Northeast Times

City controller candidate speaks at Holmesburg Rec

Terry Tracy, the Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate for city con­trol­ler, plans to fo­cus on pub­lic schools, mu­ni­cip­al pen­sions, eco­nom­ic growth and gov­ern­ment ac­count­ab­il­ity if he is elec­ted on Nov. 5.

Tracy, who is chal­len­ging in­cum­bent Demo­crat Alan Butkovitz, spoke dur­ing a town hall meet­ing last week at Holmes­burg Re­cre­ation Cen­ter.

More than 60 people at­ten­ded the Ju­ly 30 event, with former state Sen­ate can­did­ate Mike Tom­lin­son in­tro­du­cing Tracy.

Tom­lin­son, who chal­lenged state Sen. Mike Stack last year, ac­know­ledged that Butkovitz has a big fin­an­cial ad­vant­age on Tracy, but be­lieves the Re­pub­lic­an un­der­stands key is­sues such as pub­lic edu­ca­tion and busi­ness taxes.

“We need to look at the per­son and not the party,” Tom­lin­son said.

Tracy, who lives in Fitler Square, stud­ied polit­ic­al sci­ence at Temple and earned a mas­ter’s in gov­ern­ment ad­min­is­tra­tion from Penn. His work ex­per­i­ence in­cludes work­ing for ma­jor re­tail firms in North Amer­ica.

The Re­pub­lic­an likened the race to a con­gres­sion­al midterm elec­tion. He hopes people fed up with May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter mid­way through his second term will vote for a check and bal­ance in the form of a GOP city con­trol­ler. A Re­pub­lic­an has not served as con­trol­ler since Tom Gola did 40 years ago.

The can­did­ate stood in front of charts show­ing Phil­adelphia as the highest-taxed big city in Amer­ica. He noted that the School Dis­trict of Phil­adelphia re­ceives about $16,000 per year per stu­dent, and can­not un­der­stand why the dis­trict con­tinu­ally de­mands more money.

At the same time, he likes what he hears from Su­per­in­tend­ent Wil­li­am Hite, who has said he wants tra­di­tion­al Phil­adelphia pub­lic schools to be more com­pet­it­ive with private and charter schools in at­tract­ing stu­dents.

Tracy be­lieves the city can save money by ex­amin­ing no-bid con­tracts more closely. And he thinks it is reas­on­able to ask city de­part­ments to cut any­where from 1 per­cent to 5 per­cent of their an­nu­al budgets.

Tracy said the city could gen­er­ate money by col­lect­ing prop­erty taxes from dead­beats. The na­tion­al av­er­age col­lec­tion rate, ac­cord­ing to stud­ies, is about 95 per­cent. In Phil­adelphia, it’s about 85 per­cent, a fig­ure the can­did­ate labeled “abysmal.”

In ad­di­tion, he con­tends that the sale of the city-owned Phil­adelphia Gas Works will provide a much-needed in­fu­sion of money.

“To me, it’s a slam dunk,” he said.

If Phil­adelphia gains bet­ter fin­an­cial foot­ing, Tracy would like to spend more money to im­prove ser­vices at the city’s dis­trict health cen­ters. He said the av­er­age wait to make an ap­point­ment with a doc­tor is 83 days. 

In a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion, a res­id­ent asked Tracy about the pro­posed meth­adone clin­ic at Frank­ford Av­en­ue and Dec­atur Street.

“It’s a cata­strophe,” Tracy said.

••

State Sen. Shir­ley Kit­chen has en­dorsed Mar­jor­ie Mar­gol­ies in next year’s race in the 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict.

Kit­chen rep­res­ents the 3rd Sen­at­ori­al Dis­trict, which in­cludes Ol­ney, a neigh­bor­hood in the 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict.

Mar­gol­ies is a former con­gress­wo­man and pres­id­ent of Wo­men’s Cam­paign In­ter­na­tion­al. She pledged to fight for more fund­ing for post-sec­ond­ary edu­ca­tion, an is­sue Kit­chen has worked on in Har­ris­burg.

“Mar­jor­ie’s fight for wo­men’s health clin­ics in Con­sho­hock­en and to lower in­fant mor­tal­ity rates in Nor­ris­town mir­ror my own ef­forts in the state Sen­ate to pass the Pennsylvania Health Cen­ter and Clin­ic Act to im­prove the qual­ity of care in Pennsylvania’s loc­al health cen­ters and health care clin­ics,” Kit­chen said.

“I am con­fid­ent that Mar­jor­ie, with her ex­per­i­ence in Con­gress and the re­la­tion­ships she has forged and main­tained over the past two dec­ades, will hit the ground run­ning when she re­turns to Wash­ing­ton. The neigh­bor­hoods I rep­res­ent can­not af­ford to lose one day in the fight for re­sources to feed our hungry, edu­cate our chil­dren and se­cure our streets. Only Mar­jor­ie can de­liv­er this kind of rep­res­ent­a­tion on day one.” 

Oth­er elec­ted of­fi­cials back­ing Mar­gol­ies are U.S. House Minor­ity Lead­er Steny Hoy­er, state Sen. LeAnna Wash­ing­ton and state Rep. Madeleine Dean. 

Mar­gol­ies is in a four-way primary with state Sen. Daylin Leach, state Rep. Brendan Boyle and Dr. Val Arkoosh, a health-care re­form ad­voc­ate.

The seat will be open next year be­cause Demo­crat­ic Rep. Allyson Schwartz is run­ning for gov­ernor. No Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate has stepped for­ward in the con­gres­sion­al dis­trict.

••

Brendan Boyle hopes the Amer­ic­an Postal Work­ers Uni­on Loc­al 7048 will de­liv­er for him on Elec­tion Day.

The uni­on be­came the 18th to en­dorse him in the con­gres­sion­al race.

“Brendan Boyle has a re­cord of stand­ing up for work­ers’ rights and the in­terest of work­ing- and middle-class fam­il­ies,” said Vince Tar­ducci, a Bustleton res­id­ent and pres­id­ent of Loc­al 7048. “We are proud to sup­port a true eco­nom­ic pro­gress­ive voice for work­ing people. It’s with great pleas­ure we stand with him and look for­ward to work­ing hard to send him to Wash­ing­ton, D.C.”  ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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