Monday, July 31, 2006

The Ferrick Challenge

On July 12, Tom Ferrick penned an oblivious opening salvo..

Is this a great country or what?

Where else can the son of an Irish mother and an Indian father rise to be a candidate for Congress and begin his campaign by playing good, old American racial politics?

But that's plucky, indomitable Raj Bhakta for you.

Northeast residents promptly responded.

These emails came after I did a piece this week about Raj Bhakta, the Republican candidate for congress in the 13th district, which straddles Northeast Philly and eastern Montgomery County.

I took issue with what I said was Raj's thinly-veiled racialist message in re the Northeast.

These readers took issue with me. One of them denied there was any racial basis to Raj's message. Another lamented how the Northeast has been harmed by neglect from City Hall.

Undeterred, Ferrick continued criticizing.

I have some advice for those folks in Northeast Philadelphia who bombarded me with messages and e-mails last week after I did a piece about the congressional race there.

Quit your whining.

Life is tough. Stuff happens. Change is the only constant. And you can't blame it all on John Street.

On July 21, Raj boldly challenged Ferrick.

It's tough to see what's wrong with the Northeast from I-76, from City Hall, or from a Center City newsroom.

I want to help Mr. Ferrick understand a little better, so I'm making an offer: I will rent him a house in the Northeast for one week so that he can get a good strong whiff of what Mayor Street's policies have meant to its residents. Spend a few hours going door-to-door with me and hear what the people say.

Today, another Philadelphian admonished Ferrick.

I don't agree with Mr. Bhakta that Mr. Ferrick is an advocate for the people. No, I think his agenda is that no Republican shall ever again win an election in that district.

Let's see if the challenge put forth by Mr. Bhakta is answered or ignored by Mr. Ferrick.