"I come from a proud family that has been involved with public service for as long as I can remember. I want to work for you. We need to create more living wage jobs, improve our schools, and make public safety - especially getting guns off the streets, a top priority. With nearly a decade of government experience, I know what it takes to find solutions, navigate the complicated governmental agencies, and get things done."
I became a student of criminal justice matters since my undergraduate studies at Penn State, majoring in Administration of Justice. I strongly support bringing back former Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey’s anti-violence plan “Focused Deterrence”(FD),Group Violence Intervention (GVI) or “Pulling Levers”.
The Plan Overview
The term "pulling levers" refers to the use of multiple interventions or "levers" to create a comprehensive approach to reducing violence. Group violence intervention (GVI) is a group anti-violence strategy that is often used interchangeably with focused deterrence.
GVI is a targeted strategy that aims to prevent retaliatory violence among high-risk individuals or groups. Like focused deterrence, GVI involves law enforcement, community leaders, and social service providers working together to identify and engage individuals at the highest risk of involvement in violence.
It will significantly reduce and possibly stop the gun violence like it did before. FD is evidence-based with proven results.
A comprehensive FD/ Plan and strategy involves a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach that targets high-risk individuals, provides support and resources, and includes a strong law enforcement response to violent crime.
Key Plan Components
Specifically, I support a comprehensive FD/GVI Plan and strategy that includes the following essential components:
1. Targeted Identification: The first step in a focused deterrence plan is to identify the highest-risk individuals or groups who are most likely to be involved in violent crime. This involves analyzing crime data, intelligence information, and other relevant information to identify those who are driving violent crime in the community.
2. Law Enforcement Partnerships: A critical component of a focused deterrence plan is strong partnerships between law enforcement agencies and community organizations. Law enforcement agencies must work closely with community partners, such as social service providers, faith-based organizations, and community leaders, to provide support to high-risk individuals and their families.
3. Direct Communications: A key component of a focused deterrence plan is direct communication with high-risk individuals. This involves sending a clear message that violent behavior will not be tolerated, but also offering support and resources to those who want to change their behavior.
4. Social Services: A comprehensive focused deterrence plan must also include access to social services and support for high-risk individuals and their families. This can include employment and education services, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, and housing assistance
5. Law Enforcement Response: A focused deterrence plan must also include a strong law enforcement response to violent crime. This includes targeted enforcement efforts, such as increased patrols and surveillance of high-risk individuals, as well as swift and certain consequences for those who continue to engage in violent behavior.
6. Evaluation and Assessment: Finally, a comprehensive focused deterrence plan must include ongoing evaluation and assessment to ensure that the program is achieving its goals and making a positive impact on the community. This can involve tracking crime data, monitoring program outcomes, and engaging in ongoing feedback and evaluation from community partners and high-risk individuals.
Funding and Policy: If elected to City Council, I will advocate for increased funding for GVI and other violence prevention programs if the mayor is aligned with this approach. I will provide leadership to City Council to work closely with the mayor and other local leaders to secure grants, allocate funding, and develop sustainable funding streams for GVI initiatives
If not aligned with the Mayor, I will work in and with City Council to use our platform to advocate intensely for a GVI-approach to build support for GVI.
Policy: I will lean on my vast human service experience and expertise to lead and support policies that advance or complement GVI efforts, such as policies that address poverty and improved education addressing root causes of violence, such as affordable housing, job training programs, and mental health services.
I support universal access to quality pre-kindergarten.
Why? Too many children start school way too far behind to catch up. Good schools and high quality teaching is necessary but far from sufficient to prevent these students from failing).
I support and advocate for universal access to summer slide prevention programs and a coherent community wrap around with high quality instruction.
Why? The evidence has been available for some time that low income, particularly black and brown students return to school every September further behind than they left in June. Every child, every day, in every setting (before school, after school, at home, over the summer) needs quality instruction. Our children cannot be left anymore to fall through the gaps, cracks and chasms that plague our society and we cannot rely any longer on a patchwork of programs and the kindness of strangers to protect our students. Increased learning time (ILT) and Extended School Days (ESD) are part of the solution to improve educational outcomes and begin the journey of disrupting intergenerational and persistent poverty.
