Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) continues to be coy about whether he'll seek a third term, but that hasn't stopped folks from offering their two cents' worth. This week, Williams got an earful from a fellow city leader: Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street.
Street's advice? Run, Tony, run.
"Eight years is not enough," Street (D) told Williams when the two met for a few minutes in luxury suite number 79 at the Philadelphia Citizen's Bank Ballpark, where the pair watched the Phillies beat the Nationals, 8-4, on Opening Day.
"Suppose you have an economic plan," Street said. "Well, the first year, you're just kind of learning, feeling things out."
"Yeah," Williams agreed. "It takes the first year just to find the light switch."
"Then the next year, you get started. But then the following year, you're already running for re-election," Street continued. "You need at least 10 years to really get done what you want to get done."
It's possible that Street was doing some wishful thinking since he, unlike Williams, has an eight-year term limit and already has completed five years. Williams has finished six and has toyed publicly with the idea of retirement, prompting several potential challengers to make noise about entering the race in 2006.
Among them are D.C. Council members Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Vincent B. Orange Sr. (D-Ward 5), who joined Williams in Philadelphia. Everywhere Williams went, Evans and Orange were sure to follow, lest they be left out of the camera shot. Even as the mayor chatted with Street, Evans and Orange did more talking than Williams, who munched on bread sticks while the gregarious Street held court.
Williams tried to get into the spirit of the game, but he was out-cheered by his top baseball adviser, Stephen M. Green. Green was the man generally responsible for crafting the details of the city's baseball stadium agreement with Major League Baseball, a contract that has been criticized by some council members and city activists.
When Phillies pitcher John Lieber threw the first pitch to Nats lead-off batter Brad Wilkerson, Green pumped his fist and shouted: "All right! We're real! We're official."
The mayor simply clapped.
In the end, at least one individual in Philly paid homage to Williams. While the mayor chatted with Street, the Phillie Phanatic, a big, hairy, lime-green, snouted creature that serves as the Phillies mascot, entered the room, dropped to the floor and bowed in front of Williams, then kissed his feet.
With that kind of adulation, maybe four more years wouldn't be so bad, after all.
Speaking of baseball, Williams acknowledged last week that he actually stopped speaking to council chairman Linda W. Cropp (D) "for a couple of days" last December when Cropp stalled legislation to enact a financing plan to build a new baseball stadium near the Anacostia waterfront. Williams said he believed Cropp's demand that the city use private dollars to build half the ballpark was "a deal killer" that could cause Major League Baseball to reconsider its decision to move the former Montreal Expos to Washington.