As a fairly new driver who’s gotten a few tickets, Aliha Walker wanted to hear what the traffic judge candidates had to say at the 12th Ward forum.
Although she got some of her questions answered, she was left wanting more. A 12th Ward committee person herself, she wanted more than the 22 candidates to attend, especially Cindy Bass, a City Council candidate.
More than 50 people, including the candidates, gathered at the Lonnie Young Recreation Center on Tuesday at the second forum held by the 12th Ward. The ward wanted to give each candidate the chance to speak to the community, said Irving Vaughn, treasurer assistant and committee person for the ward.
The forum also helps the ward figure out who it wants to support, he said.
Each candidate was given about five minutes, though most of them kept it brief to accommodate the many speakers.
First up was former City Controller Jonathan Saidel, who spoke on behalf of Maria McLaughlin, a candidate for Court of Common Pleas judge. He described her as someone who would do the right thing and spoke of her 20 years of experience working for the district attorney’s office.
Christopher Mallios, another candidate for Common Pleas judge, explained how much he valued his education.
“I’m just a kid from Northeast Philadelphia,” he said. “I’m proof that you can do anything through education.”
For the Eighth District City Council candidates, Howard Treatman was the first to speak. The Germantown resident briefly outlined his past experiences in the private sector.
Another candidate for the Eighth, Andrew Lofton volunteers 15 to 20 hours in the community on top of his job, and said he would offer voters fresh ideas instead of the antiquated ones that exist.
Following him was Greg Paulmier, who spoke about his frustration with calling the city about abandoned properties. He said that his work restoring houses in the neighborhood has created homes and jobs in the community, as well as a tax base.
Robin Tasco, a certified electrician and past union business representative, said her past experiences made her relatable. “I can go from the streets to the board room,” she said.
Joan Hill, president of the Chew-Chelten Avenue Business Association, spoke for the last Eighth District candidate with a presence at the forum. She said Bill Durham is sincere and passionate about the Eighth District, and she believes he’ll make an impact in the area.
“I didn’t want people to think he just blew the meeting off,” Hill said about why she decided to speak for him. “And sometimes it’s better to have a person speak.”
Hill explained Durham had another engagement and had to leave early.
After the speakers were done, Evonne Tisdale was glad she attended the forum.
She recently moved back to Philadelphia and wanted to make an informed decision when she voted, especially because the number of candidates would be enough to overwhelm her at the polls, she said.
Though she hoped the forum would be more interactive, she liked hearing what the candidates do outside of their professional lives.
At 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 27, join us when all seven candidates for the Eighth Distirct City Council race will come together for a debate, fueled by the questions voter themselves have come up with. WHYY’s Executive Director of News and Civic Dialogue, Chris Satullo, will moderate the event at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, 35 West Chelten Avenue, 19144. (Doors open at 6 p.m.)