We should join the National Campaign For Grade Level Reading
Why? Improve Literacy Instruction because we know that reading for meaning by 3rd grade is a proven predictor of school success and high school graduation. 80% of low income students miss this critical milestone. This percentage is greater for black and brown low income students.
Let's listen, involve and engage our parents and families
Why? We must listen to what our parents say they want for their children. Parents are important co-producers of good outcomes. Parents are a child's first and most important teachers, and engaging parents in their child's education can have a significant positive impact on our nation’s most vulnerable children)
We must Improve our high school graduation rate with a greater investment in career education
Why? The research is clear that to disrupt intergenerational poverty students must graduate from high school and get and keep a job. We must work with the building trades to develop high school apprenticeships as additional paths to graduation and careers.
I support public school equity.
Why? 41% of students attend charters. We must ensure all public schools (district and charter) receive equitable supports and the same accountability
Addressing poverty is deeply personal and a key driver to my decision to seek a seat on Council having faced the adversity and ravages of poverty for my entire childhood.
Disrupting and reducing poverty is now a top priority for all of us running for office. I believe strongly that our collective legacy should not be to perpetuate poverty but to end poverty and create opportunities that black and brown individuals -like myself - did not have as children. A fragmented approach fails to recognize the numerous intersecting components that contribute to Philadelphia's deep, persistent, pervasive, and generational poverty. It is time for our collective leadership to be insistent, persistent and creative in addressing what matters.
My approach to the poverty crisis will center on advocating for a “new frame” and work diligently to reverse an existing framework that suggests and implies that the issue of poverty can be effectively addressed through fragmented tools and instruments instead of a comprehensive and coherent approach. I am advocating an approach that is data-centered, data-driven and data-oriented. It requires us to set specific, measurable goals, outcomes, and impacts allowing for clear progress tracking and a better understanding of what needs to be done to truly end and disrupt poverty.
It is critical that we focus on specific, measurable goals and outcomes, and develop effective and efficient strategies to address poverty, rather than simply making a “vague” attempt at reducing it. To authentically and realistically address poverty, a long-term approach must be taken that addresses these intersecting components in a holistic and integrated manner.
Key Guiding Principles & Elements
City Council’s approach must be long term and coherent and not fragmented with individual programs imperiled by short term thinking.
City Council can play a significant role and can lead the charge to support a mayor and address the systemic issues; the lack of access to resources and opportunities. I look forward to play a leadership role on council and shift the nature of our conversation from the contentious ones of the past - and to build a common sense consensus.
My approach to end poverty, disrupt intergenerational poverty will be inextricably connected to how we execute a plan to grow Philadelphia to 2 million residents by 2040. We have to bring Philadelphia back, revitalize our economy, attract businesses and residents and stop the bleeding.
Our approach must consider the larger systemic and structural factors that contribute to poverty, such as income inequality, lack of affordable housing, inadequate access to quality education and healthcare, and systemic discrimination.
The Education Connection
Our poverty crisis and education crisis are intersecting crises.
Reducing poverty requires us to dramatically improve our dismal high school graduation rates. We must invest in all of the following:
invest more intensely in career education and apprenticeships to strengthen our labor market supply.
We should replicate the many municipalities that allocate funds to school districts with specific set aside stipulations targeting grades K-3 literacy. One example is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2019 $186 million initiative called "Universal Literacy," which aimed to ensure that every student in grades K-2 was reading on grade level.
The evidence is clear that reading for meaning by 3rd grade is a proven predictor of school success and high school graduation. 80% of low income students miss this critical milestone. This percentage is greater for black and brown low income students.
Strengthen our universal access to quality pre-kindergarten to prevent low-income students from starting school too far behind by funding it to be 12 months and not 10 months. The 2 month gap disrupts educational continuity and forces families to rely on the kindness of strangers and a patchwork of programs.
Create policy and legislation to fund universal access to summer slide prevention programs and high-quality instruction to close learning gaps and disrupt intergenerational poverty. The evidence shows that our children return to school in September further behind than when they left in June.
