It’s not November yet, but it sure feels like election season. We’ve got some interesting personalities vying
to be this city’s next mayor. And, as far as I can tell, absolutely none of them are worth voting for.
Let’s look at the facts – broken down by party affiliation.
We’ve got an overflowing roster of potential Democratic candidates (and that isn’t even including Milton Street – the current mayor’s brother – and the hullabaloo he caused through the end of February and the beginning of March).
There’s businessman Tom Knox and U.S. Rep. Bob Brady. Both are formerly working-class stiffs who are now richer than your average Philadelphian. However, they haven’t forgotten their roots, as they have said so explicitly in their strikingly similar television ads. These commercials make it seem as though these two candidates are engaged in some battle to see who can make the voters crave Prozac most (My money’s on Brady. Knox has a picture of himself canoodling baby tigers on his MySpace.com page to counteract his depressing ads.)
Then, there’s state Rep. Dwight Evans, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and former City Councilman Michael Nutter. Fattah, who brought his campaign to Main Campus last month has some controversial ideas.Fattah proposed a plan to charge a $16 daily fee to drive into Center City. That makes him a less than desirable candidate. Evans, on the other hand, is reaching out to younger voters, which is commendable.
However, his attempt at courting these younger voters through a painfully boring MySpace video shows that he knows absolutely nothing about the attention spans of twenty-something voters. And listing “Dancing with the Stars” as his favorite television show on that same MySpace page doesn’t buy him any street credit either. As for Nutter, he might be the best thing to ever happen
But we wouldn’t know, because he spent too much time whining over Milton Street’s 19-day spring through mayoral candidacy.
Rounding out the Democratic potentials is Queena Bass, the lone woman on the primary ballot, and Jesus White, a part-time security guard living in temporary housing. Bass’s campaign is entirely based on love. No real plans for changing things. Just love.
The Republicans only have one candidate: Al Taubenberger of Northeast Philadelphia. There also hasn’t been a Republican mayor of Philadelphia in 55 years. Sorry Al, it’s probably not going to happen.
And then there is the zaniest addition to the mayoral race since Milton Street. Larry West, 22-year-old mohawked metal head from Mt. Airy, announced during Milton
Street’s March 1 rally that he would be campaigning for the Independent write-in nomination.
Despite being three years shy of the age requirement to run for mayoral office, West has found a loophole – the state charter only asks that candidates be 18, while the city charter requires candidates to be 25 years of age. West is currently asking City Council to lower the city requirement to 21 years.
There’s no word yet if they’ve even considered this proposal. One thing is certain, though. West has merchandise and lots of it. Visit his Web site, www.larrywestformayor.com, and check out the plethora of T-shirts, coffee mugs, dog apparel and other accessories that you can purchase to support his cause. With about eight months until the election actually occurs, there are bound to be countless more strange occurrences in this mayoral race.
There is only one thing that we can be sure of, though: It’s always silly in Philly.
Erica Palan can be reached at