And now, the rest of the races

Philadelphia City Council is about to undergo the largest change in recent memory.


Council candidates Melissa Robbins (left) and Donavan W. West

A raft of incumbents ran away from their offices as if they were stocked with cases of Bud Light.

Philly has 17 Council people — 10 District, which represent geographic chunks of the city, and seven At-Large, which represent the entire city. 

The six departures — all of whom left to run for mayor — were Republican David Oh, District Councilwomen Maria Quinones Sanchez, and Cherelle Parker, both Democrats, and Democratic At-Large Councilpeople Helen Gym, Allan Domb and Derek Green. In addition, Democratic District Councilman Bobby Henon “left” to start a jail sentence. That’s almost half of the clown car.

Oops. Sorry about the snark. Force of habit.

There are almost 30 candidates for those seven seats.


Because Philadelphia is overrun with public-spirited citizens who are burning to make important changes in the way the city operates.

Just kidding.

How about the $142,751 minimum annual salary? Plus benefits, pension and summers off. The average Philadelphia household income is $62,649.

Not to say everyone is in it for the money, but some are.

With all that said, we have to elect someone. You get up to five choices on Tuesday, and these are my choices in the Democratic primary. Who you choose is up to you, but do vote. It does matter. (Fun Fact: The Democratic Party endorsed only four.)

Fox Chase political strategist Melissa Robbins is a long shot, but I don’t usually endorse on the basis of favorable odds. She knows politics, she knows what works, and is an Army veteran. There should be at least one veteran on Council.

Center City businessman Donavan W. West was the CEO of the African-American Chamber of Commerce and has a better idea of how to lift Blacks out of poverty than most white progressives.

Kensington incumbent Jim Harrity knows more about fixing the blight than most, with special attention to those with substance abuse problems, because he was a drunk for a long time, with 10 years of sobriety. 

Council insider Eryn Santamoor served as deputy managing director under Michael Nutter, chief of staff to Allan Domb, and is endorsed by Nutter and Ed Rendell, both centrists. She is smart and balanced.

Former director  of Olde City District Job Itzkowitz is an attorney who has helped create friendly business conditions, economic development and trash pickup. He’s been a City Hall insider and I’ve got to sympathize with someone named Job. 

There are a couple of others I like, and a couple I hate, but I know throwing those names in would just confuse things.  



Former prosecutor Michael Untermeyer offers the best opportunity to clean up the snake’s nest run by the incumbent, who succeeded the sheriff who went to jail.

City Commissioners

There are two candidates and two openings. Sigh. OK — Omar Sabir and Lisa Deeley.


Acting city controller Christy Brady is the logical choice.

Register of Wills

Once an employee in that office, plus other City Hall jobs, Rae K. Hall is the way I will go.

Finally, how about those ballot questions? Usually, few people vote on these and those who do usually vote yes. They shouldn’t.

Question 1 would increase contribution to the so-called “rainy day fund” to shield the city from unexpected financial demands. Yes.

Question 2 would create a Division of Workforce Solutions within the Commerce Department. Duplicative. No.

Question 3 would make employees of the Citizens Police Oversight Commission exempt from civil service. It will make them more independent. Yes.

Question 4 wants to create an Office of Chief Public Safety Director. It’s another level of bureaucracy, at $265,000. No.

3 thoughts on “And now, the rest of the races”

  1. Why does it take so many people to run the City into the ground? One or maybe two could do the job, and think of the money the City would save.

  2. Oh Great Soothsayer and Wise Man, Stu, You are correct on your choices, esp Michael Untermeyer for Sheriff to really clean up that office, the modern day Eliot Ness

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