2007 Primary Election Results: CHANGE!!!

When I joined with the other founders in creating Philadelphia Forward, we declared that we would push in the short run for the reforms that could make Philadelphia the city we knew it should be, but that our longer-term goal was to establish the constituency for change that could alter the city's political landscape. While, as a 501(c)(3) organization, Philadelphia Forward could not endorse any particular candidacy, based on the election results, I agree with the Tugger and firmly declare -- WE WIN!

More than 60 percent of the votes cast for Mayor in the Democratic Primary were cast for candidates who were generally supportive of significant change in Philadelphia AND specifically supportive of the tax reform, ethics reform, and budget reform measures promoted by Philadelphia Forward. The Republican candidate for Mayor is also supportive of these measures.

On City Council, the fact that three incumbents were defeated (the most defeated incumbent Councilmembers in recent memory) and many more seriously challenged, demonstrates how deeply ingrained the push for change has become in Philadelphia. Tax reformers can smile as two of the "Stubborn Six" that stood in the minority with the mayor and blocked critical tax reform legislation will not return in 2008.

The election yesterday represented a thorough dismissal of the policies of the current administration and a complete rejection of the politics of fear and culture of corruption that has been the hallmark of Philadelphia government for far too long.

Whether it is our efforts at Philadelphia Forward to educate Philadelphians and provide them with conduits to take action, to establish a Reformers' Roundtable, and to create a citizen's R.E.F.O.R.M. Agenda at www.reformballot.org; the continued work of Hallwatch.org and SCRUB; the newly energized voice of the Committee of 70; the emergence of organizations like Neighborhood Networks, Philadelphians United to Restore Ethics, Casino-Free Philadelphia, Philly For Change, and so many others who banded together to make change; or the successful candidacies of those who won at the polls and those whose challenges represented significant threats to the status quo -- IT IS CLEAR THAT THIS IS NOT CORRUPT AND CONTENTED PHILADELPHIA ANYMORE.

Philadelphia, today you awake to find a city that is

Together, we have truly created a revolution of rising expectations. We, collectively, have rejected the notion that we should accept ongoing decline, rising crime, and a political system that rewards those who go along to get along. We have established the fact that the challenges that Philadelphia faces are not puzzles to be solved; they are choices among competing priorities -- and that good ideas and sound solutions to our problems exist, but they require that we embrace policies that benefit the city as a whole. Most important, we have infused in Philadelphians a sense of hope that we can make a difference and that we can accept the challenge of the Oath of the Athenian Citizen to "transmit this city, not only not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us."

I am giddy with excitement when I consider how we can work together to transform Philadelphia -- the city we all love despite its faults -- into a city that is truly a preferred place to live, work, and visit.

Brett Mandel, Philadelphia Forward Executive Director