Coincidentally, this Passover/Easter season we Philadelphians were also exhorted by the municipal finance consultant-turned-mayoral candidate-turned-documentary film producer Sam Katz to retell the story of the American Revolution, lest we forget that we were once oppressed peons of the British crown (and slave-owning peons, to boot).
Sam Katz is at it again. On his website, Citizensam.net, he’s posted a lengthy prescription for the future of the ever-embattled Licenses & Inspections department. Documentarian that he is, he’s also posted a brief video. In building a case that reform at L & I is kinda long overdue, Katz harkens back to 1991’s One Meridian Plaza fire across from City Hall. You’re left wondering if, at least when it comes to L&I, our city’s marketing slogan ought to be: The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Saying the Department of Licenses and Inspections has been "an embarrassment" for too long, Sam Katz, a Philadelphia documentary producer and three-time mayoral candidate, released a video and policy paper Tuesday on how to improve the embattled agency.
How 300,000 registered millennial voters can decide Philly’s future
March 17, 2015
Shortly after less than one-fifth of Philadelphia’s millennials voted in a state election last November, Young Involved Philly hosted an event to brainstorm ways to improve the city. Their ideas mostly ranged from impossible (destroy all cars) to realistic (inclusionary zoning for new housing developments) to idealistic (tie politicians’ pay or re-election to local students’ classroom performances).
Late last week, I noted one of the most interesting developments in a not-as-interesting-as-Philadelphia-deserves mayor's race: The possible entry of Sam Katz, the former GOP candidate, into the 2015 election as an independent on the fall ballot. Katz -- whose political evolution seems a tacit acknowledgment that it's impossible to get elected in Philadelphia as a Republican these days -- upped the ante by launching a website called "Citizen Sam" and posting a fairly bold and progressive plan for education funding.
Two documentaries by Sam Katz' Emmy-winning production company will capture Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia - and the months of behind-the-scenes preparation leading up to it.
The Archdiocese announced Monday it is commissioning Katz' History Making Productions company to create two documentaries. The first will feature the lead-up to Pope Francis' visit and the World Meeting of Families, an international Catholic conference being held in Philadelphia Sept 22 - 25. The second will focus on Pope Francis' two-day stay that Saturday and Sunday.
Is Sam Katz, the earnest 1970s Democrat turned Republican businessman turned documentary filmmaker and political independent, running for mayor again?
Signs point to 'yes'...with an 'IF' in 72-point type. Katz came within a percentage point (and maybe a torrential rainstorm on Election Day) from doing the unthinkable in 1999, winning the mayor's race as a Republican. How'd he do it?
Editor’s Note: If you’re like us, you’re feeling more than a little underwhelmed by the substance of this mayor’s race. The candidates appear to be doing the math of turnout instead of debating solutions to our most pressing problems. Enter three-time mayoral candidate turned documentary filmmaker Sam Katz. He’s unveiled a new website—Citizensam.net—and he’s written an important, in-depth policy paper...
Ferrick: Sam Katz uses the dirty 'P' word in new education policy
March 12, 2015
Sam Katz, who might, maybe, could run as an independent candidate for mayor later this year, released the first of what he promises will be a number of proposals about the city. This one is about funding education and it can be found on Katz's website.
Reading through it yesterday, I stumbled upon a dirty word on the fourth page. It's the "P" word. No, not that one. It is the word PILOT.
Sam Katz’s Audacious, Radical Plan to Save City Schools (and the Pension Fund, Too)
March 12, 2015
Sam Katz is acting more like a mayoral candidate than the mayoral candidates themselves.
Thursday afternoon Katz launched a new website—Citizen Sam—and dropped what is, by far, the most comprehensive policy paper of the mayoral race to date: an ambitious, even radical, heavily-footnoted proposal to eliminate the school funding and pension crises in about, oh, 82-fell swoops; without raising taxes.
Five years before he helped get Barack Obama elected to the White House, David Axelrod played a pivotal role in keeping John Street in City Hall. In 2003, Street was facing a tough rematch against Sam Katz, whom he'd defeated by just one percentage point four years prior. According to Katz, one month before Election Day, his polling showed him leading by six points, partly attributable to inroads he was making in the black community.
Like his coach Jim Valvano, Sam Katz has found a higher calling
February 16, 2015
It is just before Christmas and Sam Katz is having lunch at the bar at Smith & Wollensky, enthusiastically talking about “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment.”
His enthusiasm stems from the video series he has produced that is doing for Philly what Ken Burns has done for baseball, jazz and the Civil War — celebrate and consecrate Americans like U. S. Grant, Louis Armstrong and Shoeless Joe Jackson.
In Katz’s world, think Ben Franklin, William Penn, Richardson Dilworth and Joe Clark.
Sam Katz can't help himself. If there is a race for mayor in Philadelphia, his instinct is to jump in.
He has made the leap thrice, but will tell you he's been tempted and passed as many times.
It comes as no surprise, then, to hear that the lure is still there, and all the more attractive with Wednesday's sudden withdrawal of Ken Trujillo from the May 19 Democratic primary. So much so, Katz said Thursday, that he's giving a fourth run serious consideration.
Financier/Producer Sam Katz recounts his adventures in Philadelphia filmmaking
October 21, 2014
In a riveting hour-plus on October 21, 2014, Philadelphia politician/financier turned film producer Sam Katz told a seminary convocation audience about his adventuresome seven-year effort to tell the story of the founding of Philadelphia on film.
Introduced by seminary professor Katie Day as a “Philadelphia and Mt. Airy treasure,” Katz has led a complex life.
Filmmaker Sam Katz looks at Philadelphia's Catholic history
September 22, 2014
Ask Sam Katz where he was born, and he will say "West Philly." Had the municipal finance expert been born Catholic instead of Jewish, however, he would likely reply, "St. Francis DeSales," the parish that bounded his first boyhood home.
Sam Katz Is Right: It’s Time for Philly to Get Creative and Privatize
June 13, 2014
Sam Katz is right.
In a recent Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece, he urged “creative solutions” to the city’s funding crises. Among his recommendations were the passing of an additional sales tax and completing the sale of the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) so that the proceeds could be used to partially fund the city’s pension liabilities and school district budget gaps.
Sam Katz gives up leadership of city financial review panel
February 19, 2014
The chairman of the city’s financial oversight board, Sam Katz, has resigned from the job, effective immediately.
Katz, a former finance consultant and three-time Republican mayoral candidate who has devoted himself for several years to a series of historical films about Philadelphia, sent a letter to Gov. Corbett resigning his seat on the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority.
Power Lunch: Sam Katz and John Street: Friends At Last
November 26, 2010
AS I WAS CONSIDERING ANOTHER RUN FOR MAYOR over the past several months, the biggest surprise to me was the encouragement from my former opponent in the 1999 and 2003 elections, Mayor John F. Street. After years of having no real relationship, we began talking politics. I found his insights sharp and incisive, and his knowledge of the city encyclopedic.