Milton Street: I only ran for mayor so Tony Williams wouldn’t win

 Milton Street said his sixth-place finish is a victory since Anthony Hardy Williams didn't finish first. (NewsWorks, file art)

Milton Street said his sixth-place finish is a victory since Anthony Hardy Williams didn't finish first. (NewsWorks, file art)

Milton Street finished a distant last in Tuesday’s Democratic mayoral primary, but he certainly did not seem to care about that when he caught up with NinetyNine a couple days later to pull the curtain back on his strategizing.

To hear Milton tell it, his was a victorious campaign because Anthony Hardy Williams lost, too.

At this point, it’s probably best to just let Milton do the talking. None of NinetyNine’s writerly touches could add a thing to it.

“What happened was, I thought Alan Butkovitz was running, so I called him. I said, ‘Alan, you know we need to find somebody to neutralize Williams.’

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I did this because I’m really, really against vouchers. They don’t do anything for my constituency. I searched around but couldn’t find anybody who we thought could make an impact to defeat vouchers and [Williams’] charter-school support.

So, Butkovitz decides not to run and I gotta wait to see what happens. I have three issues that need to be heard: Vouchers, stop and frisk and stopping the violence.

I knew I’d have a hard time raising money, so I waited to see what [City Council President Darrell] Clarke would do.

Now, Darrell Clarke doesn’t run, so we end up with [Jim] Kenney and Williams. I can not support Williams. I really can’t support Kenney either.

I analyze the situation and realize we’ve got problems. If I don’t get in the race, we’re going to have racial-polarization problems.

I was right because last week, Williams went after Kenney with those inappropriate and unnecessary ads. He couldn’t run on his own platform. He tried to play on people’s fears. I was upset abut that. It confirmed in my mind that if I hadn’t gone after Williams, and since Kenney can get down in the trenches and fight, it would all have gotten nasty along racial lines.

It’ll be ‘black versus white’ if Kenney has to go after Williams and we’re all going to lose. Everybody in the city will lose if it comes to that. The Rizzo years were racially polarizing. I did not want to see the city go back to that.

So, if I can defeat Williams on the charter-school stuff and get another candidate to agree to do away with stop and frisk and address the violence, that’s the best way I can neutralize Williams.

No, I didn’t call Kenney about any of this. I felt that I needed to wait. He’s a good guy, gracious. He accepted his victory with humility. But, I don’t think could have happened if it was just Williams and Kenney.

No vouchers. No stop and frisk. I trust him. I got two of my issues out there and Kenney didn’t have to [attack Williams].

Kenney and I are seasoned politicans. We can do things without talking to each other. If you listen to him after the Channel 6 debate, he said he never talks to Milton but thanked him for his remarks. We didn’t have to talk about it. Now, we looked at each other during the debates. Our body language talked loud and clear if you were watching us. Kenney knew I was saving the day.

That’s the part of the story that needs to get out there. I care about Philadelphia as much as anyone else.”

Since a call to Williams or Kenney couldn’t do a thing to confirm the veracity of Milton’s statements, NinetyNine reached out to Butkovitz on Thursday.

He said that no, Milton doesn’t really like Tony at all.

“He called and said he wanted to run because he was determined to keep Tony out of the mayor’s office,” said Butkovitz. “He called me and said that to me. He wanted to make sure that Tony didn’t consolidate the black vote.”

And with that, NinetyNine closes its election-week coverage.


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