Philadelphia’s midterm elections are usually interesting for the wrong reasons–the usual concerns about vote stealing and vote buying. We can be sure that some of that still goes on and that some illegal tactics were used in certain parts of the city, but this time around there were hundreds of people watching District 7 and two or three other sites where the vote count was suspicious in past elections. Congratulations to Maria Quiñones Sánchez, Elen Gym and Alan Domb, public servants who have demonstrated a desire to serve the community through hard work and original ideas. Maria Quiñones Sánchez will have more time to bring to fruition her initiatives regarding taxes, the land bank, solutions to the opioid crisis, and other steps to improve the lives of people in her district and of all Philadelphians. We liked Councilman Domb’s wish to enact term limits for City council and we hope he continues that fight. Congratulations to Marwan Kreidi,who will have an opportunity to climb up the voting process in Philadelphia and to the Democrat Rochelle Bilal who will run unopposed in November to become Sheriff of Philadelphia. In general, Latino candidates did not fair as well as expected, but we are encouraged by the results of this election and the number of Latinos who were seeking public office for the first time.
Some new arrivals like Councilman-elect Isaiah Thomas bring fresh ideas regarding the school system, gentrifications, taxes and more. Money is the biggest obstacle for minorities seeking political positions. The idea of term limits is appealing to voters because that might free office holders to accomplish their goals in a short time knowing that they do not need to engage in a constant battle to raise funds, especial for a second term. That said, there are pressing issues that concern the voters, like another look at real estates taxes, tax abatements, the state of the schools, improving neighborhoods, and more. Our city has experienced unprecedented growth in the last decade and the new census will show where remedies are urgent and the need to target certain parts of the city to invest in the future of those neighborhoods. Many schools throughout the city are in poor and unsafe conditions and there is a need to take immediate steps to make them safe. The sugar tax has not been the panacea that was expected, but the city has a budget surplus that could be invested in improving those schools and many of the neighborhoods where crime and drugs are rampant. Our city has to deal with the continuous threat fo gun violence and our leadership can do a lot more to ensure safety in parts of the city where people don’t feel safe when they leave their homes. A decision has to be made on a safe injection site and the solutions are not simple. New faces in government might help to bring innovation and renewed energy to solve the problems we face.
Congratulations to the winners.