Friday, April 20, 2007

Philadelphia: where even the outsiders are insiders

The Daily News has a piece today looking at this year's Council races and particularly at the power of incumbency. One interesting thing to me was the note that it's pretty common for a few Council incumbents to get ousted each year; the pessimistic conventional wisdom sometimes makes you feel that it's much rarer than that (and, indeed, only one was replaced in 2003).

More frustrating to me was to read their speculations about the At-Large challengers that "have a chance" -- again and again I hear enthusiasm for Marc Stier, Andy Toy, and Matt Ruben from a range of quarters, but here they match Stier with Bill Green and Sharif Street as among the top newcomers. Newcomers? Sons of a past and the current mayor, respectively, both Green and Street offer a high ratio of name recognition to community service, especially compared with a lot of the other contenders this year. Well, only the election will tell who carries the day; it would sure be heartening to me, though, if meaningful message and hard work by dedicated volunteers could offset some of the power of insider status. If not this year, then when?


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