Northwest Philly newspaper publisher to enter mayoral race

 Jim Foster is planning to run for mayor as an independent. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

Jim Foster is planning to run for mayor as an independent. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

Philadelphia’s mayor’s race may soon have three candidates on the campaign trail.

Germantown newspaperman Jim Foster plans to run as an independent in the November election. If he can gather enough nominating petitions, he’ll face Democrat Jim Kenney and Republican Melissa Murray Bailey.

“It’s time that voters were offered an alternative to a coronation,” said Foster, who publishes The Independent Voice.

The 72 year old has until Aug. 3 to collect at least 1,325 signatures. Foster said he already has that many and expects to have “substantially” more by the filing deadline.

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So, what issues will he hit if he gets on the ballot?

The city’s budget will be a big one.

“The financial condition of Philadelphia has been a tragic train wreck for a number of years,” said Foster.

He’s particularly interested in tackling the city’s pension fund and public school system. But he also thinks Philadelphia needs to spend more on helping the thousands who live in deep poverty.

Reducing the size of City Council and the number of deputy mayors would be part of that agenda.

“A significant number of those appointments aren’t needed,” he said.

Foster has run for public office before.

In 2009, he unsuccessfully ran to replace former Eighth District City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller. In 2012, he lost to U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah.

Foster acknowledges that this campaign would be uphill battle given how blue the city bleeds. But he said anything is possible if he’s able to spread his message and enough people show up at the polls.

What’s more, Foster isn’t bowled over by his opponents.

He said Kenney’s campaign has “never dug really deep into the bones of the problems of the city.”

As for Murray Bailey, Foster said she “has no history with Philadelphia issues and the Republicans themselves haven’t shown much interest in being an opposition party.”

The general election is Nov. 3.

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