After five years of chasing stories for Roxborough’s local newspaper, The Review, Bernard Scally is hoping to trade in his notebook for a seat at City Hall.
The Roxborough native, who is known around the neighborhood for his waxed mustache and fondness for cigars, says he plans to “take the Scally persona public” by running for a Philadelphia City Council at-large seat as a Republican.
“Philly is in my blood, it’s my home,” Scally said. “To not want to help make it better and be what it should be as the premier city in America would just be pointless.”
The Penn State graduate says it’s a major leap of faith to abandon a stable job as a newspaper reporter for unemployment and the unknown outcome of a political campaign, but it’s all part of his family’s passion for the city.
“My grandfather was court administrator for the city of Philadelphia… my father is a firefighter, his brother is a homicide detective, their sister is a D.A. investigator and her husband is a beat cop,” Scally said.
If elected, Scally would like to start tackling the city’s budget issues, tap into and promote the city’s arts resources and work to refurbish local recreation centers, firehouses and police stations. Other items on his agenda include city greening, protecting natural land and watersheds, and addressing neighborhood concerns about residential overdevelopment.
Scally has a few campaign events scheduled for the coming months, which include guest bartending at the Old Eagle Tavern and a comedy night hosted by local comedian Chris Morris.
And yes, he does plan to incorporate his iconic mustache into every bit of the campaign.
“I probably have the second best mustache in Philadelphia, compared to John DeBella, WMGK’s morning guy and staple of Philadelphia radio,” Scally said. “It’s part of my humor and wit and I hope it will set me apart from the regular candidates.”
Scally’s last day at The Review will be Feb. 2. He plans to make the official announcement of his candidacy that week.
The Republican primary will choose the party’s five nominees for the seven at-large seats on Council, who will oppose the Democrats’ slate of five – along with any independents or alternative party candidates – in November. Under the city charter, the minority party – in this city, almost always the Republicans – is guaranteed at least two of the seven at-large seats.
Among other confirmed Republicans in the running are Al Taubenberger, head of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and the GOP candidate for mayor in 2007; David Oh, the lawyer who was narrowly defeated by Jack Kelly in 2007; State Rep. Dennis O’Brien; and incumbent Frank Rizzo Jr., who is running for re-election. Jack Kelly, the other Republican at-large incumbent, is not seeking re-election.
On the Democratic side, Sherrie Cohen, daughter of the late Councilman David Cohen, and Andy Toy, former Zoning Code Commissioner and an unsuccessful at-large candidate in 2007, have announced their bids.
Disclosure: Bernard Scally is a former contributor to NewsWorks. His work includes two essays; one about Roxborough the other about Christmas traditions. He also wrote an article on the completion of a mural in Manayunk which honors a fallen police officer.