Would-be committeewoman Tracey Gordon has sued the Democratic City Committee for barring her from taking her seat as a committeeperson in Ward 40B last year.
“Because what the party did to Gordon, it has done before and may well do again, [this suit] asks the court to bar the party, in the future, from unseating any candidates who win election as committeepersons,” said Gloria Gilman, acting chair of the Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus, who supports the suit.
Gordon could not be reached by Tribune press time.
The legal action centers on the fact that in 2010 Gordon ran as a Democratic committeeperson. She won, but was ousted by Ward Leader Anna Brown, who, according to Gilman, saw her as an adversary. When Gordon tried to assume her seat at a meeting just after the election, she was escorted out of the building by two police officers after the committee voted not to accept her because she was unfaithful to the party and Brown allegedly told Gordon that she had not “asked for permission” to run.
“Gordon has done nothing that would remotely authorize the party to dislodge her from her position — nor does the party have any legal standing to do so,” said Gilman, in a statement.
Gordon was just one of six candidates who sought committee posts in the 2010 primary election and ran up against the City Committee. Five were knocked off the ballot, but Gordon survived and won the election — only to be denied her seat.
“They said I was disruptive,” Gordon said in an interview at the time.
The decision was appealed to party leaders — who did nothing — so Gordon has filed suit.
She is asking the court to invalidate the portion of City Committee bylaws that Brown used to take Gordon’s seat.
Gordon has a history of political and social activism.
This year she ran in the primary for City Council, hoping to represent the Second District.
She railed against the Democratic machine in that contest.
“I’m in this race because people believe that I’m sincere. I’m my own boss, unbought. I’m not part of the machine,” she said at the time. “They’ve become career politicians.”
Politician is the word Gordon uses when she’s being polite. She has another that she feels is more accurate — “politrickan.”
Voters across the city, and in the southwest in particular, have been ignored or worse, discouraged from voting by the Democratic Party machine, she said.
“There is a concentrated effort in this city to keep the vote suppressed. It’s a concentrated effort to keep our citizenry in the darkness,” she said. “So, it can be business as usual and while it’s been business, we’ve been deteriorating.”
Though she lost, Gordon has continued to maintain a presence on the city’s political scene.
In addition to the Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus, Gordon’s suit is being supported by the American Civil Liberties Foundation of Pennsylvania and has been opened as a class action suit so others who have been similarly treated by the party can join.