Monday, February 8, 2016

Who is Darrell Clarke? Inquiring minds still want to know

What do Philadelphians really know about their new City Council President? Not much.

Who is Darrell Clarke? Inquiring minds still want to know


Today's must-read: A City Paper piece on the rise of new City Council President Darrell Clarke, as mysterious a leader Philadelphia has seen in ages.

How much of an enigma is this guy? You tell me what you know about the second most powerful man in the fifth largest city in the nation. I covered City Hall for a couple years in the late 1990s and had no clue Clarke had kids. But there he was at his swearing in next to beautiful daughter, Nicole Bright. And check out the photos of a grinning Grandpa Clarke holding adorable 1-year-old grandson, Kadin Jones.

Clarke's official bios suggest he possesses only a high school education, but a campaign Q&A on the Committee of Seventy's website says he earned an associate degree (in what?) at Rider University. So which is it? And how old is Clarke, anyway?

If Isaiah Thompson had not reported it, I would never have guessed John Street's protege lived anywhere but Strawberry Mansion. How, when and why did Clarke wind up in a rowhouse in Kensington? The President isn't saying.

Policy wonks may think it petty and superficial to care about elected officials' personal lives, but I disagree. Who Clarke is and how he navigates the world around him informs his leadership.

And besides, when is the last time Philadelphians knew so little about a man who wields so much power?

-- Monica Yant Kinney

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Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

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