- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
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.