LUPE drama is old-style ward politics, but our focus should be on issues facing the community
The drama about LUPE's withdrawal of its endorsement of mayoral candidate Nelson Diaz is not a surprise. Old-style ward politics is well and alive in our community as it is in other neighborhoods in this city. Money is unfortunately a driving force that too often shapes who gets endorsed during an open primary like this one.
In the 2007 primary, (the most recent comparable election to 2015), Tom Knox won every Latino ward in eastern North Philly (Mayor Michael Nutter came in second). The story then was about Knox's ability to buy ward support with his immense wealth. I remind folks that Knox was a completely disconnected, unfamiliar candidate .... So no, all this is not a surprise. What is troubling is that there are still too many folks who still consider these transactions business as usual in El Barrio.
I have no reason to doubt Diaz's claims. After all, he's highly respected in our community for his integrity. Whether he is embarrassed or angry, as a Jim Kenney spokesperson noted in the AL DÍA article, I think Diaz responded appropriately regardless of its political costs. Just maybe, moving forward, Diaz might use this as an opportunity to galvanize independent-thinking community support.
On the other hand, I also don't believe that Kenney would endorse Morales as a quid pro quo for LUPE's endorsement. I've observed Kenney evolve from his so-called "Fumo-crat" days to someone that has become more progressive and forthright. However, money is always a factor in these political transactions. I wouldn't expect Kenney to help finance LUPE's endorsed candidates, but you never know about those distantly-connected, independent PACs.
There is another piece to this puzzle that might have been overlooked. Specifically, one can also conclude that Kenney is the indirect beneficiary of the political struggle for the 7th District councilmanic seat. ALDIA has reported on current LUPE attempts to unseat Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez, who in turn is supporting Anthony Williams for mayor. To drop Diaz, LUPE needed a candidate, and Williams was obviously not a choice(despite William's financial resources). And, neither were any of the other relatively poorly funded candidates in the race. That left Kenney.
Finally, it is disappointing that positions on critical issues facing our community are being obscured by these political shenanigans. Diaz has outlined some key issues facing our community with important policy remedies. That should be the center of our community's public discourse. That's where our focus should be.