Rizzo considers run for mayor as Democrat

Frank Rizzo lost his City Council seat in 2011.
Frank Rizzo lost his City Council seat in 2011.
Posted: March 29, 2013

Another man is dipping his toe into the pool of potential candidates in the 2015 mayor's race, and it's a familiar name - former City Councilman Frank Rizzo, son of the legendary cop-turned-politician who served as Philadelphia mayor from 1972 through 1979.

"I'm going to explore that possibility and maybe get myself involved in that next mayoral primary, as a Democrat," Rizzo said in an interview Wednesday.

Rizzo, who turned 70 in early March, was a Republican Council member from 1996 through 2011, winning one of the two at-large seats reserved for non-Democrats. (The City Charter sets up seven at-large seats, but no more than five can be filled by members of the same party.)

Rizzo lost his seat in the 2011 primary after friction with the GOP machinery and criticism over his participation in the city's early retirement program known as DROP. Afterward, his Republican relations became more strained - the result, he says, of refusing to back Councilman Brian J. O'Neill's plan for redistricting changes - and Rizzo was dumped from his largely ceremonial post as minority whip.

He's now registered as an independent, but said he plans to switch soon to the Democratic Party - the way he registered originally, when his father was moving up the ranks in the Police Department.

"I was a good son, a Democrat when my dad was a Democrat, and I switched parties when my dad switched," Rizzo said.

Rizzo recalled two specific accomplishments from his years in Council - persuading the state police to provide 50 state troopers to patrol interstate highways in Philadelphia, and initiating the creation of a cellphone lot near the airport where people could wait for arriving flights without parking on the shoulders of I-95.

Rizzo said his father, who died in 1991 while running as the Republican candidate for mayor, had never encouraged him to get involved in politics. "While my dad was alive, there was only one Rizzo," he said.

Despite current controversies over real estate reassessments and the stalemated contract talks with city workers, Rizzo said Mayor Nutter "has done a great job, in my opinion, after getting the city's financial situation back in line."

- Bob Warner


 

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|