WHYY’s Radio Times continued its weekly series of interviews with the Philadelphia mayoral candidates today with Socialist Worker Party candidate Osborne Hart and independent Boris Kindij.
The big question from host Marty Moss-Coane: Why are these two running for mayor, given what a tough time candidates who aren’t Democrats have in this city?
Hart, a shelf-stocker at Walmart who’s run for office several times before, is focused on representing the interests of other working-class people and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“Our campaign calls for $15 now, not two years down, not five years down,” said Hart, who is also calling for the “unconditional legalization of immigrant workers” and a federal government public works program that would employ more people at “union-scale wages.”
While Moss-Coane pressed for specifics on how his platform would translate to running the city of Philadelphia, Hart brought up the vision of some business interests to turn the city into an “energy hub,” using cheap shale gas to boost manufacturing in the region. He appeared torn about whether that plan would ultimately benefit the city.
“The idea is the energy hub will create jobs and that is true, but the question is what it will do for working people,” said Hart, who is also concerned about the environmental implications of expanding the city’s fossil fuel industry.
“These are moral issues, life and death questions, not questions of economics.”
When it was Kindij’s turn at the mic, the candidate mostly stuck to the platform paper he brought into the studio with him, which lays out his plans to privatize trash collection, the formation of a privatized security force, tax reductions and abatement extensions.
Moss-Coane urged Kindij, a property manager who has never run for office, to say why he’s running for mayor, rather than work for a nonprofit or taking other steps to effect change in the city.
“I hate injustice and unfairness and that’s the main reason I want to do something for Philadelphia, for its people,” said Kindij. “Around 26 percent of citizens live in extreme poverty and it’s hard to survive on the streets.
“And there are two Philadelphias,” he continued, “White Philadelphia, which is like Center City, and the neighborhoods. And quite honestly, I don’t see any of the city politicians care about the neighborhoods, about the poverty. They talk with neighborhood leaders only when its time to get votes and that’s it.”