COUNCIL CANDIDATES ANSWER QUESTIONNAIRE IN PREPARATION FOR CCRA'S MARCH 5 CANDIDATES' DEBATE
Residents in half of the CCRA area, "south of the border," roughly below Walnut St., may vote in a hotly contested election between incumbent Kenyatta Johnson and challenger Ori Feibush, both of whom are scheduled to appear at a CCRA sponsored Candidates' Night at 7 pm on Thursday Mar 5, at the Greenfield School, 22nd and Sansom streets. In anticipation of the debate, the candidates submitted their answers to a 16 item questionnaire prepared by the Crosstown Coalition and adopted by the CCRA board (click here and here to view each candidate's answers). The responses showed that the candidates, both Democrats, had differing takes on a number of key issues. Some of the more significant disagreements were:
FREQUENCY OF REAL ESTATE TAX ASSESSMENTS: Johnson recommends reassessments every 10 years. Feibush suggests a 3 year cycle. Interestingly, both candidates suggested remediating the flaws in the recent AVI reassessment program that were identified in the 2013 Crosstown Coalition report.
THE PGW SALE: Feibush says that Council should have conducted public hearings on the PGW sale last Fall. Johnson, who did not respond to CCRA's call for hearings on the sale, now states that Council should have debated the issue. As for the future of PGW, Feibush calls for a sale, Johnson says to wait for a report from Council's Committee on Energy Opportunities.
MAPPING COUNCIL DISTRICTS: Feibush favors the use of an independent, nonpartisan commission to draw district boundaries, stating that "under the current system, politicians get to pick their voters". Johnson believes that Council should be charged with drawing the electoral maps for Council districts.
While the answers revealed differences among the candidates, they also unearthed points of agreement. On the plus side, both candidates stated they would vote for Councilman Kenny's Bill 13001 which would make the office of Inspector General a permanent post rather than a position created and funded at the discretion of each Mayor. Less positively, each candidate sidestepped the admittedly difficult issue of how much City funding should be delivered to the schools.