May 12, 2022 - Politics

Board members resign from A Greater Philadelphia over political mailers

Illustration of a mailbox with fire coming out of it.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A pair of board members for A Greater Philadelphia (AGP) abruptly resigned this week after the nonpartisan group's political action committee sent out "controversial mailers" leading up to Tuesday's primary.

Driving the news: WURD radio host Charles Ellison announced his resignation from the AGP's board on Twitter Tuesday, citing "recent campaign material" and "other operational and funding issues" that don't reflect his original vision for the group.

  • Ellison specifically noted "controversial mailers" that he says "do not represent my own plan for how to effectively address violence in Philadelphia."
  • He declined Axios' request to comment further.

Jason Tucker told Axios he resigned from AGP's board on Tuesday over the mailers but declined further comment.

  • Farah Jimenez, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund, also resigned this week, AGP's founder confirmed to Axios. Jimenez did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Details: Greater Expectations PHL, AGP's PAC, recently sent out mailers targeting at least three progressive Democrats running in Tuesday's primary election over issues around gun violence and public safety in the city.

  • State Reps. Elizabeth Fiedler, Rick Krajewski and Christopher Rabb were each featured in mailers, Axios has confirmed.
  • "Desperate last-minute junk mail by anti-labor, anti-public education dark money┬ágroups isn't going to change the minds of Elizabeth's neighbors who know she has their backs," Sarah Nenadovic, Fiedler's campaign manager, told Axios.

What they're saying: Eric Rosso, executive director of the left-leaning accountability group Pennsylvania Spotlight, said he received the mailer targeting Fiedler, which he chalked up to "Philly politics as usual."

  • "It just shows what we've been seeing this entire election cycle, which is some establishment Democrats willing to team up with Republican donors and Republican messaging to challenge progressive incumbents," said Rosso, who also works for the Working Families Party.

AGP founder Mark Gleason told Axios the mailers were produced as "calls for accountability" and were part of a series, the last of which are going out this week.

  • He said in part that local elected officials have "leaned into messages that trend well on Twitter but don't solve the pressing concerns of most Philadelphia residents."
  • The group plans to issue mailers supporting state Rep. Amen Brown in his re-election bid, Gleason noted.
  • "AGP remains nonpartisan and will continue to advocate for real solutions to complex problems," he added.
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