January 16-22, 2003
The End of a Beautiful Friendship
Carl Singley, Mayor Street's former best buddy, talks about why the relationship’s over -- and why he likes Sam Katz.
Street at the Crossroads
First in a Series
Not long ago, Mayor John Street and high-powered attorney Carl E. Singley were best friends. Back in the early '70s, it was Singley, then a law professor at Temple University, who saw the enormous potential in Street when he was selling hot dogs outside the law school. Singley convinced the man to enroll at Temple, took him under his wing and was a major force in shaping a political career that culminated in that vendor being elected mayor of Philadelphia in 2000.
Singley's career fast-tracked as well. After serving as professor, then dean of Temple Law, he was first deputy city solicitor under Mayor Bill Green before returning to private practice. Today, Singley is a partner at Blank Rome LLP, one of the city's most prestigious law firms.
Sometime shortly after the election, Singley and Street had a falling-out that resulted in Singley's ouster from the mayor's inner circle and an angry retaliatory essay by Singley in The Philadelphia Inquirer last September. The simmering animus between the former friends continues to this day. Singley has been instrumental in forming a search party determined to find a Democratic candidate to oust Street in the primaries, and short of that would throw his considerable weight behind the Republican Sam Katz.
On Dec. 19, 2002, City Paper Executive Editor Howard Altman and Senior Writer Daryl Gale met Singley for lunch. An abridged version of the interview follows; a longer version is available here.
Early in the conversation, Howard Altman introduced the subject of the estrangement between the two former friends. It's something, as Singley pointed out, that Street has refused to talk about.
CS: Street went to the editorial board of the Daily News and the Inquirer, and after giving a long presentation -- this is this past summer -- about the successes of his administration and failures, on two separate occasions people asked him in the editorial board meeting what was going on with us. And you know his position has always been he doesn't want to talk about it.
HA: He told us the same thing.
CS: He says he ain't getting into it. But he was upset enough about being challenged at both of those editorial boards that when he saw [Singley's friend Fareed Ahmed] on the street in the summer of 2002, he spent 45 minutes on a street corner trashing the hell out of me. My friend called me within five minutes and said, "You will not believe the conversation I just had with John Street." That's when I wrote that piece that the Inquirer published. I went to my computer, and I wrote for five days straight... Now the irony of all of this is to this day John Street has never said to me, "You did X, Y and Z and I'm mad with you." After 25 years of a friendship... So what he does in that street-corner conversation is he brags to my friend: "I made a decision to cut him off." That's what he said. And you know what he said? "To teach him some humility."
Daryl Gale: Why do you think he believes that you need to be taught a lesson in humility?
CS: [laughs] I do. A little humility is good for all of us. All of us could stand a little bit of humility, and at my age, if I'm overstepping or overreaching and getting beside myself it's probably not a bad idea for me to be reminded. You know, to keep your feet on the ground. Speaking of humility, the thing that strikes me most about all of this is that he lost his sense of humility when he got that job... It was almost as if this guy thought that getting elected was an affirmation of everything about his public career. It's like, all mistakes are forgiven, the public must believe that my view of the world and the universe is accurate. In fact, he came in one time right after the election and said, "They love me out there." And I said, "Street, they don't love you. It's not about you, it's the position, something called position rapture.'" I said it's celebrity, it's not about you. Forty-nine percent of the people out there don't love you. I said, "Did anybody come up to you and say they voted against you? Of all those people, did anybody say I voted against you because I don't like you?" And he said no. So I said, "Well, somebody voted against you, because it was a close race." So from a humility perspective, I think that's what he forgot. He lost it. [A]s Lord Acton said, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It went straight to his head. I was astonished.
HA: Was there anything that you can recall, like a piece of advice you gave him that he bristled at, and maybe that was --
CS: No. Well, I will tell you there was the encounter in front of Ed Rendell's house that you might have heard about after the primary in 1999. What triggered that was that there was a lot of dissatisfaction within the campaign with how Lana Felton-Ghee was running [it].
HA: Right, I remember that.
