I am running for City Council in Philadelphia’s 8th District to represent the interests of low-income Philadelphians every day in City Hall and behind the closed doors where far too many decisions are made. I will fight for policies that create a Philadelphia that is just and equitable for all.
Bringing Fair Government to the 8th District
Philadelphia’s City Council operates under cloaks of bureaucracy and via backroom politics. I will be a representative accountable to the people and do the following:
- Make publicly available online and in hard copy regularly updated reports showing in detail how funds are distributed in the 8th District.
- Fully include affected constituencies in decision making about issues impacting the 8th District.
- Ensure that development in the 8th District benefits the current residents who have been committed to our neighborhoods and communities, rather than big developers and out-of-town interests.
- Pressure City agencies to hold absentee landlords accountable for code violations and non-payment of taxes.
Equitable and Equitably Funded Public Education
The majority of our district’s students are people of color, who face systemic racism, racial bias in school funding, and a disproportionately white teaching force. To provide a brighter future for our children I will:
- Increase funding for the School District by requiring large corporations and wealthy residents to pay their fair share of taxes, ending the 10-year tax abatement program, and pressuring major exempt eds and meds institutions to pay into a PILOT program.
- Prioritize the clean up of the mold, asbestos, and other conditions that make too many of our schools unhealthy spaces for our children.
- Lead the fight on City Council to halt the expansion of charter schools and hold accountable those currently in operation.
- Pressure the School District to end the outsourcing of educational services in our public schools to private vendors, such as programing for our special needs populations and GED classes.
It’s expensive to be poor. Corporations and big businesses aren’t paying their fair share of taxes and working Philadelphians like us are carrying the extra burden. Fueled by my experiences as a former hotel worker, I will:
- Attack the root causes of poverty by raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour and providing more protections to hourly wage earners so they receive the pay that they are entitled to. In the alternative, if an increase is deemed to be preempted, impose an impact fee on companies that refuse to pay $15 an hour and use the funds raised as an income supplement for low wage workers.
- Reduce the wage tax for low income residents of Philadelphia so that those who make the least are able to bring more home to their families.
- Fiercely defend the right of workers to unionize, oppose efforts to undermine unionization through outsourcing, union busting, and other questionable tactics, and create legislation barring City agencies from providing any assistance to companies that fight unions.
Affordable and Appropriate Low-Income Housing
Philadelphians deserve development and investment in our communities without being displaced from our homes. To support long-term neighborhood residents, I will:
- Protect tenants by implementing rent control in Philadelphia and bolstering tenant rights by strengthening the City’s good cause eviction ordinance and applying it to all renters.
- Enact and enforce inclusionary zoning that requires new market rate developments to either allocate 20% of the units on-site to low-income people, or fund the off-site construction of an equivalent number of units affordable to families with incomes no greater than 30% of the area median income.
- Ensure that low-income housing units are fully accessible to those with physical or intellectual disabilities, are located near public transit and schools, and have access to supermarkets and other amenities that are affordable for low-income residents.
Criminal Justice Reform
Our current criminal justice system creates a school-to-prison pipeline, criminalizes poverty, and is built on racial bias. To end this system as we know it, I will:
- Increase access to restorative justice practices as an alternative to current punitive approaches to handling truancy, mental illness, crime, and violations.
- Build pressure within City Council to expose the excessive supervision of non-violent offenders on probation and parole, a racially discriminatory practice that increases mass incarceration.
- End stop and frisk and other forms of profiling.
- Sponsor legislation to direct monetary savings achieved through reducing mass incarceration to benefit our public schools.
Children’s exposure to lead and other toxic pollutants impact their physical health and intellectual development. This is why I refuse to accept campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry and when I am in council I will:
- Work with the Department of Public Health to craft and pass legislation that reduces children’s exposure to lead in schools, housing, and contaminated soil.
- Oppose the development of any new fossil fuel infrastructure in the city including pipelines or power plants.
- Advocate for policies to ensure that 100% of the electricity used in Philadelphia comes from renewable sources by no later than 2035.