Philadelphia

I Voted for Milton Street for Philadelphia Mayor Today

Philly Democrats essentially voting for the next mayor today

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the only honest politician's honestly a crook
Kyle Cassidy/CC-BY 2.5

I went and voted in the municipal primaries today in Philadelphia, where I'm registered as a Democrat*. The race at the top of the ballot was actually one of the judge's races, but the most prominent race was for mayor, where former Councilman Jim Kenney, a long-time supporter of the police union who was also one of the political forces behind decriminalizing marijuana, appears poised to win the Democratic primary and thus also November's general election in this predominantly Democratic city.

While Kenney secured the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, he was one of the only candidates who said he wouldn't fire the police commissioner, Charles Ramsey, who has had a contentious relationship with the union on account of wanting to fire more shitty cops than the union is comfortable with.

The other major contender is state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, who likely uses his middle name professionally because his father, Hardy, was a long time state legislator out of Philadelphia too. Williams has long been a supporter of the city's charter school system, which is widely popular in the city's poorer, mostly black, neighborhoods, but it doesn't look like it's going to be enough support for him to win today. Kenney, in fact, could become the first white mayor ever to win the primary with more black votes than any of his black challengers. At least one local columnist suggests Williams' naked racialist appeals could have ended up costing him black votes.

Lynne Abraham, the former district attorney, may have been a serious contender but plummeted in the polls after the 74-year-old fainted during a televised debate.

I voted for none of those candidates. Instead I voted for Milton Street, because it's not often you get such a perfectly cromulent protest vote on the ballot. Street represents everything wrong with contemporary politicians and he owns it all.

This profile from Philly.com makes the case for Street as well as anyone could. Read:

First, Street is a serial prevaricator, who lies early and often. This week, for instance, as he faced a court challenge based on his residency and flaws in his nominating petitions, he testified on a Friday that he was married to a woman who lives in Moorestown, and on Monday testified that he was not. He said he had mailed in a change of registration form switching from independent to Democrat but no one at the Election Bureau ever saw it.

The truth is he does live in New Jersey—or did until a few months ago—and he did not mail in his change form, but Judge Chris Wogan gave Street the benefit of the doubt and let him stay in the ballot. (Wogan should know better than to give Street any benefit of any doubt.)

Second, if there ever is a Tax Deadbeat Hall of Fame, Street would be one of the first inductees. The list of taxes he has owed and tax liens on his properties is a long one. The capstone of his career came in 2008 when he was found guilty in federal court for failing to pay taxes owed on close to $3 million he earned early in the decade as a "consultant."

He was fined $413,704 and sentenced to 30 months in prison for that escapade.

He served his time at a federal prison in Kentucky. It was one of the few times we knew for sure where Street resided.

At his trial, Street's defense was that in his search of the law books he found no clause that gave the Internal Revenue Service the right to collect taxes. The judge showed admirable restraint by not laughing when he ruled against Street's assertion.

Third, as to that "consultant" stuff, Street's glory years—in terms of income—were when his younger brother, John, was mayor (2000-08). He got a contract to run the food concessions at the River Rink ice skating rink. Later, Penn's Landing Corp., which ran the rink, had to take him to court to collect vendor fees he owed.

In 2001, Street worked as a consultant for a Texas company that got a big contract at Philadelphia International Airport. The firm kept him on as a $30,000-a-month consultant after it got the deal to handle maintenance at the airport worth up to $3.2 million.

In gratitude for that sweetheart deal, Street tried to get the contract for himself in 2003.

During the same period, Street formed a company called Notlim (Milton spelled backward), which went after the airport contract and also offered his services as a consultant to help clients get access to the mayor. His brother put the kibosh on that plan, but Notlim still exists as a company. (If elected mayor, maybe he will reactivate it and offer his services as a consultant to gain access to himself.)

Read the whole profile here.

In 2007, when running to replace his brother, Street once said he'd quit if he couldn't get 5,000 people to show up at a rally. Only 200 people showed up, but Street said he had vastly underestimated his own commitment to the campaign. He ended up not qualifying to run because he hadn't lived in Philadelphia long enough at the time. He's been polling consistently in the single digits this time around.

