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Candidates descend on the Northeast

John Sabatina, Rhawnhurst resident and endorsed Democratic candidate for register of wills.

The Holme Circle Civic Association last week welcomed 8th Police District community relations officer Chris Hanejko before inviting 25 political candidates to address the crowd.

The meeting lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes and would have gone a lot longer, but the group eliminated questions for the last nine candidates.

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The following candidates in the May 16 primary spoke:

• Mayor: Democrats Derek Green, Amen Brown, Jimmy DeLeon and Helen Gym and Republican David Oh.

Green is a former councilman, assistant district attorney, community association president and small business owner and lender. He called on Mayor Jim Kenney to resign when Kenney said after a July 4 shooting that he’ll be happy when he is no longer mayor. Green would also replace Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. “We need new leadership.” He’d support hiring bonuses to fill 1,000-plus police vacancies.

Oh, a former councilman, will be on the Nov. 7 general election ballot, as he is the only Republican. He believes he can make Philadelphia great again by cracking down on illegal speeding off-road bikes, making SEPTA cleaner and safer and getting drug addicts off the streets of Kensington.

Brown, 35, a state representative from West Philadelphia, was shot at age 14. He described himself as pro-law enforcement. He’s the single dad of an 8-year-old girl and cousin of slain Temple police officer Chris Fitzgerald. He wants better body armor for cops, two-person cop cars in high-crime areas and better technology to fight crime.

DeLeon is a former judge who has handled high-profile homicide cases such as Gary Heidnik and Marty Graham. He faults Kenney and City Council for what he said is their inaction in regard to asking the courts for help in solving the violent crime problem. More information is at DeLeonformayor.info.

Gym is a mother and former teacher who served in City Council. She’s been involved in issues such as affordable housing, ending state control of schools, better school buildings and anti-eviction efforts.

• Register of Wills: Democrats John Sabatina and Tracey Gordon.

Sabatina is a longtime lawyer and ward leader from Rhawnhurst who has the party endorsement. He’s handled more than 70 estates. He plans outreach to promote wills, a booklet that outlines the inheritance tax and general education about the office.

Gordon, the incumbent, said she opened the office to assist families who lost loved ones to the coronavirus. She said her office provides good customer service, treating people with dignity, being active on social media and doing outreach to churches.

• City Council at large: Republicans Sam Oropeza, Drew Murray and Jim Hasher (represented by his son, Pat) and Democrats Qiana Shedrick, John B. Kelly, NaDerah Griffin, Jalon Alexander, George Stevenson, Christopher Gladstone Booth, Melissa Robbins, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Amanda McIllmurray, Michelle Prettyman, Sherrie Cohen and Abu Edwards.

Pat Hasher gave his dad’s background as an Archbishop Ryan graduate and married father of five sons from Torresdale. He is a Mayfair-based real estate broker and owner of Jimmy’s Timeout Sports Pub. He was the Republican nominee for an at-large special election last November. In this race, Pat Hasher said, his dad will be battling the “far, far, far left” Working Families Party in the general election.

Shedrick, third on the ballot, is a mother of three, an Army veteran, a Hampton University graduate and president of the Upper North Neighbors Association. She’s organized cleanups and green space additions and worked with the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee to recruit block captains.

Kelly has served on the Philadelphia Police Foundation, helping raise money for bulletproof vests and crime-mapping technology. He opposes stop and frisk, believes clean streets will help attract businesses and supports more funding for schools. His other top issues are poverty, city services and public safety.

Griffin is a former teacher who has a degree in psychology and two master’s degrees. She believes Philadelphia classrooms need more teacher’s aides. She wants more funding for science and social studies books. She thinks it should be mandatory for students to learn a second language and wants a curriculum that includes financial literacy, music, home economics, woodworking and banking. And she wants a return to cursive writing and phonics. She supports more funds to address drug and alcohol addiction and contends more funding for mental health treatment will lead to a decrease in crime.

Oropeza took 43 percent of the vote as the Republican nominee in a special state Senate election last year. He’s a trade school graduate and ex-boxer and MMA fighter who favors more trade options for students. He founded a nonprofit to clean up trash and dumping. In Council, he’d advocate for children in the areas of arts, computers and recreation. He believes the police department is short staffed. He’s been endorsed by the FOP, Local 22 firefighters and paramedics and the Temple, Penn and Housing Authority police.

Alexander, of Strawberry Mansion, is a lawyer who turned 30 the day after the meeting. He is proposing Drone Force Philly, which would give two drones to each police district to combat crime. He suggested that a drone would have helped capture the individual who shot and killed a 15-year-old earlier this month in the Oxford Village housing project.

Stevenson is married with two daughters, has a human services degree from Chestnut Hill College and is a former Council aide. He believes he has the relationships with city departments to deliver good constituent services.

Booth, wearing his Morehouse College jacket, is a 22nd Ward committeeman and worked as a systems engineer for 30 years. He’s a teacher, and believes they are underpaid. He believes there should be more black men as teachers to serve as role models. He also would work to make Roosevelt Boulevard safer for motorists and pedestrians.

Robbins, of Fox Chase, is eighth on the ballot. She’s a mother and an Army veteran. Her issues include illegal truck parking, abrupt transfer of police district commanders, a lack of police presence, after-school and summer programs and aging school buildings with lead, asbestos, mold and rodents.

Richardson, a mother of three and former teacher, is in her first term in Council. She’s gone on police ride-a-longs from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. to view nuisance businesses and curfew violators. She sponsored a bill creating a uniform curfew time. She’s also visited curfew centers. There are four of them, with two more to open, including one in the Northeast that will open in the summer. The centers are open daily from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

McIllmurray’s focus is safe and affordable housing, creating a pathway to home ownership and lowering the amount of rent as a percentage of income. She supports a state bill that would give money to homeowners and landlords to make repairs. She favors opening parks, recreation centers and libraries seven days a week.

Prettyman, of Southwest Philadelphia, has been a small business owner, nonprofit leader and teacher. She’s seen schools with outdated textbooks. She favors the teaching of financial literacy and assistance for small businesses.

Cohen is the daughter of the late Councilman David Cohen. She’s fought proposed library and pool closings. A lawyer, she represents tenants and advocates for affordable housing.

Edwards is a former Decatur Elementary School student who has been president of Friends of Greater Olney Library. He wants funding to bring 311 cases to people’s doors. He wants to enlist more block captains. More information is at AbuEdwards.com.

Murray is a St. Joseph’s Prep graduate who has been active in civic, park and church organizations. He supports more police funding and opposes safe injection sites.

• 6th Councilmanic District: Mike Driscoll is unopposed in the primary and general election. An Oxford Circle native, he was a state representative and owner of Finnigan’s Wake before winning a special election last year. He’s voted for funding for more cops and plans to do so again. He warned the crowd that safe injection sites could be coming to every Council district in the city. “We want no safe injection sites.”

• Sheriff: Michael Untermeyer is in a three-way Democratic primary that includes incumbent Rochelle Bilal. He said the office is broken, and he’ll fix it. He vowed to hire an integrity director, vet employees and improve the issuance of bench warrants for failure to appear in court. He’s been a lawyer for more than 40 years who has also worked in real estate and finance.

• City Controller: Christy Brady, of Fox Chase, was named acting city controller when Rebecca Rhynhart resigned to run for mayor. Brady had to resign as acting controller to run for the final two years of Rhynhart’s term. She said she has the experience to be ready to serve on day one based on her 28 years in the office. ••

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