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Philadelphia Mayoral Election Green Guide 2015
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Philadelphia Mayoral Election Green Guide 2015

Guess what you guys.. we’re counting down until we can hit the polls!

Who’s excited! (You should be.)

With Election Day less than a week away, you’ll want to be well prepped for the polls. Although we’ve decided to not publicly endorse any specific candidate, we want to give you the best ammo to pull the proper level.

Philly Mayoral Democratic Candidates 2015

If you like hanging around Donkey, you’ll have 6 names to choose from:

  1. Jim (James) Kenney
  2. Anthony Williams
  3. Lynn Abraham
  4. Doug Oliver
  5. Nelson Diaz
  6. Milton Street

If you’re into elephants, you’re going to wish you swapped parties for this election cycle since you have no choices other than Melissa Lynn Bailey.

James (Jim) Kenney 

This former Philadelphia City Council member has had a boatload of endorsements from various environmental groups and many groups. Plus, we were aware of him several years ago when he introduced Plastic Bag legislation (and supported our “Ban the Bag” day back in 2012 via the Facebook.)

His environmental platform highlights via his website:

  • Implement a “Vision Zero Plan” to reduce the number of traffic fatalities for driver, pedestrians, and bicyclists to zero. This is gaining more attention as local cyclist (Jay Mohan) was killed earlier this week.
  • Jimmy has a history of reducing the government’s carbon footprint, which he humble brags his history back “In 2006 as a City Councilmember, Jim was one of the first proponents of enhancing and improving Philadelphia’s vehicle fleet by purchasing hybrid vehicles…Jim will push all City Departments to embrace these energy efficient alternatives to both reduce our carbon emissions and to save taxpayer funds on fuel.”
  • Claim to fame: He started the Environmental committee in City Council.
  • Supports the Building Energy Benchmarking Ordinance in 2012, which requires building owners and operators with over 50,000 sq. ft. to publicly disclose their energy use and water consumption. This is one of the most solid “numbers” in the candidate’s aspirations with goals to reduce energy consumption “more” than 10 % – but we’re not sure how much more.
  • Sponsored legislation to bring tax credits to B Corps and wants to continue that. 

Cons:

  • Everyone’s been talkin’ about how Phil Rinaldi is on Kenney’s policy team. A coalition of local activists have met with Kenney to strengthen his environmental policy and add a few more policy members to his team including a public health person, scientist & clean energy person. We’re still worried about that Energy Hub…

Anthony Williams – Pennsylvania State Senator

After his hissy fit at the SBN Good Candidate Forum about the Energy Hub, we can tell State Senator Anthony Williams has some fire.

His website environmental highlights try to tout his “sustainability’ with a side of fluff:

“Tony has been a proponent of environmental and conservation issues since the 1980’s… He worked to establish the Cobbs Creek Environmental Center, helped constituents create a political action committee to address environmental justice issues, and sponsored bills to address the adverse health impacts of toxic chemicals in low-income communities and disclose the chemicals used in fracking.”

  • He will “protect” families from oil trains – but how? Words can’t really protect.
  • He is expanding funding for the Office of Sustainability and closely collaborating with the Director to develop benchmarks as far out as 2023. (Philadelphia just voted to make the Office of Sustainability permanent, so hopefully they’d expand the benchmarks anyway – otherwise they’d be twiddling their thumbs as the original Greenworks plan was built out to 2015.)
  • Thinks we can bring solar to every Philadelphia home.

The Cons:

  • Who wants Philly to turn into an energy hub? This is highly likely with Williams: We already know he’s in bed with fracking – literally – as his wife is a “highly paid executive” with a gas-drilling advocacy group”.
  • His “Green Fleet Initiative” isn’t actually that green. Currently, Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) is piloting 24 natural gas vehicles (NGVs). The fleet would be serviced by fueling and charging hubs throughout the city with natural gas provided by PGW. (Hmm. Natural gas comes from fracking… remember?)

Lynne Abraham

The eldest & sole female candidate spends a lot of time woo’ing environmentalists by using her 2-minute intro at SBN’s Good Economy Challenge forum to talk solely about Judy Wicks’ impact on Philadelphia. She buys into a lot of sustainability talk but loveesss the energy hub.

Environmental platform:

  • At the SBN forum, she focused on Green Cities, Clean Waters, LEED and more.
  • She fully supports recycling, prioritizing keeping our streets clean, and converting abandoned spaces into productive uses.  This sounds like when we told our moms that we’d clean our bedroom later.
  • Lynne is concerned about the transport of oil by rail, especially through outdated cars that have already been banned in Canada.
  • Wants to create a business owner “Bill of Rights”

Cons:

  • She supports the Energy Hub (to pump Philly full of dirty fossil fuels) to create high-paying jobs and new manufacturing facilities for dirty energy “while preserving our environment and health throughout our neighborhoods and industrial areas” which appears a little contradictory.

Doug Oliver 

This young buck leaves out the environment from his policy platform on his website but incorporates a little into his Technology & Innovation dropdown:

  • Focuses on education and better schools (which is important to the sustainability of any community)
  • His “Fresh Ideas” include this transforming vacant lot to urban, sustainable farms that can provide food to local communities by partnering with top chefs.

Cons:

  • Frustrated our friends at Solar States by saying he didn’t know if Solar energy had been proven effective yet at the SBN Good Economy Challenge forum.

Nelson Diaz

Endorsed by Grid Magazine, Diaz is the only one to come out publicly AGAINST the Philadelphia Energy Hub. He gets that Philly needs to clean up – as the “11th dirtiest city”(SBN Forum).

Stance on Sustainability issues:

  • “The idea of an unbridled “energy hub” in South Philadelphia, while alluring, will ultimately make many of our city’s problems worse, and make ambitious plans to improve our environment impossible to execute.
  • Focus on a net zero impact on local emissions in the short term (for net reduction in local emissions in the long term.)
  • Extend the Broad Street line to the Navy Yard
  • Wants to create “an alternative energy and innovation hub.”
  • Likes clean air since he had asthma as a child, linking it to less missed days at school for students & less sick days from jobs.
  • He digs Land Bank to turn vacant lots into green spaces & community gardens

Overall, Diaz is the most thorough in outlining a sustainability plan of his intentions (although they could have more data). As he says, “the choice we have is not between clean air and jobs. It’s between a dirtier, poorer, and likely more violent city and a more prosperous, cleaner, and safer city. [3] We cannot build a better city if our students are too sick to learn and our employees are too sick to show up to work. Nor can we attract “new economy” jobs if we tie our future to outdated policies and practices and industries.”

Cons:

  • He’s a little weak in the polls right now, and do you want to risk trusting Williams to become Mayor?

Milton Street

It’s difficult to tell Street’s environmental plans without a website or any real presence in either of the Mayoral forums we attended. Plus, this brother of former Mayor John Street has a few misdemeanor tax convictions which may cut us all a little slack. (Joke.)

The only great quote we could find was about violence can be stopped & community should be cleaned up. Yep, really strong policies.

Sole Republican: Melissa Murray Bailey

Yawn. Not much on her & sustainability, unfortunately. But we all know this won’t float well in November where Dems outnumber Repubs 7-to-1.

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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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