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Nutter answer questions about party reform. Sort of.
Last week, Michael Nutter submitted, and the Inky Ed Board printed, an op-ed defending Congressman Bob Brady as both a Congressman and the leader of the party. The Mayor-elect said that:
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.
A lot of us wondered what exactly that latter part--about the party--meant. Today's Inky includes a brief attempt by Patrick Kerkstra to get Nutter to clarify on what he meant:
Asked what specific reforms he'd like to see, Nutter said the party ought to have an open process for choosing which candidates to support. He also proposed training for would-be candidates, stepped-up recruiting of candidates and committee members, and a guest speaker program. Asked about the shakedown that judicial candidates are subjected to by some ward leaders, Nutter said he'd prefer that judges not be elected.
"These are the kinds of issues I intend to have discussions with the chairman about," Nutter said.
Compare that to this list of reforms that some of us have been pushing directly with the party chair ourselves:
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?
Nutter's reply to Kerkstra was given on-the-go at the Pennsylvania Society in New York. Nutter also said:
Reforming the party is a priority for me, and I don't think people should try to read any tea leaves or read too much into the letter.
I certainly agree.
There wasn't much in his letter to read into. I hope when he returns from New York he will clarify once and for all which progressive reforms to the party he supports and which he doesn't. If he has been speaking with Congressman Brady about making these changes, it would be interesting to hear the process and time line for implementation they have come up with.
If their conversations have been more general, then I wonder when Nutter plans to prioritize having a more detailed one, and if he will seek the input of others--like those of us who have already outlined ideas for party reform.