Candidates for the seven at-large slots on the November 5 General Election described their qualifications and underwent intense questioning by residents at the Kingsessing Recreation Center gymnasium last Friday evening. Attendees agreed that this 14th annual Candidates Night was possibly the most informative and best-ever run by host South West Philadelphia District Services (SWPDS).
The seven candidates were grilled for over two hours under the capable direction of MC Kevin Horne, who added his strong admonition for residents to work on voter turnout during the forthcoming three weeks before the November 5th General Election Day. Those who dedicated their evening to the Southwest electorate are covered below (with their ballot numbers in parenthesis)
First to speak was South Philadelphia independent candidate Joe Cox (#516), a bicycle deliveryman, whose legislative priorities centered on his intimate knowledge of the what he felt was the deplorable condition of the city’s street. An attractive aspect of his background was his regular free delivery of pizza to homeless men and women he encountered as he cycled around the city.
Next up was diminutive Sherrie Cohen (#416) whose accomplishments include co-chair of the Phila. Bar Association’s Civil Rights Committee. Her priorities include ending the city’s 10-year tax abatement for developers tied in with ending the displacement caused by gentrification and promoting police accountability. She demanded the removal of toxic substances from our school and favors a move toward a $15 minimum wage in the city.
Kendra Brooks (#716) and Nicolas O’Rourke (#717) representing the independent Working Families Party are long-time community organizers. They complained first that many candidates “talked-the-talk” before elections in dealing with the horrendous violence in the city, “but when elected, nothing gets done!” They urged citizens to “join them in occupying street corners in a city-wide campaign to reduce the killings.” They pledge to work for more affordable housing and full fair funding of our schools. They indicated they were specifically running as independents to unseat Republican council members who represented the party of Pres. Trump.
For his part, Republican incumbent councilman Matt Wolfe (#218) stressed the importance of having members of his party in city government in order to work effectively with Republicans who are in the majority in both state legislative houses in Harrisburg. His own agenda included cutting the city’s wage tax which is a tremendous drain on poor working families. He also favored eliminating Philadelphia as a “Sanctuary City.” On the education side, he wants to expand charter schools and will fight for fair funding of our schools and such corruption as the seating of Bobby Henon who is under inditement along with his associate, John Dougherty.
Incumbent Derek Green (#119) was articulate in describing his current priorities as a Democratic Councilman. In particular, he was working to “find more state and city dollars to rehabilitate city public schools and make them safer.” It is a disgrace he said, “that our city schools average more than over 80 years old.” In this regard, he cited his efforts to have a $10 million grant approved for school renovation.
Finally, incumbent Democrat Allan Domb emphasized his continuing work to reform our city tax system. He outlined how he was pressing for the elimination of the wage tax for low-income workers. “It generates a negligible amount of income for the city,” but its removal would mean more than $700 for poor, hardworking wage earners.
As usual, the attendees quickly lined up for an impressive supper when the presentations were concluded. The name of the caterer is available from District Services.
Article/Photo by Ted Behr