Want To Stop City Council from Raiding City’s Coffers? Help Get Steve-O Elected.

steveoAnyone who has played my quizzo regularly for the past few years knows Steve Odabashian. He is not only a member of 3-time Quizzo Bowl winners Lambda, he is also an Andy Reid impersonator and a terrific piano player. Steve has decided to throw his hat into the ring and run for City Council this year, and I can’t think of a better person to run for office.

Anyone who knows me knows that I do not identify with Republicans on most if not all social issues, but if it helps get Steve on the ballot, I am happy to switch my affiliation for this election. Many of the city’s Democrat leaders have become complacent, and the only way to shake them out of their complacency is for the people of this city to let them know that they are willing to look at the other side of all issues instead of just blindly voting D. Here is an interview with Steve about his campaign, how he wants to elimate wasteful spending in the city, and whether he’d run on a Milton Street ticket. -ed

Steve-O, what inspired this run for City Council?

Over the last 4 years, Philadelphia government has found itself in the news more frequently.  Sadly, it is rarely for anything good.  I feel like Philadelphia leadership has developed a real sense of complacency.  Hundreds of millions of dollars in accounts receivable go uncollected or even worse, turn up “missing” way more than should be tolerated.

Meanwhile, elected officials take advantage of loopholes which allow them to raid the city’s coffers.  DROP is a program that allows city employees to set a retirement date 4 years in advance.  During those 4 years, they continue to collect salary, while their pension payments draw interest (at a ridiculously generous rate of 4.5%) over the next 4 years.  They then collect that lump sum on retirement date.  Elected officials have been retiring for one day, and then unretiring and running for reelection.  If you ask me, this is nothing short of raiding the bank account of a city that is in a serious budget crunch. It is unconscionable that any council person (including my opponent, Frank Rizzo, Jr.) would break a promise to retire and take advantage of a financial sinkhole of a program when the city needs that money more than ever.  No more, I say. If I am going to complain about the city’s complacency, then I can’t just watch it happen and be complacent myself.  Even if I lose, at least I am drawing attention to some of our biggest problems.  Philadelphia is quickly on its way to becoming the next Detroit if the city doesn’t stop spending beyond its means.  And that scares and saddens me.

I don’t know your personal politics that well, but I will admit I was a bit surprised when I found out that you were running as a Republican. Why are you running as a Republican?

I am very independent thinking.  My platform is mostly centered on Philadelphia’s fiscal irresponsibility, and that message will tend to fire up the Republican party more (especially when the one incumbent Republican, Frank Rizzo Jr., is enrolled in DROP and will collect a nice 6-figure lump sum payment and break his promise to retire).

Have you ever considered running on a Milton Street-Steve Odabashian ticket?

No, but if Philadelphia were ever to host a celebrity boxing type event, I think I could take him.

What kind of change do you, a political outsider, really think you can bring to City Hall?

You just answered the question yourself.  I am a political outsider, and that’s a good thing in this era of corrupt Philly politics.  The public is dying to get a new guy in there.  I am learning this by canvassing the various neighborhoods of Philadelphia.  They are sick of politics as usual, just as I am.  Many council members have been in there for over 10 years. They have gotten way too comfortable with their old (and non-efficient) ways of not getting things done.

What can people do if they want to help the campaign?

My most urgent need is for people to register to be Republican. It takes about 5 minutes if you go down to 520 N Delaware Ave (near Delilah’s, I kid you not).  They are open from 8:30 to 5 on weekdays. Several lifelong Democrats I know have done this, and I am humbled.  They tell me that they vote for candidates and not for parties.  It sounds like message is resonating strongly with people on both sides of the political spectrum.

I need well over 1000 signatures by March 8, and we are at about 600.  Once you are registered Republican (and a Philly resident), people can help me get signatures from other Philly resident registered Republicans.  If we can get about 20-30 people that each get about 20-30 names (that takes about 2-3 hours), it will get me on the ballot for the primary.

If you are a Republican, please contact me (odabashian@yahoo.com) so that I can get you to sign the petition. This campaign is as grassroots as it gets, and each and every signature counts. I need to get about 600 more signatures in the next week, or my hope of making Philly’s fiscal irresponsibility a major theme in the upcoming campaign will not come to pass. Thank yo


A mere one week after declaring his candidacy and entering the field as a virtual unknown, Steve recently came in 6th out of 10 candidates in a straw poll of Philadelphia Republican Committee members that attended a candidates forum this past Saturday. The top 5 Republicans will advance from the primary. Steve has a real shot of advancing, but he has to get signatures. Please contact he or I if you are interested in either switching parties for this election or are a Republican and want to sign the petition to get him on the ballot. Please click “Like” below to help spread the word. Grassroots, folks! Let’s do this!