With about six weeks to go before Philadelphia's Municipal Primary Election, Democratic City Controller candidate Brett Mandel opened his Mt. Airy campaign headquarters Tuesday night.

 

On an unseasonably warm night, Mandel welcomed friends and family to a storefront space at 6841 Germantown Ave. in Northwest Philadelphia, where the 43-year-old said he has a number of supporters.

As some of them chatted outside of the office, Mandel said Philadelphians need a fiscal watchdog that's truly working to ensure that city government is running as effectively and efficiently as possible.

"If you have a lazy, political lapdog as city controller, well, Philadelphia is not going to work for us, but if you have a budget bulldog delivering the action, the accountability we need, making sure our budget is transparent, making sure our governmental agencies are efficient and effective, then we can build a better Philadelphia," said Mandel, who is making his second stab at the seat.

Mandel said the city pension fund, which is only half funded, is a concern. So too, is the cost of crime in the city, including the amount spent on "policing the streets, adjudicating the accused and housing the convicted."

"A little bit of money is being wasted here, a little bit of money here is being spent foolishly – that all adds up to millions and millions of dollars that we could be using to keep schools open or keep our fire stations open or to make sure that our libraries have full hours, put teachers in front of my kid's class," said Mandel.

Mandel will face off against first-time candidate Mark Zecca and incumbent Alan Butkovitz, who has held the office since 2005, in the city's Democratic Primary on May 21.

Mandel was formerly an aide to Jonathan Saidel, who preceded Butkovitz.

"Anytime you're going against an incumbent you're an underdog, but when I walk the streets, see the kind of turnout we have today, I see the enthusiasm people are bringing to this effort, I know there is no question that our energy and collective passion far outweighs the competition," said Mandel