Northeast Times

Candidate: I want the mayor to hate me

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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 

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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