Who's afraid of Neighborhood Networks?Just a few of the movers and shakers in Philadelphia politics:
City Commissioner Edgar Howard, leader of the 10th Ward in Northwest Philadelphia, said that the group would be limited by the absence of patronage jobs and money to reward loyalists and punish dissenters.The article is sort of weird, because it comes almost two weeks after the founding conference of Neighborhood Networks. Still, it's nice to see the Inky providing such positive coverage. I think the interesting thing about this article is how clearly the organizers of NN are throwing down the gauntlet to the power structure in Philadelphia. They aren't being coy about their intentions at all.
"You have to be able to deliver goods and services to the constituents or else why should people stick with you?" Howard said. "Ultimately, it comes down to: Do they have staying power? It's a big, big city."
Others say liberals should be wary of hurting a city party that advances their goals by providing the big vote margins crucial to Democrats in statewide races.
"Why weaken something that works?" said Vernon Price, leader of the 22d Ward in Mount Airy and Germantown. "I believe they may have real issues they are passionate about, but they should... try to work with the party."
Democratic media adviser Larry Ceisler said Neighborhood Networks can generate enthusiasm that will help turnout in the 2006 U.S. Senate race and beyond.
"The only threat City Committee should feel is that these people are not motivated by money, but by ideals," Ceisler said.
In some ways, I wonder if this is the correct strategy. Will the party bosses deploy their resources to try and quash Neighborhood Networks before it begins? They were never trying to keep the entire thing secret, but now the opposition knows who they are and what they are trying to do. The entire strategy was laid out on page B1.