Featherman best for GOP in mayor's race

With Republicans outnumbered nearly 6-to-1 in Philadelphia, the GOP primary isn’t likely to determine the next mayor. But it will affect the tone of the November election.

For far too long, the city’s Republican Party has behaved as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic machine. Rather than an opposition party, it has cooperated with Democrats in return for a slice of the patronage pie.

John Featherman

“The city Republican Committee is a disaster,” said mayoral candidate John Featherman. “They’re trying to hold on because of the little scraps they get.”

As you might have guessed, Featherman didn’t receive the city GOP’s endorsement. But he is the better candidate in the primary against Democrat-turned-Republican Karen Brown. He’s more capable of holding Mayor Nutter accountable in the fall campaign.

Rhat’s why The Inquirer endorses JOHN FEATHERMAN in the Republican primary for mayor.

Featherman, 46, of Chinatown, is a real-estate agent and former local television correspondent. He has a good grasp of the economic forces hurting the city’s growth and its finances.

He favors elimination of the city’s gross-receipts tax and cutting the city sales tax. And he believes Nutter should be using the economic crisis as an opportunity to gain significant concessions from the city’s unions.

But Featherman’s most important contribution would be to jolt the city GOP into becoming a true opposition party. He said his victory in the primary will assure that “we’ll have a spirited discussion in the fall.”

Brown, 49, of South Philadelphia, is a former math teacher who helped found the Southwark Civic Association, partly as a response to gang activity in her neighborhood. She had been active in the Democratic Party until switching sides this year.

Brown has a keen understanding of what’s happening on city streets, from nuisance bars to police precincts. She would introduce free parking in the city on weekends to encourage more shopping and restaurant business.

A former employee in the City Comissioners’ Office, Brown had intended to run for a City Council seat this year. It would have been a better fit. Brown’s civic work, her combativeness, and her knowledge of neighborhood issues would make her a compelling candidate for Council. But Featherman has a better big-picture vision of where the city needs to go.