CS: So Ed and David [L. Cohen] and others in that camp felt that Street needed to get more professional campaign management going into the fall, in the general election. So Ed and David said, "You need to talk to Street." They said that to me. And I said, "We meet every Monday night at 10 o'clock at Ed's house to plan campaign strategy." And by the way, [Electricians union leader Johnny] Dougherty was in those meetings, [State Sen. Vincent] Fumo, [Building Trades union head Pat] Gillespie; it was an interesting mix of folks in those meetings after the primary. All those guys kind of came inside the tent and worked on strategy. So on this particular evening, David and Ed approached Street confidentially after our meeting broke up, I think in Ed's living room, and said, "You really need to give some thought to getting new campaign management." So Street leaves, and comes down to the curb. I'm standing there, David Cohen is there, Lenny Klehr, George Burrell and myself. So we were sort of doing a little debriefing about the campaign and how to go forward, and Ken Snyder's name came up, who I personally felt had done an excellent job for Street and was precisely the kind of media spokesperson he needed in a rough-and-tumble campaign.
CS: Street didn't like Ken Snyder, Lana Felton didn't like Ken Snyder.
CS: Well, you know Ken. Ken is like a rough-and-tumble, high-energy guy.
HA: A little abrasive.
CS: But good at what he does.
HA: Definitely good at what he does.
CS: He's a young man, means well, dedicated to the cause, and so Ken didn't think we were at some ladies' club where he had to be polite, I mean, he had a gruff manner, and it never bothered me. And I never thought it was racial, I just thought it was Ken. Well there were some like Lana who suggested that he was a racist, which by the way, on Lana's part, always was the sort of label that once you wave that, you could make white folks back down. And Lana, then and now, if she felt she was being criticized, she would wave the chauvinism flag or the race flag if it was white folks, and basically back down legitimate criticism, which is the style of Street as well. So long story short, as he was trashing Ken Snyder I said, "Well I think Ken did a great job for us." And I said, "Since we're doing this post mortem, what do you think about Lana Felton-Ghee's job?" So he says to me, "I think she's done a damn good job considering the fact that you spent the last several months undermining her." And that was an existential moment in time. Time stood still, because I didn't think I heard what he'd just said. After 14-hour days, tens of thousands of dollars and time and support over the years and helping him come to that point, so all of a sudden he attempted to discredit me in front of all of these guys, none of whom were there from the beginning. Not a one of those guys standing in that circle. In fact, George Burrell and Lana Felton-Ghee did every damn thing they could to defeat this guy. Turns out I had this golf putter that Midge [Rendell] had given me, because Midge and I played golf a couple of times together. Somebody had given her a putter at one of these outings that was gold-plated, but it was a piece of junk, and she didn't want it... I had this putter, and until he made that statement I had been putting blades of grass. So when he made that statement, I had the putter in my hand coincidentally. I thought, no, he didn't just say that to me. So I stepped in his face and said, "What the fuck did you just say?" ...And he just kind of backed up, so I said, "Repeat what you said, man! After every goddamned thing I've done for you, you say that to me?" At this point Lenny Klehr, for no particular reason, takes the putter out of my hand. So I said, "Fine." I get in my truck, and I drive away. I leave the campaign. I don't participate anymore until after John White Jr. announces his support for Sam Katz. And I come back to campaign headquarters whenever that was, after Labor Day, and they're all sitting around in a room, sort of debriefing the impact of Sam Katz's endorsement by John White, and as typically is the case when you're in these little gatherings with Street, he's got all these people around him, who are reaffirming what he says and nodding whether they agree or not. So they're all talking about it's not going to matter, John White is dead in this town, his endorsement is not going to matter. So I walk in and I hear this same crap, and I say, "Y'all gotta be out of your goddamn minds! What do you mean it doesn't hurt? You think it helps?" So Street looks at me and he says, "You're back." I said, "And not a minute too soon." So what I think that meant is, in retrospect, I don't think he ever forgave my getting in his face.
HA: Now was there tension before that, or just
CS: Not really. Not that I'm aware of. Because, you know, throughout the campaign, I sort of had the role of telling him stuff he didn't want to hear. For example, [Democratic campaign consultant David] Axelrod and those guys tried to get him to lose his reading glasses when we were doing the debate prep. Learn the stuff, and don't read it, because on television you're going to look like a deer in the headlights. But nobody wanted to go up to Street and say, "You need to study for this debate and get rid of those reading glasses." So that was what I would do. I would say to Street, "You know, I really think you ought to get rid of those reading glasses." So, part of my role was to say stuff to him that nobody else wanted to say.
