FOR THOSE who doubt that dreams come true, please flash back to last September.
At that time, with the mayor's race still taking shape, with Jon Saidel and Johnny Doc still in the mix, with Chaka Fattah regarded a runaway favorite, I wrote about Michael Nutter's dream.
Then, it seemed far-fetched.
Today, it seems about to happen - although a little differently.
The dream was this: Loads of '06 Democrats win in Pennsylvania and across the nation and, for the first time in a long time, grab control of the U.S. House and state House.
A stretch, it seemed.
But Democrats did capture the U.S. House and, after a three-week recount of two Chester County races, the state House as well.
There was more.
The dream proposed that if Democrats grabbed power, then potential Democratic contenders for mayor already holding office - that would be Fattah, Dwight Evans and Bob Brady - would reconsider running.
Nutter (in dreamland) would host a meeting with those three then-unannounced mayoral hopefuls and convince them the best way to serve their city would be to stay right where they were.
He would say that the three clearly care more about Philly's people and its problems than about themselves or their ambitions, and so would remain in their respective offices to increase city clout.
Oh, and they'd all join behind candidate Nutter, roll over Saidel, Doc, Tom Knox and whoever else got in the way, all for the greater good.
A long stretch, I'll grant you, but, hey, it's a dream.
And I wrote at the time that the notion that major players in Philly politics subjugate themselves for the common good or let one of their own get ahead without fiercely fighting really is a dream.
But look where we stand today.
A new Daily News/Keystone poll suggests Nutter is surging and best-positioned to win the Democratic primary on Tuesday.
It further suggests that while there's an unusually large undecided vote so close to Election Day (21 percent), that support for Knox is leveling off and the three current officeholders - U.S. Reps. Brady and Fattah and state Rep. Evans - are losing support as the election nears.
So while there was no (Nutter dream) voluntary candidate withdrawal for the greater good, city voters might be on the verge of providing exactly the same outcome.
Barring a final surprise in this race of surprises, if the electorate feels next week the way it feels today, Nutter wins and the three candidate/officeholders stay in the offices they hold.
Which, when post-election wounds heal, could be good for Philadelphia.
Fattah is a majority-party member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, a place of extraordinary federal funds and clout.
Brady is a majority-party member of the U.S. Armed Services Committee, a place of extensive federal power.
Evans chairs the state House Appropriations Committee, a place critical to city/state relationships and money for mass transit, education and more.
And, of course, a former city mayor already sits as governor.
It is therefore possible the stars align in Philly's favor to bring the city unprecedented political power and new funnels of funding.
It is possible that a Mayor Nutter, working with the officeholders now running for mayor, and the governor (and maybe Knox comes back and kicks some bureaucratic butt for $1 a year again), can bring the city more outside help than it ever had before.
This all depends on Nutter winning. It also depends on the good will and hard work of those he beats and the proposition that public service trumps personal objectives.
That first part might be happening. The second might be dreaming. But you know what they say about some dreams. *
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