Another contender in Northwest Philly

    Voters in Northwest Philly are in for another lively battle for City Council this spring, and when I did a story on the upcoming Democratic primary last week I hadn’t connected with one formidable contender – Cindy Bass.

    Bass is a senior policy analyst for U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, and she came in second in the Democratic primary for the Eighth District seat four years ago.

    Incumbent Donna Reed Miller held on to the nomination then, winning the four-way primary battle with less than a third of the vote.

    “This district needs new leadership,” Bass said, “and it doesn’t take a whole lot of looking around in any area to see there’s a need for change.”

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    The looming question is whether Miller, 64, will seek another term. She hasn’t returned my calls and hasn’t announced whether she’ll run or retire. She’s enrolled in the widely-reviled Deferred Option Retirement Program, and is due for a $190,000 lump-sum DROP payment at the end of the year.

    She could legally take the payment and run again, but it would be a political liability.

    Germantown housing developer and activist Greg Paulmier is also in the race, along with former City Council staffer Verna Tyner

    All of them agree that if Miller is in, they should unite around a single candidate. And they all think they’re the one.

    Winning the May 17 primary is tantamount to election in the district, which has an overwhelmingly Democratic registration.

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