Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Don't forget -- It's time to pick City Council!

VOTE, shaped to match the famous LOVE sculpture in Philadelphia

Monday, May 16, 2011

ACM's Voter Guide for May 17 Democratic primary

Yes, there's an election tomorrow! Which, if nothing else, may reshape City Council for the next decade. With all the government functions being pushed down from federal to state and local levels, this means a lot of important decisions may fall upon the shoulders of the people we elect this year. Nevertheless, low turnout is expected, so anybody who cares needs to get their vote logged!

checkboxI offer the following thoughts, listed in order of regional importance, rather than ballot position (which often delays the races we care about to the very end):
City Council, At-Large (5 votes allowed)

None of the incumbents is terrible, but few of them are inspiring either. For my money, Bill Green deserves a second term on the basis of his attempts to help make the city's business taxes make sense for both small businesses that live here and large corporations that hide elsewhere but do a lot of trade here. He's much more progressive in general than I expected from his original machine support, so I'd like to see more. For new blood, I'd like to see Sherrie Cohen, a longtime community activist from the Germantown area (and daughter of longtime Council liberal flagbearer David Cohen) in office, as well as Andy Toy (who seems to have a lot of momentum this year, although I'm not sure I ever really see him between council elections). You might stop there, or consider Wilson-Goode and Reynolds-Brown to fill out the slate. (I know little about most of the other newcomers in the race.)

City Council, District reps. (1 in your area)

A lot of incumbents have stepped aside this year, so these races are where a lot of changes are guaranteed to happen. Some have several great candidates, others nobody I'd want to see in office -- so it goes. If you want to read more about the choices, the Committee of 70 has full lists and links to profiles/interviews here.

  1. Jeff Hornstein stands out (over the listless Joe Grace, crazy Vern Anastasio, or machine-backed Mark Squilla).
  2. No recommendation among Barbara Capozzi, Tracey Gordon, and Kenyatta Johnson, all underwhelming in various ways.
  3. Incumbent Blackwell runs unopposed, sorry.
  4. Incumbent Jones unopposed.
  5. Incumbent Darrell Clarke challenged by Suzanne Carn -- I know nothing about this race or the challenger.
  6. Martin Bednarek over Bob Henon (apparent Doc tool).
  7. Maria Quinones Sanchez over Daniel Savage in a big way.
  8. What a mess. Greg Paulmier by a nose over Cindy Bass (who appears to have accepted aid from a Voldemort-like figure in neighborhood politics), in a field including Andrew Lofton, Robin Tasco, Howard Treatman, and Verna Tyner.
  9. I know nothing about the race between incumbent Marian Tasco and challengers Bobby Curry and Lamont Thomas.
  10. Bill Rubin runs unopposed (incumbent is Republican).

Sorry I haven't been more attuned in all of the districts, but things have been interesting in the 1st (where DiCicco's departure was a surprise), and I've also been trying to figure out the 8th, where the departure of Reed-Miller left a huge vacuum and an overcrowded race.

City Commissioner

Stephanie Singer and Blair Talmadge offer a real chance to modernize this office (which oversees elections), looking to replace long-time incumbent Marge Tartaglione, who has continually resisted calls for change and has all the bad habits of the city political machine. (At our ward meeting, Tartaglione actually responded to the question of why she wanted the position for yet another term by saying some variant of: What else am I going to do, bump around the house? Out!) Singer, in particular, has been working to make the city's voter lists and election results more widely available and seems tailor-made for this position.


We're already way ahead because the incumbent has resigned. I favor Jon Kromer over Jewell Williams, but if either of those wins, the office will look pretty different in a few years!


There are judges at all levels running this year, including the usual heap of aspirants to Common Pleas. Here are my recommendations, drawn from a combination of organizational endorsements, surveys of regional lawyers, and the opportunity to hear from many of them in my Ward:

  • PA Commonwealth Court (1 vote): Kathryn Boockvar

  • Common Pleas (up to 10): Giovanni Campbell, Charles Ehrlich, Sayde Ladov, Carolyn Nichols, Kenneth Powell, Barbara McDermott, Daine Grey, Jr., Roger Gordon, Diana Anhalt

  • Municipal Court (1 vote): Nycole Watson

  • Traffic Court (1 vote): Robert Tuerck
Well, that about does it -- any other offices are unopposed or, you know, involve Milton Street, heh. Don't forget to vote!