HA: Speaking truth to power.
DG: Do you think the mayor is a man whose ego is such that he feels it necessary to get rid of the only guy who feels free to speak up to him?
CS: I have no question in my mind that that's what it is. And right now there's nobody around him who will tell him the truth. Nobody. Take George Burrell [whose official title is Secretary of External Affairs]. If you go into George's office [used in previous administrations for the chief of staff], you'll see that there's a doorway, or used to be a doorway so that whoever occupies that office could go in directly to see the mayor. Street made them close it off. There's a bookcase there right now. So if George needs to get in to see Street, he got to go out and go around the secretaries like everybody else. To me that sends a really powerful message to the one guy that you are counting on for political advice, who, by the way, has no business giving anybody political advice about a damn thing. George Burrell. Because all you need to do is go back and look at the kind of campaign he ran in '91 in the Democratic primary with Lucien and Eddie and all those folks. You're talking about inept politically and mismanaging his own financial issues and the whole business with his tax returns, you go back and look at that history, and this ain't a guy that needs to be giving nobody no political advice.
DG: That 51 to 49 percent [Street's winning vote margin in the 1999 election] is an important number, especially when you consider that in a city with a 4-to-1 Democratic edge, 2 percent is a razor-thin margin.
DG: So do you think he's going into the campaign now with overconfidence?
CS: The outward expression demonstrates that they are confident that he can tell his story and get re-elected. My sense is, from the folks inside of the administration who talk to me and who know better, that there's almost a sense of panic over there. Although Street has said to a lot of people that they re-elected Wilson Goode after MOVE, so why wouldn't they re-elect me? Well, my answer to that is, what people overlook is that Wilson Goode had true grassroots support in the African-American community that was based on working in Southwest Philadelphia for 30 years. See, people don't understand that John Street was the classic example of a carpetbagger in North Philadelphia who never connected in a human kind of way. And if you think about it, had a voting electorate who were the least sophisticated of voters, the highest poverty rate, the lowest literacy rate, lowest turnout, and almost won each election by default. Whenever he had a close challenge like he did with Julie Welker, a virtual newcomer, he had a struggle on his hands. And so as a consequence, Street does not have the connection with the African-American community that Wilson Goode had. Secondly, Sam Katz is not Frank Rizzo. The only person with higher negatives than John Street was Frank Rizzo... So the reality is John is not Wilson and Sam is not Frank Rizzo. In addition, Street now has a three-year record that he's got to run on. So he's not the heir apparent to Ed Rendell anymore. And our polls, one we did in the summer... show that [Street] has severe problems.
HA: Specifically, what kinds of problems?
CS: Well, let me just give you a couple of statistics. The things that he has expended the greatest amount of capital on, political and financial, is on the neighborhood stuff; let's just call it neighborhood improvement. Abandoned cars, blight elimination, crime and drugs, which is covered by Safe Streets. Our poll in August 2002 involved 800 Democrats, 51 percent of whom voted for Street the last time -- his approval rating on Safe Streets was about 52 percent, with about a 48 percent disapproval rating. Now, that's back in the summer.
DG: But August was the height of the Safe Streets operation.
CS: Absolutely. So they were astonishing numbers at that time. Because I would have thought that would have been in the high 60s, like Bush's rating in foreign policy. On neighborhood economic development, abandoned cars and improving the quality of life, that was around 63 to 64 percent, with a 45 disapproval. And that was as high as he got. On issues like public education he got 75 percent negative approval ratings. On race relations, 80 percent negative -- black and white alike. Jobs, tax reform, and this was before the real estate tax assessment issue; we haven't even tested on that issue. His disapproval was in the 75-percent and higher rating. The most telling statistic for us, aside from that, was the re-election numbers. That is, if this election were held today, would you vote to re-elect John Street, or do you think you'd vote for somebody else. Thirty-two percent said they'd vote to re-elect him. Thirty-two. And in that number, only 22 percent said they'd vote to re-elect him no matter who the other candidate was. So the hard base is 22 percent, and this is 49 percent African Americans in this poll. Eight hundred Democrats in this poll. Now, 48 percent said they think somebody else should be given a chance, with no name.
DG: Who conducted your poll?
