SAM KATZ - former candidate for mayor, former Republican - mingled with fellow Democrats Monday night at the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner.

That sparked some speculation about whether Katz, hard at work on a documentary about the history of Philadelphia, is considering another run for office.

Could Katz, who ran three times for mayor and once for governor, be thinking about taking another shot? The next big race in the city for a Democrat would be next year's primary for mayor. That would pit Katz against Mayor Nutter.

Katz, who switched his voter registration to Democrat in March 2008, declined to comment when we asked if he was mulling a return to politics.

We asked former Mayor John Street, who beat Katz in the 1999 and 2003 elections, what he thought about his old rival turning up as a Democrat. Street wasn't surprised, noting that Katz "has always had views that were more in line with Democratic values" than the GOP.

"He's a fiscal conservative but very liberal on most social issues," Street said in an e-mail.

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the master of ceremonies at the annual City Democratic Committee event, said Katz asked if the two could meet in Washington, D.C. Brady, who plans to meet with Katz sometime after Tuesday's primary, said he doesn't know if Katz wants to run for office.

"But I haven't been sniffing around like you are," Brady told us. "The one thing I don't have to do is find candidates. I don't have that problem. They all come to me."

Katz hopes to wrap up production on the pilot episode of his documentary, "Philadelphia: The Great Experiment," by next month and use that to raise money to complete the project, which could take two to three years.

Detente, South Philly style?

Could the battle for control of the city's 2nd Democratic Ward settle the bad blood that brewed for years between City Councilman Frank DiCicco and attorney Vern Anastasio?

Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

Nick Schmanek, a DiCicco aide, is trying to unseat ward leader Ed Nesmith. He calls Anastasio part of his "A-Team" in that effort. Anastasio twice tried to take DiCicco's job on Council. He was removed from the ballot in 2003 for problems with his nominating petitions and lost in 2007.

Both races were bitter affairs, even by South Philly standards.

"There's been some detente, let me put it that way," Schmanek said, when asked if DiCicco and Anastasio had made peace. "It's a cooling of the waters. I wouldn't say

they're the best of buddies."

Anastasio, who is running for a Democratic committee post, said he is focused on that election before deciding who to support for ward leader.

"We'll see how things play out," Anastasio said. "I've known Nick a long time and I'm fond of him. But I've also known Eddie a long time."

One thing is sure: Anastasio plans to run for Council again. But he says he will wait until DiCicco decides to leave his seat.

Nesmith said he thought Anastasio was backing Schmanek. And he didn't seem that worried about it.

Tartaglione issues warning

A spat with the School Reform Commission prompted City Commissioner Marge Tartaglione to take a stroll down memory lane during a meeting Wednesday. Tartaglione and her colleagues are miffed that the school district decided it would hold classes during Tuesday's primary election to make up for a day lost to a winter snowstorm.

The schools, many of which are polling places, are usually closed to prevent students and voters from getting in each other's way.

Tartaglione said her office has been getting calls from school principals wondering if the polling places can be moved.

She hopes District Attorney Seth Williams, who will hold a pre-primary news conference Monday to discuss voting issues, will advise school employees to avoid the temptation to move polling machines from one place to another in the schools.

"That is a crime," Tartaglione said. "And who should know it better than me?"

That's an allusion to her arrest during the 1978 general election. Then-District Attorney Ed Rendell charged Tartaglione with violating the state's Election Code for moving two polling machines on the night before the election. Tartaglione, who was acquitted at trial, said she moved the machines to a senior-citizens home in Germantown because residents were having trouble walking on nearby cobblestone streets. The feds later investigated widespread polling-machine trouble in that election. The big question on the ballot: Then-Mayor Frank Rizzo, an ally of Tartaglione's, was seeking a city charter change to allow him to seek a third term in office. Rizzo was soundly defeated.


"You know Bill Green as well as I know Bill Green. He would love that kind of publicity."

- Anna Verna, Council president, to reporters after her colleague unsuccessfully tried stall budget legislation yesterday with a legal technicality.

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