The timing was perfect for state Rep. Kevin Boyle.
Last June, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission approved a plan that would move most of Burholme into his 172nd district. At present, the neighborhood is represented by Brendan Boyle, Kevin’s older brother.
But the plan was in limbo for almost a year as opponents of the redrawn state House and Senate district maps appealed the commission’s decision. On May 8, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court finally issued a ruling, determining that the maps are constitutional.
On May 9, Kevin Boyle met some of his future constituents as the guest speaker at the Burholme Community Town Watch and Civic Association.
“I make quality-of-life issues paramount,” he told the crowd.
Boyle was introduced by Al Taubenberger, the civic association/Town Watch president and his opponent in last year’s election.
Brendan Boyle’s district will now consist exclusively of the Far Northeast, although he is running for Congress next year.
Kevin Boyle, who lives on the 8000 block of Burholme Ave. in Fox Chase, said a key issue in front of the legislature is how to pay for repairs to aging roads and bridges.
In addition, the debate continues over liquor privatization. The House passed a privatization bill, but enough Senate Republicans appear to be skeptical of the idea to kill it.
Boyle, who was joined at the meeting by aides to City Councilmen Brian O’Neill and David Oh and state Rep. Brendan Boyle, voted against the measure. He worries that the availability of liquor at places such as 7-Eleven and Wawa will lead to more drinking. In addition, he believes the existing state store system works “pretty darn good.”
There was a spirited discussion about the School District of Philadelphia, which faces a deficit of more than $300 million. Boyle’s wife is a public school teacher.
The legislator said new superintendent William Hite inherited a “mess” from Paul Vallas and Arlene Ackerman. Boyle said the so-called “doomsday” budget will be devastating to school operations.
“We have to help the Philadelphia school district with more funding,” he said.
Boyle noted that Pennsylvania has been described as “the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.” He believes a higher tax rate on drilling — from 1 percent to the 3.5 percent that neighbor West Virginia imposes — will raise enough money to eliminate the deficit.
However, some in attendance said that the school district has a history of mismanaging money.
“The more money we throw at it, it doesn’t get better. I’m sick and tired of my taxes going up,” one woman said.
Others said the district wastes money in its purchasing policies and that kindergarten teachers shouldn’t be making $80,000 a year.
Boyle opposes cutting teacher salaries.
“You get what you pay for,” he said.
In other news from the meeting:
Burholme Community Town Watch and Civic Association will meet again on Thursday, June 13, at 7 p.m. at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer, at Cottman and Lawndale avenues. The meeting will serve as a neighborhood meet and greet. Guests will be able to vote in the “Best of Burholme Pizza Contest.” The following shops will showcase their pizza: Johnny G’s, Rising Sun Pizza, Santucci’s, Croce’s and Ernie’s. ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org