CS: An outfit called Global Strategies, Inc. And so the other interesting thing was the high number of undecideds. So while you've got the 32 and the 48 the rest were undecided, and pollsters will tell you that when you have -- and they were in the double digits, about 18 or so percent were undecided -- pollsters will tell you if you have an incumbent, the undecideds are really decided. And they break against the incumbent. What is there to be undecided about? They're just waiting for an alternative. Now if you add the undecideds to the 48 percent who said somebody else should have a chance, or just take 10 of the 18 percent undecided, you can see that this guy is in deep trouble.
DG: The word on the street, and the word in the barbershops and beauty parlors -- folks are saying, "We put Street in office, and he's giving away the store to his political friends, those who give big money and make big contributions."
CS: Well, let me tell you, and he's proud of that! The three most influential people outside of government with John Street are three men: Lenny Klehr, who wasn't with Street six or seven years ago, and nobody had heard his name; you would arguably think that it ought to be Ron White, but more ideally it should have been me, given my history with him, but it wasn't and I accept that; it shouldn't have been Frank Keel, it should have been Bruce Crawley. Explain to me how Frank Keel makes over a million dollars from the Street administration, never had to live in the city of Philadelphia.
DG: His business isn't even based in Philadelphia.
CS: He's based in North Wales or somewhere, left the company and started his own company and some of the first contracts he got came from Naomi Post and Safe and Sound. And then, from the city of Philadelphia. The question Bruce Crawley ought to ask is how much did Bruce Crawley make in contracts. And you know the work Bruce did for Street over the years. And what about Sam Staten? You look at the Inquirer piece on Sunday [12/15/02] and look at the $300,000 Sam Staten gave John Street, you would think that his labor leader of choice would be Sam Staten. It wasn't. It's Johnny Doc, who, by the way, gave Street one-third of the money that Sam Staten did. So, is it coincidental that these three African-American men who were with him the longest have less influence than these three white influential guys who weren't with him all these years?
HA: What's that about, do you think?
CS: I don't know.
HA: I wonder what Bruce is thinking.
CS: You ought to ask him. Ask him how does Frank Keel make a million dollars from the city. Ask Bruce did he make a million dollars. Ask him did he make $250,000.
HA: I mean, Bruce is a guy his vision led to the Corporate Council coming to Philly, and his friend is a no-show. But now when I talk to Bruce, he's very loyal.
DG: So Street's not really rewarding his friends, he's only rewarding his contributors?
CS: That's what appears to be the case.
HA: So who do you think is out there? Is there anyone seriously, from the Democrats, going to make a challenge?
CS: I don't think so. I don't think Dwight [Evans] is going to run. I'd love to see him run, but it's pretty late in the game to be talking about mounting a serious campaign for the primary. I thought Michael Nutter or Dwight would have been superb. They have crossover appeal, they themselves have a manner and style that people feel comfortable with. They're not aloof, they're not arrogant, they're not distant, they're smart and I think would have been able to appeal to a lot of disenchanted voters across the spectrum of race and ethnic groups.
DG: I talked to Michael Nutter on Monday [12/16/02] and asked him about running for mayor, and he still seemed somewhat open to the idea. Do you think he's waiting for someone to ask him?
CS: No, he's not. He's been asked. [laughs]
HA: And what did he say?
CS: That he would think about it. You'd have to do a lot of work, even under the radar, you would have had to be talking to a lot of people, trying to figure out where you're going to get the money from.
DG: So will the mayor have a Democratic challenger in the primary?
CS: I don't think so.
DG: So at some point, will you publicly endorse Sam Katz?
HA: Right now?
CS: No, because later on this year I want something to do. [all laugh] Listen, to me this is a fairly simple proposition. Had John Street been an effective mayor, the demise of our personal relationship would have been not even a footnote in the city's political history. It would just be one of those things where people say, "Gee, it's a shame. I wonder why it happened, but such is life." The fact of the matter is, he's been a terrible mayor. And the reason I wrote that piece was that I wasn't going to have my views about him characterized as purely personal. I'd be less than honest to say that there isn't a sense of personal betrayal, and a sense of personal disappointment at this unfulfilled promise. And that's what I see, and that's the tragic example of a guy that everybody wanted to see succeed, who really in a corny, old-fashioned American way, rose from modest beginnings on a farm in Swedesboro, who overcame all kinds of obstacles, worked his way through school and became the mayor of the fourth or fifth largest city in the United States. Having said that, why wouldn't I support the candidate who offers a better future for the city, regardless of what color he is, and regardless of what his party is. How do you not support a guy like Sam, who clearly can do what we need to have done, and at some point in time, after we know what Dwight is going to do, and after Sam organizes, I'm going to have a conversation with Sam about it. And if he needs my help, I'm going to help him.
