Northeast Times

Candidates continue to court voters

Elec­tion Day is Tues­day, and can­did­ates are mak­ing last-minute cam­paign ap­pear­ances.

One of the pop­u­lar stops was Sunday morn­ing’s can­did­ates brunch at Con­greg­a­tions of Shaare Shamay­im in Bustleton. The event was co-hos­ted by law­yer and edu­cat­or Ruth Hor­witz and former state Sen. Bob Rovn­er.

Re­pub­lic­an Danny Al­varez, a law­yer and mar­ried fath­er of two from Somer­ton, is chal­len­ging Demo­crat­ic Dis­trict At­tor­ney Seth Wil­li­ams.

Al­varez, who served eight years as an as­sist­ant dis­trict at­tor­ney, has made fight­ing pub­lic cor­rup­tion the center­piece of his cam­paign.

“Noth­ing has been done about polit­ic­al cor­rup­tion,” he said.

Al­varez wants to use all the re­sources of the of­fice to pro­sec­ute crime and is not in­ter­ested in hir­ing people to plan parties or serve as com­munity li­ais­ons.

As an ex­ample, he wants to ded­ic­ate re­sources to an anti-hu­man traf­fick­ing unit.

“Phil­adelphia has be­come a hub of hu­man traf­fick­ing,” he said.

City Con­trol­ler Alan Butkovitz is seek­ing his third term. He pre­vi­ously served 15 years as a state rep­res­ent­at­ive.

Butkovitz said state Re­pub­lic­ans are short­chan­ging Phil­adelphia on is­sues such as fund­ing for pub­lic edu­ca­tion, adding that the city needs help in gen­er­al be­cause it has a 28-per­cent poverty rate.

The in­cum­bent said he loves his job, even though it’s a “very tough en­vir­on­ment” eco­nom­ic­ally. He’s used the of­fice to cri­tique the city’s Ac­tu­al Value Ini­ti­at­ive for prop­erty taxes, the sher­iff’s of­fice, res­cue squads and charter schools. His re­com­mend­a­tions have ac­coun­ted for about $800 mil­lion in sav­ings and ef­fi­cien­cies. He hopes to per­suade the city’s hos­pit­als and uni­versit­ies to pur­chase more of their man­u­fac­tured goods from Phil­adelphia com­pan­ies.

Butkovitz said he has not been shy about cri­ti­ciz­ing mem­bers of his party.

“I haven’t had any trouble stand­ing up to a Demo­crat­ic may­or,” he said.

Re­pub­lic­an Terry Tracy said Butkovitz has not ef­fect­ively used the great powers the of­fice is giv­en through the Home Rule Charter.

In par­tic­u­lar, Tracy lays some of the blame on Butkovitz for the fin­an­cial dis­ar­ray and over­all woes in the School Dis­trict of Phil­adelphia.

“You have to win the lot­tery to get a qual­ity edu­ca­tion in the city,” said Tracy, not­ing the pop­ular­ity of charter schools.

Tracy said he will be a bet­ter watch­dog for the city’s fin­ances.

“The money is be­ing spent in­ef­fect­ively,” he said. “To me, it’s a ques­tion of vis­ion, val­ues and judg­ment.”

••

In Tues­day’s oth­er races, Re­pub­lic­an Vic Sta­bile will face Demo­crat Jack McVay for a seat on Pennsylvania Su­per­i­or Court. McVay is a law­yer from Cum­ber­land County. McVay is a Com­mon Pleas Court judge from Al­legheny County.

City voters will elect sev­en people to the Court of Com­mon Pleas. The can­did­ates are Re­pub­lic­an Ken Pow­ell, Liber­tari­an Steph­en Miller, Demo­crats Timi­ka Lane, Joe Fernandes, Dan Mc­Caf­fery, Gio­vanni Camp­bell, Si­erra Thomas Street and Scott O’Keefe, and Anne Mar­ie Coyle, who will ap­pear on the Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic tick­ets.

Voters will elect three in­di­vidu­als to Mu­ni­cip­al Court. There is no drama. The only can­did­ates are Demo­crats Mar­tin Cole­man, Henry Le­wan­dowski and Fran Shields, who lives in Lawndale.

