The ubiquity of “Philly’s mayoral primary is so boring” articles/Tweets/Facebook updates is such that the narrative could very easily become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
So, let’s kick this story about former Judge Nelson Diaz’s Thursday campaign launch off with a fun fact or two.
When Diaz alerted me to event logistics a couple weeks back, the rally was slated for noon at Norris Square Children Center (2011 N. Mascher St.). There, he emailed, attendees “will get a better feel for me and my commitment to the city and its neighborhoods.”
Somewhere along the way, the location shifted to Tierra Colombiana restaurant on North Fifth Street, which was fine. But when I strolled in at 11:57 a.m., the event was already underway.
A politician arriving early for an event? Well, that’s novel enough to rise above the “so boring” narrative, if only for a few minutes, amirite? (Even if the time, unbeknownst to me, was bumped up too. I mean, c’mon, gimme something to work with here).
Luckily, WHYY’s Dave Davies, Katie Colaneri and Kim Paynter were already in place.
Nelson Diaz gathered about 100 supporters at Tierra Colombiana — a popular restaurant and nightclub in North Philly’s Hunting Park neighborhood.
As waiters pushed platters of empanadas, Diaz laid out his priorities — the biggest among them: fixing the city’s schools.
“I want to see a well-funded, public [slams hand on podium] education system. That is the first step on the ladder into the middle class.”
Please click that right-facing arrow in the bar underneath the headline to hear Katie’s audio report about Diaz, the former city solicitor who grew up in a public-housing project in Harlem, but has lived in Philadelphia for 45 years and was the first Puerto Rican to be admitted to the bar in Pennsylvania.
As for NewsWorks’ preeminent politiwonk Dave Davies, he wondered one question aloud after the quick event: Diaz passionate, but is he serious?
In conversations I’ve had about Diaz, I find some regard him as a reliable ally of progressives, but not someone known to get a lot done. I’m sure we’ll learn more about his past work as the campaign unfolds.
But he begins the race with very low name recognition, and getting known in the four months he has before the primary is likely to cost some serious cash.
The Inquirer’s Chris Hepp asked Diaz if he could raise the money he’d need.
“I think if we make the issue about money, then you’re back into special interest groups,” Diaz said.
He said the election ought to be about who has the ideas and experience the city needs, and that is part of the media’s responsibility.
In the spirit of living up to #themoreyouknow responsiblity, we’ll now share a few stories about the Thursday event: Daily News, Inquirer, Al Dia, Philadelphia Tribune, Citified, Technically Philly and PoliticsPA.