HA: I want to get back to some specific examples where John's style and his need for respect above all else has been detrimental.
CS: Anna Verna. For a guy for whom respect is so important, he had a way of being incredibly disrespectful to people, including Verna. Explain to me how you take a woman as dedicated and as loyal as she was to him, who went into those neighborhoods in South Philadelphia where people for racial reasons had no use for John Street, and asked people, ward leaders, committeemen and others, "I'm asking you to do this for me as a favor." That's what Verna did. Throughout his time as Council president, she was loyal to him. I love Verna, because she's an old-time lady, you know? You wouldn't get a curse word out of her if you tried. She's slow to anger, deferential to people to a fault. You explain to me how you alienate a woman like that? That to me is the first and obvious example. How do you invite [John] Perzel to a meeting, and make him wait, make him wait, make him wait, then spend all of the time that he's in your office reading your messages on your BlackBerry. Talk about disrespecting people.
DG: Not an hour ago, as the mayor unofficially kicked off his campaign, he gave a press conference where he outlined his accomplishments. I was there and someone asked him about his less-than-cozy relationship with City Council and in particular Anna Verna. He blamed Verna, and as a matter of fact I've got his quote here: "With me and Ed Rendell, I created an expectation on the way the mayor and City Council would do business. Anytime I wanted to talk to him, I could talk to him. Anna Verna and I don't do business the same way. When I was Council president, I did things expeditiously and kept open communication."
CS: First of all, in order for Street to have a relationship with Ed, Ed had to humble himself. Ed went to his office every Tuesday. Street didn't go to Ed's office; that meeting they had every Tuesday morning was held in John Street's office. So Ed swallowed his pride and his ego in order to make it work between the mayor and Street. Ed gave him credit for everything, every development, whether Street had anything to do with it or not, you could count on Ed to give him effusive praise, deservedly or not. There was never a time when Street afforded Verna one-half of the deference that Eddie gave him. So I think that's dishonest for him to say something like that, and everybody who knows them knows that to be true. The only way to explain how you alienate somebody like an Anna Verna is to say the fault is hers.
DG: Do you think the voters will remember all this during the campaign?
CS: Absolutely. I think the sleeper issue is the tax issue. And it isn't going to be an organized effort. People who felt that their real estate taxes were unfairly reassessed, these efforts to disavow Street's responsibility. There's going to be an election and there's going to be somebody at the top of the ticket. Fairly or unfairly, they're going to hold the mayor responsible, and that's a pocketbook issue. Wage tax, real estate taxes. They're not going to talk a lot, they're just going to go into that booth, and say, "I'm going to give somebody else a chance to show me what they're going to do with my money." Let me tell you, that speech he gave on the deficit was literally taken from Ed Rendell's inaugural speech in '92. You know the gloom and doom and impending deficits. That language is lifted whole from Ed's speech. Now the irony of it is, in '92 Ed was saying that this looming deficit is the fault of my predecessor, and this is what I intend to do as mayor. Street basically tried to assume the Rendell "Reinvent Government" strong leadership on the budget issue when the fault was almost an $800-million swing from a $200-million surplus when he became mayor to a $600-million deficit. The difference is, Street is the cause of the problems that he now vows to clean up.
HA: It's going to be an interesting campaign, no doubt. I think Sam Katz has a very good chance.
CS: I think we need new leadership. I've said it. You know the joker in the deck in all of this is going to be the issue of race. I get insulted when I read statements that black folks are going to vote for John Street no matter what.
HA: Oh, I don't think they are.
CS: I don't think so either.
DG: I talked to some folks in North Philly, and I asked folks about John Street. In his home district, he didn't seem to be all that popular, because they said their neighborhood looks the same as it did five, 10, 20 years ago. They complained that John Street has been an elected official for 20 years and yet his district looks the same, or worse.
