The Eighth District Debate – Live Blog (transcript)

8:58  Closing statements

Cindy Bass: “This is a season of change. To all things there is a season… I ask for your support based on my background and based on my experience and the things I’ve done.”

William Durham: “If your expectations are to change this distrrict… I would like you to consider one thing reputation… the reputation that I have is that I do work, and I do very good work, and I work very hard for people.”

Andrew Lofton: “You need to have somebody who is going to be able to argue on your behalf, that person would be me.”

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Greg Paulmier: Told a story about a time he was picking up trash at the Wissahickon Playground and got kids to help pick up trash by convincing them it was truly their playground

Robin Tasco: Said she has always been open and willing to fight for what’s right. 

Howard Treatman: “I’m proud to be the one bringing the message of economic development and accountability to the doorsteps.”

Verna Tyner: “I will always have you best interests at heart.”


8:49 Last Question: What is you number one priority for your staff?

Verna Tyner: Straff will be honnest fair and have open communication. “Quality constituent services.. we will be hands on, we will be in your faces and we will be in your family.”

Howard Treatman: “The first thing I would tell them: We’re not here because we are entitled to be here. We are here because we’ve been granted a platform from the voters … I need people who are willing to get out there and help me engage with the community.”

Robin Tasco: Accountability, transparency and service to the people – call people back, being accessible and accountable to the people in the district.

Greg Paulmier: Staff will have hours 24-7 – and their real boos would not be him, but the residents of the 8th, and he would check in with resident to see how his staff is doing.

Andrew Lofton: Staff must be professional – and it will spend regular periods of time reaching out to the community.

William Durham: “We’re going to have a staff that dedicated to you and that staff will be from the 8th District.”

Cindy Bass: To make the priorities of the community their priorities.


8:43 – Working with someone different from yourself: Verna Tyner said for the last 17 years the annual Unity Day in Tioga that she created, and the senior citizen prom that she helped to host three years ago is a good example of the many times she has worked across lines of perceived difference. 


8:40 – Working with someone different from yourself:  William Durham said the time when La Salle University wanted to close 20th Street was a time that he had to work with people who come from places of perceived differences – with local neighborhood residents, with school students and across a variety of opinions.

Andrew Lofton said his work in youth sports often puts him in constant contact woth young people and families from a large variety of backgrounds.  


8:38 – Working with someone different from yourself

 Cindy Bass: We have to have someone who can reach across the lines and I’ve done that consistently.



Andrew Lofton: “The reason why I got into this race is because I lost faith in our elected official to do the right thing.” 

Cindy Bass: Said although she has a lot of support in the campaign she got it because she worked her way up, and she will always be primarily interested in the people’s support.


8:28 – Guns

Andrew Lofton said if we keep cutting after school programs and extra school programs and feeding kids sugary foods, it will be hard to help young people move away from disruptive behavior.


8:27 – Guns

Robin Tasco said she doesn’t even let her kids play with water guns or gun video games – thats how much she hates guns.


8:25 – Guns

Greg Paulmier said he would institute a gun buyback program. And that increasing jobs in the district would lesses gun violence.


8:24 – Guns

Howard Treatman: “We need to get some respect in Harrisburg and pass reasonable gun laws.”


8:22 – Guns

Verna Tyner said education is key to helping kids and to “scare the wits” out of our kids about guns.



How did you get here tonight?

Every candidate except Greg Paulmier got here by car they said – some carpooled. 

Paulmier said he walked and campaigned on the way over.



8:18 Economic plans

Greg Paulmier said he would create a series of dialogs with each of the business districts to see what kinds of directions they would like to go. And see what kinds of resources they need. 


8:17 Economic plans

Cindy Bass said it’s important to create tax incentives to attract business to the whole city.


8:15 Economic plans

William Durham said he wants to create tax incentives to draw business to the District.


8:13 Economic plans

Andrew Lofton mentioned re-instituting the trolley to do tours of Germantown’s 15 historic sites.



8:04  – Drop

Cindy Bass said she would not commit tonight not to vote for a City Council president who either plans to or has taken DROP.

Bass said its a matter of practicality. Making a decision like that could limit a good choice for Council President – she will not rule out voting for a Council President who has enrolled in DROP


Howard Treatman – response:

“There are some things that are just black and white and taking $500,000 dollars and retiring for a day and then coming back and being Council Present just isn’t right.”

“A person who does that is not qualified to be Council President.”


Every other candidate also said they would not vote for a Council President who has accepted or plans to accept DROP.




Term Limits:

Cindy Bass said she would not have the problem of staying in Council too long.

William Durham said term limits could give the Council members too little time to get things done.

Greg Paulmier said campaign finance reform was the more important issue because it can keep big money away from Council members.




Term Limits:

Cindy Bass, William Durham and Greg Paulmier all said they would not support term limits.



Howard Treatman:

“This idea of elected office working with developer on the side it’s everything that’s wrong with the 8th district,”- applause – “Over ten years when we had the same thing happen wioth Germantown Settlement,”  – applause – “And the same thing woith New Media Technology Charter School.:


Robin Tasco:

“I’m gonna say ditto.”





Verna Tyner:

“What is most important is that we involve our City Planning Office.. if you rezone it and your re-map it you then put a plan together. We don’t always have to be reactive and wait till something comes and slaps us in the face.”




Cindy Bass said this kind of back room deal would not happen on her watch.

Andrew Lofton said he would have a community council within his office that projects would have to go before, so a situation like Chelten Plaza where it was a surprise would not happen with him in office.




The Fresh Grocer is the topic now and Chelten Plaza:

“Once again just like Martin Luther King the community is being ignored.”





On schools Bill Durham and Robin Tasco just said they would lobby to elliminate charter schools:

“We need to take the back to our city and take care of our own kids.”




Schools is the topic now, and specifically what role would a City Council person play in improving schools, which are not under the Council’s purview.

Greg Paulmier: Talked about getting parents involved with designing some school policies, like productive recesses.

Durham, Tasco and Bass and Tyner all just got separate rounds of applause for pointing out that when the MLK contract process got derailed this month by Rep. Dwight Evans and SRC Chair Robert Archie’s lobbying for Foundations – it’s not a good thing.

Tyner pointed out City Council should have been playing an oversight role to help keep this kind of thing from happening: “If we were doing our jobs we wouldn’t have to have an investigation because we would be already on top of it.”





Candidates are talking about what they would do differently than the incumbent Donna Reed Miller.

Communication is one thing all of them talked about. And opening up an office somewhere in the Eighth.




The candidates have just walked in and are introducing themselves to a full house. We’ve only had to gong two of them for going over their two minutes. 

It promises to be a good night.



It’s the Eighth District debate here at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown and people are starting to arrive.

The Treatman camp used the pre event time well to stage at little demonstration a few minutes ago, and Verna Tyner just dropped by to tell me my profile of her contained a few mistakes.

Here’s the big one – Verna never worked for Donna Reed Miller. My bad everybody. I’ll make that change ASAP.

Meantime, drop by and learn about your next City Council person.

I’ll be live blogging for the next two hours or so.

-Patrick Cobbs

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