Voters offered choice for 8th District Council seat

News November 4, 2011 0 Comments

CIndy Bass

by Jennifer Katz

Residents in Northwest Philadelphia have a choice to make on Tuesday, Nov. 8 between two candidates for retiring Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller’s seat in the 8th district council race. While many assume Cindy Bass, who summarily won the Democratic primary in May, will easily win the day, Green Party candidate Brian Rudnick, continues to press his case that change requires, well, change. Bass’ greatest attribute, her experience working for Congressman Chaka Fatah and high local profile, is also her largest detraction from a city populace weary of status quo politicians.

Rudnick is the proverbial upstart with no machine politics behind him, no political friends or foes, no favors owed, no interests he is beholden to other than his own ideals and attributes. The question on election day may well be whether or not residents are willing to bet on an outsider’s chances of changing city hall or go with an experienced public servant they know. To help with that decision, the Local asked each of the candidates three questions. Here are their answers. For information on polling locations, visit www.committeeofseventy.org.

Cindy Bass

Why are you running?

Whether it was community cleanups as a kid, or working in the neighborhood, being a candy striper, or being a Girl Scout, these were all roles that helped me to do more and give for the community. Since then, I’ve worked as a community loan officer, housing counselor and an aide to State Senator Allyson Schwartz, and now to Congressman Fattah. I believe that my combination of experience gives me a unique point of view to bring to the table in council to get results for and improve the lives of the residents of the 8th District. In my years of public service, I’ve seen so many things that need to be fixed, and it was the natural progression for me to take on this job.

What are your top three priorities for city council?

My top three priorities in Council are changing Council’s relationship with education in the City, improving economic opportunity through making Philadelphia a more friendly place to live and do business, and improve public safety through the first two points.

What of all your experience do you think is the most relevant to city council?

I think the combination of my experience in government, non-profit, and private-sector banking make me uniquely qualified to tackle the problems of the 8th District and the City of Philadelphia in order to get our communities back on track. The most important piece of my experience that I will use on Council is that I am the mother of a 2-year-old; I am going to Council to ensure a better future and greater opportunity for my daughter, and I don’t think there is a greater motivating factor to really getting down to business and demanding results.

Brian Rudnick

Brian Rudnick

Why are you running?

I am running because I am both enthusiastic about serving the citizens of Northwest Philadelphia using my broad experience as a lawyer, as a former small business owner, as an educator, as a public school parent and because I am grateful to the many wonderful citizens in our district who give so much of themselves.

What are your top three priorities for city council?

By reaching out and listening to voters at their doorsteps, at community meetings, at youth sports events and at houses of worship, we have demonstrated that we care and are responsive. My first priority would be to continue the practice of openness and responsiveness that we have modeled in our campaign and demonstrate our commitment by opening up a district office with convenient weekend and weekday evening hours.

My second priority is to work with City Council and the city solicitor’s office to more aggressively collect the hundreds of millions of tax delinquent dollars owed by absentee landlords. With these funds we will simultaneously create jobs and fund our schools, afterschool programs, parks, recreations centers and libraries. If we cannot collect the taxes, then we can foreclose on these properties through sheriff sales turning them over to entrepreneurs who will convert these dilapidated structures into homes or businesses and vacant lots into urban farms.
A third priority of mine is to shepherd through City Council the much needed and long overdue zoning reform, which encourages green, sustainable development.

What do you think your chances are at winning?

I believe I have a reasonable chance of winning because my team and I have been campaigning vigorously door-to-door for months now and we have been very well received by voters who are disgusted with the Democratic Party in the 8th District that has disregarded citizen concerns for many years and that had two of its staff members convicted of municipal corruption.

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