Sheriff John Green easily survived a well-funded challenge by Michael Untermeyer yesterday while Philadelphians repudiated the Iraq war, gave the city a green light to overhaul the zoning code, and approved the formation of a youth advisory commission.
The sheriff's contest was the most closely watched of this year's "row office" campaigns, but Green, a 19-year-incumbent, won by a better than 2-1 ratio. All but one of the city's other row officers won reelection.
The voting was slightly closer on the eight ballot questions.
One of the most lopsided referendum votes was a purely symbolic one: By a 5-2 ratio, Philadelphians urged the U.S. government to withdraw troops from Iraq this year. Similar measures have appeared on municipal ballots across the country.
Closer to home, voters overwhelmingly approved the creation of a zoning code commission, which will rewrite Philadelphia's civic blueprint. The plan is likely to take several years to develop, but over the long term it has the potential to fundamentally change the city's approach to development.
A related pair of zoning and planning questions passed just as easily. One requires six of the Planning Commission's nine members to have professional expertise in planning and land use; the other gives the commission more time to ponder zoning decisions.
Voters firmly rejected a proposal that would have let elected city officials keep their jobs while seeking other public offices. If passed, the law would have allowed candidates to stay on City Council while campaigning for mayor.
By a better than 2-1 ratio, Philadelphians voted in favor of a new youth commission. The 21-member group - to be made up of people ages 12 to 23 - will advise Council and the mayor on youth issues.
A $130 million capital-improvements bond issue was approved by a nearly 2-1 ratio, as was a nonbinding recommendation that the Board of Revision of Taxes not raise taxes while switching to a new assessment method.
Democratic City Commissioner Margaret M. Tartaglione handily kept her seat, but incumbent Edgar Howard did not win renomination, placing third out of four candidates. Anthony Clark finished second and will be the second Democratic nominee.
The two Republican nominees, incumbent Joseph J. Duda and challenger Patrick J. Carroll, will meet Clark and Tartaglione in the November election.
Clerk of Quarter Sessions Vivian T. Miller defeated Elaine Tomlin by a better than 2-1 ratio. Miller will face the unchallenged Republican nominee, John Featherman, in November.