The 2007 Philadelphia mayoral election is today, pinning the favored Democrat, Michael Nutter, against Republican Al Taubenberger. Both candidates have focused their campaigns primarily on green issues, often neglecting more pressing topics.
“That’s because they don’t know what the issues are,” said Albert Mills, an adjunct professor of political science and geography and urban studies.
He’s been active in politics for 40 years and considers himself “progressive.” Mills said the environment should be a national issue, not the city’s focus.
Nutter and Taubenberger have had a clean campaign; they haven’t attacked each other’s characters, and they’ve been in agreement on various issues, specifically environmental concerns.
Though the candidates have different ideas about how to make Philadelphia a greener city, they have both made the green issue a top priority in their campaigns.
It’s refreshing to see the two potential mayors express concern over something other than getting jobs for their friends (Mr. Street) but this city has many more important problems.
“The city’s biggest issues are crime, taxes and education,” Mills said.
Residents would tend to agree. The murder rate is staggering, and according to Mills, wage taxes make it difficult for people to afford to live in the city.
“If you’re talking about green, talk about the lack of green in people’s wallets,” he said.
Educational quality is poor at best.
“Kids deserve a better education,” Mills said. “They need a reason to go to school.”
While the candidates have both briefly addressed these serious issues, particularly Nutter and his “stop-and-frisk” approach to crime, neither has placed enough emphasis on the real issues. A green Philadelphia can’t compare with a safer, better educated Philadelphia.
The winner of this election needs to realize what’s best for the city. Philadelphia’s citizens want a safer, more affordable place to live. For now, being a green city is on the back burner.
Among other issues, Mills listed public transportation and corruption as being high on the list.
“Every single department in City Hall is corrupt,” he said.
Before Philadelphia can even think of going green, the entire city needs to be reformed. That starts when the new mayor takes office.
Shannon McDonald can be reached at email@example.com.