When the most competitive challenger in a City Council race acknowledges that the incumbent councilwoman has done a good job, it hardly helps to make the case for turning her out of office.
That's not to say Democratic Council hopeful Ray Jones Jr. - cofounder of the antiviolence group Men United for a Better Philadelphia - doesn't think he can bring fresh ideas and a new vigor to representing Council's Ninth District, which spans West Oak Lane, Olney and Logan.
Jones, a former community coordinator for the city's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, would bring both a passion for reform and an analytical eye to city affairs.
Standing in Jones' path, however, is that capable councilwoman. The Inquirer endorses MARIAN B. TASCO. She has been a moderate voice on Council, chairing the committee on health and human services. Her good working relationship with former Councilman Michael Nutter would bode well for a Nutter administration.
During her current four-year term, Tasco, 69, made important votes to sustain progressive tax cuts. Last year, she resurrected and pushed through Nutter's ban on indoor smoking - a measure that's made Philadelphia both a healthier workplace and more attractive to visitors. During her previous term, Tasco led a brave fight to rein in high-cost home mortgage lenders that were contributing to widespread foreclosures.
Tasco knows her district well, down to such nitty-gritty issues as residents' demands for more city help in repairing those "driveways" that flank the back of district homes.
Longtime social worker Cecil A. Hankins and a seldom-seen fourth candidate, Lamont Thomas, appear less ready than Jones to replace Tasco.