Firefighters On Milton Street: Not Perfect, Not Nutter

Bill Gault, president of the union that represents Philadelphia firefighters, today endorsed T. Milton Street in the May 17 Democratic primary election for mayor in a speech that was mostly focused on his union's dissatisfaction with Mayor Nutter's budget cuts. 

Gault made passing reference to what he later called Street's "colorful history" -- a 2005 bankruptcy, then 26 months in federal custody for not paying taxes and a current combined outstanding tax bill of $1.1 million.

"In a perfect world, candidates would be perfect," Gault said. "But the world isn't perfect. And in elections you can't beat someone with no one."

Street vowed to seek federal grants to hire 100 new firefighters if he is elected mayor.  Gault said he believed him.

"He has the ability," Gault said. "He'll find the money. He knows the city."

The union, Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, voted last week to back Street.  Gault said "there was a lot of debate" on that vote, with some firefighters wanting to endorse a Republican candidate and others saying the union should back no candidate in the race.

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