Wednesday, October 15, 2003


"Indeed, the Democrats' best-known figure, Bill Clinton, chastised his party
after the 2002 elections for not being militant enough about supporting
Bush's war and Homeland Security clampdown.  He asserted that Americans are
'scared' and seek the comfort of powerful leaders:  'They'd rather have someone
strong and wrong than weak and right.'
    Thank you, Bill.  Now go away.  (Can't he get anyone to play golf with
   --Jim Hightower, from his new book THIEVES IN HIGH PLACES

i've been somewhat worried about the NEW Republican scam to undermine the Democrats, this time being in Philadelphia, this time being with a rather mysterious FBI investigation, which of course the FBI wants everyone to know they're doing, but of course won't tell anyone what it's about. hmmm. even former mayor Ed Rendell, now PA's Governor spoke out against the FBI's bug in the mayor's office, "I think given this extraordinary situation with four weeks to go in the campaign, it is incumbent upon the FBI to say why they planted the device."

i've been somewhat worried since this story broke because i've been thinking that it's possible that those citizens of Philadelphia who have been unsure this time between Democrat John Street and Republican Sam Katz, might just opt for Katz because, hey, it's the FBI after all.  sounds pretty damn offical, FBI, like someone's been officially up to no good.  why not be worried?  Abbey Hoffman got railroaded by his BEST friends because of an FBI investigation.  the man had to live underground.  what a disgrace.

but TWICE today i overheard conversations that lifted my spirits on the matter.  i was in the Reading Terminal Market eating my vegan chick burger near the piano player who was whipping up a Gershwin storm, and a nearby table of about six African American women started talking about the whole affair with the mayor and the investigation.  one of the women wasn't sure and sitting on the fence, but the other five were VERY sure!  "c'mon GIRL!  you know the FBI has been after black folks for years!"  "yeah, they went after King!"  lots of Mm Hmms with that one.  "well i know who i'm voting for!  FBI or NO FBI!" laughter, and agreements.  this made me SO happy to hear!

MAYBE just MAYBE this time one of these Republican scams is going to actually BACKFIRE in their smarmy faces!  yeah, i think so.  even former mayor Ed Rendell made some VERY public remarks that the investigation being so close to the election was fishy.  and don't you even THINK for one minute that folks in Philadelphia aren't onto it!  despite the center of the city being plastered with RAINBOW gay pride Katz posters or those red white and blue Democrats for Katz posters.  ah man, Democrats for Katz!?  he should be made to move to New Jersey for that one!  sorry Jersey, but someone's gotta take him.  and i figured, since you didn't mind the Russian aristocrats retreating to your back door all those years ago, well, here's another fancy rich boy for you.

and WHAT ABOUT those rainbow pride Katz posters!?  i'm going to make a T-shirt and wear it for the next three weeks until election that says, "I'M GAY BUT I'M NO REPUBLICAN!  I SWEAR!"  makes me CRAZY seeing those rainbow posters all over the place!  gay people had FAR MORE sense when they had NO rights!  and why the hell is that anyway?

either that, or one that says, "REPUBLICANS FOR STREET!"  i really HATE the idea of people thinking i'm Republican, but, i'm so upset with this Democrats for Katz thing that i want this election to be OVER already so i don't have to keep holding my head in place when i'm walking on the street, for fear it will explode!

later in the day, i was leaving Eleanor Wilner's, after picking up her house key for a little house sitting i'm doing for her soon, and i'm walking up 12th Street, and these two women see the rainbow Katz posters and one says, "gay people are republicans?"  MY BIGGEST NIGHTMARE COME TRUE!  i said, "NO!  i'm not.  in fact, i HATE Sam Katz.  hate everything he has to say about schools, in particular.  he's out of his mind if he thinks he'll win anyway."  and they nodded, a little out of their neighborhood, a little unsure of me.  so i asked, "how do you feel?"  one woman, who had an Atlantic City sweat shirt on, i forget which casino, she spoke right away, "oh yeah, we were just looking at the poster is all.  it seemed funny.  you know, gay republicans.  just seemed funny."  of course i nodded, "yeah, well, it's funny, but not funny like a joke." turns out they really wanted to talk about the posters, and gay republicans, but they both did say that they're voting for Street.  the other one with the big bleached hair (i liked her a lot, seems like a fun person to kick back with) held her nose and said, with that nose-pinched voice, "yeah, this is how i'm voting for him."  then she released her nose, and added, "no one in my family votes Republican.  although we almost did when Rizzo became one.  but, well, we know how that turned out."  i really DID NOT want to talk to them about Rizzo, i mean, we were having such a nice chat after all, so i just acted like i didn't hear it.  but it was another moment of encouragement.  if she holds her nose to vote for Street, it's still a vote for Street.

i'm NOT the biggest Street-head.  in fact, more than once i've written letters of outrage against him to the City Paper, once after his racist remarks at the NAACP conference, then again after his scandal with his brother's contract, etc.  but Katz just doesn't make sense, especially when issues of the poor and issues of education are brought up.  this isn't New York.  in other words. sometimes i think he thinks it is New York, and that the population is mostly upper middle class who don't mind hearing about education being as divided by property taxes as it is these days.  etc.

if i were mayor i'd be on the damn television once a week, talking about education, talking about the need for real, serious education, and everyone's RIGHT to it!

i'd increase the minimum wage in the city to $9 an hour PRONTO!  and put in place a law which would make that wage increase with a standard based on both the standard of living increase and tax increase.

rent control NOW!  RIGHT NOW!  which includes a law protecting seniors. anyone collecting their social security should NOT have their rents increased by GREEDY center city land owners eager to cash in on the latest hip shift in college student living arrangements.  i've heard enough stories about the elderly in center city losing their homes to make me want to become a vigilante for the aged.

i'd rip out ALL the parking meters.  and in their place i'd put tollbooths at every single entrance into the city.  those with single occupants would pay $3 to get in.  those with two occupants pay $2.  those with three or more occupants pay $1 to get in.  my idea is to encourage car pooling thru the wallet, which would help the environment, and cut down on all the damn traffic.  but also, the lack of meters would encourage folks to leave the safety of their shopping malls and Pizza Huts.

there are other ideas i have to turn this city into one big fat fair place to BE!  maybe i should run for city council  yikes.

if i do, and if i were to win, i'd start up the idea again of turning Chestnut Street into a canal connecting the Deleware River to the Schuylkill River.  
yeah, i like that, downtown rowboats.


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