by John O’Connell

We will go out on a limb and say this year’s primary election will go down in the books as one of the most significant events in all of local political history. Thanks largely to the festering sore of the DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Plan), nearly half of the entire complement of current district City Council members has retired or chosen not to run for re-election. The latter group includes, blessedly, our own Donna Reed Miller.

The Ninth Ward Democratic committee has for months pored over the ins and outs of the May election. We’ve done everything possible to arrive at a principled endorsement for the vacancy in the 8th Councilmanic District, looking every which way to make sure we end up recommending the best overall replacement for Miller, someone ready to lead.

We’ve sought the straightest-talking, most estimable candidate possible.  The 8th District has been poorly served in City Council for years. Now, we owe ourselves the best candidate on offer, ready to fight smart in City Hall from day one.

Verna Tyner is that candidate and was overwhelmingly endorsed by the 9th Ward. I have nothing disparaging to say about the other hopefuls – well, almost nothing. At the end of the day, Verna Tyner emerges as the most praiseworthy and competent person in the race.

Coming from humble beginnings in North Philadelphia, she is the bootstrap heroine par excellence. Her character is unwavering. As chief of staff to Councilman-at-Large Bill Greenlee and the late Councilman-at-large David Cohen, she came by a great deal of day-one experience.

She’s shown leadership down in the Council trenches, approaching her work with a creative, make-it-happen determination. Verna Tyner knows every corner of the 8th District and has a mastery of the city’s most pressing issues. With Tyner a primary winner, Chestnut Hill, for a change, would not be forgotten by its district council member.

Our illustrious Mayor is basically running unopposed for a second term – please push his button number. Cheer yourselves up by remembering that he’s running with a fine slate of at-large City Council members, including a couple of Chestnut Hill favorites, Bill Greenlee and Bill Green.  Also gaining a worthy recommendation by the 9th Committee are Blondell Reynolds Brown and two progressive newcomers, Sherrie Cohen and Andrew Toy.  Mayor Nutter has called this group of at-large Council members (Greenlee, Green and Reynolds Brown) “one of the best the city has ever had,” and he’s got at least this one right. Even for all their slugfest debates, this cadre has some of the best policy minds we’ve seen in Philadelphia in decades; they’ve helped lead the city out of one of the worst recessions ever.

Please look for our official 9th Ward ballot at the polls on Election Day. Keep in mind our judicial recommendations, especially 9th Ward residents, Ken Powell, and Diana Anhalt.
John O’Connell is the Democratic leader of the 9th Ward.

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