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Let's make this simple: what is Michael Nutter's agenda for party reform?
The endorsement of Brady for Congress in Michael Nutter's Inky op-ed yesterday wasn't strange, but this was:
I want to outline why I think Brady is an important asset to my new administration. Both as a member of Congress and as head of the city's Democratic Party...Brady and I have had many discussions about the need to change the way we do business in Philadelphia. I believe he supports my agenda for reform in city government and the Democratic Party.
Practically, I understand why a Democratic Mayor would want to forge a relationship with the Democratic Party chair, but if that is the road Nutter is going down, then he needs to answer the same specific questions that have been asked of Brady about reforming the party.
Here's my attempt at boiling down some of the concerns into a simple agenda for Philadelphia Democratic Party reform:
Will every ward leader in the party commit to holding open ward meetings, where anyone can watch and ask questions?
Will the party chair convene an annual platform convention so that all members of the party can share their ideas for the policies and laws that party-endorsed candidates will push?
Will every committee person in the city commit to canvassing their division every election, making at least three attempts to have face-to-face contact with a voter?
Will the party chair lay out appropriate and inappropriate ways for ward leaders to handle "street money" to stop the shaking down of candidates, especially judges, for office?
Bob Brady is an interesting guy. I don't know him super well, but I like him.
Bob Brady has not, however, committed to an agenda for reforming what some of us perceive to be the problems in the Democratic party.
Brady did meet with some of us "progressives" last year to discuss this. As Clout reported:
The gripes? Unresponsive committeemen. Corrupt judicial elections. Undemocratic selection to fill City Council vacancies. Weak voter-turnout efforts. Patronage. Nepotism. Politics as usual...
"Bob went by himself into this group of 20 people, about 10 of whom had real issues with him," said Hannah Miller of Philly for Change. "He sat there and took it. I have nothing but respect for the man. "
"He was kind of in the hot seat," said Jen Murphy, chairwoman of Philly for Change. "It's the start of a conversation. "
Ray Murphy of Philadelphians Against Santorum said, "I think Bob Brady is a nice guy. I had a good time, but that doesn't change what a lot of us are doing. "
Marc Stier of Neighborhood Networks gushed on his blog: "Congressman Brady was charming, articulate, incredibly quick on his feet and well prepared. "
Our breakfast was fun, but nothing was really resolved. Brady has indicated that he is open to talking again, but for whatever reason, nothing has happened yet.
That's why it is exciting that Mayor-elect Nutter says that he has been talking to Chairman Brady about reforms in the party. But why the secrecy about it?
Nutter does not say what reforms he is suggesting they are nor can they be found on his website.
I hope Mayor-elect Nutter is willing to take on the agenda for party reform above and share with us his plans too. The people listed above by no means lead the city or even the “movement.” However, the concerns we articulated to Brady last year, that I attempt to capture above, are real, and they affect a majority of Philadelphia voters.