City Council's website was hijacked for a few hours Wednesday by self-proclaimed "Cyber Commandos" who advised the body, rather helpfully, "Your Security Is Very Low." Much the same could be said of public opinion of Council, whose troubles go well beyond its poorly guarded online presence. So here's hoping the democratic disruption of Philadelphia's legislature the day before has a more lasting impact than the hackers.
Three of the five Democrats nominated for (and practically assured) at-large Council seats Tuesday are newcomers, displacing incumbents Ed Neilson and W. Wilson Goode Jr. (Another seat was left open by Jim Kenney's resignation to run for mayor.) Education activist Helen Gym's victory in particular promises to bring energy and independence to an often monolithic and backward body. And while self-financing "condo king" Allan Domb is an unlikely revolutionary - being real estate royalty - he has the financial freedom and business experience to broaden Council's perspective.
Similarly heartening is Councilwoman María Quiñones Sánchez's hard-won victory over Democratic Party loyalists' latest and least defensible attempt to unseat her. With a record of achievement in land-use and business-tax reform, Sánchez has done more for the city than any number of machine-made hacks.
Unfortunately, Goode was also among the most deserving incumbents, having been a steady advocate for minorities and the poor. But he seems to have been doomed by an unlucky exile to the Siberian section of Tuesday's teeming ballot, as well as an otherwise healthy aversion to politics as it's practiced in Philadelphia.
Last week's results also offered some hope for Council's moribund minority party. The five at-large Republican nominees - whom the general election will likely winnow down to the two seats the City Charter guarantees the political minority - include retail executive Terry Tracy, who could help Council's opposition party occasionally play that role.