A day after mayoral candidate Tom Knox unveiled his "reform" ticket for City Council and said he was backing Jannie Blackwell for Council president, the no-Knoxers gathered to heap scorn on him.
The half-dozen incumbents, Marian Tasco, Donna Miller, Jim Kenney, Frank DiCicco, Joan Krajewski and Bill Greenlee, said they weren't bothered that Knox had not included them on his slate.
But when Knox said he'd actively support Blackwell as the next Council president, he crossed the line, they said. Knox had "no right to try to dictate to this Council before he even gets elected, if he gets elected," Krajewski said.
Tasco said that Knox is "a little naïve to believe he can have any control as to who will be the leadership of this City Council." It would be as if the president of the United States injected himself in the selection of speaker of the House of Representatives, she said.
Knox made a "serious mistake" by "interferring with our business," and he would have been better off trying to "forge a working relationship with City Council to get his agenda through," she said.
Kenney said Knox's gambit in Council politics is also "extremely insulting to the Council president [Anna Verna], who has done a terrific job in being open and accessible and allowing everyone to speak and have a part in the process."
While there were no unkind words for Blackwell, there were questions about Knox's assertion that he's an ethics reformer in light of Blackwell's votes against campaign finance and ethics reforms. Knox "wants to have it both ways," DiCicco said.
Earlier, Council passed eight gun-control bills that have, except in one case, sat on Council's calendar since mid-2004. In each case, the bills require state enabling legislation, which is unlikely.
But Councilman Darrell Clarke, a co-sponsor with Miller, said inaction in the Legislature and the increase in homicides in the city have pushed him to action.
A lawsuit against the state House and Senate leadership will be filed, Clarke said, soon after Mayor Street signs the bills. "The mayor has basically said he's willing to sign them immediately."
The bills target straw purchasers who make legal gun purchases on behalf of someone else.
There's also a bill limiting the purchase or transfer of firearms to one per month.
In other business, Street, as expected, vetoed a bill authored by DiCicco that would have changed the zoning on the proposed site of the Foxwoods Casino in South Philadelphia to a residential classification. The city solicitor has concluded the bill is illegal.
At the request of some Council colleagues, DiCicco said he agreed to put off an attempt to override the mayor's veto until next week. *