Friday, June 29, 2007

Philadelphia Mayor waits in line for an iPhone -- for a while

It's stories like these that make me miss Philly. Before moving to New York, I spent about 6 years covering local politics in Philadelphia. I spent enough time at City Hall to tell you that Mayor John Street is a gadget freak. He's addicted to his blackberry, and a colleague tell me that one day when I missed a press conference, he was asking where the guy who always takes notes on his PDA was.

Anyway, that's why I had a little chuckle when I found out that John Street had camped out by an AT&T store near City Hall starting at 3:30AM this morning. Apparently he had planned to stay in line (he was in third place) until 6:00 so he could buy a new iPhone. But after a constituent walked up to him and asked him what he was doing sitting in line all day when there have been more than 200 murders in Philadelphia so far this year, the mayor decided to go back to his office for a bit He did say he planned to return at 6:00.

Philly doesn't have an Apple store, so some folks are lining up outside of AT&T retailers. But to be honest, I doubt the lines are necessary in Philadelphia.

The mayor does make a good point -- modern technology lets people stay so connected that you don't have to be sitting in your office to get work done. Whether he'd be more productive sitting outside with an iPhone than with his Blackberry remains to be seen.

In fact, I just found out that NPR did an interview with John Street about his fanataci... enthusiasm for the iPhone. The audio's not available online yet, but it should be up in the next few hours.

Update: Hear Mayor Street justify his place in line to KYW 1060 news radio.

Another update: The guy who told the mayor off is Larry West, a 22 year old activist and an unofficial candidate for mayor, even though you have to be 25 to run for the office. Here's his YouTube channel (no, it doesn't look like there's video of him confronting Street today... yet).

Yet another update: This video of the mayor explaining himself to a former city employee is kind of painful to watch.

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