PhillyClout History Lesson

PhillyClout was doing a little research today and found this editorial in the vault. Given Mayor Nutter's campaign to get City Council to give up their cars, we thought it was an interesting read. Check it out:

Daily News Editorial -- January 5, 1982

No one can accuse City Council of being cheap - or very bright, for that matter.

At a time when cities and towns across the country are doing handsprings to find ways of tightening their belts, 13 of our 17 lawmakers are ordering up fancy new cars for their personal use at taxpayers' expense. Only three of them - Beatrice Chernock, Joan Specter and John Anderson - had the wit to see that such profligacy might not sit well with the rest of us. John White will make do with a compact.

Lawmakers, of course, are elected to make law. So members of this greedy little group decided to make a law that gave themselves new cars. And to hell with the city. The price tag on 11 mid-size cars and a luxury number for the image-concious Council President Joseph Coleman will come to an estimated $135,000. Add Anderson's compact and the total reaches $143,000.

Most are equipped with the little things in life that mean a lot - air conditioning and AM-FM stereo radios. The city, of course, will pay for the gas. Coleman's excuse for picking a luxury Mercury Marquis at 15 grand was that he deserved the same kind of wheels as Bill Green. His ludicrous explanation as to how he made his choice should be engraved on his forehead: " I said to them ( city purchasing agents ) that whatever the head of the executive branch is getting, get the same thing for me. I said if his is small, get me a small one. If it's large, get me a large one. So the mayor really made the decision.

Thank God Green didn't pick a Rolls-Royce.

Of course, Coleman might not be able to maintain one on the mere $45,000 (plus expenses) that we pay him annually. The use of a city car that goes with the job has long been a status symbol for city employees. If you look around some Philadelphia residential neighborhoods, you'll find quite a lot of them bearing the distinctive municipal government (MG) license plates - indicating that the city worker has adopted one of our cars for his or her very own. But that's petty larceny compared to what City Council has just done. We think that each of those who ordered cars should cancel those orders pronto. Or be made to pay for them out of their own pockets. Better yet, they should spend the money on a good psychiatrist.