Here's something not seen every day: a candidate running for office on a platform of vowing to wipe the office out of existence, and then resign.
Meet John Kromer, a potential candidate for Philadelphia sheriff next spring.
With Sheriff John Green's announcement that he will vacate the job, would-be sheriffs are working to whip up support for their candidacies. They include State Rep. Jewel Williams of North Philadelphia and Rodney Little, president of the Fraternal Order of Housing Police.
Both agreed that their first order of business would be to preserve the office, which has been attacked as being inefficient and wasteful. Calls have gone out for its elimination.
Kromer is one who heeds that call.
A faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government, Kromer wrote in an e-mail that the "ideal candidate for sheriff would be one who promised to work with the Mayor, City Council, and the real estate industry to design a reliable system for acquiring all eligible tax-delinquent, blighted properties without exception, and conveying them to responsible developers."
Moreover, wrote Kromer, a former director of the city's Office of Housing and Community Development, any such system could work only if managed solely by agencies reporting directly to the mayor.
"After the sheriff completed this task, he or she would help create this new system by overseeing the transfer of Sheriff's Office responsibilities to other municipal agencies, would advocate for the approval of a referendum calling for the elimination of the position of sheriff - and then, following a successful referendum vote, would close the office and resign."
How about that for a reform candidate?
- Marcia Gelbart
Accord on preventing party problems
Can a Motown fan make beautiful music with a guy who loves techno and medieval melodies?
When it comes to Councilman Bill Greenlee and area event promoter Patrick Rodgers, the answer is yes.
Greenlee had proposed legislation aimed at preventing out-of-control parties at area venues. Initially, the proposal upset Rodgers and others who organize social gatherings because it would have required them to get approval from the city 30 days before their events. Promoters feared they might spend a lot of money marketing an event only to have the city kill it at the last minute.
At first glance, Greenlee and Rodgers, whose company, Dancing Ferret Concerts, has organized dance parties at the Trocadero and other locations, don't seem to have much in common.
Greenlee likes Motown, especially the Temptations' smooth harmonies.
Rodgers likes a pulsating dance beat and "medieval music performed in a modern concert style. I think that's got Motown beat by at least a few hundred years."
Both men have beards, but Rodgers' hair falls almost to his waist. He wears a lot of black. Greenlee has a standard haircut and is a blue-blazer kind of guy.
So they educated each other, and on Wednesday, Council's Licenses and Inspections Committee passed an amended bill that left both men happy.
Under the new version, promoters would have to register just once with the city. When a venue turned over control of a facility to an outside promoter, that promoter would have to notify police two weeks before the event. The city couldn't cancel parties, but police would have names and phone numbers of organizers if problems occurred.
"Patrick Rodgers was instrumental and certainly tried to educate us on the scene these days," Greenlee said.
- Miriam Hill