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Green's at-large wit reprises a run at Council

It has been 23 years since Mayor William J. Green last officially dealt with City Council. But time, it seems, does not heal all wounds.

It has been 23 years since Mayor William J. Green last officially dealt with City Council. But time, it seems, does not heal all wounds.

In an interview last week, Green eagerly repeated his famous decades-old characterization of Council as "the worst legislative body in the free world," and went on to make some additional cracks.

Green was making the point that Council needed some sharp thinkers among its members, such as his son, at-large Council candidate Bill Green. Asked whether he would have appreciated a big-picture Council member when he was mayor, Green replied: "Well, after I got over the shock I'd be delighted."

He then roared with laughter as his son put his head in his hands.

- Patrick Kerkstra

Street's legacy safe at home

Another mayoral son - City Council candidate Sharif Street - has seen his father take criticism for so long he's not bothered by it much any more.

His children, on the other hand, flinch when they see the Michael Nutter campaign ads that go after Mayor Street by name.

"They were really upset, which surprised me," Sharif Street said.

Of course his children - ages seven and four - don't have the same image of Mayor Street the rest of the city does.

"To them, my father is this cuddly guy, and why would somebody take shots at Pop-Pop?" Street said.

- Patrick Kerkstra

Candidate's number was up

Ellen Green-Ceisler, a candidate for the Court of Common Pleas, was waiting to be introduced in an African American church a couple of Sundays ago, her mind roving.

Idly, she reflected on the number assigned to the button next to her name on the ballot: 26. "I wonder what the 26th Psalm has to say," she thought to herself. The opening verses electrified her.

"Judge me O Lord, for I have walked in mine integrity ... Examine me, O Lord, and prove me," King David wrote.

The rest of the psalm talks about avoiding dissemblers and the wicked, staying away from bribery, standing up for the innocent.

"It was all about being a judge and doing the right thing," said Green-Ceisler, the former integrity officer of the Philadelphia Police Department and the consultant who investigated school violence in the city.

"I look for signs anywhere I can," said. "It was good symbolism for my number."

Now Green-Ceisler preaches from the psalm every Sunday as she makes the rounds of church services.

- Thomas Fitzgerald

A lesson in perspective

At the annual memorial service for fallen police officers and firefighters last week in Franklin Square, Mayor Street recalled that the death of one firefighter taught him an important lesson about life.

It was Oct. 7, 2003, and Firefighter James Allen suffered a fatal heart attack battling a fire in Port Richmond. It also was the day Street - and the city - learned the FBI had bugged his office.

Street said that as the tempest swirled around him, his mind filled with negative thoughts, questions and fear.

Then he learned about Allen and rushed to the hospital, where he met with the firefighter's parents.

He said that as bad as things seemed to him, he realized it was nothing compared to losing a child suddenly and unexpectedly.

The mayor said the lesson - perhaps reinforced by his landslide victory a month later - was that we survive most of the bad things in life and there are few things we do not get over. The families of police officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty know what bad is, he said.

- Joseph Gambardello