IS THE DEAL that would bring Verizon into the city delayed for good reasons, or bad? Are the concerns that were raised by City Council when Verizon made its pitch to introduce a second source for Oscar De La Hoya bouts and "Cheers" reruns by bringing its Fios network into the city, real issues? Or were they the triumph of Comcast-friendly Council members who managed to slow down competitive threats to the big dog in town?

This being Philadelphia, we may never know. It's Council's job to get the best deal for the city. And the issues that Council said it needed more time to deal with, like jobs, public access and minority participation, are real issues. But here in Dealtown, those can also be used as weapons against the new.

Plus, we can't help remembering the failure of Council in 2001 to allow RCN into the marketplace. Whether that move was purely political or because the company didn't make a strong presentation is also unknown.

Someday, maybe even for a single day, we'd like to have the certainty that Council is working for the best interests of the city as a whole, and not simply against someone else. Until that happens, we'll have to keep wondering: Where's our choice? *