The mayoral forum got good at the end

Tuesday night’s 90-minute Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce mayoral forum saved the best for last, if you hung in until the last 15 minutes.

Jeff Brown (left) and Allan Domb questioned each other

The event was streamed on 6ABC, and at the end solo moderator Matt O’Donnell gave the six participants a chance to ask questions of each other, which turned the forum into something like a debate, and the gloves came off.

Before I report on that, keep in mind this dynamic: Although most informed observers believe five of the six are bunched at the top (Amen Brown is thought to be out of it) the others all know who their primary opponent is, the one they think they have to beat.

The rules dictated each candidate could ask one other candidate a question.

So when Cherelle Parker chose to question Helen Gym, you know she was painting a bull’s eye on her back. And Parker came loaded with a full blunderbuss — the so-called “safe” injection sites that no neighborhood wants.

Parker said Gym was for them, and wanted to know where she would put them. This is a “when did you stop beating your husband” question.

Rather than be direct, Gym said she “wouldn’t take them off the table,” but said that wouldn’t be her first choice. Translation, she’s for them but would first — using a favorite phrase — “lean into” the community for input.

Advantage to Parker.

Amen Brown came to bat next and accused Rebecca Rhynhart of using the word “boys” to describe the two African-American mayors who are supporting her.

Aghast, she called that a lie, and in the commercial I believe Amen was referring to, Rhynhart used the term “guys,” not “boys.”

Point goes to Rhynhart.

Allan Domb then related when he wanted to run for mayor in 2015, political advisors told him to run for Council first, to, learn the ropes. Why didn’t you do that, he asked Jeff Brown, his chief nemesis.

Brown replied that Domb took bad advice and he “got sucked into a system of groupthink.”

Ouch! Point goes to Brown.

To return the favor, Brown wanted to know why the real estate guy proposed doubling the tax abatement for housing, with an implication that Domb was feathering his own nest.


But no — the trap didn’t work because Domb said if Brown had bothered to read the bill, he would have seen it was directed at housing under $250,000, which would have benefited lower-income people and help create generational wealth.

Point back to Domb. 

Gym said budgets are “moral documents” and wanted to know why Rhynhart was part of an administration (Michael Nutter’s) that closed firehouses and libraries.

Rhynhart replied in 2008 the city faced its worst-ever fiscal crisis and she helped pull the city through, even while following orders she may not have approved of.

Point to Rhynhart.

Rhynhart returned the favor by asking Gym why she opposed a cut in the business tax that the African-American Chamber of Commerce wanted.

Gym said she believed in “targeted tax cuts,” but earlier said she opposed tax cuts.

I would have preferred this format for the entire 90 minutes, but no one asked me.

9 thoughts on “The mayoral forum got good at the end”

  1. I agree with all your points to each candidate, Stu, felt like I was watching a good basketball game.
    All said and done, it seemed to me the most effective was Jeff Brown and Rebecca Rhynhart. Either one would make a good leader and a good mayor.

  2. I watched this debate and frankly, I was thinking “this was the best that they could come up with”? Jeff Brown seemed okay, nobody was a runaway, Parker sounded like a TV minister at the end. Rhynhart was also just okay. Somebody needs to be REALLY believable, there are no shoes to fill in city hall, It has been a Democratic City forever, nothing is good, nothing is getting better. I think whoever is chosen needs to be elected by a LARGE margin, just to show that the city cares enough to vote. Otherwise no matter who is chosen, it will be the same old same old, and Nothing will change.

      1. ANYBODY BUT GYM-KRASNER duopoly. Why wasn’t Gym called out for her hypocrisy: she rails against charter schools, yet she started one. And, she voted against requiring Big Pharma reps to list what freebies they give doctors, because her husband pushes drugs for AmeriSourceBergen, a company that recklessly pushed opioids on the American public.
        As much as I like Domb and respect what Brown has done with his stores, businessmen (& women) make bad gov’t executives. (see Trump).

  3. Both my spouse and I watched this in its entirety last night. First, hats off to Matt for being a very effective moderator. Second, I am convinced that Jeff Brown came out far ahead of everyone with his clear and to the point responses to all questions. He made a clear case that the political establishment is indeed the root cause and if not, a capable enabler, of the city’s ills. But, running very close to him in their clarity of vison, honest understanding & articulation of the problems, capacity to lead and depart from the status quo are both Mr. Domb and Ms. Rhynhart, What should be clear to everyone (hopefully) that Ms. Parker is a career and very skilled politician and we definitely do not need a bullhorn in a tailored lady’s suit in the office. And most importantly, that the physically diminutive but metaphorically angry giant of “Progressivism” Helen Gym is a clear and present danger to the health, well-being and ultimate survival to the patient in the bed, the City of Philadelphia. She has a place, but it ought to be an obscure coffee house in a leftist neighborhood as a barista chucking java and muffins to a captured audience of wet behind the ears college kids, majoring in (surprise) performance art.

  4. I think Cherelle Parker won this debate, hands down. She could be acceptable to me and I’m waiting for a Committee of 70 poll coming out the end of the week. Of it’s between Parker and Gym, I will gladly cast my vote for Parker.

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