Additional Legislative Specifics
It is important to shift from an “income poverty” focus with a heavier focus on “asset poverty”. Cracking the code on increasing homeownership, requires council to address the two central barriers - the “affordability gap” and the “appraisal gap” WITHOUT unfairly shifting the burden to our greatest asset - our patriotic for profit developers who are enormously creative and resilient.
I will advocate strongly to use tested tools for addressing asset poverty and disrupting generational poverty is financial education and asset-building programs; programs designed to help low-income families build wealth and assets, such as savings, home ownership, and retirement accounts, through education and incentives.
Replicate best practices and initiatives from other cities like Opportunity NYC, a poverty reduction initiative in New York City that rewards low-income families with financial incentives for achieving certain milestones. Similarly, the Neighborhood Investment Fund in Detroit provides grants and loans to local residents and organizations to support economic development and job creation in their communities.
Replicate best practice IDA Programs for Philadelphia’s low income residents. Similar in concept of an IRA for middle and upper income segments of society, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are a matched savings account program designed to help low-income individuals achieve specific financial goals, such as education, homeownership, or starting a small business. IDA programs are available in many cities across the United States with varying eligibility requirements. Examples include San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York City, and Portland, where residents can receive financial assistance to save for their goals through IDA programs. These are just a few examples, as many other cities across the country offer IDA programs to help low-income individuals and families build assets and achieve financial stability
I support using and expanding programs that provide access to affordable financial products and services, such as low-cost checking and savings accounts, can help families build and preserve assets over time. The city can partner with community organizations and financial institutions to offer these programs to residents.
I strongly support intensifying our investment and incentives for the development of affordable housing, which can provide low-income families with a stable and valuable asset which prevent displacement and increase economic mobility. This requires us to invest in and build the capacity of our non profit developers, new, emerging developers and the myriad of faith-based institutions who have contributed to our affordable housing stock.
Workforce Development: We must address and invest in the re-skilling and up-skilling of our labor force by adapting to economic changes and times.
Ending Gun Violence
I became a student of criminal justice matters since my undergraduate studies at Penn State, majoring in Administration of Justice.
I strongly support bringing back former Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey’s anti-violence plan “Focused Deterrence” (FD). It will significantly reduce and possibly stop the gun violence like it did before. FD is evidence-based with proven results.
A comprehensive Focused Deterrence Plan and strategy involves a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach that targets high-risk individuals, provides support and resources, and includes a strong law enforcement response to violent crime.
Specifically, I am proposing a comprehensive Philadelphia FD Plan and strategy that includes the following essential components:
Targeted Identification: The first step in a focused deterrence plan is to identify the highest-risk individuals or groups who are most likely to be involved in violent crime. This involves analyzing crime data, intelligence information, and other relevant information to identify those who are driving violent crime in the community.
Law Enforcement Partnerships: A critical component of a focused deterrence plan is strong partnerships between law enforcement agencies and community organizations. Law enforcement agencies must work closely with community partners, such as social service providers, faith-based organizations, and community leaders, to provide support to high-risk individuals and their families.
Direct Communications: A key component of a focused deterrence plan is direct communication with high-risk individuals. This involves sending a clear message that violent behavior will not be tolerated, but also offering support and resources to those who want to change their behavior.
Social Services: A comprehensive focused deterrence plan must also include access to social services and support for high-risk individuals and their families. This can include employment and education services, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, and housing assistance.
Law Enforcement Response: A focused deterrence plan must also include a strong law enforcement response to violent crime. This includes targeted enforcement efforts, such as increased patrols and surveillance of high-risk individuals, as well as swift and certain consequences for those who continue to engage in violent behavior.
Evaluation and Assessment: Finally, a comprehensive focused deterrence plan must include ongoing evaluation and assessment to ensure that the program is achieving its goals and making a positive impact on the community. This can involve tracking crime data, monitoring program outcomes, and engaging in ongoing feedback and evaluation from community partners and high-risk individuals.
Philadelphia is facing numerous intersecting crises - including a housing crisis that is due to various reasons such as rising housing costs, declining affordability, and a shortage of affordable housing units.
