Friday, January 28, 2005

More rumored mayoral prospects

A full Who's Who of local politics showed up for an event at which City Controller Jonathan Saidel announced... that he wouldn't run for reelection. Heh.
Gov. Rendell, Mayor Street and U.S. Rep. Robert Brady (D., Pa.) headlined the formidable collection of political power on the stage with Saidel at the Wyndham Philadelphia at Franklin Plaza.

Joining them were State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo (D., Phila.); City Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell, a potential rival for mayor; City Council members Anna C. Verna, Jim Kenney, Juan F. Ramos and Frank DiCicco; several state representatives; and NAACP leader J. Whyatt Mondesire.

Even a fellow Democrat who is openly weighing a campaign for the city's top job, electricians' union leader John Dougherty, attended the event. "It's the proper thing to do, to pay respects," Dougherty said. "Whatever happens, I think it will be good for the city. We'll have an open exchange of ideas, and the people of Philadelphia will decide."
Saidel made clear that he's leaving this office in order to move up, not out of the limelight, but he can't officially declare his candidacy for Mayor without having to resign his position, so mums the word. But he certainly seems well qualified for the job, having worked with Rendell and Street during some financially difficult periods.
Analysts inside and outside city government have credited Saidel with being an activist controller, whose reports resulted in $500 million in cost savings or new revenue over the last 15 years. In recent years, Saidel has focused on the need to improve Philadelphia's business climate and reverse its population decline.
Will have to wait and see on this one, but there's certainly a lot of jockeying for position already in a race that won't be for another two years, at least.

Update: The Daily News has a much cattier take on this event.


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