Voters will choose yes or no on new terms for the fol­low­ing judges:

Su­preme Court: Max Baer and Ron­ald D. Castille, the chief justice who is a Rhawn­hurst res­id­ent and former dis­trict at­tor­ney.

Su­per­i­or Court: Susan Peikes Gant­man and Jack Pan­ella.

Court of Com­mon Pleas: Jac­queline F. Al­len, Genece E. Brinkley, Ramy I. Djer­assi, Lori A. Du­mas, Holly J. Ford, Joel Steven John­son, Fre­der­ica A. Mas­siah Jack­son, Ray­ford A. Means, Jef­frey P. Mine­hart, Joseph D. O’Keefe, Paula A. Patrick, Dor­is A. Pech­kur­ow, Al­lan L. Tereshko and Nina Wright Pa­dilla.

Mu­ni­cip­al Court: Teresa Carr Deni, Jac­quelyn Fra­zi­er Lyde, Joseph J. O’Neill and Wendy L. Pew.

Voters also will de­cide on the fol­low­ing bond ques­tion: Should the City of Phil­adelphia bor­row ninety-four mil­lion sev­en hun­dred forty-five thou­sand dol­lars ($94,745,000.00) to be spent for and to­ward cap­it­al pur­poses as fol­lows: Trans­it; Streets and San­it­a­tion; Mu­ni­cip­al Build­ings; Parks, Re­cre­ation and Mu­seums; and Eco­nom­ic and Com­munity De­vel­op­ment?

••

The Re­pub­lic­an City Com­mit­tee is re­com­mend­ing a “No” vote on the afore­men­tioned bond ques­tion, cit­ing a lack of de­tails on how the debt will be spent.

“If City Hall wants voters to ap­prove more debt for build­ings and in­fra­struc­ture, they need to dis­close to voters what those pro­jects are, so we can make an in­formed de­cision. Right now, a voter doesn’t know where the money is go­ing,” said ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or Joe De­Fe­lice.

“Phil­adelphia has a his­tory of us­ing cap­it­al funds for op­er­at­ing ex­penses, which is the func­tion­al equi­val­ent of tak­ing out a mort­gage to buy gro­cer­ies,” ad­ded Matt Wolfe, a mem­ber of the policy com­mit­tee.

••

Three of the four Demo­crats com­pet­ing in next year’s 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict primary at­ten­ded Sunday’s can­did­ates for­um at the Con­greg­a­tions of Shaare Shamay­im.

Dr. Valer­ie Arkoosh has a de­gree in pub­lic health policy and has served as pres­id­ent of the Na­tion­al Phys­i­cians Al­li­ance, which ad­voc­ated for the fed­er­al Af­ford­able Care Act.

Arkoosh is try­ing to dis­tin­guish her­self from her three op­pon­ents - state Rep. Brendan Boyle, state Sen. Daylin Leach and former U.S. Rep. Mar­jor­ie Mar­gol­ies - by billing her­self as an out­sider.

“I be­lieve that we must change the con­ver­sa­tion in Wash­ing­ton,” she said.

Boyle is in his third term in the state House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives. A board mem­ber of the loc­al Holo­caust Aware­ness Mu­seum, he spoke about his ef­forts to re­quire schools to teach about the Holo­caust and gen­o­cide. Five states already have the re­quire­ment. They are New Jer­sey, New York, Flor­ida, Illinois and Cali­for­nia.

Boyle, whose wife is a pub­lic school teach­er, ex­plained that he ad­voc­ates for more state fund­ing for edu­ca­tion. He also noted that his dis­trict of­fices serve more than 12,000 people a year.

Leach called for re­form to cam­paign fin­an­cing and what he called “ger­ry­man­der­ing” and “voter sup­pres­sion.” In of­fice, he has tried to give a “hand up” to people by sup­port­ing le­gis­la­tion that will lower poverty rates, in­crease jobs and im­prove pub­lic edu­ca­tion.

Leach has fought for “pro­gress­ive val­ues,” op­pos­ing the death pen­alty and in­tro­du­cing a same-sex mar­riage bill “years be­fore it was cool.”

“I take on the toughest is­sues,” he said. ••

You can reach and at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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