Clout: The quiet, even polite Williams-Green feud goes on

Posted: October 29, 2010

THE TROUBLE between state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams and City Councilman Bill Green - two potential 2015 candidates for mayor - continues, although both men are being as polite as PhillyClout has ever seen in a local political feud.

Williams, who ran for governor this year, told us this week that he and some other African-American ward leaders are considering ways to sap support from Green if he runs for a second term for his at-large seat next year.

Williams, who has clashed with Green for supporting elimination of the Sheriff's Office, says that he has serious concerns about "troubling comments" Green made about some city neighborhoods.

What comments? What neighborhoods? Williams would not say, adding that he has asked for a meeting with Green.

Green says that he doesn't recall Williams asking for a meeting.

"I'm not worried about anything I've ever said," Green told us. "I'm happy to sit down with Tony Williams any time. I have great respect for the senator."

Williams, who was endorsed by Mayor Nutter in the primary election for governor while Green endorsed Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, said that the endorsement is not the issue. He added that Green didn't tell him about the Onorato endorsement in advance or explain it later.

"That's bad manners," Williams said. "That has nothing to do with substantive issues."

Fort Knox still a Philly address

Tom Knox, the millionaire mulling another run in the Democratic primary for mayor next year if Republican-turned-Democrat Sam Katz doesn't challenge Nutter, tells us that he has no plans to leave the city.

We were curious, because Knox and his wife put up $4.2 million in July to buy a 110-year-old, historic six-bedroom house on 12 acres in Lower Merion.

Knox told us that the house originally listed for $7 million. He bought it so that his wife could put $2.5 million in upgrades and then resell it. She did the same with a high-end home in Gladwyne, her first shot at flipping a house.

Knox is happy with his home high above the city in the Residences at Two Liberty Place.

"Now why would I want to downgrade?" Knox asked. "I wouldn't move out of the city for love or money. I love it in the city. You get up every morning, take the elevator down and you have 100 places you can go."

Look for Katz to decide after Tuesday's general election if he will run again for mayor. If Katz stays out, Knox said that he will decide sometime in January.

Turn the page on Pia Varma

Pia Varma, the tea-party enthusiast bumped off the May 18 primary election ballot for not having enough valid nominating-petition signatures in her attempt to run as a Republican against U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, has published an e-book about life as a candidate in Philadelphia.

"Brotherly Love: A Cautionary Tale of Naïveté, Deceit & Corruption" tells the story in a breezy and breathy style, setting it in the larger context of the ongoing struggle of a group of local Republicans, with the help of state GOP leaders, trying to energize the party by shaking it free from the control of the old guard here.

We downloaded and read the $9.99 tome for you. Spoiler alert: The GOP old guard and Brady, dubbed "King Pin" in the book, come off as the bad guys thwarting our tea-party heroine.

Brady, Varma writes, reached out through a mutual acquaintance, offering to meet after her write-in effort yielded few results in the primary election.

"I still haven't met with Brady and I'm not sure I want to," Varma writes. "I know what it will be like. He will be cordial and charming. I'll probably even like him. He'll tell me in a patriarchal way that he wants to help me accomplish things in the city, and that I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I can almost guarantee no controversy, and the machine will go on as it always has."

Varma, who vowed in May to press on with a write-in campaign for Tuesday's general election, now says that she was never really interested in winning but was really trying to "topple" Brady and local GOP leaders Michael Meehan and Vito Canuso.

Unhappy with Obama, but . . .

The Daily News/Franklin & Marshall College Poll Tuesday showed troubling news for Democrats: The 631 registered voters surveyed gave President Obama a 32 percent job-approval rating. That's about even with what President Bush received in the same poll just before the 2006 midterm elections, which were disastrous for the GOP.

But the 271 registered Democrats were not eager for Obama or anyone else to shake things up - 53 percent said that he should not replace Vice President Joe Biden with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2012 election. And 63 percent said that Clinton should not take on Obama in 2012.


"I think it's real easy, if you're asking tough questions in a market where pretty much one party has been in power, to look like you're on the other side."

- Fox 29 News Director Kingsley Smith, defending his station in the new issue of Philadelphia magazine from complaints that it is too critical of Mayor Nutter.

Staff writer Catherine Lucey contributed to this report.

Have tips or suggestions? Call Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or e-mail

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Have a news tip? Gossip? Suggestion? Call Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or Catherine Lucey at 215-854-4712. Or e-mail

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