Democratic City Councilman Darrell L. Clarke, the only one of 14 Council Democrats who had failed to take sides in tomorrow's presidential primary, has released his decision: He's not backing anyone.
Never mind that the Clinton campaign listed him as a supporter in an April 10 news release, which he said was a mistake. Clarke, the majority whip, said he was more concerned about party unity and the negative effect this primary would have on Democrats' chances in November. He said he's been courted like a "prom queen" by both sides, but in the end, "people are going to vote for who they want to vote for," he said. "Who cares who I support?"
Election pundits echo Clarke's belief that an endorsement from a City Council member is virtually meaningless in this type of election.
Yet a news conference announcing the endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama by six City Council members on April 10 drew calls from as far away as Hawaii, California and Texas, where people seemed to be on the edge of their seats to find out whether Jannie Blackwell, Wilson Goode, Bill Green, Curtis Jones, Jim Kenney and Donna Reed Miller had, indeed, announced their endorsements.
Council President Anna C. Verna has also shifted her support to Obama, giving him a 7-6 edge over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Clinton's backers on Council are Blondell Reynolds Brown, Frank DiCicco, Bill Greenlee, Joan Krajewski, Maria Quiñones Sánchez and Majority Leader Marian Tasco.
Former Mayor John F. Street has been drawing some interesting speakers to his urban politics class at Temple University.
Next up: Mayor Nutter - whose surge from fourth to first place in last year's five-way primary followed a TV ad campaign in which Nutter promoted himself as the antithesis to Street.
The date was selected - this Saturday - but Nutter said no topics of discussion had been nailed down.
Heard in the Hall offers these topics for class discussion.
Street to Nutter: What are you doing to my Neighborhood Transformation Initiative? And why don't you stop picking on my would-be legacy agency, Philadelphia Safe and Sound?
Nutter to Street: Does it bother you that the city's homicide numbers have gone down since you left office? And why did you make fund-raising calls for a group that aired a TV ad attacking my "stop-and-frisk" crime-fighting proposal?
- Marcia Gelbart
Nutter muses on media
Mayor Nutter (who, let's face it, has enjoyed glowing press coverage for pretty much his whole career) ruminated on his relationship with the media in a Penn classroom last week.
He started with this acknowledgment. Members of the press, he said, "are not my biographers."
"It's not their responsibility, directly, to make me look good or make me look smart," Nutter said. "On the other hand, commensurately, it's not their job to make me look stupid, which they have not done."
Another key, he said, was to actually talk to the media. That's a more novel approach than you might assume (cough, former Mayor John F. Street, cough).
Before taking office, for instance, Nutter met with reporters and top brass at the city's largest media outlets to "talk about the city's image, to talk about trying to change the nature of the relationship between the Mayor's Office and the news media."
- Patrick Kerkstra