The Daily News, local NPR affiliate WHYY, and citizen watchdog group The Committee of Seventy have collaborated to launch TheNextMayor.com
, a site to track Philadelphia's already busy competition for the 2007 Mayor's race -- see this piece
at the DN outlining what they hope the site will achieve.
"The focus of the project is on the issues, not the personalities, that face Philadelphia and the region," said WHYY's president and chief executive, William J. Marrazzo. "We will ask voters through focus groups, polls and extensive interviews to identify the issues they want the next mayor to tackle."
A neat idea. Today (the site's launch date) the following content is already available:
- photos and profiles of the six frontrunners in this far-in-advance horserace (Dougherty, Evans, Fattah, Knox, Nutter, Saidel), with short bits on the three other names most frequently mentioned as possibles (Blackwell, Brady, Rizzo).
- Links to recent election reform news (from radio and print sources).
- A collection of news stories from Chicago, to look at what lessons we might learn from their experience. (Unclear whether they mean reform or mayor-picking -- skimming the first story, it appears to be about general planning for the future, and how the mayor can pull the city together.)
- A story about how/whether Philadelphia can be put on track to a "better future."
There's a link for email feedback, but nothing yet in the way of discussion forums or comments sections. Anyway, the candidate profiles are already a great resource -- will be interesting to see what direction the site evolves in. It's clearly using the distant mayoral race as an excuse to do some exploration of wider questions about city planning and Philadelphia's future. Best of luck to them in keeping that going.