Pubdate: Thu, 06 May 1999
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer (PA)
Copyright: 1999 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
Author: Dwight Ott


Drug Policy And Loans Divide Council Candidates Michael P. Mcguire And
Frank Fulbrook.

CAMDEN  -- As the city approaches Tuesday's nonpartisan Council
election, one race in particular has turned ugly: the First Ward
contest, pitting Frank Fulbrook against Michael P. McGuire. The two,
in a slugfest of accusations, are competing for the seat held by
Michael H. Devlin, who is not running again.

It is one of four four-year terms, which pay $13,700 a year, that have
drawn a field of 10 candidates. Fulbrook fired the opening shot by
trotting out a senior citizen who accused McGuire, a Camden County
housing inspector, of driving the senior into poverty by failing to
repay a $60,000 loan. A 1997 Camden County Superior Court judgment
found McGuire in default, but did not specify when the money was to be

Fulbrook said the matter was a character issue. Later, he held a news
conference announcing that the senior had decided to try to garnishee
McGuire's wages. McGuire would not comment on the allegations,
accusing Fulbrook of mudslinging and saying his rival should stick to
the issues. Now McGuire's political action committee has retaliated,
attacking Fulbrook's views on drug legalization. Waves of 8-by-11
glossy leaflets that cost several thousand dollars to print are
expected to reach thousands of First Ward homes. The mailings carry a
photo of Fulbrook with the words: "Say 'No' to Fulbrook's Plan to
Legalize Narcotic Drugs." The leaflets depict a $100 bill rolled up as
if it were drug paraphernalia next to a white powder beneath the words
"Just Say 'No.' " "I'm against anybody that wants to legalize poison,"
said McGuire, adding that he was aware of the mailings and approved of
them. "That right there disqualifies Frank from being a candidate."
Fulbrook, who has been an activist in Camden for 18 years, has made no
secret of his views.

For years the Cooper-Grant landlord, who helped revitalize that
once-blighted neighborhood, has told anyone who would listen that drug
laws have been ineffective. "Drug prohibition doesn't get rid of drugs.

It simply creates a violent underground economy of drugs, and it's
that underground economy that is destroying Camden," Fulbrook said.
"The 200 open-air drug markets in Camden are proof that drug
prohibition is harmful to Camden. . . . I talk to a lot of people who
agree with me." Fulbrook said he recently wrote a resolution for City
Council, supporting state bills for syringe exchange programs and
nonprescription sales of syringes in pharmacies. He said it was
supported by six of the seven Council members. He added, "I realize
I'm way ahead of most people on this issue, but that's what leadership
is about." A First Ward candidates' debate is scheduled for 7 tonight
at Malandra Hall, Collings and New Jersey Streets.

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