Say no to status quo
On May 20, Philadelphia voters will go to the polls and cast ballots in primary and special elections. As luck would have it, there are several other issues on the ballot that are important to Philadelphians.
Perhaps one of the most important questions is Question #2, which would eliminate “Resign to Run” for elected officials. Proponents of a “yes” vote on this have argued that such elimination will increase our clout outside of Philadelphia. Well, then, it is no wonder that Zack Stalberg, himself an individual that lives outside of Philadelphia in Montgomery County, has come out in favor and has stated, “In fact, a yes vote for this ballot question is a step toward shaking up the political class.”
We could not disagree more. This question was put on the ballot by that exact political class, i.e. our representatives in City Council. And why wouldn’t they support it? This is the type of issue that will positively affect their political clout. This change in the Charter, a document which was written to give Philadelphians control over their government and to combat previous corruption in the same political climate we find ourselves in today, would have us going backwards.
Such change will allow Philadelphia elected officials to campaign for office while holding on to their current jobs. Political campaigns are all consuming and trying to do two fulltime jobs, where you appeal to two separate groups of citizenry, is counterproductive.
On May 20, it is your turn to be the boss and tell your employees — our City Council members — to “quit this job if you want something better for yourself.”
By urging a “no” vote on ending Resign to Run, you have the opportunity to put the power in the hands of the voters and tell City Council, “You can run for another office but it will not be on our dime.”
Hopefully, we will look back fondly on May 20, where we were successful in leading the charge to “Just say no to the status quo.”
Executive Director, Philadelphia Republican Party
With Election Day looming, she’s picked Arkoosh
For months I’ve tried to decide which Democrat to vote for in the primary for the 13th Congressional District. I’ve done the homework, attended all but one of the debates, met each candidate and staff multiple times, listened, read, watched, considered. It’s a hard choice. Only recently has one horse in the race pulled into the lead for me — Valerie Arkoosh.
All four Democrats have impressive resumes and similar positions, but when I focus on possible negatives in addition to the positives, most have more baggage than Valerie. She’s steady, calm, safe, refreshing, strong, focused, straightforward, energetic, articulate, informed.
Some wonder about her having not served previously in an elected political office. Since that will also be the case for the GOP nominee, it’s hard to see it as a liability. Valerie reminds us that she, of all opponents, has spent more time in Washington recently working to pass and implement the Affordable Care Act.
Some have wondered whether there’s been too much made of her medical credentials. We have hospitals, medical schools, pharmaceutical and biotech companies and facilities for medical research. I would think knowing medicine would be a requirement for representing the 13th.
One of the biggest problems after a knockdown-dragout primary is to unite the factions. Animosities linger. I believe Valerie has a clear advantage over others in the ability to unite the party behind her. Everyone likes and respects her. Expect minimal backlash attached to her victory.
I’m speaking out because everyone can name recent examples of the political base picking a nominee who is unacceptable to the overall electorate. It’s not just who can win the primary, it’s who can win in November and who can function in Washington.
More than anyone, Valerie Arkoosh is the most natural successor to Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz.
Elect a man for the times
To serve as a state representative for the 173rd District in these hard times demands a man with integrity, vision, understanding and ability. Mike Driscoll fits these categories to the fullest extent.
His integrity is beyond reproach as a family man, business owner, senior Casey administration official, former teacher and civic leader. His vision is to build a consensus of cooperation amongst all segments of the electorate to get things done promptly. He understands the system and what it takes to fund program, whether it involves seniors, veterans, students, singles, married couples, union and other working households.
His ability is based on his track record of running two successful restaurants, Ashburner Inn and Finnigan’s Wake, in the district and in Northen Liberties. Also, Mike helped run one of the largest departments in Harrisburg, the Department of General Services, during the Casey administration.
He will develop an education plan to improve schools, keep them safe, and help them grow. He will support veterans’ programs and help improve funding. He will be a hands-on representative and be involved in community affairs.
His education, graduating from Cardinal Dougherty High School, La Salle University with a degree in education, and the University of Pennsylvania with a master’s degree in government administration is practical, pragmatic and effective.
Mike Driscoll is a multi-faceted candidate with brains, education and experience — a man for these times who can hit the ground running from day one in Harrisburg.
Change is coming to the NE
My name is Paul DeFinis and I am running for state representative in the 173rd District of Northeast Philadelphia. You know me and my family. I have lived and worked in our district all my life.
I earned my position on the ballot by diligently securing the required number of signatures on my nominating petitions and by winning the support of many of my neighbors.
Yet my opponents, Democratic Party insiders, have done everything in their power to remove me from the primary, or failing that, to distract me from running my campaign. They challenged my petitions — with many of your names on it — as invalid in the Commonwealth Court. They lost. Now, they have taken the extraordinary step of appealing to the state Supreme Court.
