Northeast Times

Two vie to fill Krajewski seat

There will be at least six new mem­bers of City Coun­cil, and one of those new­comers will rep­res­ent the 6th Coun­cil­man­ic Dis­trict be­gin­ning in Janu­ary.

Re­pub­lic­an Sandra Stew­art, an act­iv­ist from Ta­cony, will face Demo­crat Bobby Hen­on, a uni­on of­fi­cial, in Tues­day’s elec­tion.

Both can­did­ates are mar­ried with two chil­dren and mak­ing their first runs for of­fice. They are seek­ing to re­place Demo­crat­ic Coun­cil­wo­man Joan Kra­jew­ski, who is re­tir­ing after eight four-year terms. The dis­trict con­sists of nine wards and stretches along the Delaware River from Port Rich­mond to Tor­res­dale.

Hen­on, an East Tor­res­dale res­id­ent and polit­ic­al dir­ect­or for In­ter­na­tion­al Broth­er­hood of Elec­tric­al Work­ers Loc­al 98, entered the race after state Rep. Mike McGee­han an­nounced he wouldn’t run. He was part of a polit­ic­ally act­ive uni­on that backed the likes of Ed Rendell and John Street, but was un­tested as a can­did­ate.

In the primary, he raised a ton of money and, thanks to the power of Loc­al 98, picked up en­dorse­ments from a ma­jor­ity of the ward lead­ers and many elec­ted of­fi­cials. He eas­ily de­feated banker and former School Re­form Com­mis­sion mem­ber Marty Bed­narek, whom Kra­jew­ski backed, for the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion by a mar­gin of 65 per­cent to 35 per­cent.

Stew­art was un­op­posed in the Re­pub­lic­an primary.

Hen­on over­whelmed Bed­narek with tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials and mail­ings, but the gen­er­al elec­tion cam­paign has been much quieter, with the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee clos­ing his large cam­paign of­fice on Frank­ford Av­en­ue soon after the primary.

“He’s been nowhere to be found after the primary,” Stew­art claimed.

The Demo­crat, who’s been en­dorsed by The Phil­adelphia In­quirer, had a con­ver­sa­tion with voters last week on a tele­phone con­fer­ence call.

“I love the city and I es­pe­cially love our North­east neigh­bor­hoods,” he told listen­ers.

Hen­on has been en­dorsed by the po­lice and fire­fight­ers uni­ons and has dis­cussed po­lice de­ploy­ment in loc­al dis­tricts with Com­mis­sion­er Charles Ram­sey.

“We need cam­er­as in hot spots,” he said.

Hen­on op­poses the Nut­ter ad­min­is­tra­tion policy of tem­por­ar­ily clos­ing fire com­pan­ies, a de­cision crit­ics de­ride as “brown­outs.”

“I’m not go­ing to let the budget be bal­anced on pub­lic safety,” he said.

As for the con­tro­ver­sial pro­posed meth­adone clin­ic at 7900 Frank­ford Ave., Hen­on has at­ten­ded protest ral­lies, a com­munity meet­ing, a zon­ing hear­ing and a news con­fer­ence aimed at tough­en­ing laws be­fore sim­il­ar drug clin­ics can open in the fu­ture.

Hen­on said the pro­posed site is too close to schools, houses and busi­nesses.

“We don’t want it in the 6th Coun­cil­man­ic Dis­trict,” he said.

Dur­ing a re­cent trip to Tor­res­dale Av­en­ue, Hen­on heard from a pizza shop own­er that there is more foot traffic at mid­night than noon. Hen­on wants to form a busi­ness de­vel­op­ment ad­vis­ory com­mit­tee and work with area com­munity de­vel­op­ment cor­por­a­tions so loc­al com­mer­cial cor­ridors don’t start re­sem­bling some run­down parts of Kens­ing­ton Av­en­ue.

If elec­ted, Hen­on has prom­ised to open a dis­trict of­fice, prob­ably on Frank­ford Av­en­ue, so seni­or cit­izens and oth­ers don’t have to travel to Cen­ter City.

“My of­fice will be ac­cess­ible,” he said, adding that loc­al and City Hall staff will be cross-trained to handle any is­sue.

Stew­art, who con­siders her­self in­de­pend­ent and a com­mon-sense can­did­ate, be­lieves Hen­on is mak­ing too many prom­ises.

“Where’s the money com­ing from?” she asked.

Stew­art said she would be bet­ter able to se­cure fund­ing for pub­lic safety and oth­er ini­ti­at­ives be­cause Pennsylvania has a Re­pub­lic­an gov­ernor and GOP-con­trolled Sen­ate and House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives.

“I know how to work with people,” she said.

Stew­art lists the top is­sues as qual­ity of life, crime, blight, trash and ab­sent­ee land­lords. She also wants to find a way to lim­it the num­ber of rent­al prop­er­ties on a block.

“The No. 1 thing on my agenda has been and al­ways will be zon­ing,” she said.

Stew­art is one of only three Re­pub­lic­ans run­ning in the 10 Coun­cil dis­tricts and has said she’ll nev­er run for of­fice again if she loses be­cause of the pres­sure to raise money and the time it takes away from fam­ily.

In look­ing ahead to the con­test for Coun­cil pres­id­ency, she will with­hold an en­dorse­ment be­cause it’s pos­sible oth­er can­did­ates will sur­face be­sides Mari­an Tasco and Dar­rell Clarke.

“I don’t know who’s run­ning,” she said. “I will re­main open minded.”

Hen­on has ruled out vot­ing for Tasco be­cause she is run­ning for re-elec­tion des­pite be­ing en­rolled in the De­ferred Re­tire­ment Op­tion Plan. Tasco will col­lect $478,057 in re­tire­ment money in Janu­ary but re­main on the job and con­tin­ue to col­lect her full salary.

Stew­art dis­tances her­self from some in the loc­al Re­pub­lic­an Party whom she sees as too cozy with Demo­crats.

“I’m a con­ser­vat­ive through and through,” she said.

On Tues­day, Stew­art won’t be in the vot­ing booth long. Not be­cause she’s push­ing the straight Re­pub­lic­an but­ton, but be­cause she’s vot­ing only for her­self, Dav­id Oh and Denny O’Bri­en for Coun­cil at-large and John Feather­man as a write-in for may­or.

Stew­art op­poses the ac­tu­al value ini­ti­at­ive that is ex­pec­ted to be im­ple­men­ted next year. Prop­er­ties will be as­sessed at their ac­tu­al value, and Coun­cil will set the mil­lage rate to de­term­ine an­nu­al real es­tate taxes.

Right now, prop­er­ties are as­sessed be­low mar­ket rate, and a for­mula de­term­ines the yearly tax bill.

“I think it’s about in­creas­ing rev­en­ue in the city,” she said of the ac­tu­al value ini­ti­at­ive.

Stew­art, a mem­ber of the Ta­cony Civic As­so­ci­ation since 2007, con­tends that Hen­on has no re­cord of neigh­bor­hood act­iv­ism and is hop­ing the elect­or­ate takes a chance on her.

“Think out­side the box,” she is ask­ing voters. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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