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Next Great City Mayoral Forum: Sustainability Recap
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Next Great City Mayoral Forum: Sustainability Recap

Who’s your favorite mayoral candidate? We got our first taste of the various points of views last night at Next Great City’s Mayoral Forum.

Six candidates answered questions slung by WHYY’s Dave Davies, from housing to school lunches to plastic bag legislation.

Next Great City, “is made up of over 100 civic associations, labor unions, businesses, public health organizations, environmental nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and social service groups… dedicated to creating a positive future for Philadelphia by advocating for common sense, cost-effective policies that enhance environmental quality, strengthen neighborhoods and increase our economic competitiveness,” according to their website.

Next Great City’s 2007 & 2011 recommendations both hit goals since implemented, including milestones like 100 new markets & gardens created, Green City, Clean Waters and nearly 3000 vacant lots greened.

2015 – Next Great City Mayoral Forum

The evening kicked off with remarks from PHS president Drew Becher, as the event was held at the Philadelphia Flower Show headquarters at the PA Convention Center. (They appropriately had drawings for free tickets for attendees. Because civic engagement = motivation for free stuff.)

PennFuture’s Katie Bartolotta introduced the mayoral forum and elaborated on the 6 initiatives of Next Great City.

Next Great City’s 2015 Mayoral Initiatives:

  1. Repair substandard housing conditions that make Philadelphians sick
  2. Create clean, litter-free streets, parks & rivers
  3. Protect vulnerable residents & infrastructure in extreme weather
  4. Strengthen small business climate
  5. Connect neighborhoods to our trail & bicycle network
  6. Provide free drinking water & nutritious food for students.

So how did the candidates fair?

The house was full of Philly influencers last night, so we’re catching a lot of the Twitterverse for today’s recap.

On housing & Tax abatement for all Philadelphians:

Nelson Diaz cited an 80/20 plan, where 80% of residents pay for 20% of others in order to have access to housing.

On School Children Access to Clean Water & Healthy Lunches

When asked about clean water, an audience member outburst included the plea of “Ban Fracking Now”. 

Diaz discussed about how we’ve been a failure at money to our schools, and they don’t even have paper (let along access to water), due to the tax abatement funds. 

Keith Goodman suggested partnerships with restaurants to create local pipelines for healthy food in our schools. 

Doug Oliver wants healthy, local, fresh lunches for school children.

Lynn Abraham gave an innovative suggestion to make yard for gardens in playgrounds for school children, stating “Environmentally prepared schoolyards have the capacity for urban gardeners.” 

And then there’s this stat.

On Biking

And they even tried relating with millennials by speaking our biking lingo:

On Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are an issue close to our hearts at Green Philly, when we helped start a discuss almost 3 years ago.

And our thoughts:

On overall sustainability:

But as one attendee pointed out, that’s not the only answer.

Just like Hahn mentioned, Abraham did have the most progressive environmental statements of the group, driving home points that she brings her own reusable bags and pitches in with neighborhood cleanups. The only female of the bunch, she didn’t let the manterruption factor in last evening.

Kenney introduced the plastic bag legislation in 2009, support bike lanes and even admitted he didn’t like cyclists when he first arrived in the city.

It’s too early to call environmental favorites, but a good jumping off point to start more of these discussions. 

Stay tuned to Green Philly for the upcoming mayoral elections. And let’s change this perception & statistic, ASAP:

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher
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