Help, I’m Still Undecided on the Next Philadelphia Mayor! And I’m Not the Only One

Plus, Taylor Swift yells at Linc security guards. And Helen Gym avoids the union rat.

the candidates who could still get my undecided vote for Philadelphia mayor include Rebecca Rhynhart, Cherelle Parker, Helen Gym and Allan Domb

The candidates who could still get my undecided vote for Philadelphia mayor include Rebecca Rhynhart, Cherelle Parker, Helen Gym and Allan Domb (photos courtesy of Getty Images and Philadelphia City Council)

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Yes, I’m Still Undecided in the 2023 Race for Philadelphia Mayor

Polls open in less than 24 hours. (7 a.m.! You can find your polling place and sample ballot here.) And I can’t believe it, but I’m still undecided in the race for mayor.

I long ago eliminated Jeff Brown and Amen Brown, as well as the also-rans. (Who exactly would vote for Delscia Gray?!) So that leaves, in alphabetical order: Allan Domb, Helen Gym, Cherelle Parker and Rebecca Rhynhart. They all have their pros. They all have their cons. (You can read more about their pros and cons in our Ultimate Voter’s Guide to the 2023 Philadelphia Mayoral Race.) And sometimes I feel like I’m choosing based on who has the lesser cons, which doesn’t seem like a great way to make such an important decision. And yet …

I’m not the only one who’s undecided. The latest poll, released last week, shows that one in six voters is (or at least was) still undecided. I was talking through this over the weekend with some also-undecided friends.

One said he was leaning in Rhynhart’s direction, but that all of the hate and Jeff Yass-fueled negative ads directed toward Gym were actually pushing him toward her. “Yass feels like pure evil, and he’s doing anything he can to not have Gym,” he observed. “That really moves Helen ahead of Rebecca for me. That’s where I lean as of today. Who knows?”

Another said she’s leaning Rhynhart but added, “Something leaves me cold.” And then she offered this test: “Who would you want to see at the next disaster? House fire or mass shooting? Who will do and say the right things? And be soothing?”

Mention Parker, and I get complaints about unions and the Democratic machine. And yet Parker has a ton of experience. If I were to use my friend’s test about disasters and mass shootings, I’d have to say Parker most fits that bill for me.

As for Allan Domb, some people have told me they just will not vote for a white man when there are three qualified women up for the job. But everything I know about Domb tells me he’d probably make a great mayor.

When it comes to Gym, it’s clear many voters worry she’s simply too polarizing a figure to lead a city that so desperately needs leadership and to bring together citizens that so desperately need to be brought together. As local politico Joann Bell suggests in this profile of Gym, the candidate has “as many detractors as people who believe in her, if not more.” But there are still quite a few things I like about Gym.

So where does that leave me? Still undecided, and those matchmaking quizzes from the Inquirer and Billy Penn didn’t help me one bit. If you care to offer any thoughts or advice, or if you just want to write me a limerick, you can do so here. The clock is ticking.

Helen Gym Dodges the Union Rat

On Sunday night, Helen Gym held herself a big rally at Franklin Music Hall (né Electric Factory) with AOC and Bernie Sanders. Another guest who looked like he was going to show up but didn’t: the union rat.

You see, Franklin Music Hall isn’t a union venue. So on Friday, the local head of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and Ryan Boyer, business manager for the Building Trades, publicly called Gym out for planning her rally there. They said they tried to go the direct route to her campaign but got nowhere. The unions planned a protest. Imagine a guy as pro-union as Sanders showing up, only to face a picket line and union rats.

But on Saturday, the unions called off their protest. According to a statement from a spokesperson for the two local union heads, they had a “brief” conversation with Gym herself on Friday night in which she pledged her support of the unions and said she’d help them resolve their labor dispute with the venue going forward.

Where’s My Sunday Paper?

The Inquirer has been hit by a cyberattack that rendered the paper unable to produce Sunday’s print edition. The attack has also led to some issues with online coverage. It remains to be seen how this might affect coverage of Tuesday’s primary — an Inquirer official said it won’t — but staffers aren’t allowed back into the newsroom until Wednesday at the earliest.

