This morning John Baer wrote a piece for Philly.com detailing a sophomoric act of stupidity by the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and its Governor Corbett-appointed president, Dave Black. Here’s what happened: a video was made mocking Harrisburg’s first African-American and first female mayor, Linda Thompson, and displayed to a crowd of a few hundred appreciative local business owners. In the video the mayor joins the cast of the 1980s video hit “We Are the World,” which the crowd at the event apparently found still-relevant. The lyrics mocked Thompson’s policies while the actor portraying Thompson mocked the mayor’s voice, her occasional stutter, and her unique way of pronouncing the word “city.”
Black did not release the video to requests from the media, but one person at the event did record it on their smartphone a la Mitt Romney’s 47% speech. It was posted to Youtube, removed, and reposted. The outcry was swift and loud. Harrisburg City Council members called for Black’s resignation and City Council President Wanda Williams said she would not attend any meetings of the advisory board that Black sat on as long as he was there, and true to her word, she was not present at this morning’s meeting.
The pressure was too great, and Black resigned. The mayor essentially said she is glad he’s gone and now wants to move on.
John Baer points out that Black and the mayor were known to have animosity. The city of Harrisburg used to make annual payments of around $60,000 to the Harrisburg Regional Chamber, a practice that has been discontinued by Mayor Thompson, presumably as part of the effort to prevent our state’s capital city from falling into the jaws of bankruptcy.