Here’s where I give a former colleague credit for joining me in asking hard, appropriate questions about Democratic Mayoral candidate Cherelle Parker.
In the Philadelphia Inquirer, columnist Helen Ubinas, a traditional liberal, bravely writes that Parker has a history of opaqueness — not transparency — and a habit of ducking questions she does not like.
Earlier this month, I called Parker out after the Inquirer reported her staffers were playing games with reporters, and trying to be the gatekeeper of the gatekeepers.
She was also accurately accused of stiffing truly independent journalists, such as myself. Parker ignored interview invitations from me, someone who is independent and who has been a Philadelphia journalist longer than she has been in public office.
This is the kind of “stonewalling and obfuscation the city may face under Parker, who is poised to become the city’s 100th mayor,” Ubinas writes.
After mentioning Jim Kenney, Ubinas says that “we don’t need another chief executive in City Hall who deflects blame, shrinks from a challenge, and finds accountability contemptible.”
Ubinas recounts that after winning the primary, Parker ducked her own victory party and public appearances for days, claiming a dental emergency that has never been fully explained.
I’ve had a few dental emergencies over the years, and was never laid up. Was hers worse than mine? I can’t say because she never came clean about her dental issues.
Nor has she come clean, Ubinas says, about her drunk-driving arrest in 2011, when she a member of the Pennsylvania house and was pulled out from behind the wheel of a state-owned car with a alcohol blood level twice the legal limit.
Parker later tried to shift blame to the police, denying she had told them she had two beers and two chocolate martinis at a Germantown bar before getting behind the wheel and driving the wrong way down a one-way street. The breathalyzer was faulty, she claimed.
She fought the conviction in court, lost, and spent three days behind bars, was fined $1,000, and lost her driving license for a year.
Not a good look as she was running for the Council seat of her mentor and supporter, Marian Tasco, who was forced into retirement in the scandal involving Council members who walked away with hundreds of thousands of dollars in DROP retirement funds that were never intended for elected officials.
Parker refused to discuss the DUI during the campaign.
Acting like a monarch, already.
“The totality of these incidents warrants more discussion about Parker’s character and the soundness of her judgment,” Ubinas writes.
And because of this, Parker owes the city a debate with Republican nominee David Oh, something Parker has been dodging.
But that is a subject for another day.