While they have focused on these strong-arm tactics, I have focused on plans such as eliminating or reducing your property taxes in Pennsylvania. Real estate taxes hurt our seniors. We can make up lost revenue from currently untapped sources, like our share of large corporate profits generated from the gas shipped overseas from the Marcellus Shale. Our share or proceeds from natural gas taxes can and will also fund and renew the education system for our children. I am working on the Liddonfield project site to better our neighborhood, bring positive change and prevent unwanted development.
To attempt to prevent me from continuing what I started on the local level, as your representative in the state House without an election, is preposterous. To deny you, the voter, the opportunity to have a contested election is not in the spirit of a true democratic system. Your voice needs to be heard. There will be an election. Change is coming to the Northeast.
I ask for your support on Tuesday, May 20, to be your candidate for state representative in the 173rd Legislative District.
Vote no on ballot Question 2
I agree with the editor’s position opposing charter change question two. No elected official can efficiently represent the citizens of Philadelphia while campaigning across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
A “No” vote means that all elected city officials would have to abide by the current charter provision that says you must resign if you seek another office.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, a current Philadelphia congresswoman who is running for governor has been missing votes in Washington. Is there any more proof needed?
Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. Philadelphia has had many credible elected officials that have sought other office and have done the right thing. Former City Controller Jon Saidel did not seek re-election in 2005 when he planned to run for mayor two years later. Tom Leonard and John Street resigned to run for mayor.
Candidate has let us down
Dennis Kilderry, president of the Roosevelt Playground Advisory Council — which directly oversees and manages the tot-rec tuition funding — allowed a longtime, sustainable program to simply shut down last August. Kilderry, who touts himself in his state rep campaign as the “champion of the working class,” did absolutely nothing to meet with the local parents or the impacted teachers before, during or after the closure.
Parents were inconvenienced; children were left scrambling for a new site; teachers lost their jobs yet, all through this fiasco, Dennis Kilderry did nothing as the Advisory Council president. He simply turned his back and allowed this viable and affordable preschool program to die.
All follow-up requests by us for a tuition audit or some transparency on how this decision was reached through the Advisory Council, whose meetings are no longer open to the public, have fallen on deaf ears. We are left with the questionable claim of “low enrollment” from other sources. Yet, the program enrolled a viable 25 children in its last year. If this is how Dennis Kilderry handles an important local matter under his direct control, what kind of state rep would he be?
Denise Matos, Cathy Leonard
Boyle is the only Northeast Philadelphia candidate
It’s time to elect a new representative for Congress. What about Northeast Philadelphia? We need to pick a representative to represent the 13th Congressional District, but more importantly someone to represent us.
There are four candidates on the Democratic side that want to represent us. Marjorie Margolies represented this district 20 years ago and she is running with the help of her friends in Washington and her daughter in-law’s father, Bill Clinton. She has nothing to offer us this time around for she has lost touch with the community.
State Sen., Daylin Leach lives outside of our district.
Now, there are two candidates that actually live in the district. Valerie Arkoosh, of Glenside, is an obstetric anesthesiologist whose campaign centers around her recent work pushing for the Affordable Care Act.
So where is the Northeast Philadelphia candidate? Brendan Boyle is a resident of the 13th Congressional District as well as a lifelong Philadelphian. Mr. Boyle represents his constituents every day in Harrisburg. Over 95 percent of labor organizations have endorsed Mr. Boyle. Mr. Boyle has stated that he feels that communities are important and that Congress has ignored urban neighborhoods and older inner suburbs. There is a need to re-invest in and revitalize areas that need it.
This must not only be a local issue, it needs to become a national priority. Ironically, local ward leaders Janice Sulman, John Sabatina, Bill Dolbow and Mike McAleer refuse to support Mr. Boyle, for he is not one of them. Mr. Boyle wasn’t groomed by old school politicians to follow their path and do what’s best for them or the party, but he does what’s best for the people.
It’s sad that these leaders would prefer an outsider to represent Northeast Philadelphia. Mr. Boyle started in politics as a young kid from Olney, who after graduating from Cardinal Dougherty, Notre Dame and Harvard went door to door asking for support and showing his eagerness to serve his community. I can still remember a 20-something Boyle knocking on my door. My first thought was he is too young to represent me. After two tries to be a state representative, he succeeded and continues to succeed in Harrisburg. We as Northeast Philadelphians need this same effort and success representing us in Washington.
No matter whom you vote for, take your privilege seriously and vote. But, if you want to be represented in Washington, you should vote for Brendan Boyle.
Susan M. Schmidt