Another political action committee has surfaced in the mayor's race, buying about $90,000 worth of TV airtime this week.
One target of the ads - from One Step Closer, a Philadelphia-based PAC founded in 2005 - may be mayoral candidate Michael Nutter.
Harold Wright II, president of One Step Closer, said in a phone interview that the group is concerned with several issues, including Nutter's proposal to permit police in high-crime areas to "stop, question and frisk" people suspected of carrying illegal guns.
The group's ads are scheduled to air tomorrow and Thursday on Channels 3, 6, 10 and 29. Wright would not say if the ads would directly name Nutter.
He said the group had no relationship with any of the mayoral candidates, making it exempt from the contribution limits that apply to the mayoral candidates.
Wright said that recent contributors to his PAC would be identified in campaign-finance reports to be filed in mid-June, 30 days after the May 15 primary election.
Past contributors to the group have included major donors to both Chaka Fattah and Bob Brady, as well as Mayor Street.
Its expenditures last year included $19,900 in consulting payments to Shawn Fordham, a top political adviser to Street.
Wright described One Step Closer as a group focused on voter turnout and public-policy issues.
The group sponsored a Hip Hop Summit held last year, which helped register young voters.
"Stop, question and frisk" is one of the most-debated aspects of Nutter's crime plan.
He has proposed training police to recognize signs that someone might be carrying an illegal gun.
Civil-rights advocates say the plan could lead to racial profiling, but Nutter has said that with proper police training and oversight, it won't.
One Step Closer is the third ostensibly independent political committee to appear in the mayoral campaign in recent weeks.
The two earlier committees were both set up to run TV ads against millionaire businessman Tom Knox, calling attention to questionable business practices, including predatory lending and fines assessed against a Knox-owned insurance company.
But Knox's attorney, Paul Rosen, threatened legal action against TV stations if they ran one of the ads, produced by Ken Smukler, who was involved in Brady's mayoral campaign until late April.
Channels 3, 6 and 10 refused last week to run the ad.
Smukler said yesterday that he'd converted one of the TV ads into a radio commercial and that two Clear Channel stations, Power 99 and Q102, had agreed to run it beginning in tomorrow morning's drive time.
One Step Closer took $85,000 in contributions over 2005 and 2006 from MacPac-PA, or the Millennium Action Coalition, a political-action committee that aided John Street's 2003 campaign.
At the time, Street's campaign field director, Greg Naylor, was paid by MacPac.
Naylor is now the field director for Fattah's campaign. *