Northeast Times

A political day in the neighborhood

Bill Ru­bin, the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate in the 10th Coun­cil­man­ic Dis­trict, en­joys cam­paign­ing door-to-door in the vari­ous neigh­bor­hoods of the dis­trict.

“You get to talk to ac­tu­al voters and find out what their is­sues are,” he said.

Ru­bin, 44, is chal­len­ging Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill, a Re­pub­lic­an seek­ing his ninth four-year term.

O’Neill has more money and name re­cog­ni­tion, but there’s a reas­on Ru­bin was seek­ing out re­gistered Demo­crats last week as the North­east Times fol­lowed him on a can­vass of the 66th Ward in Mor­rell Park.

“We’ve got twenty-thou­sand more Demo­crats than Re­pub­lic­ans,” he said, cit­ing voter-re­gis­tra­tion fig­ures in the dis­trict. “I just need Demo­crats to vote Demo­crat. And I have a base of Re­pub­lic­an sup­port.”

Ru­bin, a mar­ried fath­er of two from Bustleton, worked for the city com­mis­sion­ers’ of­fice for al­most 25 years. He was su­per­visor of elec­tions and formerly served as vice chair­man of the Phil­adelphia Board of Pen­sions and Re­tire­ment.

The chal­lenger was joined on Oct. 18 by ward lead­er Shawn Dillon and com­mit­tee­men Chris Guest, Ed Schone­wolf and Bob Miller.

Though he had no primary op­pon­ent, the Demo­crat has been knock­ing on doors since Feb­ru­ary, usu­ally with Guest by his side with a street list of so-called “su­per voters.”

“There hasn’t been any neg­at­ive re­ac­tion,” he said.

Few people, ac­cord­ing to Ru­bin, tell him they are fer­vent O’Neill sup­port­ers.

At a typ­ic­al door, Ru­bin will hand the res­id­ent a piece of cam­paign lit­er­at­ure that fea­tures him pic­tured with his fam­ily, former City Con­trol­ler Jonath­an Saidel, an eld­erly wo­man and a vet­er­an.

The piece calls for end­ing the “ab­use of DROP by our elec­ted of­fi­cials,” re­fer­ring to the De­ferred Re­tire­ment Op­tion Plan.

In a “Dear Friend” let­ter, he vows not to vote for any Coun­cil mem­ber for pres­id­ent who has taken DROP money. Coun­cil­wo­man Mari­an Tasco, who is en­rolled in DROP, is ex­pec­ted to seek the Coun­cil pres­id­ency.

O’Neill has not yet ruled out sup­port­ing Tasco for the top spot.

Ru­bin men­tions his two cam­paign of­fices to voters and asks them to place a sign on their lawn. About two-dozen people per night agree to take a sign. The cam­paign es­tim­ates it has about 2,600 signs on lawns, and all res­id­ents with a sign get a fol­low-up let­ter of thanks.

Be­fore the cam­paign is over, Ru­bin will knock on every door with a re­gistered Demo­crat liv­ing there. He’ll also stop by Re­pub­lic­an doors that are open and chat with people wait­ing for a SEPTA bus or pulling in and out of their drive­ways.

Al­most all res­id­ents are po­lite — even a wo­man who had cook­ie bat­ter on both hands when the can­did­ate knocked and a fam­ily that was eat­ing din­ner. A wo­man sweep­ing leaves was not happy about high taxes and a lack of snow re­mov­al.

A man liv­ing on Mor­rell Av­en­ue had a simple ques­tion.

“Demo­crat or Re­pub­lic­an?” he asked.

“I’m a Demo­crat,” Ru­bin replied.

“See you later,” the man said be­fore clos­ing his door.

That man does not fit in­to one of three cat­egor­ies Guest checks off after each con­ver­sa­tion. Voters are lis­ted as “un­de­cided,” “lean” to Ru­bin or “strong” for Ru­bin.

The “strong” Ru­bin voters will be con­tac­ted by vo­lun­teers on Elec­tion Day, Nov. 8.

An East Keswick Road man fits in­to the “strong” cat­egory.

“Glad you’re a Demo­crat,” he tells the can­did­ate.

The chal­lenger points to the front of his lit­er­at­ure, which reads, “Think it’s time for a change? Let’s end DROP ab­use.”

“You know it, it’s time for a change,” a wo­man on El­lis­ton Circle tells him.

After Ru­bin ex­plains his sup­port for a three-term lim­it for Coun­cil mem­bers, a man on Ray­land Road said he sup­ports a one-term lim­it.

Ru­bin said voters are most con­cerned with prop­erty taxes and a lack of po­lice pres­ence. Many have a gen­er­al anti-City Coun­cil feel­ing.

“Far and away, the biggest is­sue is DROP. People are so out­raged at the half-mil­lion-dol­lar DROP pay­ments,” he said. ••

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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