Philadelphia's Ugly Local Politics

I recieved two letters via email today concerning what's going on in the Democratic Party here in Philadelphia. The Dem leadership of this city is worried. They are panicking. They are calling the people who want to get involved in the Democratic process "outsiders" and "Republicans" and I know I may be an outsider, but I am no Republican outsider. Following are the two letters in their entirety.

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30th Ward Democratic Committee
2213 Naundain Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146
P xxx-xxx-xxxx F xxx-xxx-xxxx

Terry Gillen, Ward Leader
James Burks, Ward Chair

March 12, 2006

Dear Fellow Committeeperson:

I wanted to pass along a letter from the Chairman of our Democratic Party, Bob Brady. He is concerned that many committeeperson throughout the City are being challenged by outsiders who are trying to created division within the Democratic Party and within some of our wards and divisions. I personally believe that some of the people who are doing this are working hand in hand with the republican [sic] Party.

This week, some committeepeople may receive a notice that their petition is being challenged in court. If you receive this notice, let me assure you that Bob and I and the Democratic Party will go to court and fight to make sure that you can run for reelection. Democratic Party lawyers will argue your case for free in order to keep your name on the ballot. We will do this because we all need to stick together and fight these people who want to divide us.

Let me know as soon as soon as possible if you receive a legal challenge of if you believe that someone is trying to remove your name from the ballot.

If we stick together we can stay strong. We won't play into the Republicans' hands and allow anyone to divide us!

Terry Gillen


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The Democratic County Executive Committee of Philadelphia
Executive Offices: 1421 Walnut St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102
Telephone: 241-7800
Robert A. Brady

Terry Gillen
2213 Naundain St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

March 8, 2006

Dear Terry,
It has come to my attention that there is an organized effort to file petitions to become a Democratic committee person in many wards in the city. It is clear that this effort has been started by forces that seek to polarize and destroy this party. I strongly urge you to oppose their efforts. I suggest that you immediately notify me at City Committee of the divisions where this has occurred. I will have the petition reviewed to determine if it is defective. If it is, I will assist you in filing a petition with the Common Pleas Court to have the person stricken from the ballot on behalf of your designated candidate in that division.

We are a family united. As your leader and friend, I will fight to make sure we remain united.

I will also prepare withdrawal slips for these individuals that filed and I will try to have them withdrawn.

Very truly yours,
Democratic County Executive
Committee of Philadelphia

* * * * *

I am a first time candidate for committeeperson here in Philadelphia. While I'm not surprised that the Dem 'leadership' has done this, I'm appalled at their accusations. Those of us who are running, I urge you all to call the Board of Elections bright and early in the morning and see if your name has already been removed without notification: 215.686.3469. This is not what I call a democracy.

Rep. Brady's contacat info in PA: 1907-09 S. Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19148 | Phone (215) 389-4627 | Fax (215) 389-4636 and his info in DC: 206 Cannon House Office Building Washington DC 20515 | Phone (202) 225-4731 | Fax (202) 225-0088.

Last I checked Philly for Change and Neighborhood Networks were not Republican groups. I am, however, a member of both outstanding groups. The Committee of Seventy is a non-partisan group. Those, to my knowledge, were the groups who were leading the push to get newbies involved in the process.

Tags: Philadelphia (all tags)



Excellent to get local experience documented

Not to be patronising or anything...

One piece of local testimony is worth a hundred me-toos on the topic du jour.

I know the ills of Philly politics - especially Dem politics, natch - has come up here several times before (I can't remember which of the front-pagers is involved - as precinct captain or something, I think).

I wonder, though, whether the reaction within county parties to outsiders being so presumptive as to run for elected office in the party would be so different across the country.

(They might not commit their views to writing, if they'd got any sense, of course. Or any humility.)

Some of those gates we're supposing to be crashing are pretty well reinforced, I'm thinking!

by skeptic06 2006-03-20 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Excellent to get local experience documented

Chris is a committeeperson over in West Philly.

It was pretty shocking to see this in writing like it is and the language they use.  Not shocking, however are their intentions.  The Dem Machine's gates here in Philly have been fortified big time.

by Albert 2006-03-21 11:44AM | 0 recs
I was contacted to run too...

but my committee person is excellent and I did not wish to challenge her...

but this is nonsense.  This is a grassroots effort by Philly for Change and its partners.  

So many establishment Dems are so fearful of the unwashed.

by Teaser 2006-03-21 07:37AM | 0 recs
Re: I was contacted to run too...

awesome that your committeepeople are excellent.  i learned from another member of my division [who has lived here fir 8 years] that she had not once met the 2 Dem committeepeople.

there are some 3600 committeeperson seats in Philly.  between the Local 98 and groups like Philly for Change, Liberty City Dems and Committee of Seventy, an estimate of a couple hundred are running.  the party bosses are really paranoid.

by Albert 2006-03-21 11:46AM | 0 recs

Though I have clashed with you over Pennachio's campaign over the past few weeks, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for running and challenging the broken PA machine. This is, IMO, EXACTLY how you stick it to the party insiders, who are largely disconnected from the reality of life for their constituents and many of whom who are completely beholden to moneyed interests.

Anyway, thank you so much for taking the time and putting in the effort to enact real change, and definitely keep everyone up to speed on the dirty tricks that are sure to be used against you. I, for one, definitely have your back!

by Alex Urevick 2006-03-22 05:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Albert...
Clashing is perfectly healthy in my mind. Keeps the muscles working. Breaking down rusty machinery and putting it back together is also a good thing. Hopefully, I can be a part of that.
by Albert 2006-03-22 07:24AM | 0 recs


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