Office seekers on the Nov. 6 ballot pitched their candidacies to members of the Normandy Civic Association during the group’s Oct. 17 meeting at the Norcom Community Center.
Congressional aspirant Joe Rooney joined two of his fellow Republicans, state Senate candidate Mike Tomlinson and state House hopeful Dave Kralle.
Three-term state Sen. Mike Stack (D-5th dist.) was the first to speak. Doris Neilson, wife of state Rep. Ed Neilson (D-169th dist.), represented her husband. U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13th dist.), Rooney’s incumbent opponent, did not attend and didn’t send a representative.
Rooney noted Schwartz’s absence and her refusal to debate him
He said she’s too chicken to face him. Rooney, a Delta Air Lines pilot, reiterated what he recently had said outside the congresswoman’s Frankford Avenue office — that if the president of the United States can find time to participate in debates, so should Schwartz.
Stack and Kralle focused on city property taxes.
The senator said property reassessments are long overdue, but he doesn’t like Mayor Michael Nutter’s proposed Actual Value Initiative, which Stack claims will raise taxes.
Readjusting how the city puts values on properties is the right thing to do, “but when you reassess to increase revenue, it’s a mistake,” he said.
What the city should do is collect what is owed, Stack said. Right now, one in five property owners chooses not to pay taxes, he said. Stack has backed legislation that would require the city to have a 95 percent collection rate before taxes can be raised.
Kralle, who lost to Neilson in a special election in the spring to replace his mentor, newly elected Councilman Dennis O’Brien, stressed that the commonwealth does have authority over its municipalities. It’s time to seriously use it in regard to taxes, he said.
As a legislator, he said, he would be a member of what is likely to remain the House’s Republican majority party. He said he wants to work “to stop what the mayor is doing to us.”
Stressing that he intends to be a thorn in the mayor’s side, Kralle said, “I want this mayor to hate me.”
Tomlinson rapped Stack, who left the meeting early, for spending $60,000 to $70,000 for what he called a valueless mailing to constituents.
“Senator Stack has to explain to you why he spent $60,000 to tell you nothing,” he said.
If every senator were prohibited from using state funds for such mailings, 1,000 more teachers could be hired, said Tomlinson, a former teacher.
Doris Neilson apologized for her husband’s absence but explained he was in a House session in Harrisburg.
“He is there to work for you,” she said, adding that every constituent’s concerns are important to her husband.
Kralle and Neilson are vying for a district that stretches across parts of the Northeast, east of the Boulevard, but it probably won’t even exist in a couple of years.
Every 10 years, the state legislature redraws its House and Senate districts to reflect population changes seen in the U.S. Census. The 169th district was due to move to York County, whose population is growing, with surrounding districts absorbing its Northeast Philly territory. However, the state Supreme Court slapped down the legislature’s initial redistricting plan, and since it couldn’t be redrawn fast enough to accommodate the current election cycle, the 169th will remain in the city for another two years.The next meeting of the Normandy Civic Association will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Norcom Community Center on Norcom Road. ••EndFragment