That ‘Controversial’ Doug Oliver For Mayor Ad

PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE: Oliver has run a strong campaign, but he’s still mired in second-tier candidate territory. Forums only get you so far, particularly if, like Oliver, you start the race as a relative unknown. This is Oliver’s big play to change that dynamic. The ad itself is entirely different from the norm. It’s got a bit of an edge to it — the whole thing is narrated by North Philadelphia activist Sheila Armstrong — and it takes a shot at the career politicians in the race. It’s a strong ad, the sort that stands out. It needs to stand out, given Oliver’s ridiculously long odds. The ad is also taking some flak over Armstrong’s colloquial narration and the campaign’s cleaned-up, on-screen transcription of her speech. Will that drown out the ad’s effectiveness? I doubt it. MORE

“We’re especially happy to say that Friends of Doug Oliver is 100 percent paying for its own media,” he said. “No dark money, no special interests, no independent expenditures and se1Doug19not a dime from a single PAC. Just the support from individual Philadelphians who truly want to see something different.” MORE

The youngest of the mayoral candidates, Doug Oliver, has been courting the Center City millennial and young professional voters at the various mayoral forums and debates. But the 40-year-old former city spokesman is launching campaign TV commercials Wednesday and making a sharp turn in his target audience: urban black voters. With a deep bass beat in the background, the 30-second TV commercial is voiced over by Sheila Armstrong, a North Philadelphia mother of two and neighborhood activist. During the commercial, Armstrong at times speaks in grammatically incorrect ways often used in poorer and black neighborhoods. “This is why I believe in Doug Oliver. I believe he is going to make sure the resources is there.” And then: “Our children is worth so much more,” the woman says. But the text on the screen says: “Our children are worth so much more!” (Are instead of is, as Armstrong says.) While the commercial seems to be targeting a very specific demographic, Oliver’s campaign spokesman Mustafa Rashed said Oliver is not changing his target audience. “We’re going after everyone,” Rashed said. “Hip hop is used everywhere now.” MORE

PREVIOUSLY: At the forum hosted by Al Dia, in which I was a panelist, Oliver said that young black men had reason to fear police. And then, the sin: “The sad truth is that the police have good reason to be afraid of black men,” he said. There were a few gasps from the audience. Fellow Daily News columnist and WURD (900-AM) radio host Solomon Jones later took Oliver to task for stereotyping an entire race for the actions of a few and in essence, sanctioning the use of deadly force. Someone tweeted that Oliver had dug a hole for himself that eliminated him from contention. Really? For trying to humanize both sides, and for attempting to thought-provokingly answer a difficult question? Context is key here. Oliver’s answer, slightly trimmed for space: “I believe that it is a push and a pull . . . the responsibility rests with both groups. As a young black man who grew up in Germantown, Happy Hollow playground, 5015 Wayne Ave., yes, black men do have reason to be fearful of police at times. It’s not that every police officer that comes across their path is going to do them harm, but there are some that would. And when you don’t know the difference from one to the next you’re afraid all of the time . . . ” MORE