Local Talent

I thought all of the summer’s music festivals had been announced by the time I put together my Summer Concert Guide. Not the case. On Monday, promoters unveiled One Fine Day, a fest co-headlined by Sting and Shaggy at the Mann on September 9th. Among the openers: Philly music-scene veterans G. Love & Special Sauce. The pre-sale starts on Tuesday. General public on Friday.

quinta brunson leaving penn commencement

(Getty Images)

And who was that strutting around West Philly? None other than Abbott Elementary star and creator Quinta Brunson. She gave the commencement speech at Penn’s Graduate School of Education. Among her funnier remarks to the future teachers of the world, per the Inquirer‘s report:

  • “What an honor it is to be giving a commencement speech for the University of Penn — an incredible school that I was not accepted to.”
  • “Some of you are going to teach calculus, and that’s insane — that sucks.”
  • “You will be in debt, but that’s okay — I think somebody’s working on that. He’ll be here Monday; ask him about that.”

Which reminds me: If you’re stuck in traffic on Monday, President Biden could be to blame. Biden and the first lady are attending their granddaughter’s commencement at Penn; hence Brunson’s remark.

Finally, Sunday’s edition of 60 Minutes featured an interview with our very own Yannick Nézet-Séguin. You can watch the entire thing here.

Taylor Swift Was Here

And we have these great photos to prove it.

By the Numbers

1,273: People who showed up for Gym’s aforementioned Sunday-night rally, per the Gym campaign.

6 million: Views of this video on Twitter showing Taylor Swift calling out security guards at Saturday night’s show at the Linc for the way they were treating her fans.

1,400: Approximate number of Philadelphia voters whose mail-in ballots need to be fixed. And quick! Check for your name here.

And from the Gates-of-Hell Sports Desk …

You can tell the men were in charge of drawing up the sports schedule this Mother’s Day weekend, because while I and all the other moms I know wanted nothing more than to kick back in the living room and watch Game 7, instead we had the Sixers/Celtics finale, and the Phillies game, and the kids and grandkids running around and asking for more ketchup and where was the stuffed elephant they played with last time while we desperately tried to at least catch some audio of what was going on.

But you know what? That was okay, because the Sixers absolutely shat the bed.

Fifteen points in the game for MVP Joel Embiid? Nine for James Harden? Fifty-one — an all-time Game 7 record — for Jayson Tatum? Really, guys? Pfft. I’ve got no more to say.

Time to Head West

In slightly better news: For Friday’s Phillies vs. Rockies matchup, Taijuan Walker started for us, and Austin Gomber (another on the great-baseball-name list) for them. It was pretty much nada till the sixth, when Charlie Blackmon singled, Jurickson Profar doubled, and a C.J. Cron sac fly brought Blackmon home. Oh, unless you count this Nick Castellanos play.

Alec Bohm tied it up in the seventh with a solo homer, and Kyle Schwarber made it 3-1 with a one-on Schwarbomb. Garrett Stubbs, who came into the game after J.T. Realmuto jammed a finger, doubled off the wall, and that was the end of Gomber.

It was the end of Walker, too, after he gave up a wild pitch and a single in the bottom of the seventh; Matt Strahm came in. And alas, the Rockies tied it back up at three. In the eighth, Brandon Marsh pinch-hit for Dalton Guthrie, but new reliever Justin Lawrence struck him out. Trea Turner doubled, but there were two outs now. Never fear; Bohm walked, and Bryce Harper doubled off the wall, bringing two more home. Then he tried to steal third and the throw ended up in the outfield: 6-3! They were the first runs Lawrence had allowed since the 12th of April, believe it nor not. Big Nick struck out to end the rally.

Seranthony to the rescue, putting the Rockies down one-two-three in the eighth. Former Phil Brad Hand came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth and struck out the side. Last chance for the Rockies; Craig Kimbrel, who’s been so good lately, came in to pitch. Elias Diaz got a lucky single, but then it was three straight strikeouts. Well done!

