However uncomfortable Bob Brady may have been making the decision to run for mayor, he looked pretty comfortable finally jumping into the race before a cheering crowd at the Pennsylvania Convention Center last night.

"Tonight, the son of a police officer, a carpenter by trade, stands before the family he loves and the city he has served!" the congressman and city Democratic chairman shouted, his huge frame somehow making the podium and teleprompter in front him seem almost invisible.

Brady delivered his 16-minute speech with force and determination, saying he would bring clear, simple convictions to the job and the strength and experience to get things done.

He would fight crime, he said, by adding 1,000 police, parole and parent truancy officers in his first term.

"Not a 25-point plan," Brady said, "launching 25 ideas, tying the next police commissioner to 25 campaign promises - just one good idea and the strength and experience to make it happen!"

Brady said he would demand accountability in the school system, and then, to get money, "I will go to Harrisburg, Washington and City Council," he said, holding his massive hands out with his thumbs pointing toward himself. "I don't need someone there on my behalf."

Brady promised to work to eliminate the business privilege tax, and stirred in a small idea among the big ones.

"When I am mayor, there will be elephants in the Philadelphia Zoo, and they will live in a place we can be proud of!" Brady said.

While Brady read his speech effectively, he'll face a different kind of test on the campaign trail, when he has to debate his rivals and answer policy questions without prepared remarks.

Brady wasn't available to reporters after his speech.

The crowd which spilled into the hallway of the convention center was mostly white and male, with plenty of union jackets and placards boasting the names of building trades locals.

Brady didn't refer to any of his opponents by name. But he did promise to fight financial institutions practicing "predatory lending and foreclosures," a phrase likely aimed at candidate Tom Knox, whose business resume includes high-interest payday lending.

Unlike many candidates announcing for office, Brady didn't pack the stage with elected officials and political leaders, though a number of ward leaders, union heads and clergy were visible in the audience.

When he finished his remarks, his family came on stage with a few supporters, including former mayoral candidate Marty Weinberg, and radio personality Mary Mason.

As the crowed filed out, the music on the sound system was no doubt chosen to suggest the mind-set for the tough, four-month campaign ahead. It was Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business." *