YOU MIGHT'VE heard that Philadelphia 3.0, Committee of Seventy, 5th Square and Philly Set Go have joined forces in filing a Right-to-Know request for information about whether City Commissioners Chairman Anthony Clark is actually showing up for work to earn his $134,149-a-year paycheck for overseeing elections and voter registration.
Short answer: No. He's not.
We have never - repeat: never - been able to locate Clark within the confines of his City Hall office. And when we've called there, he has never - ever, ever, ever - been available to talk.
As one City Hall source aptly summarized in June: "Dude just gives everyone the middle finger every day."
Hey, you can't spell "Anthony Clark" without "hack." Right?
But back to the matter at hand: This Right-to-Know request, which basically seeks any records - call logs, emails, metadata, etc. - indicating that Clark is a living, breathing human being who does real stuff.
"We need to know in some more detail whether he's serving the people of Philadelphia," said Committee of Seventy President and CEO David Thornburgh. "It's like the 'Invisible Man.' I have never seen any public official be so elusive."
Clark has recently made headlines for, among other things, failing to vote, lying about voting, and violating city ethics rules in connection with a sketchy pay raise for his bro. We don't even bother calling anymore because we genuinely feel bad for his staffers who have to cover his butt every time they pick up the phone and there's a pesky reporter on the line.
Yet, because this is Philly, Clark was easily re-elected this year and the Democratic machine stands behind him, because, in the words of party boss Bob Brady, "He's a Democrat."
At first, it was funny. Then it became sad. For a while, we even got mad. Now, we just don't care.
"It's offensive," Thornburgh said. "We're trying to get to the bottom of this and make it clear how much - or probably how little - time he's paying attention to his job."
We wish Thornburgh and his comrades luck in this endeavor. They might need it. In our experience, using the Right-to-Know law to pry information out of City Hall is like yanking an impacted tooth from a rabid squirrel.
"We're still optimistic we're going to get something within 30 days," said Alison Perelman, executive director of Philadelphia 3.0. "Fingers crossed."
Boris Kindij, the Croatian-born independent mayoral candidate, sent out a statement on Tuesday that said the city's "large media services" have "control over Philadelphia elections" and are "in the hands of power hungry and money grabbing political and business legalized mafia."
Kindij, 41, a cheery fellow from South Philadelphia, went on to say that Democratic and Republican leaders "sleep together in the same bed," resulting in a "morbid, chaotic, unhealthy, and nondemocratic political condition."
"I am strongly convinced that American democracy in Philadelphia, its birthplace, is dead," Kindij wrote.
By this point, we were about to shut down our computers and trudge home in the rain with our buddy Tullamore Dew, comforted only by the fact that eventually we'll all die, too.
But then Kindij wrote: "As long as even one man fights for these core values, there is hope."
One man? Fighting? Values? Who is this man?
We're not sure. Maybe it's Boris. But maybe it's Sam Katz, the three-time mayoral candidate and documentarian.
Kindij kept writing, describing Katz as a "true patriot."
"I, as a candidate for Mayor of Philadelphia, want to bring his administration into City Hall and start making things right, just and fair," Kindij said of Katz. "I will fight this 'David and Goliath' battle with dignity and honesty until the end."
Quick question, Boris: What the hell are you talking about?
Sizzling polling data
Al Taubenberger, at-large candidate for City Council, has an internal poll showing him in good position to knock off Republican Councilman David Oh in the November election and capture the second Republican seat.
The poll, conducted by the Harrisburg firm Harper Polling, found Taubenberger running right behind Republican Councilman Dennis O'Brien, with Oh in third.
The sample of voters was heavily Republican - 68 percent Republican, 22 percent Democratic, 10 percent independent or other party.
When asked for their first choice, 44 percent picked O'Brien, 21 percent picked Taubenberger, and 13 percent picked Oh. When asked for their second choice, 35 percent picked O'Brien, 27 percent picked Taubenberger, and 15 percent Oh.
Now, we take all internal polls with a grain of salt. Somehow, they always seem to reflect well on the candidate who paid for them. If not, they certainly don't get leaked to the media.
And, no, we're not relaying this information simply because Taubenberger's spinmeister sent us a "Tauben-Burger," the $8.50 limited specialty sandwich made in his honor at the Dining Car in Northeast Philly.
OK, yes we are.
- William Bender
On Twitter: @wbender99