Last Thursday, DANA SPAIN, chairwoman of the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society and founder of Philadelphia Style magazine, held a fundraiser at her home in Bella Vista for City Controller candidate TERRY TRACY. Spain is exploring a run for Mayor as a Republican in 2015. While a novice in the political scene, Spain has one key element necessary to a serious run for Mayor – demonstrated ability to raise money. She founded and is in large part responsible for the success of PAWS. She is a successful businesswoman. She founded and made Philadelphia Style into a noted magazine. Spain sold Style for an undisclosed figure.
Tuesday evening LINDA KERNS, the co-chairwoman of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Republican National Lawyers Association, held a reception at her law offices in Symphony House. Kerns, who has coordinated election-day legal operations for the Philadelphia Republican Party for the past few years, is seeking volunteers to help with this year’s election. The slate is rather light this year. The Republicans have only five candidates on the ballot this year – DAN ALVAREZ for District Attorney, Terry Tracy for City Controller and ANNE MARIE COYLE and KENNETH POWELL for Common Pleas. The fifth candidate is VIC STABILE, the only statewide Republican candidate this year. He is running for Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Tuesday was a busy night. In addition to Kerns’ event, a number of wards held meetings to gear up for the upcoming election. Four University City wards held a joint meeting at the Mill Creek Tavern on Chester Avenue. Ward Leaders included MATT WOLFE (27th), MARK SUPPLE (46th), ANDREW GENTSCH (51st) and DENISE FUREY (60th). The event was well attended by election-board workers and committee people. Candidates Tracy and Coyle stopped in to say hello.
The 8th Ward also had a meeting on Tuesday at the offices of Pepper Hamilton. WARD LEADER LINDSAY DOERING was pleased with the turnout. Doering, who became the ward leader three years ago, has increased the political activity of the ward through recruitment of more committee people and volunteers. Tracy, the Republican candidate for City Controller, lives in this ward.
A recently released Pew Charitable Trust poll indicates that perception of the quality of the Philadelphia schools has decreased significantly over the past five years. Apparently 78% of those polled indicated that our schools are “fair or poor” up from 63% in 2009. What was more troubling is that poll reported 48% of respondents indicated the poor district schools would force them to find alternative education options, including leaving the city. This is frightening, as those leaving will be families with the financial ability to move to the suburbs. This would further erode the tax base.
Those polled were asked to assign blame for the schools’ problem. Given the bashing that GOV. TOM CORBETT was getting in the media concerning the lack of state funding for Philadelphia schools, one would have expected the majority of respondents to blame him. However, 31% blamed the Governor and the state legislators, while another 31% of the respondents blamed MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER and City Council. Twenty-one percent blamed the School Reform Commission and the School District administration and another 11% blamed the teachers’ union. The State already funds roughly 60% of the School District’s budget. Asking Harrisburg for more money will fall on deaf ears (not only the Governor’s but legislators’) until the district implements some real reforms, including, but not limited to, basing pay increases for teacher on performance and not seniority.