Do you know your City Council member? If you're in the Fourth Councilmanic District in West and Northwest Philadelphia, and you don't know district freshman Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., you have only yourself to blame, because Jones did his best to introduce himself to his new constituents in 2008.
The $11,728 he spent on postage and stamps in 2009 got you an eight-page "Report to the People" packed with real news about Septa hearings, housing counseling and the Dell East concert venue, decorated nicely with 11 photos of Jones. Jones provided copies of the various missives he sent out because "I knew this day would come." Those mailings including information about free tax preparation, city job opportunities, coffees with the Councilman, and a "Block Captain Boot camp."
"The important thing is that I'm out there, and I will not back down off that," Jones said. "The purpose of the mailings...is to tell people what's going on in the district."
Not that Jones isn't sensitive to a budget crisis. His most recent newsletter (13 new Jones photos!), will be distributed by hand or e-mail, he said.
Council spent $67,396 total on postage. Second to Jones with $10,351 in postage and stamps was district one Councilman Frank DiCicco, but his spokesman said at least half of the mail sent out was for legally-required notices regarding neighborhood districts, and an informational letter about stormwater improvements.
In descending order, other expenses were: Blondell Reynolds Brown, $9,369;Darrell Clarke: $8,628; Jannie Blackwell, $5,879; Donna Reed Miller, $4,160; Frank Rizzo, $3,746; Anna Verna, $3,359; Marian Tasco:$3,156; Maria Quinones Sanchez, $2,377; Bill Green, $1,746; William Greenlee, $1,673; Jim Kenney, $1,545; Joan Krajewski, $1,545; Jack Kelly, $1,482; W. Wilson Goode Jr., $875; Brian O'Neill, $875.
Goode said that, as an at-large Councilman, it's "cost-prohibitive" for him to send out citywide mailings. Goode wrote an extensive summary of his legislative history and agenda, called "Goode Work" and posted it on his official Council web page.
"Rather than spending postage simply to mail to special interest groups, I’ve tried to communicate more broadly through the media and blogging," said Goode.