Firefighter's union endorses Milton Street for mayor

April 12, 2011 3:26:50 PM PDT
The Philadelphia Firefighter's Union has announced their endorsement of Milton Street for mayor of Philadelphia

Street, the older brother of former Mayor John Street, is running in the Democratic primary against Mayor Nutter, and today, he won the official endorsement of the 4,000 strong firefighters union.

"They're sincere about safety and they believe that when I give them my word that's safety going to be a top priority," Street said.

Street is flattered, but the endorsement isn't really about him. It's about the ongoing battle the union has had with Mayor Nutter over cutbacks.

Firefighters Local 22 President Bill Gault says he knows he's way out on a limb with the endorsement and he's taking a lot of flak from his membership.

"I'm throwing myself to the wolves and I completely understand and not all my members are onboard, but this guy hasn't honored our binding arbitration," Gault said.

He say this is the only way he can get attention for what he sees as serious safety issues.

"It's about the brownouts, it's about the closings, it's about the bad treatment the Philadelphia firefighters and medics have received from this current mayor," Gault said.

Mayor Nutter says the union is free to endorse anyone, but, apparently, doesn't believe the members will necessarily follow.

"Individuals, ultimately, decide what they want to do when they go into the privacy of the polling place and that's what happened in the past, that's what'll happen in this election," Nutter said.

Street promises to find the money to keep the firehouses open.

But, he has serious trouble with his own finances. He went to jail for federal income tax evasion and still owes the city over $388,000 in back taxes.