First mayoral debate marred by exclusion

Fox 29 did not invite Olugbala, though he is on the Nov. ballot.

Independent mayoral candidate Diop Olugbala spoke in front of Fox 29 studios Thursday to protest his exclusion from next Tuesday’s televised mayoral debate and announce his intention to participate anyway.

“I believe Fox 29’s decision to exclude me from the debate is consistent with an all-out attack on my campaign,” said Olugbala, who is on the Nov. ballot under his birth name, Wali Rahman. “I don’t know how they say it’s democratic when two voices dominate and represent the same opportunistic style of corrupt government.”

Olugbala is the only mayoral candidate on the ballot who was not asked to participate. Republican Karen Brown and Mayor Michael Nutter will duke it out Tuesday night.

“So far, we don’t have a position,” said Zach Stalberg of the Committee of Seventy. “If you ask me, as a general reaction, I would say that there’s no harm in including him, so why not?”

Olugbala is investigating the possibility of filing a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.

“I will make it impossible between now and Tuesday to let the debate go on like it’s representing some democratic process without telling the entire city it’s a farce,” he said. “I will show up ready to debate.”

A spokeswoman for Fox was mum except for the statement, “Diop Olugbala will not be part of the Fox 29 mayoral debate.”

So no Diop in this first debate. But Mayor Nutter and challenger Brown can still give us something worth listening to. What Metro would like to hear:

From Nutter:
“If re-elected, I’ll take greater control over the future of the city that hired me for a second time. Some elected official in City Hall owes this city as much. I won’t go to every press conference that presents itself. When you see me on TV, you’ll know something big is happening. More street cleanups and less school fights — in SRC meetings and City Council. An end to those ‘Unlitter Us’ spoken word commercials. And I promise, yes, promise, to quit saying ‘worst recession since the Great Depression.’”

From Brown: “If I pull the biggest upset in modern political history, I won’t really try to disband the city’s teacher’s union, but I will demand two changes: the way our public school educators are allowed to choose which schools they work in, and salary based on a merit system (not just how long you’ve been here). I’ll hire the best and brightest to help me run this massive government since I’ll need the help. I’ll host lots of lunches with Republicans from Harrisburg. How much worse could the Philadelphia-Harrisburg relationship get, right?”


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