Council candidates react to the election

Eighth District Council candidate Cindy Bass stood apart from a crowded field Tuesday night to capture the Democratic Primary. Unity, however, will be her top priority moving forward.

“We have to bring folks together so that they can help us work to get the district in the shape that it needs to be in,” said Bass, who carried 39 percent of the vote in a seven-way race. It was almost double what her nearest opponent pulled in.

Other priorities for Bass include recruiting new businesses to the district and addressing blight, which she said has gotten worse since her unsuccessful Council run in 2007.

“Vacant land, blight, short dumping, these are all problems that have to be addressed to make our community livable and the communities that people want to see,” she said.

Bass also renewed her pledge to open an office in the district, something her predecessor, current Eighth District City Councilwoman Donna Reed MIller, has not had in years, despite ongoing public dissatisfaction. Bass did not have any specific locations in mind.

She will have to wait until January to get started on these items, however.  Bass faces what will likely be an easy victory in November’s General Election, with no Republican candidate on the ballot.

If elected, Bass will also have to wait until the New Year to cast her ballot for Council’s next president. Asked whether she would pick Ninth District incumbent Marian Tasco, a participant in the city’s controversial DROP retirement program who is expected to be considering a run for that position, Bass said right now she is not ready to rule anybody out.

“Until you actually know who’s in, you really just can’t make a decision and can’t make a judgment on it,” said Bass.

Second place

Greg Paulmier failed to capture the Eighth District seat in his fourth attempt on Tuesday. He took home about 20 percent of the votes and placed second.

Citing Bass’ string of endorsements (Mayor Michael Nutter, state Rep. Dwight Evans, and former Gov. Ed Rendell and others), Paulmier characterized the contest as “kind of a David and Goliath” race.

“The government, being the machine, continues to dominate,” said Paulmier.

That said, Paulmier is staying optimistic and said it’s now time for the community to unify around Bass.

“I’m ready to work with Cindy Bass and with Mayor Nutter and all the other people that supported her to finally deliver to this community what is long overdue,” he said.

Asked if he would run again, Paulmier said it’s too early to say – it’ll depend on how well Bass delivers. Her first big test, he said, will be how she handles a planned strip mall development in Germantown called Chelten Plaza, which has been stewing in community outrage for months.

“If we aren’t able to move forward in a way that has tangible results, I certainly three years from now might look at [running again],” he said.

Former City Council staffer Verna Tyner could not be reached for comment for this article. She held the third position in the race with 18.5 percent of the vote.

Big spender

Howard Treatman, who placed a distant fourth Tuesday with 13 percent of the vote, gave a less open-ended response to the same question.

“I’m not really thinking about that right now,” said Treatman.

The real estate developer made his first run at political office and said he was disappointed with the result, but added that he was pleased with his effort.

“We made up a lot of ground very quickly and I think we really became a serious contender in this race,” he said.

Treatman said his personal contribution to his campaign – $275,000 – was needed to make that happen. He said it was money well spent.

“I really look at it as an investment in my community,” he said. “It was very important to me to give that option to my community.”

Treatman said he knew he would have to significantly underwrite his campaign, given that he entered the race relatively late with little name recognition compared to Bass and Paulmier.

If he were to run for political office again, however, Treatman said he would seek broader financial support and welcome political backing, something he did not seek in this race.

“Endorsements from politicians I respect? Certainly, I would greatly welcome that and it would have been helpful if I had that this time around,” said Treatman. “Being controlled by a group or politicians? That’s never going to happen with me.”

Robin Tasco, Andrew Lofton and William Durham finished fifth, sixth and seventh in the Eighth District Council race, each with less than 3.5 percent of the vote.

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