Related: The Libertarian Case for Voting and Your Vote Doesn't Count

*as I explain each time I do a post like this, I register Democrat because I live in a predominantly Democrat city with closed primaries so I like to keep my options open. I don't think I saw a single competitive election on the Republican primary side.

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  1. *cue Epi to tell you you’re wasting your time voting, and Cytotoxic to declare anyone who doesn’t vote as a douche, poseur hippy*

    1. This article was even worse than that. Frivolous nonsense.

      1. Seriously? You’re going to piss Ed off, now, too? There will be no one left to defend us from the squirrels.

  2. I went and voted in the municipal primaries today in Philadelphia, where I’m registered as a Democrat.

    You’re part of the problem.

    1. Not if he helps steer Dem politics to less evil.

      1. Unpossible.

  3. Ed Krayewski is pseudonym for Sheldon Richman?

    where I’m registered as a Democrat

    No Comment.

    1. LOL. I have to explain this every time. It’s a one party city. Why would I limit my choices by registering with the non-party? I don’t think I saw a single competitive election on the Republican side. I’m still free to vote for them in November, but at least I got to express a preference on the side with the choices that count.

      1. Fair point.

      2. Thanks. Yes, I asked you to explain it, because I don’t keep track of the various reasons (pun intended) Reason writers give for the things they do. But I do sincerely appreciate your showing up and saying something about it.

      3. Ed-

        My Dad is slightly to the right of Attila the Hun.
        He is a registered Democrat in Florida.
        He believes it is his civic duty to vote for the shittiest Democrat in a Primary so the Republicans have a better chance of winning the General.

        Perhaps slightly more stupid than your excuse.

        Queue “FloridaMan” jokes.

        1. Was Attila the Hun conservative?

          1. Technically, a Paleoneocon

      4. Ed, it’s Winston. Don’t bother.

        1. Oh please, I can’t exactly fault him for trying to find a sensible Democrat in a highly Democrat city. I will fault him for Sheldon Richman-esque reasoning (drink!) though.

      5. That doesn’t bother me at all, in fact it’s good. What does bother me is that you have some good & bad things to say about other candidates, but rather than choose between them, you vote for somebody for being very, very bad.

      6. Philly needs another Move bombing…the whole city this time.

        I thought Street sounded familiar.

  4. Also where are the Philadelphia Libertarians? I’m sure you can find a gay black atheist pothead who doesn’t need the votes of the religious right in Philadelphia…

  5. I went and voted in the municipal primaries today in Philadelphia, where I’m registered as a Democrat.
    \

    The M.S. in Journalism from Columbia comes with lifetime Party membership.

  6. I went and voted in the municipal primaries today in Philadelphia, where I’m registered as a Democrat.

    Cosmo alert!

    1. That would be a great blog name if they ever tire of Hit&Run;

      1. I thought it would be Cosmo&Snark;?

        1. Cocktail Party?

        2. Koch-Tail?

          Fag Book readers?

          Weed, Mexicans and Ass Sex?


  7. The truth is he does live in New Jersey – or did until a few months ago – and he did not mail in his change form, but Judge Chris Wogan gave Street the benefit of the doubt and let him stay in the ballot.

    So this guy is Hillary Clinton.

    1. No, this guy is black. And he probably has a smaller penis.

      1. I just laughed.

        Loudly.

  8. Perhaps Ed could tell us why he is registered as a democrat. There might be a perfectly logical reason. It would prevent everyone from piling in turning this into another cosmo/yokeltarian shit-fest.

    1. JJ, don’t be absurd. Shitfests let people get their hate on and their intra-H&R KULTUR WAR bullshit going strong. And isn’t perpetual KULTUR WAR, even with people you agree with on most things, the most important thing in the world?

      1. And isn’t perpetual KULTUR WAR, even with people you agree with on most things, the most important thing in the world?

        Libertarians are a small fringe group and small fringe groups have been known for serious factionalism, so yes?

