Candidates for City Commission Speak Up

By Aaron Kase
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 7 | Posted Jan. 5, 2011

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Singer: If the Democratic machine tried to shut down elections they probably could. It’s Democratic Committee people who do the lion’s share of outreach that needs to happen to make elections happen.

Schmidt: There were 900 election boards around the city where all five people were Democrats. In spring and fall 2010 we filled about 250 of those boards by recruiting Republicans. Of those 5 seats [per board], two are guaranteed to the Republican party. It’s to make sure things are done fairly. You really don’t have that when they are all one party.

Staten: I think that the city commissioners have to simply run the office in accordance with the rules and regulations and strictly adhere to that.

What about the PICA and Committee of Seventy studies recommending major reforms to the Commission?

Singer: I think that there are a lot of different ways that elections are run across this country. It’s clear that there are other models that work. Most places do it differently.

Schmidt: This agency is going to reform or go the way of the BRT. They should be embracing reform rather than fighting it tooth and nail. Because by fighting it, they’re going to ensure the end of this office as they currently know it. If they embrace reform, or at least adopt some of the recommendations, I think you take away a lot of the ammunition for abolishing these offices. But by just saying no, no, no they’ve got to bend or they’re gonna break.

Staten: I think the recommendations are a really good reasonable estimation. I agree with quite a few of them. I talk about updating the website, and that doesn’t require much. A lot of people communicate via social networks. We want to make sure the City Commissioners’ Office is in the midst of all that.

Should the elected Commission positions be abolished in favor of appointments?

Singer: Things are never as simple as some people like to say they are. When you have an office like that that’s important, it touches a lot of people. Any kind of change you make is a change for a lot of people. Unless you’re careful and smart about it you can do damage.

Schmidt: It’s the same problem you have with judges, or the city controller or any kind of office that revolves around fairness. They’re either elected or someone’s going to appoint them. If that someone is the mayor, that’s a concern also. From the perspective of the minority party, that’s an even bigger problem.

Staten: No. The City Commissioner’ office in my opinion is one of the most important offices, and a well-needed office. It just means we need to reevaluate the way some of the things are done and make sure they’re implemented.

Other thoughts?

Singer: The image of that office is part of the image of Philadelphia. People are like, “that’s the way it is, that’s Philadelphia.” We’re the birthplace of democracy, for crying out loud. People need a nonpartisan source of good information about elections and good emotional messages about elections and that’s what the City Commissioner’s Office ought to be doing.

Schmidt: There’s no interest [among the current commissioners] in rationalizing this election process. It’s been done the same way since the 60s. It’s set up geographically located where Philadelphia’s population was in the 60s. Consequently you have an inefficient and ineffective system.

Staten: We have to take a look at all of our potential voters. We should continually look at increasing [voting numbers] so it’s something that gets better and better each time. We should also look at individuals who are in prison and are now eligible to vote. They may not know. They’re coming back out eventually so we want to make sure they know their rights.

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Comments 1 - 7 of 7
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1. Anonymous said... on Jan 6, 2011 at 05:46AM

“This fellow Schmidt ought to be elected on two counts at least. He isn't a part of the Democrat machine that has driven Philly into bankruptcy, and he's been pretty consistant in calling for serious investigations into crooked politicians siphoning off taxes for personal uses.

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2. Annie Havey said... on Jan 6, 2011 at 10:18PM

“Mr. Schmidt is RIGHT on the money. He seems to have really given this much thought and consideration. He is very correct that if we don't have at least 2 Republicans in EACH polling place working along side the Democrats, then there is every chance and perhaps even likelihood that the polling place will become a "mini campaign" office for the dominant party. They can run the polling place anyway they like from intimidating voters, telling voters "HOW" to vote, allowing illegal voting to take place and machine tampering.just to name a few. I hope you win Mr. Schmidt and make this city a better place to vote!”

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3. City in shambles said... on Jan 9, 2011 at 11:33AM

“Ms. Staten is definitely on point we must take into consideration all people from all walks of life as equality is the turning point where reform needs to begin. Im looking for new blood;non-corrupt goods.The Staten's have a history of being dedicated to the community and getting the job done!!!!!!”

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4. Anonymous said... on Jan 9, 2011 at 11:44AM

“Staten is definitely making statements.Yes indeed are community needs to educated in advance about candidates who are running during elections.The last election I had someone ask me why Rendell was not on the Ballot when the man is was on his way out of office it was his last term. For crying out loud where were Clark and Targalione for community education then”

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5. mike schmidt said... on Jan 12, 2011 at 11:28AM

“Al Schmidt is part of the problem do not let him fool you. He says he is an outsider in philly politics and that is just not true. He worked for the republican city committee and was jusr as much apart of the things that he says were going on in the rcc he was in contact with all ward leaders and talked to them all all the time the only time he tried to back track from them was when he ran for controller to make himself look good. But dont let him fool you he was in the inner circle for years he knew everything that went on . I would ask Al to take a lie detector test like Rizzo did or does he not have the balls.”

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6. Anonymous said... on Apr 3, 2011 at 07:19AM

“I am so sick of tainted politicians saying the same political jargon....most of these so called experienced political figures have been swept up with the whirlwind of arrogance, lies, corruption, and non caring attitudes...soon they become embedded with disloyalty,dishonesty and personal greed....
This is why I would put my trust in STATEN...a new young face with the intentions of wanting to make a difference...I believe she has a better chance as helping us citizens because she is not damage goods or on other words, poisoned by the current political arena....she owes no obligations to the political circle/friends because shes fresh goods....and therefore she would be able to concentrate on the issues at hand....”

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7. Anonymous said... on May 4, 2011 at 12:54PM

“Al is part of the problem he has worked for the RCC and has helped many people atleast 7 that i know of get jobs with the PPA. While he worked at the RCC he was in charge of finding people to run for office and ocersaw the petition drive of at least three election cycles.he sound like a person that is just as guilty as the others at RCC the only thing Al has going for himself is he knows how to sell himself and is good at it but the voters are not dumb Al will not be around 10 years from now if he truly want change in philly the first thing he should do is sign a term limit pledge but he wont do that. Now that will be change.”


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