Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cairo in Harrisburg?

There's a rally today to call for the ouster of Harrisburg's mayor.

Cairo in Harrisburg?

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: You think Nutter's got it rough?

BE: Well, that poll last week showing a majority of voters don't think he should be reelected suggests that.

JB: Let him come to Harrisburg.

BE: To make him even more depressed?

JB: No, to see how things can be worse. There's a noon rally set for today outside Harrisburg city hall to call for the ouster of Mayor Linda Thompson.

BE: Wow, just like in Egypt.

JB: Yep. Story across the top of today's Harrisburg Patriot-News asks can the mayor "get the job done?"

BE: Yikes, what's going on?

JB: She's been in office a year, the city's bankrupt, the school district's a mess and she's gone through more advisors, staff and spokesmen than you can shake a stick at. And that includes Rendell's former press secretary, Chuck Ardo, who just resigned after six months and went to the press with some horror stories.

BE: Do tell.

JB: The Ardman says the mayor governs based on visions she has after praying, lacks the ability to run the city, locks herself in her office, makes homophobic comments about "evil" political foes and questioned some developer bringing "Israel" money to town.

BE: Sounds like a tea party meeting. What's Her Honor say?

JB: Usually nothing in public, but there's an undercurrent of racial tension. The mayor, who's black, beat a decades-long incumbent white guy, Steve Reed, to win the office and now, according to Ardo, meets mostly with African-American "church people" and rarely with the white business community.

BE: So the capital city's on edge?

JB: Well, last week, a Harrisburg school board member publicly said a search committee to find a new superintendent is "plantation politics" and that the board president is "acting like he's the great plantation master come to save the little darkies."

BE: Oh boy.

JB: Exactly. Cairo could be coming to the banks to the Susquehanna. Tell Mayor Mike to count his blessings.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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