Political Hot Stove League: Time for Philly Republicans to present a municipal agenda for 2013

William Penn founded Philadelphia in 1682

William Penn founded Philadelphia in 1682.

With the Presidental election decided and the term of the General Assembly expiring on November 30, Philadelphia has entred the Hot Stove League of Politics.

As in baseball, Hot Stove is when folklore is revived, what-ifs are debated, and predictions are made.  Politically, it is when candidates surface, wannabees come out of hiding, funds are furtively raised before the campaign season, commitments are solicited and deals are made.  

The Political Hot Stove League ends in mid-January, when petitions are circulated and endorsements are made.  In a few weeks, the campaigns for District Attorney, City Controller and lots of judgeships will begin.  

Now is the time for Philadelphia Republicans to act.

Philadelphia has not elected a Republican to City office since 1989.  Local campaign finance limits and ethics rules—created by you know who—have made it impossible for any minority party to run an effective campaign.   Nevertheless, local Republicans have an important role to play.

Historically, minor parties have advocated issues before they were ripe.  Abolition of slavery, labor laws, the social safety net were all raised by minor parties before being adopted by the major parties.

Republicans should use the 2013 race for City Controller to educate voters on new ideas.

In college, I was taught that municipal issues are largely non-ideological.   Professors and text books emphasized that there is no Democratic way and no Republican way to pave a street.   Years of experience in one-party Philadelphia have proved the academics wrong.

We need a Republican approach to solving Philadelphia’s needs.  The Democrats in City Hall think they are miniature Federal bureaucrats.   They stand for regulations which are properly State and Federal matters, such as mandatory sick leave, domestic abuse leave, nutrition information on menus, resident and minority hiring set-asides.   While such goals are admirable, these rules put Philadelphia businesses—and jobs—at disadvantage to suburban competitors.

Millions of dollars are spent on homeless programs, obesity education, public housing, and economic development grants for insiders.  When the budget needs to be cut, Democrats lay off police and fire fighters and close swimming pools, recreation centers, libraries and fire houses.

A Republican approach would be to concentrate on the core services cities are supposed to furnish—-police, fire protection, recreation, libraries, public health, sanitation.  Let the State and Federal governments do social engineering without putting Philadelphia employers at a disadvantage.

Republicans should also raise organic political reform.   We need to open the political process.   Philadelphia has unduly restrictive rules on ballot access.  One thousand valid signatures are needed to place a candidate for City Council on the ballot.  No wonder that in the last municipal election, the majority of district council candidates were unopposed in the November election.  The Democratic primary decides everything.

Restrictive ballot access hurts everyone.  Without competition, the public is deprived of the point and counterpoint, give and take, proposals and counter-proposals which are raised in contested elections.

Philadelphia Republicans have a big challenge and a bigger responsibility in 2013.

I challenge every Mount Airy voter to offer policy proposals for the Republican municipal agenda.   I wish I could treat the maker of the best suggestion to a free cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop at Greene and Carpenter, but I’m afraid I may violate those campaign finance and ethics rules which protect you against political competition.


Romney is history. Restore the historic Republican Party.

In the 1980’s, I was active in Republican politics in Northeast Philadelphia.  For most of that time, we had as many as five state representatives, a state senator and a district city councilman.  Though registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans by at least 3-2 in each district, Republicans were elected time and time again.   These urban Republicans won for three reasons:  (1) aggressive door to door campaigning;  (2)  thorough constituent service; and (3)  political stands protective of the community.

I wrote a pamphlet which concluded, “Republicans help people, Democrats use people.”

Thirty years later, the roles were reversed.  Mitt Romney sucked up to anyone and said anything necessary to secure the Republican nomination for President. 

Large groups of voters wanted better medical care, the right to regulate their fertility, and decency towards immigrants.  The once moderate governor of Massachusetts never disavowed the tea party line he took to get nominated.

He campaigned against people.

Romney’s vilest behavior was towards immigrants.   On WHYY’s Radio Times, Mary Moss-Coane played a sound bite of Romney addressing a forum in Florida.  He said that there should be a way for illegal immigrants who serve in the U.S. military to obtain “permanent resident” status.   He did not say “citizenship." 

Romney the son of privilege, who avoided the Vietnam draft by doing missionary work in France, would not even concede citizenship to an immigrant who would put his or her life at risk and experience all kinds of indignities for the nation. 

The defeat of Romney is good for the Republican Party.   It opens the opportunity for loyal Republicans to restore the historic Republican Party.

Unlike the negativity of the Romney campaign, the historic Republican Party addressed the nation’s needs.  The historic Republican Party stood for a bold foreign policy, a strong national defense and national pride.  This is a record Democrats cannot match.

Legislatively, the historic Republican approach was more measured, more hesitant, less regulatory, and less socialistic than proposals offered by Democrats.   The historic Republican Party offered alternative solutions and negotiated compromises with Democrats for the good of the nation.



The historic Republican Party offered strong leadership and progress with Presidents such as Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon (except for the corruption), legislative leaders like Gerald Ford, secretaries of state such as John Foster Dulles and Henry Kissinger and governors such as Nelson Rockefeller.


Civil rights were advanced, infrastructure was built, environmental protection and worker safety laws were enacted, and nuclear war was avoided.

With Romney and the right wing of the Republican Party still in shock, now is the time to act.

Become active in the local Republican Party.   Speak in behalf of historic Republican values.  Support candidates who hold to historic Republican principles.  Stand up for decency, fairness and the best interests of the nation.   The next Presidential election is less than four years away.

Rich Edwards to present MOOC on film noir this spring

Friday, I attended NoirCON, Philadelphia’s bi-annual festival of noir literature, film and art.  I spoke to Rich Edwards, co-host of the outstanding podcast series “Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir” www.noircast.net.  Rich is now a professor at Ball State University in Indiana.  He told me that in the spring–probably April–he will offer a MOOC on Film Noir.  For information see http://ilearn.bsu.edu/noirmooc/ or read below.

Just the Facts:

“Investigating Film Noir” is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that examines the noir phenomenon in classic Hollywood films of the 1940’s and 1950’s. The course is taught by Richard L. Edwards, PhD, co-author of The Maltese Touch of Evil: Film Noir and Potential Criticism and co-host of the podcast series Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir. This highly engaging online course is designed for college-age and life-long learners, featuring in-depth analyses of classic films and innovative learning approaches for understanding the impact of the noir style on cinematic narrative, acting, visual design, cinematography, and sound design.

DOA (1950)He Walked by Night (1948)

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