Wilson Goode attacks Committee of Seventy

As head of the voter watchdog group Committee of Seventy, Zack Stalberg isn’t expected to win any popularity contests at City Hall.

But lately, with elections looming, attacks against him have crossed the line from vexing to vicious.

At Thursday’s City Council meeting, Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. said Stalberg and his committee should “shut up” about its opposition to a proposal on Tuesday’s ballot that would require city contractors and recipients of city financial assistance to provide their employees a minimum level of pay - $10.88 an hour - and healthcare benefits.

“I urge voters to vote ‘yes’ on ballot question number one. Tell the rich guys to drive their Jaguars back to the suburbs and shut up when it comes to our economic opportunity,” Goode said.

He accused the committee of not supporting the proposal because it runs counter to the business interests of Seventy’s board members.

Not true, said Stalberg, except for one fact: He does drive a Jaguar. The Committee of Seventy opposes the proposal because there was not enough evidence about how much it would cost, making the change risky in a struggling economy.

“This has nothing to do with what our members do for a living, with how much I get paid, or what kind of car I drive,” Stalberg said.

Goode’s comments follow a recent dustup between Stalberg and Philadelphia’s election board and whether it can be nonpartisan when it is led by ward leaders.

Stalberg isn’t worried. His critics, he said, are welcome to take a ride in his Jaguar.

- Miriam Hill

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