Leon A. Williams
This is the first time in a long time that I was undecided in an election. Now my mind is made up, and Chaka Fattah is the man. His family has deep roots in the fight to make this city a better place. His mother was instrumental in ending the gang violence in our city. He has made education his mantra and has made it possible for hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the country to attend college and graduate school. His platform is focused on fighting poverty and changing the social status of the downtrodden.
Other candidates seem to be concerned about business and the political status quo. Those entities can speak for themselves. Fattah will not represent the powerful, but the powerless.
I plan to vote for Dwight Evans, for a simple reason: He represents himself as being of service to the city, and while there are other candidates about whom one can no doubt say that, he also has a firm grounding in the realities of our city.
I am neither upset nor surprised by the tone of this election season. There has been the usual mixture of sincerity and silliness, things to admire and things to ridicule. In the end, it will be the same old popularity contest it always has been.
I believe that every citizen should jump at the chance to participate in a process like Great Expectations. In my opinion, the true test of an honest politician is in the value he ascribes to an informed and intelligent electorate. Let us work together toward a more honest slate of candidates.
Frank L. Robinson
I was set to vote for Chaka Fattah. He seemed to be the candidate for the job. Seeing him at events and reading some of his ideas piqued my interest. Then the debates happened and his campaign unraveled. His appearances at several debates turned me off. Somewhere during that process, he stopped being the man to beat and turned into a desperate individual.
Four things occurred:
1. He never answered the questions that were asked (i.e., although poverty is very important, you still have to address questions about ethics and tax reform).
2. He did not know his own plans. Although someone did some great research about models for economic development in other cities, it never felt as if Fattah himself owned those ideas. He often looked like a deer caught in the headlights when asked to explain or deviate from his script.
3. He become overbearingly arrogant. Although the city needs a strong leader, it also needs someone who will attempt to get along with others and is willing to show some humility from time to time.
4. He attacked Michael Nutter relentlessly. He seemed more interested in attacking Nutter than promoting his own vision for the city.
During all this, Nutter remained poised and confident. He was the most articulate, knowledgeable and personable out of all the candidates. If Nutter wins, he should thank Fattah for getting him there. My vote is for Nutter.
While I have narrowed my choices to two, I still have not made the final decision as to who is best qualified to take over the reins of city government. This city, which I lovingly describe as the "largest small town in the nation," was founded more than 300 years ago by William Penn, a visionary who understood the relationship between the environment and the ability of a community to thrive. My decision will be made on that basis.
I want to thank Great Expectations and The Inquirer for involving the community in this process. It is ultimately more important that the members of a community are fully engaged than who is temporarily at its helm.
With great optimism and expectation, I'm voting for Michael Nutter. It is nothing short of amazing to see the politics of old on its last legs - finally - and a new politics of integrity, inclusiveness and energy taking its place. Can you imagine? A smart, dedicated, experienced candidate getting the thumbs-up in a city that's all but been written off as incorrigibly corrupt?
This election could be Philadelphia's last stop before the dustbin. But all signs are pointing to a new course - away from embarrassingly lame governance and full-steam ahead for competence and purpose.
I haven't been so stoked to cast a vote, ever. Seriously!
I am voting for Michael Nutter. He exudes competence. In parliamentary terms, he was a leader of the "loyal opposition" on City Council who, fortunately, functioned as a "shadow government" despite the resistance and dysfunction of the current administration. He kept tax cuts alive. He fought for more cops. He got us an ethics panel. He'll hit the ground running.
He follows the rules! To run for mayor, he left Council as mandated by the City Charter long before he knew whether he'd get any traction with the voters. He never wavered on following campaign fund-raising limits (which he helped create), not while they were stuck in court and not even when everyone else was panicking that a millionaire could buy the election.
Some say Nutter isn't "passionate" enough. That's ridiculous. He speaks intelligently on issues and certainly sounds like he believes in what he says. That's plenty of passion for me. Anyway, "passion" doesn't plow my street. (This year, nobody plowed my street!)
Council members have power, but the mayor has more. I want to see what Nutter can do with that power.
Robert S. Nix
I'm voting for Al Taubenberger for two reasons. First, he's an honest man of his word who has devoted his life to serving his community. He is both highly experienced in business and government, and civic-minded by nature. He is as qualified to lead the city as most of the Democratic candidates, and his candidacy offers a fresh alternative to the tired status quo of the entrenched Democratic Party machine. Second, he's actually my only choice for mayor in the primary election.
But, if I were a Democrat - I'd be voting for Michael Nutter as a capable, experienced and smart leader, with the most specific plan and best vision for a vibrant future for Philadelphia.
I will be voting for Michael Nutter. Just listening to the TV ads, the robocalls, and even the debates, I would have thought there was little difference among the candidates. But by participating in the Great Expectations discussions, I was able to form more nuanced criteria concerning integrity, experience, and independence from self-interest constituent groups.
In talking with others at the meetings, I realized that I was not alone in my love of Philadelphia and my belief that it has the potential to be a really great city. As I understand the polls, at this point, I will blame Evans and Fattah if they don't drop out, causing the election of the least competent candidate, Tom Knox.
The Rev. Richard L. Ullman
I plan to vote for Mike Nutter. I may change my mind before election day. The thing is, I want a winner who can reverse the culture of corruption that infects our great city. I want to see us move into our potential, rather than stay mired in pay-to-play, done-deal, and we've-always-done-it-this-way politics. I want deadly gunplay stopped. I want long-term planning, rather than the current chaos of quick-fix deals. I want citizen input to be stronger than that of deal makers and power brokers. Participation in Great Expectations convinces me I am not alone. I think Mike Nutter is our best bet. But I may be wrong!
Those wise old men the Rolling Stones used to say, "You can't always get what you want . . . but if you try sometimes . . . you get what you need." I am hoping that this election Philadelphia wants, and gets, what it needs: a mayor to respect and trust. And who is that mayor? A mayor who:
Is intelligent, analytical, knowledgeable and creative;
Can speak to every community in Philadelphia, and will;
Stands up for what's right, no matter the consequences;
Has already been responsible for significant improvements to Philadelphia life;
Knows the difference between civic vision and pandering pipe dreams;
Takes issues seriously, himself not so much.
In other words, I want, and Philadelphia needs, Michael Nutter to be our mayor.
To whom it may concern:
1. I plan to vote for Michael Nutter. I believe this is one of the most interesting elections we've had in recent years, with many experienced and talented candidates. I believe that Nutter has the intelligence, experience and vision to lead the city at this time, and I give him the edge over the other candidates.
2. The problems we face with crime, education, waterfront development, gentrification and taxes are not going to have quick fixes. The process started here by The Inquirer to improve communication and resident involvement can only help the process.
3. I think my involvement in this process has given me more confidence that the average citizen can get involved and have a say in making this a better city.