On Saturday, in the first, starter Ryan Feltner gave up walks to Turner and Harper after Stott grounded out. Castellano singled Turner home. Schwarber then walked, and Bohm singled home Harper and Castellanos. Quite a change from Friday’s slow start. Another walk, to Brandon Marsh, and a groundout by Kody Clemens brought Schwarber home. A Stubbs groundout, and the inning was finally over: 4-0 Phils. Oh, and look who was pitching for us! It was the return of Ranger Suárez! He notched two groundouts, a single and a strikeout.

Feltner bravely came out for the second and got two outs before Bryce Harper doubled and Castellanos singled, beaning Felter in the process. That meant a pitching change, with Pete Lambert coming in to get Schwarber. The Rockies got three back in the bottom of the second, though. In the fifth, Brogdon replaced the shaky Suárez and had a strong fifth and sixth; in the sixth, Brent Suter came in for Lambert and did well, too. In the bottom of the seventh, it was Bellatti in for Brogdon, then Jake Bird (name alert!) for Suter in the eighth. Bird gave up a double to Clemens and a single to Stubbs that scored an insurance run: 5-3.

In the bottom of the eighth, Jeff Hoffman replaced Bellatti, and an error on Turner let C.J. Cron take first, and he came home on a McMahon double. Gulp. But Hoffman struck Alan Trejo out! And in the ninth, Turner walked, and then this!

Talk about insurance! Soto came in for Hoffman in the bottom of the ninth and mowed down the side, one-two-three. Phils won again! Per the Inquirer, this marked their first series win vs. the Rockies since 2012.

And on Sunday, opposite the Sixers debacle? You don’t want to know. A true mess of a game in which there were fielding errors galore, manager Rob Thomson got tossed out, and so did Bryce Harper, when he took offense at Rockies reliever Jake Bird sticking out his tongue at the Phils’ bullpen and went after him. Both bullpens emptied in the ensuing melee.

And the Phils lost the game, 4-0. Hey. New week, new outlook, brand-new day, right?

Sixers still suck, though. Thanks for the memories.

Meanwhile, on the Pitch …

The Union were in Colorado, too, to play the Rapids on Saturday. Goalie Andre Blake made a killer save seven minutes in. The Union came close twice in the 12th minute, but nothing doing. Captain Alejandro Bedoya got carded in the 20th minute for having a big mouth. I always figured he was from someplace exotic, like Venezuela, but he grew up in Englewood, New Jersey. A foul committed by Damian Lowe in the 36th minute was called outside the box, but video review showed inside. Maybe. PK time! And it was 1-0 Rapids.

A dubious yellow card for Leon Flach in the 40th minute was matched with one on Colorado’s Lalas Abubakar seconds later. What a tetchy ref. Seven minutes added to the first half, which, luckily, gave Kai Wagner enough time to score: 1-1! His first of the season, and a timely one.

Early in the second half, Jack McGlynn made a nice pass to Olivier Mbaizo, who tapped it to Julián Carranza, who scored: Doop! Blake got kicked in the head in the 63rd minute on a shot, but all the Rapids got was a yellow card, which gave my ex-soccer-ref husband the opportunity to ruminate on the rules of the game.

(Very interesting! No, really!) And a dubious yellow card — again — on Colorado in the 78th minute. You see? I’m fair! I’m not a total homer!

The final minutes of the game were wild, with the Rapids pressing like crazy and the defense doing its best to cope. Blake made a great last-minute save. How much time would this goofy ref add on? Six freaking minutes! The players were confronting him, shouting and gesticulating wildly. Could the Union hold on? Was this ref legit? No — and yes! A major contretemps as there was a complete meltdown at the Union goal, with the Rapids’ Michael Barrios shoving Union players and the Union players coming to his aid. Yellow cards galore!

“Completely out of control,” the announcer declared. Cards all around! A total debacle. The crowd was in a foul mood. The ref — his name is Victor Rivas; remember him; avoid him — took a look at the monitor. It was now the 102nd minute. Just end the freaking game! And a red card on Jesus Bueno, and then the final whistle. What an idiot ref. This wasn’t good for the sport.

Hope y’all had a good Mother’s Day.

All Philly Today Sports Desk coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.