To bring housing policy in line with a vision of addressing the housing crisis, some changes that could be considered are:
Solving the affordability gap refers to the difference between the cost of housing and the ability of households to pay for it. Many urban residents are struggling to find affordable housing that meets their needs, as the cost of living in cities continues to rise. This gap is particularly acute for low-income households, who are often priced out of the housing market entirely.
Increasing the supply of affordable housing units through initiatives such as Voluntary Inclusionary Zoning and expanding tax incentives for developers.
Protecting renters' rights and providing rental assistance to low-income families.
Addressing zoning regulations that limit the development of new housing.
Promoting homeownership opportunities, especially for low-income families and first-time homebuyers.
Addressing the root causes of homelessness through funding and implementing programs such as mental health and substance abuse treatment, job training and placement, and eviction prevention services.
These are just some of the steps that could be taken to address the housing crisis in Philadelphia, and actual policy decisions will depend on a range of factors including the local context, resources, and political will.
The urban housing crisis is characterized by a shortage of affordable housing and skyrocketing property values. This has created two major gaps in the housing market: the affordability gap and the appraisal gap.
The affordability gap refers to the difference between the cost of housing and the ability of households to pay for it. Many urban residents are struggling to find affordable housing that meets their needs, as the cost of living in cities continues to rise. This gap is particularly acute for low-income households, who are often priced out of the housing market entirely.
Appraisal gap, on the other hand, refers to the difference between the value of a property as determined by an appraisal and its actual market value. In the current housing market, appraisals are often lower than market value, making it difficult for homeowners to refinance their homes or sell them for a fair price. This creates a significant financial burden for homeowners, as they may be unable to access the equity in their homes or sell their properties for the price they deserve.
Both the affordability gap and the appraisal gap are contributing to the urban housing crisis, making it increasingly difficult for households to find affordable, accessible housing.
Addressing these gaps will require a multi-faceted approach that includes policy changes, investment in affordable housing, and initiatives to increase the supply of housing in urban areas.
As a candidate for city council, I am committed to supporting and strengthening faith-based institutions that serve as important developers in our low-income Philadelphia communities. Here is my comprehensive policy platform to achieve this goal:
Funding Support: I will work to secure increased funding for faith-based institutions that are engaged in community development work in our low-income neighborhoods. This funding could be used for infrastructure improvements, affordable housing development, and job creation programs.
Tax Incentives: I will advocate for tax incentives for faith-based institutions that develop affordable housing in low-income communities. This will encourage more faith-based institutions to participate in community development projects that will benefit our residents.
Streamlined Permitting Process: I will work to streamline the permitting process for faith-based institutions that are developing affordable housing or community centers in low-income neighborhoods. This will reduce the cost and time required to complete development projects, making them more feasible for these organizations.
Technical Assistance: I will ensure that faith-based institutions have access to technical assistance programs that provide training and support for community development projects. This will help these institutions build capacity and strengthen their ability to serve our communities.
Partnership with Government Agencies: I will work to establish partnerships between faith-based institutions and government agencies that can provide additional support for community development projects. This could include partnerships with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the Department of Commerce, and other agencies.
Collaboration with Community Organizations: I will encourage faith-based institutions to collaborate with community organizations and residents to ensure that community development projects are responsive to the needs and priorities of the local community. This will help ensure that these projects are sustainable and have a positive impact on the community.
Monitoring and Evaluation: I will establish a monitoring and evaluation system to track the impact of community development projects initiated by faith-based institutions. This will help ensure that these projects are achieving their intended outcomes and making a positive difference in the lives of low-income residents.
By implementing these policies, we can support faith-based institutions that are important developers in our low-income Philadelphia communities. This will not only benefit our communities but also strengthen the partnerships between the government and the faith-based community.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that “A society that doesn't care for its elders is a society without a future."
My mom is 72 years old and is fortunate to live in a safe senior sensitive living environment with strong supports. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many seniors.
I will be a relentless advocate to improve the quality of lives for all seniors and alleviate “senior suffering”.
The following issues and concerns are central to my focus on compassionate aging.