CS: And that's a problem. His base is North Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, Southwest Philadelphia. His problem is the people he's invested the most in, don't feel that their lives have changed fundamentally, and they have the lowest voter turnout. That's his problem. There isn't that feeling at the grassroots level that he's one of them. It's the aloofness. Let me tell you something else: The police officers that guard John Street -- and I thought this was just a rumor, because as you know, when you're unpopular people make up things about you. But the people who guard him at his house were told -- the officers who would speak to him every morning -- they were told not to speak to him unless he spoke to them first. Now, when I first heard it I discounted it. I figured somebody was disgruntled. Then I hear that the contractors working up on that scaffolding around City Hall, the guys who would be up there working when he came in -- now I got this from some pretty direct authority, the other thing I got from somebody who was fired from that security force, the same thing. The workers up there used to wave and shout out his name when he came in. Somebody from Street's office came out and said, "We'd appreciate it if you wouldn't speak to the mayor unless he speaks to you first." Just who the hell does he think he is? I'm thinking, my God, what has happened to this guy?
DG: How much of the white vote would Street need to win? And if he or any of his campaign staff play the race card during the campaign, how quickly would that white vote evaporate?
CS: His problem is that "brothers and sisters" comment [at an NAACP convention here in April]. It continues to resonate... Wilson Goode, at his peak, I understand, got about 18 percent of the white vote. I don't think Street got 10 percent of the white vote last time around, not withstanding all of Johnny Dougherty's claims that they organized in South Philadelphia and Kensington and brought out the vote. And by the way, you know Doc's people weren't voting because they don't live in Philadelphia. [laughs] But for the most part, I think that areas like Verna's district, DiCicco's district, sections of Wynnefield, Mt. Airy, Roxborough, Germantown, Chestnut Hill -- he didn't carry those, and he'll get even fewer votes up there this time around.
HA: In Verna's district, and I lived there at the time, the white votes from Grays Ferry came on board with him.
CS: Let me tell you something. He won't even come down there. He will not campaign in the Northeast, in Kensington, in the lower Northeast, in Verna's district, in DiCicco's district. If he does, he's going to bring Dougherty and he's going to exacerbate the problem because Dougherty and these guys are going to try to make it a little gangster type of thing. I just don't see how he reaches white voters in any substantial numbers. His big problem is the liberal white voters and the Yellow Dog Democrats. The Yellow Dog Democrats, that's what Jim Carville calls them, could never bring themselves to vote for a Republican. But his problem is the Yellow Dog Democrat either sits it out, or they vote for Sam [Katz]. The liberals in Center City and those areas, he's done with those folks. And it's not just the ethnic Jews in the Northeast that he's got to worry about, you know, Marty [Weinberg] got all those votes but Street got a significant number of liberal Jewish votes. Chestnut Hill, Center City, West Mt. Airy, Fairmount and the like, he's not getting those votes. He's just not getting them. And these people can make a judgment in clear conscience: "I voted for him, I gave him a chance, I believed in him, and he let us down."
DG: Well then, isn't that his 2 percent?
CS: You'd better believe it. But I say of the 49 percent of folks who voted against him, how many of those people -- assuming voter attrition -- how many of the 49 percent will now say, "I made a mistake?"
HA: And vote for him this time.
CS: Right. You think any of them? [laughs] But of the 51 percent who voted for him, how many of those might say, "I made a mistake?" Well, if 2 percent say they made a mistake, he's done.
HA: I think he's going to have problems. And it's too bad, you know, because like I said, I happen to like him.
CS: Yeah, I remember. You were one of the guys, and your paper was one of the few, that we viewed as a friendly forum for us. And I know we worked hard to maintain that. I mean, how do you blow that?
HA: Performance. You know what? You can shake my hand, you can go fishing with me, we can have all the friendliness in the world, it's not personal at all.
The Mayor Responds
We offered Mayor Street's office a chance to respond to some of the issues and allegations in the Carl Singley interview. Spokesperson Barbara Grant's official reply follows:
Because the Mayor is committed to the Safe Streets program, strong neighborhoods, and economic growth, that's where he is putting his energy and commitment.
Carl Singley is not our focus and we are not going to be distracted by politically motivated questions. Our focus is on moving Philadelphia forward through these tough economic times.
As the campaign progresses, we will be talking directly to voters about these issues. We will be talking about tax reform, the city budget, the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative and all the issues important to the voters. We are prepared to present our record and make our case directly to the voters.