For a brief moment this week, we thought our beloved mascot had committed his first furry faux pas. Gritty marched in the Pride Parade June 9 and unsurprisingly stole the show. He walked around with a pride flag. He danced with drag queens and posed for selfies with fans. News and photos of his revelry landed on OutSports.com and Teen Vogue.
But when parade organizers went to check the books this week, it looked like Gritty might have danced and dashed. Organizers could find no record of the Flyers organization registering and paying a fee to participate in the parade. (Fees range from $50 to $250 depending on the size of the group marching, and go toward the cost of putting on the parade.)
Philly Pride Presents, the organization that runs the parade, posted on Facebook that Gritty won the booby prize for failing to pay up, given that even the small nonprofits that participate still dish out the money.
Turns out it was all a miscommunication. (Those can happen with a mute mascot.) Fanny Price, the parade’s organizer, said there was a filing mix-up; the Flyers were registered to march with an organization, the You Can Play Project, which advocates for LGBTQ athletes. Organizers just missed the paperwork because it was filed under “brochures,” as in … fliers, Price said.
The police union and District Attorney Larry Krasner don’t really get along.
But for anyone who missed the message, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 this week decided to take its complaints to new heights.
Thursday morning, on I-95 north near Bridge Street, the union put up a billboard reading: “HELP WANTED. NEW PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY.”
Another billboard, southbound at Academy Avenue, asks for people to support police and crime victims.
And John McNesby, the union’s president, said the FOP next week would hire planes to tow banners at the Shore, from Cape May to Atlantic City, with similar messaging.
“Too many shootings. Too many murders,” McNesby said, echoing grievances he has leveled against Krasner for months. “There’s an element of bad people that are in this town that should be in jail, and if I’m one of those people, I’m doing cartwheels that Larry Krasner is district attorney.”
Jane Roh, spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office, called McNesby out of touch with voters who elected Krasner. “Instead of wasting members’ hard-earned dollars on billboards, John McNesby should figure out a way to deal with the 70-plus officers who were caught sharing hateful, bigoted beliefs on Facebook — and help the majority of our hardworking, dedicated, and modern-thinking police officers rebuild trust in the communities they serve," she said.
Krasner has said that many of the broadsides from his critics — including McNesby and U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain — were politically motivated, not supported by evidence, and failed to mention an overall violent crime rate that declined last year, or a study that evaluated the successes of his bail reforms.
“They’re going to do what Donald Trump does best,” Krasner said last week. “They’re going to shake a shiny object over here and hope you don’t look at any facts, or any studies, or anything of that sort.”
A billboard isn’t exactly shiny, but still, not a bad prediction.
The FOP also bought anti-DA billboards in 2017, when then-top prosecutor Seth Williams was in the midst of a downfall that ultimately ended with him in federal prison.
McNesby declined to specify how much the union planned to spend except to say: “We have authorization from the membership to spend whatever is needed.”
Speaking of people who don’t get along, former Philly Mayors John F. Street and Michael A. Nutter have feuded fiercely and publicly before.
But this week, Street and Nutter independently reflected on the state of the 2020 Democratic presidential campaigns with a very similar take: Hey Dems, get along!
Street released a statement scolding New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker for going after former Vice President Joe Biden’s comment that he knew how to get along with segregationist senators. “In a political climate dominated by our collective unwillingness to talk to each other and work across differences, Cory Booker has missed the point,” Street said.
Street acknowledged Biden “could have used more sensitive 2019 language,” but said: "We must be able to have honest and important conversations, even with the lawmakers who have oppressed and dehumanized us as African Americans, even with these people whom we have fought and opposed.”
Nutter, similarly, wrote a blog post this week, “Debate, Don’t Destroy,” encouraging campaigns to avoid personal attacks in the debates (something that largely came true in the first one, on Wednesday). He also drafted a pledge, which he proposed the candidates sign at the Democratic National Convention, promising to support and endorse the eventual nominee.
“It remains painfully clear that some of the bad feelings between some of the 2016 candidates and their supporters have not healed yet because of comments, statements or attacks made by any one candidate to another,” Nutter wrote. “We cannot allow this intra-party rancor and sniping to continue or grow.”