In this poorest big city in America, senior citizens (especially African-American, Latino and Asian seniors) experience greater poverty, housing insecurity and worse health outcomes than seniors in other big cities.
Way too many senior citizens are forced to bear the burden of raising their grandchildren and great-grandchildren for a variety of reasons. They need a compassionate helping hand.
We must collectively reinvigorate the City Council Committee on Aging
Access to affordable healthcare: Many seniors may face financial difficulties in accessing healthcare, leading to inadequate medical care and poor health outcomes.
Housing and living expenses: Seniors on fixed incomes may struggle to afford the rising costs of housing and basic living expenses, leading to insecurity and financial hardship.
Transportation: Access to reliable and affordable transportation is essential for seniors to access healthcare, social activities, and other essential services.
Social isolation: Seniors may experience loneliness and social isolation, which can lead to depression and other mental health issues.
Access to community resources and services: Seniors may face barriers to accessing community resources and services such as meals, home care, and recreational activities.
Safety and security: Seniors may be vulnerable to financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect, leading to physical and emotional harm.
In spite of significant budget surpluses, city services have deteriorated over the past several years. Here are my commitments to improve city service quality and levels.
As a candidate for City Council, I recognize the critical importance of ensuring that the city's budget surplus is utilized effectively and efficiently to improve the quality and levels of city services. While the budget surplus is a positive development, it is clear that there are still significant issues with deteriorating city services that must be addressed.
To improve city service quality and levels, I would prioritize a number of key areas. Firstly, I would work to address issues of staffing and resource allocation to ensure that critical services, such as trash pickup, street maintenance, and emergency services, are adequately staffed and resourced to meet the needs of the city's residents.
Secondly, I would prioritize investment in public infrastructure, such as transportation, public parks, and libraries. For example, as a lifelong library user and advocate, I believe that it is essential to ensure that the Parkway Central Library is open on evenings and weekends, to make it accessible to all residents regardless of their work or school schedules. I would also work to ensure that other libraries throughout the city are similarly accessible and well-staffed.
Thirdly, I would prioritize investment in public facilities, such as community centers and pools, to ensure that they are properly staffed and maintained to meet the needs of the city's residents. For example, I fully support the effort to ensure that the pool in Francisville is staffed and open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, as access to safe and affordable recreational opportunities is critical to the health and well-being of our communities.
In terms of how I would make these improvements a reality, I believe that collaboration and communication will be key. As a councilperson, I would work closely with city officials, community organizations, and residents to identify areas of need and develop effective strategies to address them. I would also work to ensure that city budgeting and resource allocation decisions are made in a transparent and inclusive manner, with input from all stakeholders.
In conclusion, I am committed to improving city service quality and levels, and to ensuring that the city's budget surplus is utilized in a way that benefits all residents. This includes investment in critical infrastructure and facilities, as well as addressing issues of staffing and resource allocation. As a councilperson, I would work collaboratively and inclusively to make these improvements a reality, and to ensure that all residents have access to the high-quality services and facilities they deserve.
Economic Development/ Equality:
Reducing Wealth Inequality through Black Wealth Creation)
My passion in this area took root during my tenure as the President & CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce.
I learned very quickly that are significant capital and support tools available that are unused and underutilized by black and brown entrepreneurs. More importantly, these are legacy “tools” (sources of capital and business support) that need to be updated, modernized and strengthened for our emerging digital economy. City council can play a critical role in this effort.
I plan to work incessantly to increase Black business density (i.e., percentage of Black owned businesses in the Black community) to be on par with peer East Coast cities such as Atlanta, New York, and Washington DC. (Only 2.5% of the businesses in Philadelphia are Black owned. The following questions are focused on strategies to promote Black business growth and generational wealth creation.
Achieving parity with peer cities requires Philadelphia, the Mayor’s Office and City Council to “commit” to quantifiable and realistic hard targets, goal setting, measurable outcomes, and clear metrics within specific timeframes. These targets should include the number of business starts, amounts of equity and debt capital committed to our black business sector and contracting targets.
