The Best Thing This Week

The Best Thing That Happened This Week: Out With the Old …

Until we get term limits, there’s always the vote.


Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

There are several ways to look at the fact that Ronald Donatucci has served as Philadelphia’s Register of Wills since 1980. One is: Over the course of four decades in office, you’re bound to pick up a lot of really valuable institutional knowledge. Another is: Holy moly, the dude has held the same elected office for 40 freaking years! Before Ron ran for his 10th term, in 2015, former city Democratic chairman David Glancey called the office “a remnant of what proud former machine politics existed in big cities.” Donatucci himself said of his $129,000-plus gig, “I’m proud of this office. It’s patronage. Or, I’m sorry, it’s ‘at-will.’ It works.” Well. Sort of. Recently, that office had some problems with stolen cash as well as stolen houses, forged signatures and fake wills.

As of Tuesday’s primary election, though, Donatucci’s on his way out, having lost to former deputy city commissioner Tracey Gordon. It would be lovely to see this as a glorious new beginning, but Gordon, alas, has some baggage of her own. She’s also delinquent in filing her campaign finance returns.

Still! Jannie Blackwell, who’s been on City Council or a member of its staff (when her now-deceased husband, Lucien, held a seat) since the 1970s, also went down in Tuesday’s election, along with shady sheriff Jewell Williams. And two millennials, 34-year-old Isaiah Thomas and 35-year-old Katherine Gilmore Richardson, placed among the top five Democratic City Council at-large candidates, all but guaranteeing them victory in the fall. Not to mention that they’ll lower the average Councilperson’s age by a decade or so. Patience, young grasshoppers! The Great Wheel of Life only turns in one direction, you know.