"What's black and white and read all over?"

Monday, June 26, 2006
Posted 9:32 PM by

Carl Singley for Philly Mayor? I hope not

Carl Singley, Temple's former law school dean who likely still blames me for him getting fired, is considering a run for Philadelphia mayor.What's old may be new again, but Carl E. Singley for mayor?

Please, no.

I remember Carl from my college days at Temple University. He was the dean of the law school in 1987. I was a journalism undergrad working as a reporter/editor for the Temple News.

I got him fired, or so the folks who gave me a Hearst Award - the college equivalent of a Pulitzer - thought when they read my multi-page expose on him back then.

Actually, Carl did a pretty good job of that all by himself.

If Singley didn't like a law student, for whatever reason, he put a letter in that student's file saying he or she should not be allowed to sit for the bar exam after spending thousands to attend the school and earning their degrees.

He also feuded with several members of the faculty, famously blocking one injured professor's car with his own simply because she had the audicity to defy him and park in a handicap spot despite his order against it.

Most importantly, the law students hated him.

Singley thought it was a black-white thing.

Then-Temple President Peter Liacouras made matters worse when he had the locks on Singley's door changed, rather than fire the first black law school dean in the university's history face-to-face. Hours later, the university issued a press release announcing Singley's dismissal.

Seizing on the moment, Singley held a press conference in West Philly where he read a 14-page statement off in font of TV cameras. He claimed the university, which was founded by Russell Conwell to give poor inner city kids a college education, was actually racist.

When Singley finished his tome by saying he still had the full support of the faculty and the students, I mustered my courage and shouted out the first question.

"Mr. Singley if you still have the full support of the faculty and the students, why did they rate you with a D minus on your latest evaluation?" I asked.

"Mr. Ralis, I didn't invite you here to a debate," he replied. "I invited you here to give you the facts."

The last paragraph in the Inquirer story actually quoted our exchange verbatim. It wasn't a black-white thing, or even a gotcha moment. But it pretty much defined Singley, at least in my eyes, as someone who played the race card rather than accepting the consequences of his own actions.

I have followed his career since with passing interest. His public feud with Mayor John Street, his one-time friend. His work as a solicitor for the Philadelphia School District.

I got a chuckle in December when he called a bunch of white jurors "crackers" after they found four white men fired by the school system had been racially discriminated against and awarded the quartet $3 million. The judge made him apologize in open court.

I almost choked on a cup of water in my doctor's waiting room a couple of weeks ago when I read Larry Platt's laughable interview with him in the June edition of Philadelphia Magazine. In it, Platt, the mag's editor, commits journalistic fellatio by suggesting Singley should run for mayor.

"Seems like the times cry out for a true populist candidate, someone who would look out for the average Philadelphian. Are you thinking of being that person?" Platt asked.

The basis of Platt's opinion: Singley's small commentary in the movie "Shame of a city," in which he argued eloquently that the Street campaign risked a riot in 2003 by blaming the FBI bug in City Hall on a racist conspiracy of Washington Republicans.

Of course he was eloquent. He's a lawyer.

Singley replied, "William Tecumseh Sherman, a Civil War general from the North, stated in response to that question, 'If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.' I have never had, and do not at this time have, any mayoral aspirations."

I didn't take it seriously, though, until a friend from my Temple days e-mailed me to say Singley made the front page of Friday's Inquirer.

The article says Singley, 60, of Montgomery County, is actually considering running as a Republican for Mayor - if he can overcome a city requirement that says a candidate for mayor must live in the city for at least three years.

It also summed up his tumultuous time at Temple by saying simply, "He battled with the university administration during his tenure...."

Nearly 20 years later, I thought I'd just set the record straight - again.


I received the following e-mail from Carl Singley () at 10 p.m. on July 1:

"Some one suggested that I read you internet blog where you are taking credit for getting me 'fired' 20 years ago. You have apparently repeated that claim several times. That is as preposterous as it is sad. You must be the only person in the world who believes that. I frankly still don't remember who you are. Just think, I could have been blaming you for my professional achievements and financial prosperity over the past 20 years. Did I mention that my portrait is hanging in the law school.

"By the way, how is your 'career' going these days? Did you realize any of your dreams from 20 years ago? Surely you must be as proud of your accomplishments as I am of mine. What do you see when you look in the mirror every morning? My guess is staring back at you is a lonely little loser, with no love life and no money. Otherwise, why would you be seeking marriage proposals or stock tips on your website. Also, as far as I can tell, you haven't had a real job for several years and you have now been relegated to maintaining a website for an obscure suburban newspaper. (That should win you a Pulitzer!). Now that is really sad. I know your parents are really proud.

"What was that award that you claimed you won back then? Why isn't it listed among your sparse list of accomplishments on your website? It would appear that your so-called 'expose' 20 years ago was the highlight of an otherwise mediocre and pathetic career (you will notice that I didn't say 'journalistic' career). I am glad I could touch your life in such a meaningful way. You owe me big time for those few minutes of fame."

DAVE REPLY: Nice to know some things never change. Thanks for showing your true face before election day. And as for my 'career,' I left daily reporting on my own terms when it became clear there was no longer any emphasis on investigative reporting in most newsrooms. No regrets. As for fame, I never sought it. Doing the job right is its own reward. Gee, he didn't even mention my joke about spam.

CARL'S REPLY (11:09 a.m. July 2): "Your tepid response to my e-mail (or your failure to respond to specific questions) speaks volumes!! That you have nothing else to do at 1:21 AM but read your e-mails tells me that your life is every bit as pathetic as I imagined. Speaking of 'showing your true face' why don't you put your own picture on your website so that people can see what a prize you are? Oh I forgot, the internet provides total anonymity and virtual immunity to trolls like you who can say vile and false things about people with impunity. Did you use my picture to try to provoke responses to you blogs? Or was it a not so subtle attempt to play to the covert racism of the Neanderthal losers who have nothing better to do than read your crap?

"Even you don't believe that bullshit excuse you gave about why you left daily reporting. As to not seeking fame, why then would you create a website and blog that is named after you that brags about your readership numbers and extol your meager achievements. Face it Dave, you are a failure and trashing other people makes you feel good, at least for a brief moment. The opportunity to blog about me gives you some currency and hopefully something to do during the vast amounts of idle time in your meaningless existence. By the way, what job are you 'doing right' and who will attest to that? As to your joke about spam, I see no humor in your efforts to defame me in your rants. If they persist, you had better save some of your money to defend yourself in a court of law. We will get to test how far your internet First Amendment freedoms extend. This is not a threat, it is a promise.

"You are right, some things never change. People like me and mine continue to have to share the earth's atmosphere with haters like you."
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