I have known Darrell Clarke for 40 years. And in that time, I’ve had the honor of working in his district and calling him my friend. Larry Platt’s Citizen story this week couldn’t be further from the man Darrell is and the leader he’s been.
First let me address the incredibly incorrect assessment of the reason Darrell didn’t run for mayor. Darrell would have been able to walk into office. No one would have run against him. Even Jim Kenney said at the time that if Darrell chose to run, he’d step aside.
The reasons that Darrell didn’t run were simple and admirable: He loved his job as Councilperson and Council President. And, he cherished his life outside his job, as a father to a wonderful and accomplished daughter, and later as a grandfather to two wonderful grandkids. Also, Darrell has an avid fitness regimen and enjoys his privacy and many friends. It’s a gift to be comfortable in one’s shoes and excel as he has done.
It’s refreshing that in a time of such division in politics in our country, that a leader has been so embracing of all peoples and such varying ideals.
I’ve had the honor of spending significant time with Darrell in the neighborhoods he served. No council district is more diverse than his. From Rittenhouse Square in the south, to the most economically challenged neighborhoods to the north, to the gentrifying neighborhoods of Northern Liberties and Fishtown. Ask any leader in those diverse communities and they’ll echo the same thing — that Darrell was always a gentleman, listened to their concerns, and deferred to their judgment for important issues.
It’s refreshing that in a time of such division in politics in our country, that a leader has been so embracing of all peoples and such varying ideals. When I’ve walked the streets of various neighborhoods with him, it was like being with a rock star. People everywhere were genuinely proud and happy to see and embrace him.
Let’s also not forget that Darrell was satisfied with his compensation and never sought out other sources of income which would have created the perception of conflict of interest.
Philadelphia will truly miss such a tremendous and compassionate leader. The future Council President and Mayor should take notice of such wonderful traits to lead us to a better future.
Bart Blatstein is the founder and CEO of Tower Investments.
MORE ON OUTGOING CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT DARRELL CLARKECenter, left to right: Bart Blatstein, Darrell Clarke and Michael Nutter at the opening of a SuperFresh in 2011.