Friday, August 25, 2006


Philadelphia City Council President Anna Verna officially announced yesterday that this fall's elections will include the selection of new City Councilfolk to fill the three currently empty seats (left by Cohen's death, Mariano's imprisonment, and Nutter's resignation). Of course, voters won't have a lot of choice in electing their new representatives, as special elections replace any sort of primary with a process involving only the city's Ward Leaders. Many names are mentioned as contenders for the annointment (with the most likely being some of the Ward Leaders themselves). Winners will have to run again in the May primary next year...


Blogger Philadelphia NOW said...

special elections: an undemocratic process

The August 26 DN reports that in November 2006 three special elections will be held, including one to fill the 7th Council District seat formerly held by Rick Mariano.

The 7th Council District is over 50% Latino and one of the candidates vying for the seat is Maria Quinones Sanchez, a strong progressive candidate endorsed by Philadelphia NOW and Pennsylvania NOW.

Yet despite Quinones Sanchez’ stellar credentials and the demographics of the district, it appears that the Democratic nominee may be one of two non-Latino ward leaders, neither of whom can match Quinones Sanchez’ record of service to the community.

Our process is fundamentally undemocratic. The Democratic and Republican ward leaders choose the nominees for their parties and the voters decide between the Democrat chosen by the Democratic ward leaders and the Republican chosen by the Republican Party ward leaders. And ward leaders have a tendency to nominate other ward leaders.

May be this would make sense if we had a two party system in this town. At least the voters would play some role in the decision making process. But in most districts, the decision is made in the Democratic primary and winning the Democratic nomination is tantamount to winning the election.

So the ward leaders make the choice—not the voters. True, there will be an opportunity for the voters to make a choice in Spring 2007 primary election, but the winner of the 2006 special election will as an incumbent have a considerable advantage.

The voters of the 7th district and indeed all Philadelphia voters should be outraged.

posted on
Karen Bojar
President, Phila NOW

6:04 PM  

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