Featherman concedes razor-thin loss in mayoral primary

John Featherman last week conceded the Republican mayoral primary to Karen Brown.

Featherman, a Realtor from Chinatown who ran without the party endorsement, issued a statement on his Facebook page. He noted the margin of defeat was just 64 votes. The final total was 8,369 to 8,305.

The statement read, “Thanks to so many supporters — but most notably the Tea Party movement — our insurgent campaign put the Republican City Committee on notice: The voters matter more than the party leaders. We are now becoming a true opposition party and will make Pennsylvania a battleground in next year’s presidential election.”

Brown, a retired teacher from South Philadelphia, will challenge Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter in the general election. Former Democratic Mayor John F. Street is considering jumping into the race as an independent.

Featherman said he will not support Brown in November.

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Al Taubenberger, the 2007 Republican candidate for mayor who is now seeking an at-large City Council seat, is calling on Council to end discussions on tax increases.

Taubenberger, a Fox Chase resident and longtime president of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, believes the next Council should guide Philadelphia through its economic crisis.

As he points out, there will be at least six new members of Council in January 2012. Five incumbents bowed out because they are enrolled in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, while a sixth — Frank Rizzo — was rejected in the primary because of his participation in DROP.

“This Council has presided over the passing and mismanagement of the DROP program, which has cost the city $100 million,” Taubenberger said. “This Council has also sat by idly while the school district created a $629 million deficit. There is a fundamental flaw in city government that needs to be addressed by a new City Council.”

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Joe McColgan, another Republican at-large Council candidate, has written a letter to Taubenberger and the other three GOP nominees, asking them to join him in taking a pledge on the issue of public education.

McColgan, a Torresdale resident who twice ran for Congress, said the pledge would require the candidates who are elected to call for the resignation of Arlene Ackerman, superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia; call for the dissolution of the School Reform Commission; and to work toward the creation of a locally elected and controlled school board that would be accountable to parents, students and voters.

The letter takes aim at Nutter. It states, in part, “Not three months after Mayor Nutter, in his budget address before City Council, announced that ‘the people of this city have given enough,’ he is now calling for another 10-percent increase in property taxes, as well as the imposition of a sugar beverage tax.”

McColgan faults Ackerman for her high pay and the “extravagant salaries” paid to some of the administrators she hired, along with what he sees as an overall financial mismanagement of the schools.

The other Republican at-large candidates are David Oh, a lawyer and ward leader from Southwest Philadelphia; state Rep. Dennis O’Brien, of Millbrook; and Michael Untermeyer, a lawyer and real estate developer from Old City. ••

Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215–354–3034 or twaring@bsmphilly.com