      2. You’re in good company:
        Leon Trotsky at first supported the Mensheviks, but left them in September 1904 over their insistence on an alliance with Russian liberals and their opposition to a reconciliation with Lenin and the Bolsheviks. He remained a self-described “non-factional social democrat” until August 1917 when he joined Lenin and the Bolsheviks as their positions assembled and he came to believe that Lenin was right on the issue of the party.

      3. I thought HyR’s chief power source was our hate and Kulture War in-fighting.

      4. KULTUR WAR is no fun without John anyway

    2. Seriously, what logical reason is there to be registered with a party except that you agree with most or all of their platform? This isn’t Red China where membership in the Communist Party is mandatory for certain professions.

      1. Ed has a M.S. from Columbia…in Journalism

        I think its fucking mandatory .

      2. The last time I was registered to vote it was with Team Red, and that was only so I could vote for Ron Paul in the primaries, not because I agreed with any part of the party’s platform.

        1. Everyone here understands the Ron Paul loophole.

          1. Well it’s not so much a loophole as it is a logical reason to register with a party other than agreeing with most or all of their platform.

            1. You can do the independent until primary day and then switch back when you’re done thing.

      3. To influence their elections duh.

      4. It’s so that you can vote in the primaries. I don’t know why anyone would want to do that, seeing as your vote in the primaries is only fractionally more valuable than your vote in the general (which is “not at all, it’s worth essentially nothing”), but that is the ostensible reason given.

        1. I feel that all of us should call Episiarch and tell him we’re voting while we’re in the polling booth.

          1. Go ahead. Just be warned that he will then have your phone number, which will allow him to call you and tell you when he’s masturbating.

            1. It would be prudent to block your number, guys. Sorry if anyone already called without thinking of that.

      5. Seriously, what logical reason is there to be registered with a party except that you agree with most or all of their platform?

        If you do that, what influence do you have?

        The place that maximizes your influence is the center of gravity. You should enroll in a party you agree & disagree with in about equal amounts, 50-50, and/or about half of whose other enrollees agree with you, & the other half disagree. You have the potential to throw your weight to either side & tip the balance.

        1. in this calcul’n I’m assuming you’ll be more involved than just voting in their primaries. To maximize your influence, you’ll want to work for them, join a club if there is one, get to know the rank & file as well as the leadership.

          However, even if all you did was vote in primaries, picking a party by the balance-of-power rule would still max your influence, slim as it’d be in that case.

    3. Without having any idea or researching, it could have something to do with open primaries and/or living in a blue-er than blue-found-in-nature-blue city, and really only having one choice. So you better be a party member (Do you know who else was a party member?) if you want your vote to mean anything at all.

      1. @HM – Paul.’s response is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about. There could be a variety of reasons that you can’t think of off the top of your head, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

        1. Then my point still stands. Vanguardism at least makes some sense in the GOP context, but Liberaltarianism? That shit flew out the window at the same time Howely did.

          1. Maybe he just wants to vote for the least-worst democrat.

            I don’t agree with that strategy, but it doesn’t mean he agrees with their entire, or even most, of their platform.

            It’s perfectly logical if, given ONLY a choice to vote for the guy who will raise your taxes 20% or the guy who will raise your taxes 10%, to vote for the latter (if you believe voting matters, of course).

            1. I understand that. However, by adding his name to their rolls, he is already adding to their power. I’m going out to have dinner after I type this so I don’t have time to provide the linkage, but I’ve pointed to the papers that lay out the odds of a particular vote “counting” (i.e., being decisive) before. Based on the odds, the “rational” thing to do is not bother. However, people aren’t rational actors and are attracted to vote for issues that have a particular salience to them. Knowing this, by participating in the farce that is an one-party urban political machine, he is contributing to its continuance, imo.

              1. Thank you, that makes a lot more sense to me than your original post.

                I also think it moves slightly from “he must agree with the dems about most things” to, “he’s deluded if he thinks this is helping.” And that, I can totally agree with.

              2. Based on the odds, the “rational” thing to do is not bother.

                No it isn’t. Politics isn’t coldly rational.

                Knowing this, by participating in the farce that is an one-party urban political machine, he is contributing to its continuance, imo.

                No he isn’t. It’s going to exist anyway. “Not voting” is not a course of action.

