Philly's Next DA: Williams or Untermeyer

Other than the obvious, there's not an ocean of difference here, politically.

Your next DA in Philly wants to fight the city's gun problem, make the legal system friendlier for the victims and witnesses of crimes and try to keep pettier crimes from clogging up the courts, according to the Daily News.

Other than the obvious, there is not a world of difference on the big issues between Seth Williams and Michael Untermeyer. Williams, who beat out four other democrats in Tuesday's primary, is now poised to become the city's first black District Attorney, replacing his old boss, Lynne Abraham who decided to end her stint after 18 years on the job.

Michael Untermeyer is running on the Republican ticket, although he's a recent convert. Untermeyer ran for Sheriff as a Democrat two years ago.

Here are key things the two men have in common:

Both are former prosecutors.
Both worked for the Philadelphia District Attorney's office.
Both want to get guns off the streets.
Both want to move to a system where the same prosecutor stays on a case from start to finish.

Here are some differences:

Williams is 42. Untermeyer is 58.
Williams is a Capricorn. Untermeyer's zodiac sign is Aquarius.
Williams is black. Untermeyer is white.
Williams grew up in West Philly. Untermeyer grew up in NYC.
Williams is married with three children. Untermeyer is divorced, no kids.
Williams has always working in the legal arena. Untermeyer has also been a real-estate developer.
Williams plans to tackle the handgun issue with a community-based plan. Untermeyer plans to attack it with tougher laws and better technology.

Williams wants to assign a prosecutor to every neighborhood. He says that's the best way to make the streets safer because prosecutors and police would focus more on the worst offenders, spot patterns and attack networks of crime rather more than individual or case-by-case crimes. Williams' Web site says more than half of the city's crimes take place in only three-percent of the city's neighborhoods.

With the primary behind him, Williams sees his vision of a safer city shaping up.
"A vision of a better city where we work with the community, where we work with the police, where we work with the Fraternal Order of Police, where we work with the courts, where we collaborate to find solutions, not people to blame," Williams told supports in his victory speech.

Untermeyer says he'll take a zero tolerance position on handguns in the city. He's promising to work with state lawmakers on tougher sentences for all gun offenses. He wants to bring in technology called Microstamping, which is being used in some other states, including New Jersey.

"Microstamping preserves the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens who have the right to bear arms while enabling police to trace a bullet casing back to the gun owner when that weapon is used in a violent crime," according to his campaign site.

Williams' Video Bio

If you vote based on personality as much as policy, here's a snapshot of each man's bio from their campaign Web sites and MySpace profiles:

Untermeyer started working when he was 11, shining shoes in New York City. At 18, he started his career in public service driving an ambulance for EMS. He has his pilot's license and survived a small plane crash in Martha's Vineyard five years ago.

Williams grew up as an only child in West Philly. He went to Central High and then to Penn State. Most of his work has been as a public servant, but he did work for a private law firm as well.

If Philadelphians vote the party ticket in November, Williams is a virtual shoe-in simply because Democrats now outnumber Republicans 6-1 in the city.

The last time voters put a Republican in office was 1985, when Ron Castille won the election.

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