Sex and the City

Dan Savage has some impolitic positions on Philly.

By G.W. Miller III
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Dec. 6, 2006

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Dueling Dans: Savage the city councilman (above) and Savage the sex columnist (below) are all over politics.

Dan Savage loves the grit of Philadelphia but he wants to expand our subway system and increase our reliance upon mass transit.

He also wants to legalize drugs.

And prostitution.

"Because I like hookers and drugs," Savage says with a laugh--although he really does support legalizing drugs and prostitution. He thinks eliminating restrictions and creating regulations would ultimately reduce violent crime in the city.

"When you prohibit something people want--whether you approve of it morally--you create profit for criminals," he says. "And then criminal syndicates enforce their small drug monopolies with violence."

You may be disappointed to learn these aren't the thoughts of newly installed 7th District city councilman Dan Savage. Officially known as Daniel J. Savage, the councilman is a political insider who strolled into office with the help of our city's infamous deal-making Democratic machine.

Rather, these are the musings of PW's own back-of-the-paper sex guru, author of the internationally syndicated advice column Savage Love.

"I remember when he first came to the Welcomat before it was the Philly Weekly," Councilman Savage says. "People thought it was me."

(For the record, he says, no one has ever asked him for advice on matters relating to the bedroom.)

Sexpert Savage edits The Stranger, one of Seattle's alternative weekly newspapers, when he's not advising the lovelorn and sexually befuddled. He comforts those confused about issues involving she-males, drinking urine, castration fetishes, latex masks, vaginal farts, uncircumcised penises, voyeurism, strap-ons, hairy men, bondage and threesomes.

He recently advised one reader, "Stop hanging frying pans from the head of your dick."

Over the last few years Savage the journalist has also become quite vocal about political issues. His columns have been sprinkled with his disgust of Donald Rumsfeld, the recently ousted Rick Santorum and of course President Bush. (He created the anti-Bush website www.itmfa.com, which stands for "impeach the motherfucker already.") In October Savage headlined a benefit for Philadelphians Against Santorum at the Trocadero. About 380 people attended.

"I haven't been to Pennsylvania once as an adult since Rick Santorum wasn't representing Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate," Savage says. "I need to come and breathe the air of a free Pennsylvania. I won't have to boil my shoes every time I get home."


It's tough to know what to expect from Councilman Savage, who was sworn in last week. He hasn't been as forthright with his ideals and goals. He spoke to PW for about 60 seconds for this article, and then promised to call back the next morning. He never did.

Councilman Savage, 35, fills the position vacated by Rick Mariano, who was convicted of federal corruption charges and sentenced to more than six years in prison starting in August.

A ward leader, safety officer with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the son of a U.S. District court judge, Savage was chosen by his fellow ward leaders to be the Democratic candidate for the vacant seat. He won in November's general election by a landslide 6-1 ratio over Republican candidate Gary Grisafi.

Given the city's strong Democratic leaning, the Democratic Party essentially hand-picked Mariano's replacement, critics say, as well as the replacements for the deceased at-large councilman David Cohen and the 4th District's Michael Nutter, who left Council to enter the mayoral race. The citizens had no voice in the election.

The Philadelphia Tribune declined to endorse anyone for the 4th and 7th district seats because the candidates weren't chosen by the electorate. The Daily News withheld its endorsement for the 4th District, and endorsed the Republican candidate instead of Savage. The Inquirer called on readers to vote Republican, "Simply as a protest against the fossilized status quo."

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