Every day, I go to every neighborhood of Philadelphia in my campaign for District Attorney. People shake my hand, give me a hug and tell me what’s on their mind. In doing so, I often get questions from people about what they’ve seen or heard in the papers or on the television news. Nine times out of ten, I educate them on the legality of the issue as a good prosecutor should, and which elected or appointed leader has the responsibility of addressing it…and in almost every occasion, the person who asked me walks away a more empowered, informed political consumer.
You see, many of the headlines in both the local and national news is given coverage because it is sensational; which causes local politicians to jump in on the issue for notoriety. My warning to all who read this is: Don’t be distracted.
In almost every national news interview I have had since running, the issue of immigration is brought up. Now, with the President’s decision to send DACA to Congress for an official vote; this issue is the top story in almost every paper and news broadcast in America. Why? Because it’s polarizing and sensational. Of course nobody, myself included, wants to see families separated or children deported to dangerous places. However, the actions of local politicians nationwide have turned this important issue into a political distraction from many of their actual jobs.
So when I’m asked about DACA or Immigration, I may give my personal view on the issue but inform the person asking about the law and the duties of the office for which I am proud to be running for. Immigration enforcement and policy are federal issues. Therefore, there is no circumstance in where the Philadelphia District Attorney will prosecute a suspect on immigration charges alone. If the bureau of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) were to serve a detainer order on the Philadelphia Police or Sheriff; it would be because ICE was notified that the suspect in question was already in lawful custody for a local matter; which abides by the Constitution. This was always the policy in Philadelphia and the politicians protesting over it are well aware of it.
Regardless, my opponent and his supporter, Council Member Helen Gym was out protesting the President’s DACA decision as they did weeks before over the statue of Mayor Rizzo. While they are well within their rights to lawfully protest any issue they want, all of you should be asking why they aren’t talking about the life-and-death issues that are in their purview.
So when you see any local politician in the news, myself included; please use critical thinking as to whether they are doing their respective jobs in serving you before grandstanding on issues that are not in their responsibility.
So, when you see my opponent marching arm-in-arm with BLM and AntiFa to protest the statue of a mayor who left office 37 years ago; ask why he hasn’t addressed the 207 people who’ve been murdered in Philadelphia this year, the 278 murdered last year or the shocking 907 who were victims last year of the opioid crisis in Philadelphia alone? Maybe it’s because he wants you to concentrate on these polarizing identity issues while ignoring the shocking criminality that will be under his responsibility to address if he were to become Philadelphia’s to law enforcement officer. Why, because his total lack of requisite experience becomes obvious when he tries to weigh in against someone like me who has two decades of the type of work he is running to try and learn about on the job.
When you see Helen Gym marching with my opponent, ask her why almost every one of her appearances involves a polarizing social issue linked to identity politics when we most need our Council for real issues, like a totally underfunded pension system and crumbling infrastructure? I’m not running for a legislative seat, but I’m pretty sure the members of District Council 33, 47, Local 22, FOP 5, and other unions representing municipal employees would like to know why our Council Members are spending the majority of their public influence protesting federal issues and statues while their pension funds are disappearing.
Lastly, ask yourself why the one local Democrat who will actually have a vote on DACA; Rep. Bob Brady, wasn’t at the protest with the Council Member and DA candidate from his own party?
Folks, I am not running for District Attorney to become a politician. I am running because in my 21 years of service to the DA’s Office, I experienced the issues or crime and public safety effecting the citizens of our city first-hand. In this race, we should be talking about our responsibility to the victims of crime and sworn duty to uphold the law and make our city safer. Elected office should be a meritocracy, based on one’s resume and ability to hold the office in question…and not their political affiliation or ability to get millions in outside funding.
Philadelphia: Don’t be distracted.