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In the News Index

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Date: March 27, 2005
Byline: Marcia Gelbart

Street's musings, worries, in e-mails

Webmaster's note: What follows is the beginning and the section related to LOVE Park only.

A peek behind the veil of the famously private mayor.

On the morning of Aug. 26, 2003, near the height of his tense reelection drive, Mayor Street e-mailed his campaign manager.

"Fundraising calls," Street titled the message. Then he wrote a list of suggestions.

The list included star athletes, leading lawyers, widows of famous men. Julius Erving was on the list, as was Frank Rizzo's widow.

There was more:

"List of everybody we appointed to anything.

"List of everybody who got a contract with the city or city agency.

"List of all city employees... if we got an average of $10 each from half of them it would be over $100K dollars."

Such were Street's thoughts as recorded on his BlackBerrys, the hand-held computers he turned over to federal agents on Oct. 7, 2003, the same day the FBI's bug was found in the ceiling of his City Hall office. The messages have come to light amid the thousands of documents that have surfaced in the long-running corruption trials.

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Every issue became a campaign issue – even the skateboard ban in LOVE Park.

Managing Director Philip R. Goldsmith was pressed by Klehr to announce that the city would end the ban. "Klehr is like a dog in heat on this," Goldsmith wrote Street on Oct. 1.

Indeed, that night Klehr blitzed Street with e-mail about ending the ban, writing: "It will do wonders for the re-election."

Street grew agitated: "Can we please drop it! Kindly worry me about fundraising Please!"

Klehr replied: "I will 'drop it' because I respect YOUR right to make the decision, even when you are wrong, both operationally and politically." (A phone call to Klehr seeking comment for this story went unreturned. Goldsmith said only that he found Street "respectful of the chain of command." )

It wasn't the first time Goldsmith, who is resigning April 1 as overseer of the city's day-to-day operations, clashed with Street's political advisers.

An agitated Fordham wrote that "Phil is not being helpful to us," and that Street's chief of staff was being "countermanded" by department heads who told her they answered to Goldsmith. "We need a come to jesus meeting," Fordham e-mailed.

The mayor counseled patience: "A 'come to Jesus' meeting is a big thing... There are THREE sides to every story: your side; my side; and the FACTS. Let's get the other side and then determine the facts."

At one point, Street e-mailed Fordham about a perennial issue for the city and state, and one that would loom large in the bug probe.

The mayor wrote on Sept. 9: "We need a new state campaign finance law to be introduced on our behalf in Harrisburg ASAP and push Katz and Republicans to pass the law. We need to insulate ourselves against 'pay to play' charges."

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