A Philadelphia City Councilwoman says she feels a lack of respect from Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration.
Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez is upset after seeing a report with e-mails that prove that Jim Kenney’s staffers were urging community groups to pressure her on the soda tax at public events.
“When you take inexperienced, immature campaign operatives and transfer them into a government where you have to govern where every single Thursday, you are running a campaign around policy issues using campaign tactics in government it should not be acceptable,” she said.
According to emails obtained by the website City&State, mayoral staffers instructed protesters from the nonprofit ACTION United to “corner” Sánchez at a media event, then pressure her not to take campaign contributions from the soda industry. Sanchez says she couldn’t support the new tax and told the mayor directly that she wasn’t changing her mind.
A written statement by the mayor says in hindsight his staff’s methods could seem agressive, but he says the battle is over and it’s time to use the tax to benefit as many pre-k students as possible. Here it is in its entirety:
“While I believe it was fair for my staff to draw attention to the soda industry’s attempts to buy votes, I understand how you could look back now and say that their methods were aggressive. At the time, it probably seemed like a drop in the bucket compared to what the soda industry and their allies were orchestrating. But, looking back, we agree, no matter the circumstances, taking the high road is always the right thing to do. What’s important now is that we focus on ensuring the tax benefits as many of our pre-k babies and neighborhoods as possible. They have already waited for too long.”