‘Citizen Sam’ or candidate Katz?

    Potential Philadelphia mayoral candidate Sam Katz is up with a website that looks a lot like a campaign site, except that there’s no DONATE NOW button.

    “That’s a pretty big difference,” Katz said with a laugh when I spoke to him about it.

    And he’s right.

    Katz is considering running for mayor in November as an independent candidate, a decision that will be governed in part by who wins the May 19 Democratic primary.

    Though the logo for his website reads “Citizen Sam – an independent voice for Philadelphia,”Katz hasn’t yet formed a political committee and isn’t raising money.

    For the moment, Katz is offering policy ideas, and he begins with a multipoint plan to solve the city’s education funding conundrum. In future posts, he’ll offer proposals for the city’s pension funding problem, unsolved homicides, the city’s licenses and inspections bureaucracy, and the state agency that oversees the city’s finances.

    “I’ll see what the reaction is,” Katz said. “If it’s good, that’s encouraging. If it’s not, that’s discouraging.”

    A familiar feeling

    Katz has run for mayor three times before, and what he’s up to now reminds me of the year before his first run in 1991.

    The city was in fiscal crisis, plunging toward insolvency, and Katz headed a nationally recognized firm that specialized in municipal finance. He held a seminar on the city’s financial problems, offered opinions and regularly briefed reporters covering the mess.

    Katz gained attention and credibility that helped when he decided to run for mayor. He came up short then, as he did in 1999 and 2003.

    The ideas Katz proposes to solve the school funding problem have been talked about before, but he presents them in some detail with revenue estimates attached. You can read his financial plan here.

    Not long after Katz’s site went live, Democratic mayoral candidate state Sen. Anthony Williams’ campaign issued a release noting the similarities between Katz’s plans and Williams’. You can read that press release here.

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