As children scribble away to compile wish lists for Santa during this holiday season, residents of Mt. Airy have been compiling a “wish list” for the 8th District City Councilwoman-elect, Cindy Bass.
The West Mt. Airy Neighbors (WMAN) gave residents an opportunity to meet Bass on Tuesday evening. WMAN Vice President of Finance, Martin Schmieg, and his wife, Ann, graciously opened their home to host the informal event with Bass and approximately 40 other Mt. Airyans. The councilwoman-elect mingled with her future constituents and gave a brief speech about her intentions for the district.
As people gathered on couches and stairs of the West Mt. Airy home, Bass expressed her love for the city and admiration for groups such as WMAN. Growing up in North Philadelphia and attending Temple University, Bass said that she loves this city and wants to give back to the communities who work so hard to improve their neighborhoods.
Q&A with Bass
After she spoke, the floor was opened to discussion—the group was not shy. Lack of transparency and presence in the community were the “buzz” phrases for the evening. Many expressed disappointment in the current city councilwoman, Donna Reed-Miller, and hoped that Bass will prove to be more accessible to the community.
“This is one of the community groups that I use as an example,” Bass said, in reference to WMAN and its work in the community.
Bass admitted that the job ahead would require a lot of work, but she was confident that she would remain a strong presence in the community, saying that she will have an office in the district so that she could be more accessible to her constituents. When asked where that office would be, Bass suggested that Germantown would be a good location, as it is in the center of the 8th Councilmanic District.
Zoning concerns raised
Other than maintaining a presence in the community, residents had concerns over zoning issues. WMAN board member Howard Bilofsky grilled Bass, attempting to illicit a reaction to the recent zoning changes in Chestnut Hill and, more specifically, Chestnut Hill Community Association board member Richard Snowden who is also the co-owner of the development group Bowman Properties, the group currently seeking zoning changes from Council.
To that issue, Bass took a safe step back, saying that there are so many projects in the 8th that it would not be fair to weigh in on one issue over another.
“I am unable to get involved in all of (the projects in the district),” said Bass, but she promised to reach out to constituents who had concerns over particular zoning issues and development projects.
WMAN Executive Director Marilyn Cohen expressed gratitude for Bass’ presence at the meeting and her willingness to greet her constituents and address their concerns in an intimate and informal gathering.
Bass said that she was eager to get to work on January 2 and reiterated her commitment to the district by saying that she will be very present and accessible to her constituents.
“We won’t always agree on everything, but I will always come and talk to whether we agree or disagree,” said Bass.