Owens: Time for Chaka Fattah to step down


It was always told to me that Philadelphia’s low voter turnout for local elections is a result of its citizens not being politically engaged.

That’s interesting because many in the city seem to heavily rally behind presidential candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders without hesitation. Last Saturday, there was a bigmarch for Sanders in Center City that had an estimated 1,000 attendees.

Many were calling for a national overhaul of government corruption and backdoor politics. However, as I saw this crowd lament about top-tier political figures – I looked inward.

Has anyone forgotten that our state’s U.S. Congressman is currently on trial for racketeering?

The Department of Justice has been investigating Democratic U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah on charges tied to a host of public corruption schemes for months. And yet he’s still running for a 12th term.

Yes, before his trial date six days later, Fattah wants our vote for the April 26th Democratic primary. Because apparently being charged for bribery, money laundering, bank fraud and allegedly attempting to repay an illegal 2007 mayoral campaign loan isn’t enough for him to rescind.

And yet, despitehis wife, famed NBC10 reporter Renee Chenault-Fattah officially leavingher job last weekafter being allegedly linked to the scandal,and his son, Chaka “Chip” Fattah Jr. beingbehind bars after being convicted on federal bank- and tax-fraud charges – he still believes he’s qualified to best serve the state during this very tough time.

With all due respect, that isn’t confidence – that’s arrogance.

Part of why Philly politics has run amuck for years is because there’s not much accountability on the local level. Why isn’t anyone seriously telling Fattah publicly that his run for office is a disservice to the entire community? We can demand Clinton to show her e-mails, tell Donald Trump that he’s unfit to lead the country, but not our own Congressman who has a history of refusing to reveal his taxes?

The double standards are atrocious because in the grand scheme of things, local politics directly impact us the most. I think that part of the reason why many major politicos in the city don’t speak out against Fattah is because he’s the highest-ranking black elected official in our state. Black political power is a necessity and yet a burden to our city. Some folks have utilized it. Others have abused it.

I think it’s safe to say that Fattah falls within the latter. If he is to have any sense of integrity, it would be best that he drops out of this race – whether he’s fully convicted or not.

Because where there’s smoke, there is fire – and I predict that this upcoming trial will expose more disappointment than what our city needs right now. Furthermore, it’s going to be a national embarrassment for us to have all of this go down duringthe upcoming Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Please Fattah, spare the city and yourself from the epic backlash that’s coming – drop out now!

More from our Sister Sites