Ward 21 Division 24

Election Information for Ward 21, Division 24 from your Democratic Committee members Marc Stier and Diane Gottlieb.

If, in the future, you would like to receive this information 50 days before the election, when mail-in voting begins, please sign up at  https://bit.ly/philly2124. For more information or help getting to the polls call us at (215) 880-6142 or email at marcstier@stier.net.

Spring 2023

Mayor—Helen Gym

There are many good candidates running for mayor this year.

Three candidates, Cherelle Parker, Alan Domb, and Rebecca Rhynhart are presenting conventional ideas that will improve life in the city. Of the three, we think Cherelle Parker is the one with the energy, experience, and skill to implement them as well as the one least tied to the interests of the wealthy.

One candidate, Helen Gym, has challenged conventional ideas including the mistaken notion that tax cuts for the rich is the best way to reduce the poverty that afflicts a quarter of our people, poverty that drives the crime we see on our streets. She recognizes that instead of tax cuts for the rich we should raise wages for working people, invest in our communities including libraries and after school programs, and strengthen public education. She not only has bolder plans than the others but a record of moving those ideas through city council, as she did with programs to reduce housing evictions and create fair work scheduling for low income workers.

Of the leading contenders, we think only one is unacceptable, Jeff Brown. Brown has had an exemplary career as a businessman, but his achievements in buildings stores in food deserts would not have been possible without massive support of the very politicians he criticizes. He has shown in his opposition to the soda tax that he puts his own economic interests over the good of the city and its children. And his troubling pattern of taking illegal funding from business interests including the Sixers and the supermarket industry makes us worry he will continue to serve narrow interests not the city as a whole.

City Council at Large-Katherine Gilmore-Richardson, Jim Harrity, Rue Landau and Amanda McIllmurray.

We recommend two new candidates. Amanda McIllmurray is a young activist who has championed progressive candidates all over the city. Like Helen Gym, her agenda is the boldest of those running for council at large in challenging the conventional ideas that have protected business interests at the expense of working people and those with low incomes. City Council needs someone like her to push it to explore new ways to bring affordable housing, community safety, workers’ rights, and universal family care to our communities.

Rue Landau is long-time Philadelphia progressive who has been worked as a lawyer at Community Legal Services protecting us from unfair housing policies. More recently she served as the director of both the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations and the Fair Housing Commission where she did exemplary work on behalf of all of us.

We also recommend two sitting members of council. We’ve worked Katherine Gilmore-Richardson on tax and budget issues and found her very responsive. Jim Harrity is a relatively new member but he is a progressive strongly committed to advancing the interests of working people and education. You can just vote for these four. Or if you want to vote for five candidates, we recommend Isaiah Thomas has move some good legislation to protect Black people from the police, although he has also supported business interests more than we would prefer.

City Commissioner–Lisa Deely and Omar Sabir.

Lisa Deely and Omar Sabir have turned the commissioner’s office around, modernized our elections under the very difficult conditions brought about by lies and accusations of Donald Trump and his supporters.

City Controller-Christy Brady

Christy Brady has been on the professional staff of the Controller’s office. She has a reputation for doing good work. We think her background and limited political ambitions will make this office a more effective check on the Mayor and Council.

Sheriff–Michael Untermeyer.

This office has for decades been a hotbed of corruption and waste that has continued under the incumbent. It should be abolished. None of the candidates are that impressive but the chances of abolishing the office are higher if MichaelUntermeyer is elected.

Supreme Court-Daniel McCaffrey

The Democratic majority on the Supreme Court has been the backstop for democracy in our state, holding the line against a Republican General Assembly that has supported the efforts of MAGA Republicans to undermine it. Daniel McCaffrey is a Philadelphian who has the best chance to win what will be a very competitive race. And he will be a strong addition to the Democratic majority.

Superior Court–Timika Lane and Jill Beck

 Timika Lane and Jill Beck have strong records on the bench and are highly recommended by the bar association. We especially recommend Timika Lane whose great work and sterling character Marc has known for years.

Commonwealth Court—Matt Wolf

Court of Common Pleas—Demaris Garcia, Chelsea Lightsey, Natasha Smith, Jessica Brown, Will Braveman, Kay Yu, Samantha Williams, Tamika Washington, Brian McLaughlin, John Padova

Municipal Court-Barbara Thompson, Colleen Osborne

Ballot Questions

There are four ballot questions that would change the city’s home rule charter, which is the constitution of the city.

