How Philly will rock the vote

City commissioner candidate Joe Duda
City commissioner candidate Joe Duda
Posted: November 07, 2011

MAYOR NUTTER stands for re-election to a second term tomorrow, but the political focus is not on him but on three competitive races involving Republicans.

City commissioners

The winners: Democratic incumbent Anthony Clark and newcomer Stephanie Singer, a former math professor who defeated nine-term commission chairwoman Marge Tartaglione in the primary, will win two of the three seats thanks to the Dems' huge registration advantage.

The challenger: The battle is over the minority-party seat, now held by Republican Joe Duda. He's being challenged in a bid for a fifth term by Al Schmidt, a former auditor for the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The skinny: Schmidt is part of a renegade faction of Republicans who seek to seize control of the local party from leaders like Duda. He and Singer, if elected, plan to push for reforms in the office, which oversees elections and voter registration. Incumbents Duda and Clark would continue to operate the office as it is now.

City Council at-large

The incumbents: Democrats Blondell Reynolds Brown, Bill Greenlee, Jim Kenney, Bill Green, and W. Wilson Goode Jr. are expected to be re-elected. The two Republicans are out. Frank Rizzo lost the GOP primary election, and Jack Kelly is retiring.

The challengers: That leaves a five-man fight for two seats set aside by the city charter for members of the minority party. The candidates are attorney David Oh, state Rep. Denny O'Brien, former financial consultant Joe McColgan, Northeast Chamber of Commerce president Al Taubenberger and real-estate investor Michael Untermeyer.

The skinny: Oh and O'Brien were the top vote-getters in the primary. Oh has stumbled in how he handled Daily News reports about his misleading voters in previous campaigns about his military record. McColgan and Taubenberger are trying to capitalize on that to defeat Oh.

Northeast Philly City Council District

The incumbent: Republican Councilman Brian O'Neill.

The challenger: Democrat Bill Rubin, former supervisor of elections for the City Commissioners Office.

The skinny: O'Neill, 61, has held the seat since 1979. Rubin, 44, represents the most serious challenge O'Neill has faced in a re-election bid.

Rubin, who has the support of the city's blue- and white-collar unions, and Local 98, the electricians' union, says the district needs fresh leadership.

O'Neill, who's backed by the police and fire unions, says his time in office - and the quality of life in his district - speaks for itself.


The incumbent: Mayor Nutter looks to be headed toward an easy win, but an element of protest vote is likely. Former state Sen. T. Milton Street Sr. won 24 percent of the primary vote in May despite having been recently released from federal prison.

The challengers: Longtime Democratic committeewoman Karen Brown switched to the GOP after her own party didn't support a bid for City Council this year. Wali "Diop" Rahman, an independent, heads the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement.

The skinny: Brown has run a spirited campaign but has gotten tangled in misinformation when trying to criticize Nutter. Rahman is a constant critic of what he calls the city's policy of "police containment" for minorities in poor neighborhoods.

Ballot questions

The question: Should the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to provide for a "rainy day fund" and to create limits on deposits to and withdrawals from the fund?

The skinny: A rainy-day fund is similar to a savings account. It would help the city during unexpected financial emergencies. The Nutter administration really wants you to vote yes.

The question: Should the city borrow $111,295,000 to spend for and toward capital purposes like transit, streets and sanitation, municipal buildings, parks, recreation, museums and economic and community development?

The skinny: The city would increase its debt, but the money would be used for construction, development and other improvements. The administration really wants you to vote yes on this too.

comments powered by Disqus