This sector will only grow unless it has at least three essential things: accessible capital (debt and equity with a higher emphasis on equity), increased access to markets (public and private) and access to technical assistance (professional services, mentor/ protégés).
My legislative priorities will include enacting legislation with targets and timeframes, monitoring and evaluating these targets periodically and most importantly allocating significantly funding for new sources of capital, enhanced funding for technical support.
We must increase employment and contract opportunities for Black owned professional and non-professional businesses in the private and public sectors, and more specifically with City government.
Create a task force or commission to identify and address barriers to employment and contracting opportunities for Black-owned businesses.
Establish targets and goals for the percentage of contracts and employment opportunities that should be awarded to Black-owned businesses.
Provide resources and support for Black-owned businesses to access capital, technical assistance, and mentorship.
Develop a database of Black-owned businesses that are qualified to provide goods and services to the public and private sectors.
Create a certification process for Black-owned businesses that verifies their ownership and status as a minority-owned business.
Establish partnerships to develop training and apprenticeship programs that prepare Black workers for high-demand occupations in the public and private sectors.
Enforce anti-discrimination laws and policies to ensure that Black-owned businesses have equal access to employment and contracting opportunities.
I plan to have a central focus on legislative efforts to lifting Philadelphia up from being the poorest big city in America. Two critical, systemic and structural root cause components require fixing:
1. Devaluation of Black Assets and the Wealth Gap.
Racism, segregation, and redlining have widened the homeownership gap between Black and White households in the United States. Discriminatory policies have impacted Black Americans' ability to generate enough wealth to purchase homes and how the devaluation of Black assets has further widened the wealth gap. In the fourth quarter of 2021, the Black homeownership rate was 43%, compared to 74% for White Americans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau report. For comparison, the national homeownership rate was about 65% at that same time.
It is vital that we address the racial homeownership gap and discrimination issues in the housing market.
2. Racial Bias in Home Appraisals.
Federal reporting has revealed that homes owned by white homeowners increase in value at twice the rate of homes owned by people of color, confirming the existence of systemic racial bias in home appraisals. The Federal Housing Finance Agency released 47 million appraisal reports to the public for the first time, following a directive from the Biden administration. The study highlights the persistence of a discriminatory practice that values homes higher if the occupants are white and devalues them if the owners are people of color.
Specific Policy & Legislative Priorities
Increase support for small dollar mortgage loan programs to make homeownership more accessible for Black buyers, who are disproportionately affected by the devaluation of homes in Black neighborhoods.
Create a rate-and-term refinancing option to reduce monthly mortgage costs and lower the barrier to homeownership for Black homeowners, who face uneven costs associated with homeownership.
Extend credit and down payment assistance to borrowers impacted by discriminatory housing and lending practices, redressing past injustices and helping to develop areas left behind by racist policies.
Adopt credit scoring practices with less discriminatory impacts to dispel the myth that Black homeowners are risky investments, and expand notions of credit-building to account for regular payments from rent and utilities.
Increase diversity in the appraisal profession to mitigate the effects of societal bias against Black neighborhoods, which are undervalued due to appraiser bias.
Continue stimulus and relief efforts for homeowners and buyers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to support preexisting Black homeowners who faced disproportionate difficulty with mortgage payments, and to help Black Americans join the ranks of homeowners at a an increased rate.
In addition to Access to Capital and Contracting Opportunities, the following are my legislative priorities to sustain and grow Black-owned professional and non-professional businesses:
Education and Training: Many Black-owned businesses struggle to compete in the marketplace due to a lack of education and training. Legislation could be introduced to provide funding for educational and training programs specifically designed for Black-owned businesses, including business planning, marketing, and financial management.
Regulatory Relief: Many Black-owned businesses are burdened by excessive regulation, which can make it difficult t or o operate and grow. Legislation could be introduced to reduce unnecessary regulations and streamline regulatory processes for Black-owned businesses.
Networking and Mentorship: Many successful businesses are built on strong networks and mentorship. Legislation could be introduced to create networking and mentorship opportunities for Black-owned businesses, including mentorship programs, networking events, and matchmaking programs that connect Black-owned businesses with potential partners and customers.