9.13.17: Philadelphia – (Politics): The first time Mr. Larry Krasner was behind a lectern at PhillyCam studios, which is adjacent to 7th and Chestnut Street, he was perceived as a long-shot, a fringe candidate entering the race in February with an agenda way too far to the Left to win Philadelphia’s May primary.
But when Mr. Krasner, a lifelong Democrat, visited the studios again in September, he was the Democratic nominee for District Attorney who had achieved a celebrity-like status in the City and beyond.
Mr. Krasner attributes the success of his candidacy not to his personality, but instead the ideas which define his movement. Indeed, a movement rather than a campaign is exactly how Mr. Krasner and his key supporters talk about the effort.
“What we have now is a new movement with a new mover,” said Mr. Michael Coard last Wednesday when he welcomed Mr. Krasner to the microphone.
During the primary election, Mr. Krasner, who has sued the City of Philadelphia dozens of times, was painted by some as anti-police. Others portrayed the civil-rights attorney as soft-on-crime and not concerned enough with victims. His speech last Wednesday seemed as if it was written to silence, and win over, those detractors.
He lamented that when homicides occur in Philadelphia, there’s no victim advocate dispatched to notify the family, address funeral requirements or provide trauma-informed care.
“The city frequently has unspent funds in its budget that could go to protect witnesses, to protect victims… we have to have a district attorney’s office that cares about victims and the safety of witnesses,” Mr. Krasner said.
Mr. Krasner didn’t talk about the police during his remarks, though his “ambitious criminal justice reform agenda” got a mere mention. The context of his speech was new, and the result of an-all volunteer policy team that didn’t exist earlier this year.
A policy position Mr. Krasner appears uber-passionate about is treating opioid addictions as a mental health crisis. The deaths caused by overdosing are three a day in Philadelphia and thirteen a day statewide, Mr. Krasner claimed.
“This is a health crisis generated by Big Pharma... unlike any other drug crisis I’ve ever seen,” the bespectacled candidate declared.
Supervised injection sites are a way to mitigate the crisis, Mr. Krasner has suggested. Exactly a week after the press conference at PhillyCam, the Krasner campaign released a communication wherein the candidate cites a “moral obligation” to have supervised injection sites if they can “reduce the harms that this national crisis is inflicting.”
“It’s inexcusable to let people die when that can be prevented,” the candidate said a week ago.
Mr. Krasner last Wednesday put Big Pharma, doctors, dentist and pain relief practitioners on notice.
“We will not just be going after poor drug dealers, on a street corner, we will be going after you.”
The movement – which Mr. Krasner says was responsible for bringing out nearly 50,000 new voters in the Primary Election – now has to grow. Progressive voters appear secure. But conservative voters will be somewhat of a challenge. Mr. Krasner said he knows he won’t be able to convince bigots who model their thinking after the Archie Bunker character, but he’s confident he can flip voters on the Right.
“With the exception of people who are flat-out bigots, and wedded to old ways, I don’t think there’s anyone who’s beyond reach,” he said, noting that conservatives, who tend to vote Republican, support an end to mass incarceration.
Election Day is November 7th. Republican Beth Grossman, who is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5, is Mr. Krasner’s challenger.
Thanks for reading! Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® and I’m Drumming for Justice!™ Author’s bio: Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris is an award-winning journalist, online content producer and professional drummer currently serving as the CEO of Techbook Online, a Philadelphia-based news and event company, and the co-host of ‘Pushback,’ a social-justice podcast produced and distributed by Philadelphia Magazine and WURD Radio. CLICK HERE to listen to the latest episode and CLICK HERE to subscribe.