  1. YES This proposal would change the Philadelphia’s charter to require that additional funds be added to the Budget Stabilization Reserve also known as the “Rainy Day Fund” when the city runs a surplus. Preparing for bad times during good times is always a good budget practice so we recommend voting yes.
  2. YES This proposal would create a Division of Workforce Solutions in the Department of Commerce. We rarely support using the charter to micro-manage city agencies. But a city initiative to help train and recruit workers for businesses in the community is critical to creating an economic development strategy that both reduce poverty and expands our economy. So we support creating an office to pursue this strategy.
  3. YES This proposal would create a civil service exemption for the Citizens Police Oversight Commission. We rarely support such exemptions but in this case it is important for ensuring that the commission is independent of both the police and the administration.
  4. NO This proposal would create a Chief Public Safety Director subject to City Council approval. We oppose the proposal which would weaken the ability of both the mayor and the managing director to manage public safety and thus weaken the ability of citizens to hold them accountable for public safety issues.

November 2022

Candidates for office with our recommendations.

You don’t us to tell you how important this election is. Our choice is between humanity and insanity.

The two parties have not in our life time been farther apart. The Republican Party is in the grip of extremist majority, in thrall to the former president. Republican elected officials and the majority of their voters, continue to cast doubt on the results of the 2020 election for no good reason. They seek to make it harder to vote in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. They are determined to make abortion illegal under most if not all circumstances. They have created basically phony issues about the teaching of critical race theory in our schools (which is non-existent) and about transgender people (who are few and far between and whose interests do not conflict those of anyone else) all with the hope of dividing people. They constantly appeal to sexism, racism, and antisemitism.

They do that with the hopes of dividing Democratic voters so that can pursue their only real policy agenda, to continue the upwards redistribution of income and wealth from working people and the middle class to the richest and the  corporate elite.

We in division 24 of ward 21 are one of the most Democratic and highest turnout group of voters in the state. We need to lead the way to fight back against a Republican Party that is off the rails.

That is why we call on you to vote for Democrats from the top to the bottom of the ticket. We would be happy to talk with you about individual candidates. Some of the Democrats we like more than other. But it is critical that we support them all

US Senate: John Fetterman

US House of Representatives: Dwight Evans

Governor: Josh Shapiro

State Representative: Chris Rabb

Council at Large Seat 2: Jim Harrity

Council at Large: Sharon Vaughn

Ballot Questions

Question 1 Our view: vote yes.

Should the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to create the Department of Aviation and to transfer certain functions related to the operations of City airports from the other City agencies to the Department of Aviation?

Plain English

The City’s Home Rule Charter sets up the framework of City government. The Charter is the City’s constitution.

Under the Charter, the City’s Department of Commerce is responsible for operating, maintaining, and improving the City’s airport facilities. These functions are currently carried out by the Department’s Division of Aviation.

If you vote “Yes” on this ballot question, it means you want to change the Charter to create a new department, separate from the Department of Commerce, called the Department of Aviation. The Department of Aviation would operate, maintain and improve the City’s airport facilities and set rates and charges for the use of airport facilities. The new Department would be run by the Director of Aviation, who would be appointed by the Mayor.

This proposal would transfer the operation of the Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport from the city’s Commerce Department to a new Department of Aviation, whose director would be appointed by the Mayor. Airport officials told The Inquirer that the change would streamline airport operations and enable managers to respond more quickly to staffing needs. The division’s $388 million annual budget does not rely on local taxes but from fees paid by airlines and other revenue streams. It seems to us that we should support measures that the mayor and airport officials believe would help make the city’s operations more effective.

Question 2: Our view: vote yes. 

Shall The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to provide for a preference in civil service examinations for qualified graduates of Career Technical Education programs in the School District of Philadelphia?

Plain English

Most employees of our City government are hired through a system called the civil service. Under this system, job applicants are evaluated based on tests related to the position, and only higher-ranked applicants may be hired. If you vote “yes” on this ballot question, it means you want to change the City’s Charter to allow preferences in the ranking of applicants who are graduates of School District Career Technical Education programs.

Approving this question would give graduates of the Philadelphia School District’s Career and Technical Education programs a preference over other applicants for city jobs. Right now certain individuals, including military veterans and the children and grandchildren of Philadelphia firefighters or police officers who died in the line of duty, can receive bonus points on their exams. We think that also giving young people from Philadelphia who have graduated from educational programs that prepare them for these jobs an advantage would be an effective way to make a dent in the all-too-high unemployment rates in our city. It would also give our kids a strong incentive to work hard in school.

 

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