PHILADELPHIA'S white blood cells are working overtime.

White blood cells, as you may recall from biology, are part of the immune system that defend the body against infectious disease or a foreign agent.

In Philadelphia, the body politic is being attacked by a foreign agent known as Knoxicosis. Closely related to vertigo, it creates apoplexy in powerful people in fear of falling from great heights.

Bankers, lawyers, politicians - all are seen walking around muttering to themselves, "Anything but Knoxicosis."

It wasn't that way in the beginning.

When the Knoxicosis virus broke out more than two years ago, no one noticed or cared.

When City Council passed its so-called campaign-finance reform, Knoxicosis wasn't a factor in the prescription to drive big money out of campaigns.

But when a poll showed that Knoxicosis had struck the front-runner, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, the body politic started to consult its political doctors.

With a few weeks to go until the May 15 primary election, Knoxicosis was declared a dangerous epidemic by the CDC (The Cozy Democratic Coalition).

Power brokers now get together debating remedies. The prognosis is not good. Knoxicosis could threaten their way of life

With Knoxicosis infecting the marrow of the city's backbone, it was time to marshal the white blood cells, known as WBCs.

Taking the lead from the Phillies, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the undisputed medical specialist of the CDC since it fired "Doc," called for a meeting of all WBCs. He exhorted the group: "Look guys, we're in this together, even though we might be running against each other. As John Street once said, 'We must live together as brothers and sisters or perish as fools.' "

"Brady," Fattah broke in, "that was Dr. Martin Luther King. If you expect to get black votes in this election, you better know your African-American leaders."

"Don't lecture me, Chaka. I'll get more black votes than you'll get white votes."

Rep. Dwight Evans interrupted, "Stop it, fellows. Remember, a house divided will fall."

"Lincoln!" Brady responded.

"At least you got that one right," Fattah retorted.

"Look," an unidentified speaker said, "the WBCs must act as one to repel Knoxicosis."

The WBCs started chanting in unison: "ATTACK, ATTACK,

ATTACK. YOU'RE IN OUR HOUSE, NOT THE RITTENHOUSE."

"But we don't have enough money," a young WBC whimpered. "Our health care costs too much to fight Knoxicosis."

"We may not be wealthy, but

we're not stupid," responded an elder WBC. "Remember when all that campaign-finance reform was being passed to drive big money out of campaigns? We left some insurance for ourselves. It's called the 527."

"Isn't that a saving plan for your kid's college education?" Michael Nutter asked.

"You're confused with the 529. The 527 is much better. It keeps us employed! It can be used to attack Knoxicosis and throw our own dirt. And the best part about it is that there's no limit on what people can contribute."

"Oh my, it's so Philadelphish," a giddy WBC said.

"A 527 can support any one of you," a WBC, aka Vince, says. "But it can never be associated with you. If any of you get too close to the 527, it can be toxic. And no e-mails. Trust me."

"But that doesn't seem like the campaign reform we've all been saying we support," another WBC said. "At all these forums we've been attending, we keep on saying it's important to be transparent."

"Yeah, remember that one forum -I think it was the 243rd - when Brady said it's time to end politics as usual. I laughed so hard I almost wet myself!"

"This isn't the time to be telling stories," the elder WBC warned. "Remember what might happen to our jobs, to our relatives' jobs, to the party if Knoxicosis prevails. He'll hire his own folks, give business to his own friends."

"And think about what might happen to the city," Nutter said.

"Michael, you're not making a television commercial now. This is about us," the elder said.

"OK, boys; we need to get back to business," Brady said. "Remember, there's only 14 more days left to repel Knoxicosis. And if he wins - Sam Katz might run!"

"Not again!" the WBCs moan in unison, rushing to the door. *

Phil Goldsmith has served in senior positions in the private and public sectors, most recently as Managing Director of the City of Philadelphia. You can read more about his article on his blog at