Does Cheri Honkala exist? Not according to the Committee of Seventy

Cheri Honkala is running for Sheriff. She's been nominated by a party (the Greens). She's been a community activist - and an activist in other parts of the country - for decades. She has participated in candidate forums and debates. She is running a serious campaign.

Yet the Committee Of Seventy thinks voters don't deserve to know she exists. They have devoted absolutely zero attention to her candidacy, not even giving her the space on their website that other candidates for Sheriff have received. This is WRONG. Just because Cheri has decided not to run with one of the two major parties, that doesn't mean that voters are either a) not interested in her or b) too stupid to understand this.

The good news is that there are two ways you can directly tell the Committee Of Seventy to put Cheri on their website and acknowledge her candidacy. One is an online petition posted at

And the other is a twitter petition that goes directly to the Committee of Seventy:

Disagree. Crap like this is why I left the Greens.

1. Cheri Honkala has not filed any nominating papers for her run for Sheriff.
2. Cheri Honkala's name will not appear on any ballots on May 17.

Unless the Committee of Seventy has set some unreasonable bar, like saying that they will never post her name or profile on their site, then I think that this is a complete waste of time. Seventy has a good history of being nonpartisan, and I have no reason to believe that they won't be this year, once the Democrats and Republicans have their primaries.

I am excited about Cheri's candidacy, and have been looking forward to joining the work of the campaign. But when campaign volunteers are out shaking their fists at organizations for no good reason, it really turns me off. Collecting signatures and money are the only tasks that matter before the primaries.

There are important underlying issues at play here: that publicly funded and managed primaries for private entities even exist, and the absurd thresholds that the bipartisan powers that be have put in place to prevent participation by third parties. These are important for Greens to continue to call attention to. But getting combative with a nonprofit organization that is acting within its mission and reasonable policies is just shooting yourselves in the foot.

Actually, our petition

Actually, our petition campaign has been quite successful. Before, Seventy had said they would only list Cheri's campaign after she turned in her nominating petitions (July 31). Now they have agreed to list her immediately after the primary. As you know, Greens have to fight fight fight not to be ignored.

No they don't

It's been said here before, and I've said it to Green Party reps in person, but people continue to ignore it: why not run a Green for an at-large City Council seat? All you need to do is beat the lowest Republican, and that wouldn't be tough. Do that, and you have perhaps the biggest Green Party win in US history. As in ever. As in, this could be bloody huge, and give the Greens a platform so that they don't have to "fight fight fight" all.

But, for some reason, the Greens chose to pass on taking a hack at the hanging change-up. No reason- they just can't pick a single candidate. Hugh won't do it b/c he's a Roxborough/Manayunk guy. Cheri won't do it b/c she's a single-issue candidate. Fine- are those the only 2 Greens in all of Philly?

Listen, the Dems won't clean up their machine unless there's a second party in Philly politics. The GOP isn't it. That leaves the Greens, and it doesn't seem as if they're interested either.


Long-discussed, hard to execute

1. This has been on the Philly Greens agenda for a long time, at least since I was involved in Gene Miller's 5th District Council campaign in 1999. So to say that "people continue to ignore it" is an assertion completely without merit or basis in fact. We had a great candidate two cycles ago; someone ran a disgusting personal smear campaign against him and he dropped out.

2. "All you need to do is beat the lowest Republican" grossly underestimates the personal time and campaign resources required to run a city-wide campaign. It requires a candidate to have the ability to campaign 40-60 hours/week from April through October, probably more for the last three weeks.

3. Straight ticket voting in the general is a HUGE obstacle for any third-party candidate, but especially in municipal elections in the cycle that has judges and City Council. A lot of voters come to the booth not knowing or particularly caring who the At-Large candidates are and just vote with the big button. Getting enough Dems to split their ticket, along with some Republicans is hard.

Glad to hear the signature

Glad to hear the signature gathering is going well (I never suggested it wasn't, just that it should be your top priority). Are you saying that Seventy changed course based on your petition campaign?

Your comment that Seventy said they would list her when she filed (which could be anytime after May 17th until July 31, if you have the requisite sigs, and you can make supplemental filings afterwards) seems directly at odds with rossl's statement that "Committee Of Seventy thinks voters don't deserve to know she exists." Hyperbolic-to-the-point-of-dishonest statements of victimhood are part of what pushed me out of the Green tent.

Then let me defend it

The Committee of Seventy is clearly able to list Cheri any time they want to. She could be up on their website right now. But instead they chose to push listing her back all the way to July, when a lot of voters will have already gone to the website and checked out the candidates without seeing Cheri there. So apparently the Committee of Seventy, well, doesn't think voters deserve to know she exists! I don't know if that means they think she isn't a "serious" candidate or that third party candidates need to prove themselves more than Democrats and Republicans or that they really are purposefully keeping her off the website as long as possible - it doesn't really matter to me. They were doing what they were doing, which shows that for some reason or another they are determining that voters don't deserve to know who Cheri is, and now that's changed for the better, so I'd say this all worked out pretty well. Maybe I'll tone the petition down a bit next time, but I don't think it was much of an exaggeration.

And I think the other commenter was talking about the online petition, not our petition campaign to get on the ballot.

As for an at-large seat...I might be wrong, but I think that it would still take less votes to win a city council seat in a single district than an at-large seat.

On the At-Large Issue

Let me just say that yes, it would take fewer votes to win a District than an At-Large seat, but you would also have one tenth the voter base from which to get those votes. There are 1.5 million people in the City, and 150,000 in the average district. And the most important distinction between the two races remains what Zorro pointed out. In an overwhelmingly Democratic town, you wouldn't have to beat a Democrat to win an At-Large race. If all the Democrats win, as they always do, there are still two seats left. Whoever finishes sixth and seventh wins those seats. They cannot be Democrats. So it would be the Greens against the incredibly weak Republican Party. There is no District race in which you could get that kind of matchup.

I'm not against the Green Party running an

at-large candidate, at all. And in the end it comes down to whether or not we'll have a candidate to run in that race. But there are plenty of pros and cons to each different race, and one benefit (while, of course, in other ways being a drawback) of running in a district race would be that, yes, we're going up against the Democratic Party. The Democrats have the power in this city and we're an opposition party, that's something we really want to change.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Syndicate content