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I post my sudden thoughts and second thoughts here from time to time -- usually having something to do with Philadelphia and governmental accountability, but occaisionally on something more (or less) interesting. Check out my Recent Writing for issues of the day and take a look at some more in-depth writing in Brett's Books. Or, view the Bulldog Budget, which represents a wonderfully visual way to conceive and account for how our government works (or doesn't work) for us.

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Most recently, I wrote
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Philadelphia's Pay-To-Sway Culture

When it comes to winning hearts and minds in public-policy debates, I see the world a lot like Seinfeld's character George Costanza sees resorting to parking in a garage.  "A garage," Costanza said.  "I can't even pull in there.  It's like going to a prostitute.  Why should I pay, when if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?"  But, instead of applying themselves and making a good case for their cause, some in power-wielding Philadelphia are apparently happy to just "pay-to-sway" no matter the societal costs of this policy prostitution.

Philadelphians got another look behind the curtain last week to see how influence is peddled and how business really gets done in our town when the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the President of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) received $25,000 as a "consultant" from the mayor's political action committee.  Those payments,, sloppily disguised in campaign-finance reports, were quickly linked to the NAACP's support of the Mayor's Soda Tax initiative.  Soda-Tax opponents suggested that those payments led the local NAACP to reverse opposition to the Soda Tax.  Of course, evidence of a flip-flop or quid-pro-quo was not noted in the Mayoral PAC's financial-disclosure documents.  

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