The upcoming Democratic primary on May 16 is an event of considerable importance for the residents of Northwest Philadelphia.
The upcoming Democratic primary on May 16 is an event of considerable importance for the residents of Northwest Philadelphia. Voters have a choice between staying the course with incumbent Cindy Bass, who after 12 years on the job has a clear track record by which to judge her, or charting a potentially different course with her challenger, political newcomer Seth Anderson-Oberman. Both are vying to represent the 8th Councilmanic District on city council.
To help voters make their decision, the Chestnut Hill Local is partnering with a number of community organizations to co-sponsor two community forums. The first, presented by West Mt. Airy Neighbors and East Mt. Airy Neighbors in partnership with Pleasant Advisory Council, Chestnut Hill Community Association, Germantown United CDC, and Face to Face Germantown, will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m, April 26, at Germantown Jewish Centre in Mt. Airy. The second, hosted by G-Town Radio, is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m., May 9, at Center in the Park in Germantown. The May 9 forum will be broadcast live on G-Town Radio. Unfortunately, our original moderator for the first event, Dave Davies of WHYY, has been injured and will not be able to participate. We are working on securing a new moderator and will report who that will be within the coming days.
Our community co-sponsors have been busy polling their members for input about which issues they think matter most. Thus far, concerns about affordable housing and possible rent control appear to top the list, along with related concerns about parking issues brought about by increased development density. On this issue, a number of residents cite concerns about historic preservation, and developers who demolish perfectly good buildings because they want to replace them with bigger buildings - maximizing square footage as well as profits. Some complain about traffic, how fast and dense it can be, and how it impacts the pedestrian experience.
The two candidates have starkly different positions on this issue. Anderson-Oberman favors a form of rent control known as rent stabilization, while Bass has said she does not believe that city council should legislate rents, and would look for the city to provide more affordable housing.
In addition to various concerns raised by development, residents are reporting real worries about public safety – with fear of gun violence being a major concern.
Bass has been an advocate for increasing surveillance in public spaces across the city, introducing and passing – along with Council President Darrell Clarke – funding for security cameras at parks and recreation centers across the city. Anderson-Oberman said he views crime through "a public health lens" and would invest in community-based approaches to resolving conflict.
While residents also cite the lack of adequate funding for public schools as a top concern, both Anderson-Oberman and Bass have voiced their support for a more equitable school funding formula.
What are your thoughts? What do you think are the issues that matter most, and are there any other questions you’d like us to ask? Send us your comments, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll do our best to help you take this opportunity to make your voice heard, and engage in constructive dialogue.
Whether you're supporting Cindy Bass, Seth Anderson-Oberman, or are still undecided, these forums are for you. We hope to see you there.