I'm running for office because all Philadelphians deserve safer streets, better schools and a greener city. I'm fed up with the chronic underfunding of our schools, the escalating crime, and the decline in city services. I believe that we need a new approach. As this will be my first time serving, I bring new energy as well as relevant experience. I've advised and financed cities around the country, managed manufacturing firms here in Philadelphia, and served on the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Police Foundation. I have the experience and relationships that will make a difference.
Philadelphians deserve to feel safe in their homes and in public; safe from criminals and also from police misconduct.
Long-term, better jobs and better education contribute to a safer city. We can get there by improving our schools and supporting unionized labor; the bedrock of a strong middle class.
Short-term, we must :
- Eliminate the abuse of the heart and lung fund, which will return 600 officers to duty
- Civilianize office jobs, keeping trained officers on the street
- Include mental health and social service professionals in our 911 responses, and train dispatchers to assess the need when a call comes in
- Increase the new public safety corps, freeing up sworn officers to investigate and prevent crimes
Specifically on gun violence, we need to energize joint work between our police and the ATF, FBI, and State Police to stop the flow of illegal guns from entering our City.
I believe it is possible to both support good policing while also being critical of bad policing. We need leadership that will make this distinction and support our officers, while holding them to the highest standards of conduct.
Many of our problems stem from our underinvestment in our children, who are the future of our community. Underfunding of our schools results in poverty, underemployment, stress, and crime. The people making these budget decisions in Harrisburg do not see our children as their children, but we're all Pennsylvanians. A child who lives in Philadelphia deserves an education that's equal to the one a child gets in Lower Merion.
The courts have declared Pennsylvania's current funding formula to be unconstitutional. This is the moment to make our stand, and demand a fair funding formula in Harrisburg.
There are other underfunded schools around the Commonwealth, both rural and urban. Let's form common cause with them to build a coalition around this shared concern.
This requires some of our political leaders to work with elected officials from elsewhere in Pennsylvania. I believe that this is an appropriate task for an At-Large Councilmember, as well as the Mayor’s office. We can no longer let Republicans in Harrisburg pit rural people against city people. We must change the narrative so that every Pennsylvania kid gets a good education.
We need to enforce existing environmental regulations. We all deserve to breathe clean air and drink clean water, and environmental injustices disproportionately harm already-vulnerable communities.
On the street level: We need improved public transit, enhanced tree canopy, and expanded pedestrian and bike infrastructure that serves the needs of our communities with low cost, healthy transportation to jobs and recreation.
On the economic front: Environmental concerns will cause a shift toward low-carbon energy, which has the potential to create massive opportunities for Philadelphians.
If the rest of the world moves ahead without us, PGW’s existing infrastructure could become obsolete. This would be an economic disaster for Philadelphia because of PGW’s $1 billion debt, and the 1600 jobs that would be lost.
Or, instead, this could be utilized to accommodate new energy technologies. We would use it ourselves, and we could also make, sell, and deliver to other places, creating a lot of well-paying jobs for Philadelphians. We’re uniquely well-positioned for this with our deep inland port, great industrial infrastructure, skilled labor force, and great universities, all located in the middle of the large and prosperous mid-Atlantic region. Being greener isn't just about planting trees and eliminating pollution; it's also about seizing opportunities of the new green economy.
We have tipped into a downward spiral, but it’s reversible. Turning this around will take an extraordinary effort, and that’s a responsibility I will take on as your Councilperson. Let’s work together for a Philadelphia that works for all of us: a cultural, industrial, scientific and artistic center of the United States.
Sign in to comment
John Leekley published this page 2023-04-21 14:38:56 -0400
John Leekley published this page 2023-03-31 12:23:51 -0400