The Brief: $1 Million Reasons Why Tony Williams’ Star Is About to Rise

Plus, Darrell Clarke's endless class war with Mayor Nutter.

Tony Williams. | Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Tony Williams. | Photo by Jeff Fusco.

1. Pro-Williams super PAC ups ad buy to a cool $1 million.

The gist: Dave Davies reports for Newsworks that the American Cities Super PAC—that’s the one supporting Anthony Williams and funded mostly by those three super rich suburban traders—is upping its television ad buy to $1 million.

Why it matters: Well, that’s an awful lot of money, and it’ll buy a lot of TV time. It’s a particularly big figure in a campaign where the candidates themselves seem to have struggled raising cash. Some people wonder why Tony Williams is seen by many political pros as the favorite in this race, even if he’s not the current frontrunner. This is a big chunk of the reason why.

Davies breaks down the troubling transparency issues that Super PACs present. Citified has an additional worry (or 40): candidates can suffer politically when they go too far with attack ads or underhanded tactics. But Super PACs have no reputation to protect. They can hit below the belt freely. They’re also free to get weird. Imagine it’s two weeks from election day, and Williams is neck-and-neck with a surging Jim Kenney. What’s to prevent a pro-Williams Super PAC from airing ads in support of … Lynne Abraham (on the theory that a vote for Abraham is a vote stolen from Kenney)? Nothing. Nothing at all.

2. Council wallops Nutter officials over sorry state of police and fire stations.

The gist: On the second day of budget hearings, Council members thumped Nutter administration officials for not sinking enough of the city’s limited capital budget into police and fire stations.

Why it matters: Council punishment of Nutter budget witnesses is an inevitable right of early spring, like crocuses peeking through the snow. But this beating seemed seasoned with a little extra mustard. According to his spokeswoman, Council President Darrell Clarke asked at one point: “How is the Schuylkill Riverwalk more important than Philly police have a decent place to work?” That’s a charged line that speaks to a massive chasm between the priorities of the mayor and the priorities of Clarke (and much of Council). It’s Center City versus the neighborhoods. It’s bread and butter versus croissants and a glowing writeup in the New York Times Travel section.

3. Anthony Williams releases ambitious economic development plan.

The gist: Backed by the likes of Ajay Raju, Joseph Zuritsky and Brett Mandel, Williams released a sweeping economic development plan yesterday that touched on tax reform, the development of an energy hub and a municipal bank.

Why it matters: Citified hasn’t had the chance to review it in detail yet, but at first blush the scope of this proposal seems to represent something new and interesting from the Williams’ campaign.

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