Former Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once quipped that “all politics is local.” He was correct in his assessment, yet city elections continually go unnoticed. Only 10 percent of Philadelphia’s registered voters will be voting on Nov. 3.
Voters should be deeply concerned, specifically with regards to two important positions that are up for grabs. They will be selecting a new city controller and a new district attorney. Crime and fiscal policy are two areas in need of serious reform and for the first time in quite a while, there are two competitive, competent Republican candidates running for these offices that people should consider supporting.
The Philadelphia Inquirer recently endorsed Al Schmidt’s city controller campaign. The reason behind his growing support is that he has experience as an auditor that his opponent, the incumbent city controller, Democrat Alan Butkovitz, doesn’t have. Schmidt spent four years as a senior policy analyst for the Government Accountability Office, a non-partisan investigative arm of congress.
In a city wrought with government waste, fraud and abuse, it is vital for a city controller to be nonpartisan. During his campaign, Schmidt has been very critical of both parties, including Republicans who oversee the Philadelphia Parking Authority. In order to bring common sense back to Philadelphia we need an individual outside of the entrenched Democratic Party to act as a fiscal watchdog.
Mike Untermeyer will provide a strong foundation for law and order and is the best choice for district attorney. He supports many common sense firearms proposals. A zero tolerance policy toward illegal handguns and a proposed mandatory minimum sentence for gun offenses are the cornerstones of his firearms policy.
His bail reform ideas are of equal importance, especially during a time when Mayor Nutter is whining to Harrisburg lawmakers about Philadelphia being broke like an 8-year-old who dropped an ice cream cone. The city is owed more than $1 billion due to this absurd bail system. Untermeyer has also proposed electronic monitoring for criminal defendants. Implementing this system could also save the city considerable amounts of money due to the fact that it only costs $97 a day to imprison an inmate versus $8 a day to use electronic monitoring.
For 50 years there has been a one-party rule in Philadelphia. Without a second party acting as a check on the majority party, the free flow of political ideas will continue to be stifled. When a city with the highest total tax burden in the country is crying broke, it is obvious that not enough is being done to make government run more efficiently. Untermeyer and Schmidt both dwell outside of Philadelphia’s political establishment and offer the checks and balances this city needs. This is the best chance that citizens of this city have had for real reform in years, and a vote for them is a vote against decades of the status quo.
President of Temple College Republicans