T. Milton Street Sr. has announced he intends to run in the Democratic mayoral primary as an “anti-crime, jobs candidate.” He hopes to mobilize Philadelphia’s “throwaway people” to help him defeat Michael Nutter.
“I’m writing the last chapter of my life,” said Street, 71, who completed a 26-month sentence on federal tax-evasion charges the day after Thanksgiving. “God gives us all a purpose. Mine is to represent poor people, forgotten people. I was sent to prison to regroup, refocus, and come out to do this.”
Street, the former mayor’s older brother and one-time state senator, told Metro he will have a formal campaign launch at an event in Kensington sometime after Feb. 15. With little to no money raised, he’ll urge ex-offenders – of which an estimated 40,000 are released annually – to encourage relatives and friends to vote for him and create “a voting bloc that would control this city.”
As he did during his failed 2007 campaign, he vowed to hire 3,000 ex-offenders as “crime-stoppers patrolling their communities” after either he or someone on his staff will personally interview them.
During a two-hour interview, he vowed to conduct a campaign with no personal name-calling. He railed against Nutter’s “stop-terrorize-and-frisk” policy and proposals to close libraries and recreation centers. He said his first order of business would be to “get rid of [Police Commissioner Charles] Ramsey” since Nutter passed over city born-and-raised candidates for the job.
“These issues need to be the subject of debate, and they will be for at least the next three or four months,” Street said. “Michael Nutter has no shot when it comes to debating me. I’m pregnant with information, and I’m prepared to dispense it. We have to save the future.”
If somehow elected, Street would be off parole before his swearing-in ceremony.
‘I gotta do this’
Street said the most difficult part of imprisonment was not realizing he’d be taken into custody at sentencing. When he got to the federal lockup at Seventh and Arch that day, he met someone who was given 129 days to self-report for a 10-year methamphetamine-manufacturing sentence.
While incarcerated, Street spoke with many young inmates serving hard time for nonviolent offenses. “It gave me a whole new perspective on the prison system,” he said. “The idea [to run again] just exploded in my mind. I gotta do this.”