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Democratic mayoral candidate James White is working for the vote of the man on the street. White's campaign office, filled with literature and buttons, is located in a Market Street storefront, unlike most candidates, whose offices sit high above the city in skyscrapers, separated from the masses. White worked his way up through the ranks of the military and through the ranks of Philadelphia city government. He most recently served as the city's managing director, one of the top positions in Mayor Wilson Goode's cabinet. He maintains his ties with the military, and bumper stickers stating "Veterans support Jim White" litter his office. And White said he thinks his military past will give him, as well as Republican counterpart Ron Castille, an added emotional vote in the hearts of those touched by the Persian Gulf War. But beyond this emotional play, White said this will be an issues-oriented campaign, stating that he will focus on his solid history of liberal Democratic politics and his "deep-seated belief that government has an obligation to citizens." Certainly, the Democratic campaign is oriented more toward issues than the Republican campaign, where the candidates are quickly sinking into mudslinging. The GOP race in recent weeks has been sullied by allegations hurled by former mayor Frank Rizzo at Castille that the former District Attorney abuses alcohol and loosely wields firearms. Castille has denied all allegations. In a Democratic field of three black candidates and two white candidates, race could easily enter as a mudslinging-oriented issue. But White predicted that race will be less of an issue in this election than in the past. "We tend to overemphasize that and ignore the progress we have made," White said. White said he also plans to work with charitable organizations and businesses to get them involved in revitalizing their neighborhoods. White, like most of his opponents, said he plans to examine the role of non-profit institutions, like the University, in helping the city financially. While some other candidates said they saw user fees, charged to these non-profit institutions, as a definite possibility, White would not commit to any change in the current policy. "I will not make a blanket statement that I would change that," he said. He instead said he will probably propose asking the University and other institutions for "in-kind" services and will work for a consensus among such institutions rather than simply ordering the University pay new taxes.

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