration Chief Bob Lee found their names in the system, as did three other workers, when the inquiry was made.
Lee suggested Mr. Carn and his wife Suzanne Harmon Carn were to bring the purchased CD back so it could be checked. They have not so far.
COUNCIL WARRIORS DO BATTLE WITH WEBSITE
1st Dist. Council Candidate will unveil a website that will show how Councilman Frank DiCicco’s $424,647 Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) benefit check could be better spent.
Also on the web are Cindy Bass in the 8th District Council Race, and Barbara Capozzi and State Rep. Kenyatta Johnson in the 2nd.
NOW THERE ARE EIGHT
Greg Paulmier, former ward leader of the 12th and long-time activist has entered the 8th Dist. race.
His chances this time look much better, according to friends who have supported him throughout his three tries at winning the 8th Dist. Primary.
This is his fourth try, but it is different in a big way. He’s been demoted from being his own campaign manager. Everyone is betting on the fact Lillian, his wife, who has taken on that chore, will do a very successful job this time. There are seven others in the race.