When Pope Francis comes in September, there will be public events you can get to, provided you’re willing walk a few miles, join countless throngs and settle for seeing the pope on a video screen.
But this is Philly, you know people are going to look for an angle to get closer access to the pontiff. You know — people who have the influence, or know somebody they think has the influence to get them into the Mass at the basilica, for example.
Over the years, I’ve observed union leaders, elected officials and business honchos calling the mayor’s office, looking for seats at the reviewing stand of the Mummers parade. So I wonder what the scramble will be like to inside access to this mega event.
I called a guy who’s lived in the world of favors and relationships for decades: city Democratic Pary Chairman and Philadelphia Congressman Bob Brady.
Yes, he told me, he’s getting calls. From whom, I asked, ward leaders?
“A couple of our Catholic ward leaders have asked, and I said,’I don’t know yet,’ but I will talk to the mayor,” Brady said. “In fact, I’ve already talked to the mayor, and they’re not settled [on their plans] yet, they don’t have the logistics down yet.”
But Brady said he’s sure there will be plans for people with connections.
“They’re talking about gates and people are worried about gates,” he said. “They’re not talking about gates for crowd control. They’re talking about gates for VIP’s to get in and get out and get better seats.”
He said he doesn’t know how many tickets or passes he’ll be able to get, but they won’t be enough for everyone who asks.
“There’s always more demand than supply on anything — on judges, on jobs, on anything,” Brady said. “I got a little mini-list, and people keep calling me. I just put their name there, and you know, if they ask and I have it, I give it to them.”
Brady says he knows how to handle disappointed supplicants.
“I go on a first-come, first-served basis. If Dave asks me for a ticket, and he doesn’t get one and sees Bob there, and he got a ticket from Brady, I just tell him, ‘He asked me first.'”