His exit from the PICA board will keep his options open.
Running as a Republican, Katz came within 10,000 votes of defeating Democrat John F. Street in the 1999 mayoral race. He also ran in 1991, losing to Frank L. Rizzo in the GOP primary, and in 2003, when he won the Republican nomination but lost to Street, the incumbent, by more than 77,000 votes.
Reached by telephone Wednesday, Katz said he was still focused on the documentary films he began making several years ago. He isn't running for mayor or exploring a candidacy, he said.
On the other hand, he acknowledged: "I've been thinking about running for mayor since I was 8 years old. I never stop thinking about it."
Katz handicapped his own chances of running and winning next year as unlikely, either as a Republican - in a city where the GOP is outnumbered more than 6-1 - or in the Democratic primary, where Katz would be branded as a Republican.
"It doesn't look promising," he said.
Neil Oxman, the campaign advertising strategist who helped to shape Katz's 1999 mayoral campaign, agreed.
"Running as a Republican, the question for Sam would be, will the Democratic candidate, whoever that turns out to be, be as unacceptable to a large group of people as John Street was in 1999?" Oxman said.
"And if he tried to run as a Democrat," Oxman continued, "people would remember that he supported [Republicans] Rick Santorum, George Bush, and all that stuff - policies that most people would say have hurt urban areas around the country and Philadelphia in particular."
Katz noted that if he runs, he'd have to raise campaign money even as he continues to rely on public and foundation support for his documentaries.
"Fund-raising for politics would undermine fund-raising for the films," he said. "That's my business. That's my job, and I need to do my job."
Still, he admitted to not always being the best predictor of his own political moves - which along with the 1991, 1999 and 2003 mayoral runs included a race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination that he lost to Tom Ridge in 1994.
"After 1991," Katz recalled Wednesday, "I said I'd never run for anything again."