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David Oh, Thanks for running - vote count announcement delayed
David Oh, Thanks for Running.
I don’t know the result of the Jack Kelly-David Oh vote count for the second Republican At-Large Seat. It’s due to be finished later this week. I did, however, want to post a few thoughts because my thoughts are independent of whoever wins.
I don’t think anyone imagined that the race between Kelly and Oh would be so close. Even with the additional attention the race garnered in the final weeks of the campaign, I doubt that a significant percentage of Philadelphia’s residents could have told you much about either individual. Certainly I knew nothing about David before interviewing him, other than having seen him once campaigning at an event prior to the May primary in North Philly. I knew nothing about Jack Kelly, other that that he is seems to be a nice fellow and that he voted with John Street on a fair amount of occasions, and of course, that he really loves pets.
I am amazed by David Oh’s campaign. It’s not often in this town that newcomers really challenge incumbents. Certainly, it doesn’t happen often enough. David’s apparent accessibility and his five-page long list of endorsements attests to the many relationships that he developed across the city.
It is worth noting the reported enthusiasm for David in the Korean community. Having lived in Olney for most of my life, I call tell you that by and large, the Korean community has not been connected to politics or had much of voice. In retrospect, it seems to me that it was about time that they did. The Korea community effectively staved off the decline of the North Fifth Street business corridor (above the Roosevelt Boulevard) for more than twenty years.
I probably would have run David’s campaign a little differently (with a more comprehensive nitty-gritty policy committee) but given the evidence that he connected to so many voters, it is hard to believe that he could have been more competitive than he was.
Typically, competitive elections are good. They make our political leaders more responsive. I’m not sure that will be the case in this instance, because Jack Kelly has been pretty open that this would probably be his last campaign. How well Jack has done in this campaign is a testament to the many relationships that he has built over the years. Still, I think Jack owes us something---he owes us some more tightening up of campaign finance laws. I mean, when a politician is competitive because he or she collect campaign funds within the legal limit of the law but not the spirit of the law, I’m going to question his or her commitment to little “d” democracy.
To be really honest, however, I have to question lots of Jack’s priorities. The campaign to make our city a kill free city (as far as stray pets go) was a good nitty-gritty issue. It also was also blatant appeal to those who don’t want to tackle real problems. One of those real problems is the Parking Authority. I hope I’m proved wrong.
From what I understand, and I admit this is complete speculation on my part, Al Taubenberger has designs on being elected as a Republican At-Large in the near future. I like Al. He’s a nice guy. I don’t think he should be demonized needlessly but neither do I think he’s entitled to serve on Council or that he would add much to its current dynamic. Unfortunately, given six months of free media attention, Taubenberger’s name recognition may prove tough to beat if he decides to run.
We’ll see how the Kelly-Oh races goes but on the whole I’d say voters sent a pretty strong message that Philadelphian’s would like to see a more responsive, creative and democratic process rather than politics as usual.
For that, we should thank David Oh.