Mayoral candidate Bob Brady is picking up more city union endorsements, and his former campaign aide has produced a TV ad attacking mayoral rival Tom Knox, hoping someone will pay to air it.
Union sources say Brady will get the endorsement of many of the locals of the city's blue-collar union today, though the umbrella organization, AFSCME District Council 33, will remain neutral in the May 15 Democratic primary.
The sources said president Pete Matthews decided the council would endorse no one, even though Brady was the overwhelming favorite in a straw vote of union delegates last month.
Matthews is close to another mayoral candidate, state Rep. Dwight Evans, sources said, but many members were uncomfortable with Evans' willingness to consider major changes in the city's employee-pension and health-benefits systems.
Matthews decided to allow the 13 member locals to make their own choices. Many, including Local 427, representing sanitation workers, are expected to go with Brady.
Matthews didn't return calls for comment.
One source said the unions endorsing Brady represent about 6,000 of the roughly 10,000 workers represented by District Council, the largest city-employee union.
Brady has already been endorsed by the police and fire unions. U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah won the nod of AFSCME District Council 47, the 3,500-member white-collar union.
In other campaign news, the alliance between Knox and City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell will be cemented today as Knox announces his slate of Council candidates.
Knox will be backing three incumbents and seven challengers for Council, including one of each with close ties to mayoral rival Fattah.
In district races, Knox will back incumbent Blackwell in West Philadelphia; challenger Vern Anastasio against Frank DiCicco in South Philadelphia and Center City; Cindy Bass, a former Fattah aide, against incumbent Donna Reed Miller in Northwest Philadelphia; Matt McClure against incumbent Carol Ann Campbell in West Philly and Roxborough-Manayunk; and challenger Cecil Hankins against incumbent Marian Tasco in West Oak Lane and East Mount Airy.
For five at-large seats, Knox is backing incumbents Juan Ramos and Fattah ally Blondell Reynolds Brown; and challengers Bill Green, Matt Rubin, and Sharif Street, son of Mayor Street.
Meanwhile yesterday, Fattah picked up the endorsement of the community group ACORN's political action committee, which cited Fattah's commitment to affordable housing.
The freelance anti-Knox TV ad is the work of political consultant Ken Smukler, who resigned last week from Brady's congressional campaign committee after acknowledging involvement in Brady's mayoral campaign.
The ad can now be viewed on YouTube - but Smukler hopes one of the anti-Knox political committees will pay to put it on TV.
Combining theme music from the shark movie "Jaws" with the structure of a MasterCard ad, the 30-second spot describes Knox getting $28,000 from a no-bid insurance deal, paying a $70,000 fine for violations by his health-insurance company, and charging 400 percent interest on payday loans from his bank.
"Tom Knox calling this a record of success? Shameless," the ad says. "There are some things Tom Knox's money can't buy." *