Monday, March 5, 2007

Mayor with a mohawk?

PHILADELPHIA - Larry West knows all about Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Larry West still needs to find a way around the Philadelphia law that requires the city’s mayor to be at least 25 years old. (Photo: Rikard Larma/Metro)

He’s versed in the “broken windows” crime-fighting tactics championed by Rudy Guiliani.

But West also knows his death metal.

Destined to be mislabeled as a political outsider because of his age — he’s 22 — and his hairdo — a thin mohawk — the well-spoken Mount Airy man who declared his intent to run for mayor last week even has to explain his cultural stylings.

Described by some as “the punk rock candidate,” the well-spoken, heavy metal fan running as an Independent has a long way to go in knocking down stereotypes.

Let’s start with the basics. How much is in the campaign coffers?

Currently about $101, about one more dollar than the Republicans. [Laughs.] Actually, I almost have about $4,000 to $5,000 to go toward the campaign.

Really. What do you do for a living?

Well, currently I manage my mom’s estate. In 2004, when I was only 19, [Judith West] suffered a brain aneurysm. In June 2005, she passed on.

What about if someone were to say you’re the punk rock candidate?

I’ve heard that quite a bit already on MySpace. I was added to someone’s friend list called Punks for Politics or something along those lines. They said, “Punk rock mayor coming through.” If it works, it works. I mean, the reality is, I’m more of a metal guy myself, but I like the mohawk.

What are the first initiatives you would take as mayor if elected?

The first thing is reinstate the right to recall the mayor. No one can do that now. The Rizzo recall incident some 30 years ago was unconstitutional. ... I want Philadelphia to have a public access channel. Channel 48 got bought out by TBN and I would like Philadelphia to own that station so people can get on the air and televise their opinions.

This is the tough one. You’re 22, right?

Yes, I am.

I have some bad news for you —

You have to be 25 to actually get on the ballot.


Yes, you have to be 25. ... I plan on doing things to challenge that. I’m going to knock on doors at City Council, see who’s there, and ask them to lower it to 21. Because honestly, the policies and politicians of the past have failed.You have people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, running for office. And most of them have lost their drive.



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