DA Watch: Lynne Abraham Steals Seth’s Fire

To the victor goes the spoils right? The 2005 primary for District Attorney put Lynne Abraham, America’s Deadliest DA, on watch. Seth Williams, now the city’s Inspector General, ran a substantive issue-based campaign against Abraham. Seth lost (though he came closer than Abraham’s last challenger), and now Abraham is stealing all of his ideas.

Ultimately, this is just another feather in Seth’s cap. It’s great that real change is being made at the DA’s office that will allow criminal prosecution to be more fair, effective and reformative. It’s also great to think about reducing crime strategically.

However, if Abraham thinks that implementing Seth’s ideas is going to slow down the Seth Williams for DA train in 2009, she’s dead wrong.

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At the end of June, Republican State Rep. Dennis O'Brien introduced and got passed in the house a bill funding "zone courts.” Zone courts are Abraham’s answer Seth’s call for community-based prosecution.

Yesterday, it was reported that Senator Fumo secured $5 million for the creation of an anti-gun task force to investigate and prosecute the sale of illegal handguns.

Sound familiar? Seth made a stink about the fact that there is no special unit of teh DA's office to track down and prosecute those who deal in llegal arms (although Abraham has an Insurance Fraud prosecution unit to keep the New Jersey auto industry safe).

Abraham, despite having been in office for over 12 years, is just now initiating major reforms that have only come about because of the pressure she felt from voters and leaders of the party to do a better job at the DA’s office.

Abraham’s relationships with power players are coming in handy, and it’s to her credit that she can make these reforms happen so soon. However, this also looks like evidence that Abraham is thinking about running again in 2009. I imagine she is initiating these reforms for two reasons:

1- she know they are good ideas that will make her office run better.
2- She is working harder to squash Seth’s reformer appeal.

Despite my day job, I am often skeptical about the role electoral politics can play in making real change happen. I am also rarely a true-believer in any candidate. Far too many people I know who run for office do so without always having a clear idea of why they want to be elected and what they want to do in office and, most importantly, how they will leverage their office (not just their ego) to organize and spur real change.

Seth Williams, however, makes me throw away all of my normal cynicism. I AM a true believer when it comes to him. Seth really wants to be DA and I think he actually knows how to be one. He has great ideas lots of energy, a great heart, and a true desire to out the “justice” back in our criminal justice system.

Kudos to Lynne Abraham for taking a lesson from Seth. That ought to cut down some on the transition time when he wins the seat from her in 2009 ;)

Why Stop at DA?

Hey Ray,

How does Seth compare to the other likely mayoral candidates? Or do you think his time will come further down the line?

Also, glad to see the melting of that normal cynicism.


Is Seth Williams afraid of the Big Bad Brady?

Seth Williams seems like an honest man, but how does anyone clean up Philly when Crooked Congressman Bob Brady runs the city? The Democrats (Brady) have Lynne Abraham in their pocket, and the ADAs must follow her lead (she is the boss). How will Williams manage to stay out of Brady's pocket? We know he likes playing the spy, but how will he stand up, when the mafia-like Democrats try to squeeze him? Mainstream NEWS should be coming out soon that will give Williams the opportunity to confront Brady's corruption and the unethical thugs he employs to do his dirty work for him. Let's see if Williams steps up to the plate. If he does, we know he has the guts and the integrity Philly needs to begin the clean up...either as Mayor or DA.

I dunno Dan...

It's an interesting question, but I have no idea what the answer is. Seth is certainly smart enough to be Mayor, but I think he truly wants to be the DA. DA is not a stepping stone for Seth to higher office. That having been said, there's certainly precedent for turning a DA gig into a platform for something bigger.

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