Endorsement 2: Maria Quiñones Sanchez for City Council

The first time I heard about Maria Quiñones Sanchez, I was a senior in high school, soon to cast my first ever vote (for John White, in the 1999 Mayor’s race). A classmate of mine from the Lower Northeast came into school one day that spring and started talking about Maria, and her efforts to take on Rick Mariano. Although she was a mystery to me, I was intrigued.

Rick Mariano was someone I had certainly heard about. He did things like ride a bike around Kensington Avenue, flashing a gun at suspected prostitutes. In his first term in office he made a bizarre statement about union members and Hitler, introduced basically no legislation, and started showing some “ethical lapses” (like driving his City car down the shore) that precluded his later conviction for bribery. And, he was the product of the powerful alliance of Vince Fumo and John Dougherty. Into that arena stepped Maria; a young, smart, accomplished, woman to take him on. She fought the good fight, but came in second in a three way race.

People talk about the Anne Dicker’s “against the machine” race as one that took courage, and, that is certainly true. But, Anne’s race was not so much against a machine, so much as a race with two warring factions, fighting each other, while Anne and her door-to-door campaign made an end-around both of them, and nearly won. Maria had no such luck in 1999. Not only did she run against the united Fumo-Doc machine, she did it in a time where there was little indication of a City-wide progressive/reform upswing. And she had an electorate that, coming off of 8 years of Rendell, was much more contented than today (maybe falsely, maybe not). Make no mistake, given the context, and given who she was going to face, running for that seat was an act of real political courage.

I guess what I am trying to get to is this: Yeah, it is sort of cool that a bunch of us now get attention as some sort of new flavor in Philly politics. But, we have to remember that there are activists out there from all over the City who have been doing on-the-ground work in their communities for years and years. When those types of people run for office, people who are both progressive, and have deep roots in their communities, we need to do everything we can to embrace them. That is what the candidacy of Maria brings.

On the issues, of course, Maria is very good. I have now seen her in a couple different settings, and she always gives a clear vision for what kind of City Councilwoman she will be, and has detailed, smart answers to any questions posed. For example, Jennifer recently wrote about her ideas for making the streets safer, that went beyond a simple call for more police:

She thinks we need to get people back out onto the street, and focuses on the experiential difference between rich neighborhoods and poor.

Center City is as safe as it is not so much because it has a strong police presence, but because it has a strong pedestrian presence. Once the offices close at 5 p.m., the bars and restaurants open up and people are shuffling around on foot until 2 or 3 in the morning.

We need good folks out everywhere. So, how about health centers that stay open late? Tutors at the schools till 10? Adult-literacy classes at 11 p.m.? Midnight movies at the libraries? The more bustle the better. It works in Center City and it can work elsewhere. The city can stimulate it by making every building it owns a late-evening safe haven and helping others who serve the community to do the same: PHA facilities, SEPTA stations, bus stops, health centers, schools and libraries, but, first and foremost, community centers and recreation centers.

Many of us lament that there is no “progressive bench” in Philadelphia, with good people holding local offices. Well, here is our chance; both to elect a proactive, smart Councilwoman, and to position a young woman as a leader in Philadelphia, with a long career of service ahead of her. And we get to do it in a district where a basically unqualified ward leader, with no clear vision of how Philadelphia Government should function, was placed into the seat.

These opportunities don’t come around that often, and it is time to do our part. I don’t have a ton of money, but I just donated $25 to Maria’s campaign. In a district Council race, literally every dollar helps. Whether you can give 10 bucks or 100, trust me that it makes a real difference.

We strongly endorse Maria Quiñones Sanchez for City Council, as someone who will invigorate the 7th Council District with proactive, progressive leadership.

Donate here, volunteer here.

Maria is awesome

Dan, great post. It's important that young progressives support the people who have been working in the trenches. Maria has been a leader long before Young Philly Politics even existed. I think it speaks well of the site that our first two endorsements are people who have had a long career in working for social change.

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http://benwaxman.com

Neighborhood Networks Endorsed

Both of our candidates have also been endorsed by Neighborhood Networks:

Maria Quinones Sanchez is a veteran community activist. Formerly on the staff of City Councilman Angel Ortiz, she later served as the first female and youngest Executive Director of ASPIRA, the largest Latino educational institution in Pennsylvania. She believes that the answer to the rampant violence that is plaguing our neighborhoods and our city is the creation of well funded and maintained recreation centers, community policing, job creation, and real educational and working opportunities for our youth.

Irv Ackelsberg has represented individuals and groups ably and creatively for 30 years working out of the neighborhood office of Community Legal Services. Irv has represented hundreds of voters in the district in their personal problems, but he also has taken on powerful financial and political interests. He is always on the side of ordinary people and has fought – and won – battles against foreclosure sales, SEPTA fare hikes, payday lenders, fraudulent training programs and other con artists.

PFC Phone Bank for Maria

Read all about it here!

http://www.dfalink.com/event.php?id=19668

Spend a few hours after work or school M-TH 6-9 to elect one of the city's best candidates, a giant leap up from the incumbent!

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that...you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"

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