With the top spot on the democratic ballot and some big endorsements, Coulter street’s Rich Negrin could be Philly’s next District Attorney. We get his take on a few of the big issues as well as some of his favorite spots in the Falls.
We’ve got Ed Rendell and a few other political notables hereabouts, but we could always use another local celeb. With any luck next month’s District Attorney election will make Rich Negrin the new top cop in Philly. In preparation, we got his take on where he’s from, how he got to the Falls, and what he hopes to do as DA.
So first off, Negrin isn’t perfect – he’s from New Jersey, hoo boy (Port Elizabeth to be exact or, as he puts it “between Exit 13 and 13A on the Jersey turnpike”). We can forgive him that because he’s lived here in the Falls for the last five years, and has taken to it like a Fallser.
“People have made me and my family feel welcome right from the start. It’s been five great years and we’ve loved it. The thing about the Falls is it’s such a diverse, friendly, and strong community. I’ve never worried about my kids playing outside. You just know your neighbors will look out for you. It’s a great place to raise a family.”
Although two of his children (Rachel and Connor) are away at Temple and Fordham respectively, his youngest daughter Mariel remains at the house on Coulter. She’s a worthy chess opponent and her love of pizza has led to Frank’s becoming the neighborhood favorite. It’s a favorite of her dad’s as well, who is also partial to Frank’s hoagies. The Frank’s Special however, is “a lot of sandwich” even for this former college lineman. “I love it, but it’d take me a weekend to eat that thing,” he says.
Another favorite local spot is the Wissahickon Brewing Company, where EFL first met Rich and his wife Karen at the 38th Ward fundraiser in March. Although Rich hasn’t settled on a favorite from the WBC lineup, he’s tried most of the beers and is up for getting back as soon as possible to give it another try. “That’s such a great ‘get’ for the Falls. A brewery right down the road is an amazing thing. Things are definitely starting to pick up from a development perspective. It’s exciting to have more options to walk to.”
One of those new businesses, Founded Coffee and Pizza, is his favorite for coffee. “Love the Chestnut Hill Coffee they serve — you can’t go wrong with that. Great strong roast. And the feel of the building, that old stone, is very impressive. I invite clients and friends there for meetings or when I just want to hang out and chat.”
Lately it’s been tough to find time to hang out. With a gaggle of democratic challengers Negrin has to stay on his feet. The endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police and the first position on the democratic ballot have made him one of the frontrunners and something of a target to other candidates lower down the ballot.
He doesn’t allow any of that to slow him down though. He keeps campaigning on issues like public safety and the scourge of gun violence. “I lost my dad to gun violence when I was 13. Despite all of our other challenges – education, poverty, opportunities for young people, none of it matters if people don’t feel safe. Sadly, the fact I lost my dad doesn’t make me unique. Many young people have been touched by gun violence. It’s easier in many of our neighborhoods for a kid to get a gun than a good afterschool program or get online.”
On a national level, he has a simple message — “With the current administration, District Attorneys are going to be on the front lines. Philadelphia can be ground zero for the resistance because of our sanctuary city status. DAs will be responsible for defending that status and the progressive values it represents – tolerance and freedom.”
He’s taken note of the several resistance groups that have sprung up in and around the Falls and loves the grass roots mobilization. One of my favorite sayings is “when they go low, we go local.”