                1. “Not voting” is not a course of action.

                  derp, Cyto.

                  Of COURSE it’s a “course of action” – just one we know you don’t approve. Whatever – knock yerself out voting for the least-liberal Canuck in your state-sized country, and enjoy your FREE HEALTHCARE! and poutine.

                  Please tell Rufus I said hi, fwend.

              3. You know who the only people to look at party enrollment are? The people already in the party. You don’t add to their power by enrolling. In fact if they see an influx of enrollees, the leadership (& to some degree their supporters) sees it as a potential threat.

          2. Vanguardism at least makes some sense in the GOP context, but Liberaltarianism?

            Why is there a Mulatto link without a twerking video!?

      2. But your vote still won’t mean anything. Any urban D candidate will be horrible, and really, there’s not much to distinguish them.

        1. Not true. DC was a lot better of with D’s that supported Charters than with those that don’t.

          1. Rhee wasn’t running, was she?

        2. Well like I said, I actually don’t personally agree with it, but it’s a point of contention and the fact that Ed feels differently doesn’t mean he automatically supports the whole dem platform.

    4. I’d assume he’s registered as a Dem because PA is a closed primary state and in Philly there is no alternative if you want to vote for local candidates.

  9. yeah somehow our congresswoman in Dallas, Eddie Bernice Johnson, got the concessions contract at Love Field. but she didn’t know, because it was a blind trust, it just happened to work out that way. sort of like how her grandkids won all the scholarships she controlled. pure chance.

    1. I’m so glad I moved up to Addison and out of her district. Not that the rep for here is much better.

  10. where I’m registered as a Democrat*.

    Ed, you commie bastard.

  11. but plummeted in the polls after the 74-year-old fainted during a televised debate.

    This seems a little unfair. If every time I fainted during a televised debate… Oh wait, he was IN the debate? Carry on then.

  12. but plummeted in the polls after the 74-year-old fainted during a televised debate.

    This seems a little unfair. If every time I fainted during a televised debate… Oh wait, he was IN the debate? Carry on then.

  13. First, Street is a serial prevaricator, who lies early and often.

    Sheeeeeeeeeeeee-it.

    1. I was disappointed that Charlie rangel never got his clay Davis moment.

      1. Davis was known for his idiosyncratic profanity, often when confronted with bad news, comically elongating the word “shit” as “sheeeeee-it

        So that’s were it’s from…

  14. I went and voted in the municipal primaries today in Philadelphia, where I’m registered as a Democrat*.

    *Retreats to safe space*

    Where’s my Play-Doh???

    1. *Burns books since they are for fags*

  15. “Judge Chris Wogan gave Street the benefit of the doubt and let him stay in the ballot. (Wogan should know better than to give Street any benefit of any doubt.)”

    Wogan is about the only Phila. conservative Republican who serves in public office. Wogan was a leader in Y.A.F. back in the day at Cardinal Dougherty and Lasalle College.

  16. I saw that earlier Twitter exchange between current and former Reason-writers. Someone should explain to ENB that Weigel wasn’t ever a “cosmotarian”. He was (and is) a partisan hack.
    He never even “faked” being libertarian or cosmotarian. He faked being a fair and reasonable political reporter.

  17. Milton Street? Wow. He was gadfly from back in the 70’s. I grew up in suburban Philadelphia (white privilege alert) and watched the local TV news every single night of my life there. My dad had absolutely no interest in news or politics, but he was a technician for the local NBC affiliate there and maintained the news show’s electronics. He left work at 4:30 before the show went on the air. When he came home he was only interested in whether or not the broadcast was working. That’s why I remember the name ‘Milton Street’.

    1. But wow, what a picture. It looks like a frame grab from a zombie movie. All he needs is white Omega Man-style contact lenses.

      1. My dad looked almost exactly like David Brinkley.

  18. Voting for terrible Democrats has certainly improved Detroit.

  19. I went and voted

    Well, there’s your problem…

  20. So it’s pretty much a real life Why Vote For The Lesser Evil gambit.
    Good for you, Ed.

  21. I’m from right outside Philly. They deserve what they get. PHL airport is horrible!

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