CLOUT LOVES candidates for public office and always stands ready to help.
Take the 15 candidates running for three nominations to Traffic Court in the May 15 Democratic primary, for example.
We've discovered that eight of them owe parking fines and three of them owe more than $1,000 each.
Our advice: Pay the fines before your opponents find out and make it public!
Let's start with Brenda Reavis. Reavis owes $1,959, with nearly all the tickets acquired since 2002.
They include six tickets this year, four last year, and 23 in 2002 and 2003. There were nine for parking in a "stopping prohibited" zone, eight for expired meters, five for "parking prohibited" and a handful of "expired tag," "bus zone" and "crosswalk" violations.
Four vehicles registered to Reavis are listed in authority records and the two with the tickets are used by her children, Reavis said.
"I always pay my tickets," she told us. "They're working on them and should have an agreement on paying them off soon if they don't already. I keep on them; I'm their mom."
Next up is Sandra Mills. She owes $1,167, according to Parking Authority records. Most of her tickets date back to 2005.
She did not return our call.
Albert Littlepage is third on the list, with $1,023 in unpaid parking fines, according to authority records. Littlepage has had four tickets this year, including a $51 fine for parking next to a fire hydrant.
He also holds the distinction of having the single biggest ticket on the list: $300 for parking in a handicapped space in the 600 block of South 3rd Street, back in 2002.
Maxine McIntyre, Littlepage's campaign manager, said he is fighting the tickets on his current vehicle and has "court dates set on them."
She said older tickets dating back to 2001 had been paid off after another vehicle was impounded by the Parking Authority.
"They would not have released the vehicle if they had not been paid off," she said.
Others who owe: Betty Townes, $566; Bobby Mulgrew, $253; and Curtis McAllister, Mike Lowry and Bernie Strain, $116 each for two tickets apiece.
Those who came up clean were Wayne Johns, Candido Silva and Scott Cummings.
Cummings' car is registered in Skippack, Montgomery County, so he may want to check on that, lest someone challenge his residency.
Four others didn't come up at all, suggesting they either don't drive or drive a car registered to a spouse or someone else: John Connelly, Frederick C. Mari Jr., Willie Singletary and Helen Hellon-Divers.
Pay those fines, folks.
Last week, Clout reported that Gov. Rendell had endorsed Bill Green, son of former Mayor William J. Green III, who's running for City Council at large.
We did this because Green thought it was an endorsement and because it sounded like an endorsement. (Example: "Bill will be a breath of fresh air on City Council. . . . Now, more than ever, Philadelphia needs bright, energetic, young leaders with the political will to do the right things for our city.")
Rendell says we got it wrong. It is not an endorsement.
"If a candidate who I know, including some of the incumbents, calls me and says, 'Is it all right if I put in my brochure that you said that I'm a good City Council person,' I will often say yes," Rendell explained.
He said he doesn't do "endorsements" in municipal elections because he was the former mayor, and it might have an "untoward effect. I just don't do it."
Rendell says he's getting bombarded by Council candidates asking why he had "endorsed" Green and "won't you endorse me." But, he says, " Bill Green worked in two of my campaigns and I've known him since he was a kid."
But even saying that Green "will be a breath of fresh air on City Council" doesn't make it an endorsement, Rendell explained, because "I don't say who I don't want to see on City Council. That's one of the nice things about at large."
Keel-Katz: Still nasty
Most public-relations folks are masters of the soft spin and the light touch.
For Frank Keel, whose specialty is the rough-and-tumble of Philly politics, why light a candle when a flamethrower will do?
The Evening Bulletin this week reported that 2003 Republican mayoral candidate Sam Katz called Keel the "Minister of Lies" for Mayor Street's campaign. The Katz comment is on the DVD version of Tigre Hill's 2003 campaign documentary, "The Shame of a City."
This prompted Keel to call Katz "a perennial, pathetic loser," a "cheat" and "a whiny coward who's reveling in the attention this loser's-lament-of-a-political mockumentary is providing him. I hope he chokes on his frigging popcorn."
Says Katz: "Attacks by this guy have been nonstop. Facts never get in his way. Read this again and then consider the source. Consider how things have turned out for the city and in the criminal-justice system. My popcorn goes down very smoothly."
Tomorrow: Mayoral debate
The first of four hour-long televised mayoral debates airs tomorrow at 7 p.m. on CBS 3.
Our Catherine Lucey will live- blog the event for The Next Mayor Web site at www.thenextmayor.com.
The debate will also air Sunday at 8 a.m. on CBS 3 and again at noon on Channel 3's sister station, The CW Philly 57.
"I don't do Michael Nutter's politics. He's been around for a long time, and if he thinks this is the way to get elected mayor of Philadelphia then it's his election, it's his campaign. He'll do what he thinks is best for his own political future. I don't understand it."
- Mayor Street on mayoral candidate Nutter's TV ads, which cast Street in a negative light