This morning on Twitter, Technically Philly's Christopher Wink raised the interesting question of how people will look back on DROP, the retirement incentive program that's been exploited by elected officials who "retired" for a day and returned to office.
Partly this will depend on whether Marian Tasco, who did the DROP dance, winds up as Council president. But overall, DROP's record is pretty clear: It was, as Chris Brennan wrote in the Daily News this morning, "political poison" that forced several politicos to retire and led to two others' defeat.
The other piece of this question is what DROP tells us about the ability of the Philly public to demand better of its elected officials. You could look at the whole DROP misadventure as an encouraging sign: Politicians did something screwy, the public got mad, and lo and behold, the people who did the screwy thing got punished. Change is possible!
On the other hand, the attention paid to DROP in media and in campaigns was totally disproportionate to the size of the problem in terms of dollars and cents. We're not saying it was wrong -- the outrage was appropriate to the egregiousness of the problem -- but when it comes to city finances, DROP is a tiny matter. Change is hard!
So: Are you happy that DROP turned out to be "poison"? Or are you just depressed that it took so much effort to fix this small, obvious problem?
UPDATE/REMINDER: DROP NOT DEAD! The Committee of Seventy just put out an "In the Know" about what happens next with DROP. There are a number of ways the issue could continue to haunt Philly politics, including the possible enrollment of elected officials. See, Council passed a law eliminating DROP for officials first elected after Sep. 2009. But nine members of Council are still eligible. If they enroll, we recommend calling them "DROP zombies."