The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Dennis Wesley is ready to endorse Edward Rendell for mayor -- of New York. At least that is what Wesley, an independent candidate for mayor, said last night during an hour-long debate between the four mayoral candidates. Wesley's sarcastic endorsement was not the only one Rendell received as the Democratic front-runner was attacked heavily by Wesley, Republican candidate Joseph Egan and Consumer Party candidate Pamela Lawler. Egan offered an apparently sarcastic endorsement of Rendell during a play to turn Rendell's perceived strengths in the campaign into weaknesses. Egan attempted to discredit Rendell's financial strength by mocking "all 1000, maybe 2000" Rendell ads showing the front-runner as a candidate for change, while downplaying Rendell's announced position on several campaign issues. "Ed has a solution for every problem," Egan said, calling it "feel-good government." "If you do want to vote for Ed Rendell, please do so," Egan said at the end of his final remarks. But he added that if voters "wanted change," they should vote for Egan. During the debate, held at WHYY-TV, candidates had one minute to answer a question posed by one of six panelists -- reporters from local television and radio stations as well as the Associated Press. The panelists also asked 30-second follow-up questions of the candidates. Rendell steadily distanced himself from the confrontation, refusing to attack the positions of the other candidates or respond to attacks on his position and past record. Instead, Rendell spoke of his plans to cut waste in the city budget, lead and manage the city "decisively" and bid out city services. In emphasizing how he would govern decisively, Rendell said that he might wait out a strike if his contract offers to city unions were rejected and that he would rule the city by executive order if City Council did not cooperate with him. And while Rendell emphasized that the dire straits the city faces could inspire cooperation between the new mayor and Council, he said he would put Council's "feet to the fire" if they forget Philadelphia's government is organized with a strong mayor and a weak Council. After the debate ended, he only rebutted one charge -- Egan's claim that he ran up deficits when he was District Attorney -- by saying he saved other city departments money and that the city controller had described his fiscal management as "sound." Egan, who trails Rendell both in popular support and in money, challenged Rendell at the beginning of the forum, accusing him of charges varying from running a deficit at the DA's office to shifting the blame of city mismanagement to city workers. He called Rendell's plan to bid out city services a "cruel hoax" and said, as mayor, he would use his background as a negotiator to work with labor to change union work rules rather than privatize city services. Both third-party candidates attacked the major party candidates as well as the system, saying government should be opened up to more people. Wesley proclaimed himself the "only true Republican" to run for mayor since current City Councilmember Thacher Longstreth ran in 1978. He also accused both political parties of "giving away money" to suburban consultants and promised that if elected, he would "cut the gravy train." And Consumer Party candidate Lawler said she would sell Philadelphia Airport to relieve pressure on the city budget and that every "man, woman and child" needed representation in the power structure. At the end of the debate, Wesley restated forcefully his position as the "true Republican" in the race and said he was the candidate for citizens wanting to "take your city back."

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.