Delaire Landing last week hosted a candidates forum that brought out 24 candidates, some who sent a surrogate.
Candidates spoke and answered questions.
Democratic mayoral candidates Rebecca Rhynhart and Allan Domb addressed the crowd.
In response to questions, Rhynhart said she’d address lead, asbestos and violence in schools; improve lighting in high-crime areas; support arrests for disorderly conduct; and bring DA Larry Krasner and police together to prosecute illegal gun cases.
Domb, who was successful in real estate until being elected to City Council, touted his wage tax reimbursement legislation for the working poor and his bill that saved jobs during COVID by allowing outdoor dining. He decried the $2.8 million in thefts suffered in 2022 by the Macy’s at 13th and Market. A woman told Domb she works at a local chain pharmacy that lost $200,000 in thefts last year.
Christy Brady, a CPA and Democratic candidate for city controller, spoke of her 28 years in the office working under Jonathan Saidel, Alan Butkovitz and Rebecca Rhynhart.
John Sabatina is the endorsed Democratic candidate for register of wills. He’s a lawyer and Army veteran who has handled more than 70 estates. He vowed to bring integrity to the office and be an effective manager of the staff.
Councilman Mike Driscoll is unopposed in the primary and general elections. He believes the city needs to “sweeten the pot” to recruit more police officers. He is also monitoring the problem with loud speakers at Pleasant Hill Park.
Council at-large candidates who appeared were Democrats Sherrie Cohen, Rue Landau and Melissa Robbins and Republicans Drew Murray, Sam Oropeza, Mary Jane Kelly and Jim Hasher.
Cohen, who is listed second on the ballot, is the daughter of the late Councilman David Cohen. She wants fully funded schools and services for senior citizens. Other top issues for her are SEPTA, safety, libraries and recreation centers.
Landau, a lawyer and community organizer from South Philadelphia, has endorsements from the Democratic Party and many unions. She hopes to help Center City thrive.
Robbins, an Army veteran, hopes to improve the condition of schools that have trash, leaky roofs, lead, asbestos and the smell of pot. More state and federal funding is needed, she said. She also worried about illegal guns, saying young people have more access to certain firearms than she did when she was in the military.
Murray, a civic leader and ward leader, criticized Krasner for not prosecuting certain crimes. He opposes safe injection sites and wants to spend more money to recruit police officers.
Oropeza, a father of two, described himself as a former pro fighter who was tenacious in the ring. “I will be tenacious in City Council.” Oropeza, who works in commercial real estate and runs a nonprofit that cleans streets, has been endorsed by the FOP, state troopers, Local 22 firefighters and paramedics and police officers working for Temple, Penn, SEPTA and the Philadelphia Housing Authority. He favors more money for recreation centers so young people can have positive outlets and access to good role models.
Kelly, who lives in Delaire, is not accepting campaign contributions. She described herself as a former Fishtown resident and the daughter of a World War II veteran and fireman.
Hasher and his wife Stacie, who was in attendance, are the parents of five sons. He criticized Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw for transferring district commanders and the Working Families Party for supporting defunding the police, rent control, safe injection sites and Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson. Hasher, president of Torresdale Boys Club, has been endorsed by the FOP, building trades and AFL-CIO.
Colleen McIntyre Osborne is a married mother of two from Crestmont Farms who has been an assistant district attorney and an Army Reserve JAG lawyer. A candidate for Municipal Court, she’s recommended by the Philadelphia Bar Association and endorsed by the Democratic Party and various unions. She asked the crowd to push her ballot No. 26, the number Chase Utley wore.
Rania Major is a Democratic and Republican candidate for Municipal Court. She has 35 years of litigation experience, including pro bono work and practicing in all four divisions of Municipal Court. She has been endorsed by AFSCME DC 33 and DC 47, the Citizens Networking for Progress PAC and the Guardian Civic League,
Melissa Francis’ parents, Dave and Maria, spoke on her behalf. She is running for Common Pleas and Municipal Court. She is an Archbishop Ryan graduate who spent 20 years as an assistant district attorney until being fired by Krasner in a purge. She then worked for the state attorney general’s office. She is recommended by the Philadelphia Bar Association and endorsed by the FOP and Guardian Civic League.
Natasha Taylor-Smith is a Democratic candidate for Common Pleas Court. She’s highly recommended by the Philadelphia Bar Association and endorsed by the Democratic Party. She also put in a plug for Chesley Lightsey, another Democratic Common Pleas candidate.
Wade Albert, an Oxford Circle native, is also running as a Democrat for Common Pleas Court. He’s party endorsed and recommended by the Philadelphia Bar Association.
Will Braveman, a candidate for Common Plea Court, has been endorsed by the Democratic Party and 18 unions “and counting.” He vowed to show up in court on time. He has three decades of volunteer work.
Korea-born Kay Yu is running for Common Pleas Court with the support of the Democratic Party and a highly recommended rating by the Philadelphia Bar Association. She ran for judge in 2019 and has since worked as an arbitrator and mediator but describes herself as a “public servant at heart.”
Kenneth Joel, a Democrat running for Common Pleas Court, spoke as the event was ending and asked voters to “push 10 for Ken.”
Tamika Washington, seeking a full term on Common Pleas Court, attended the event, but had to leave before she had a chance to speak.
City elections commissioner chairwoman Lisa Deeley was on hand, joined by her mom, former Sheriff Barbara Deeley. Deeley, a shoo-in for re-election, told the crowd that May 9 is the deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot.
Incumbent Republican Seth Bluestein will battle it out with the Working Families Party’s Jarrett Smith in November for the third commissioner’s seat.
Mona Cohen, a member of Women for McCaffery, spoke on behalf of Dan McCaffery, a Superior Court judge running in the Democratic primary for Supreme Court. She told the crowd McCaffery is the party-endorsed candidate who is a former Philadelphia assistant district attorney. He has significant union backing and is highly recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. ••