And it's not as if the mayor has time to burn. He faces a potential labor strike and his stadium negotiations are at an impasse.
But the Italian sailing ships?
Street also missed a meeting with President Clinton on May 9 when he was in South Carolina attending his nephew's graduation.
And while he plans to be at the airport at 7:30 this morning to greet President Clinton on his latest foray into town, the fact that he has missed several opportunities to gab with top Washington honchos has some political observers wondering if it could hurt Philadelphia in the long run.
"A lot of assistance that states and cities receive is based on personal relationships," said G. Terry Madonna, the director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Millersville University. "The better the relationship, the closer the ties, the more likely it is that your entreaties are going to find a positive reception."
The mayor clearly has a lot on his plate, Madonna said, "But when someone comes to town you get to orchestrate time in the vehicle, time while they're waiting to go on. You get to bring up a subject you care about."
Street's decision not to meet with Vice President Gore "is no reflection on their relationship," said Street spokeswoman Barbara Grant.
The vice president will be "in and out of town and in southeastern Pennsylvania a lot because Pennsylvania is such a pivotal state for them. There will be times when the mayor will be with him and times when he won't."
Street and Gore have a good relationship, said Alan Kessler, a local lawyer and a major fund-raiser for the Democratic National Committee.
"I can tell you John Street was lobbying hard to get the vice president here through the months of February and March," Kessler said. "He was doing everything he could to try to get an endorsement of the vice president early on. He was very excited about it."
The fact that he missed this week's visit "is not significant," Kessler said. "Given the number of campaign hits in a year, it's not always possible to rearrange his schedule to be there."
But Street's decision to miss a stump event - any stump event - stands in stark contrast to his predecessor, Ed Rendell, who seemed to make an art of schmoozing every and all politicians who came to town.
Asked whether there were times during Rendell's administration when the mayor didn't meet with the president or vice president on a visit, Kevin Feeley, who was Rendell's press secretary, said "not that I recall."
Even during Rendell's first year in office when Republican George Bush was president, Rendell met him at the airport, Feeley said.
"As much as Ed went over the top," said Neil Oxman, a campaign consultant who helped Rendell get elected and later worked on Sam Katz's 1999 campaign against Street, "he showed that it's really important for you to have political relationships with everybody you can. . ."
Rendell called Gov. Ridge when he needed an extra $20 million for the Regional Performing Arts Center, Oxman said. When he needed $60 million for the National Constitution Center, he called U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.
And, when Street's mayoral campaign was flagging, Oxman said, Rendell called the president, whose appearance in Philadelphia a few days before the election was a major boost for Street.
"When you're the mayor of the city, you you have to have ongoing relationships," he said.
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