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Pols talk politics, 2015 mayors race, more at Relish

Elected officials flocked to Relish restaurant in West Oak Lane on primary Election Day to discuss politics, the 2015 mayors race and more.

Ryan Boyer, business manager for the Laborers District Council of the Metropolitan Area of Philadelphia and Vicinity said the city's next mayor should have a "vision."

"The city charter calls for a strong mayor and we need a mayor supremely committed to working people and creating those relationships that will allow deals to happen," Boyer said.

Some politicos and political insiders have said City Council president Darrell Clarke should consider a 2015 mayoral run. Labor leader John Dougherty made his first ever appearance to Relish and said he thought Clarke would be a strong candidate. (And because some could not make it to Famous in South Philly this afternoon for the Election Day luncheon there, Dougherty brought with him some Famous cookies to share. Mostly African-American politicians have gathered at Relish on Election Day, a tradition state Rep. Dwight Evans started four years ago.)

Meanwhile, voter turnout has been especially low at the polls meaning this is a "committeeman's election" and those backed by labor unions and the political machine will have an advantage. But Sheriff Jewel Williams said heavy advertising and a real get-out-the-vote effort could change that.

Williams and other elected officials predicted that City Controller Alan Butkovitz would win reelection. He faces second-time candidate Brett Mandel, who ran for the seat in 2009 and Mark Zecca, veteran at the Law Department. Butkovitz, who also showed up to Relish after visiting the Famous was confident he would win.

In other news abuzz at Relish state legislators are not too happy with how the Nutter administration handled the issues facing the School District. The School District needs $60 million from the city and $120 million from the state to close a $304 million budget gap. Nutter wants to increase taxes on liquor and cigarettes, but he needs the state's help. Some state lawmakers believe the administration was aware long ago of the school district's request and are frustrated with the administration's "last ditch appeal," a source said.

State Rep. Cherelle Parker, chairwoman of the Philadelphia delegation said in order to get things done in Harrisburg elected officials in Philadelphia should be on the same page.

"We have to be solidified and unified in Philadelphia for what we petition the state for as we attempt to pursue passage of this initiative," Parker said.