Education, jobs and a healthy environment are the key elements for a thriving community in Northwest Philadelphia. How we solve problems and resolve differences will determine our success or failure in each of these critical areas. As your 8th District Councilperson, I pledge to:
- Work closely with community organizations to help them reach consensus, and be an advocate for the decisions they reach
- Open a constituent office in the district to serve residents and businesses
- Demand accurate accounting of all City and School District funds
- Explain the reasons for every vote I take in City Council on substantive matters
EDUCATION IS KEY
Education is the key to success. Too many families and children in the 8th District do not have that key. In Philadelphia, one out of three students do not graduate high school. When we engage them next, it is often in the overburdened and ineffective criminal justice system. In the past decade graduation and math and reading proficiency levels have increased in Philadelphia, but they still lag behind state and national averages. Teachers are undervalued, parents are insufficiently engaged, and students are underserved. We are faced with expanding class sizes and unacceptable cuts to music, sports, libraries and school nurse coverage. For the safety and education of their children, parents compete with each other to get their children into distant charter, parochial or private schools because their own neighborhood schools languish. Meanwhile, at the start of the school year, the School Reform Commission is embroiled in controversy with the Mayor, distracting attention, energy and money from the needs of students.
I am an educator. As the librarian at the Orleans Technical Institute, a building trades school, I educate incoming students about how to find information about their chosen trades; I show them how to find books and online resources to assist them in writing resumes, preparing for interviews, and applying for jobs.
At Philadelphia University, I taught information systems, introducing students to how businesses use databases, intranets and communication systems to competitive advantage.
As a contract environmental educator for the Philadelphia Water Department I taught students and adults how, by reducing polluting runoff from the land, we keep our rivers clean while reducing the cost of waste water treatment, which would be passed on to us in our water bill.
I have a son and a daughter in public schools, and I’ve been an active volunteer for eight years; I founded a Good School Keeping committee, resuscitated a library that was used as a storage area and continue to read weekly with disadvantaged students.
- Lobby for adequate school funding from Harrisburg along with parent and student groups
- Apportion funds from the sale of abandoned properties toward hiring new teachers
- Promote entrepreneurship among school youth through programs such as StartUp, Junior Achievement and the scouting organizations
- Demand transparency in the dealings of the School Reform Commission
- Call for a locally elected school board so we have self-determination and accountability.
GREEN MEANS BUSINESS
Philadelphia’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Development is right — if we want real economic progress, we have to make Philadelphia a place where people choose to live. Philadelphia’s 8th Council District is home to neighborhoods that are rich with art, culture and vibrant communities, but also a mismanaged and underdeveloped economy. The City is owed and has failed to collect more than $400 million in delinquent property taxes. The opportunity cost and lost future tax revenues of allowing land and buildings to sit vacant is immense. Greening our district means cleaning up our district, removing the blight, opening up opportunities for builders, rehabbers, and small business owners who in turn will employ members of our community.
The Northwest boasts great historical venues in Germantown, the renowned Wissahickon area of Fairmount Park, a growing college in Chestnut Hill but also some of the worst blight, crime and standard of living inequalities in the City, to the detriment of residents and would-be tourists alike. Sixteen years of Democratic Party rule has bred a divided community. The majestic yet decaying Germantown Town Hall is testament to the failure of Democratic Party leadership in the 8th Council District.
Our community’s assets need to be leveraged to full advantage. I have both a dreamer’s vision and a businessman’s know-how to make that come about.
My father co-owned a wholesale fabric company that I worked in when I was growing up and I have been active entrepreneurially throughout my career.
After my graduation from college, I worked as an actuarial analyst for the international consulting firm Towers-Watson (formerly Towers-Perrin) in their Philadelphia, London and D.C. offices; I recognize the importance of attracting large employers to the City.
After earning my JD from Penn, I engaged in the business of law; I won judgments to collect child support payments from non-custodial parents, restored Social Security disability benefits to those who were wrongfully denied them, won employee claims for unemployment compensation and represented clients on contractual matters.
Later, I designed, oversaw construction of and operated the popular “Book Street” newsstand/bookstore in the bustling Reading Terminal Market, employing several workers and advancing the causes of literacy and learning.
I am a member of the Chestnut Hill Business Association and make it a point to shop locally and diversely throughout the Northwest community.
- Collect over $400 million in delinquent property taxes
- Provide tax incentives for individuals to repurpose vacant buildings, using green, environmentally sustainable practices and alternative energy sources such as solar and geothermal, and incentives to establish urban farms on vacant land
- Reduce burdensome taxes on small businesses and actively support the efforts of our neighborhood business
- Reduce waste removal and storm water management costs to the city by distributing rain barrels and compost bins
- Monitor minority, women’s and disabled persons’ business participation rates in city contracts to ensure that the City is meeting is meeting its goals.