Last year's controversy about the potential sale of the Philadelphia Gas Works may serve as a point of contention among Republicans seeking public office in the May 19 primary election.
Mayor Nutter pushed the $1.86 billion deal to sell the city-owned utility to Connecticut-based UIL Holdings Corp. City Council President Darrell Clarke opposed the deal and no Council member introduced legislation to hold hearings about it. Citing "not enough political will to get this done," UIL killed the deal on Dec. 4.
Now consider this prosecutorial exchange at Tuesday night's Republican City Committee meeting between Councilman David Oh, who holds an at-large seat and is seeking a second term, Elmer Money, bidding for his party's support to run for mayor, and Mike Cibik, leader of the 5th Ward in Center City.
Money, responding to a question from Cibik, said he supported the PGW sale and wanted hearings held. Enter Oh:
Oh -- "Here's a question: what does the sale entail? What are the conditions, the terms and conditions for the sale that you're for it?"
Money -- "I think we have to..."
Oh -- "Did you read the contract?"
Money -- "I think that's why you have a public hearing. I did not say the sale is..."
Oh -- "You said you wanted to sell PGW."
Money -- "I do want to sell. I think there..."
Oh -- "Because of what benefit?"
Money -- "I think that if it affects the pension..."
Oh -- "Do you know that it does or it doesn't?"
Money -- "I don't know that it does."
Oh -- "O.K., so you don't know, number one. You just said you're going to sell it but you didn't read the contract, the terms and conditions. Would you introduce a bill that you don't know anything about? Would you introduce a bill you don't agree with?"
Cibik -- "David, let him answer the question."
Oh -- "He answered the question. He answered your question. Now he answered my question."
Cibik -- "You're talking all the time."
Cibik on Wednesday said he was only asking for Money's opinion and not "besmirching" Oh for not introducing legislation to hold hearings on the sale.
Oh on Wednesday said he is frustrated by candidates with opinions who have not read through the deal or had discussions with consultants about it.
"I think it's important for candidates to at least do due diligence before taking a position on something as complicated as the natural gas potential for Philadelphia," Oh said.