Due to an earlier meeting and the absence of parking once I got to Widener, I tuned into the Overtown Express USTREAM broadcast of the mayor and council debate at home, which also afforded me the opportunity to watch game 6 of the World Series from the beginning.
Although the broadcast was challenged with a lot of ‘off air’ moments, I applaud the team that made it possible for close to 40 people to tune in to at least a portion of the debate from their computers.
As expected, the room was standing room only and there were red shirts on one side and blue shirts on the other scattered among the crowd.
Dray Clark did an outstanding job moderating, asking questions, seeking clarification, and controlling the crowd.
Here’s an abbreviated recap of what was shared by the candidates by topic.
Improving job opportunities
Linder – Improve skills. Create sustainable jobs.
Butler – Continue Chester’s economic revitalization.
The end Act 47
Butler – His administration has conducted a 6 year plan that puts Chester in a position to get out from under Act 47.
Linder – Agree.
Linder – Chester was ranked high on the index of qualifications required to be selected for SC2.
Butler – The SC2 team is already on the street working with his administration.
Will taxes need to be raised?
Linder – Applauds that Chester have not raised taxes.
Butler – Has no plans to raise taxes.
Butler – The city has offered all types of incentives but there still needs to be a developer who agrees to build a supermarket.
Linder – Feels there has been a lot of political posturing and will make a super market one of his first goals.
Linder – He knows how to get these kids to learn.
Butler - They need a superintendent to drive change. He gets blamed for the school district problems but has no oversight over the schools or housing authority
City seeking grants for teachers
Butler – Have not applied for any. Would be willing to seek grants. Has found $4million for DCCC sponsorship which has increased Chester enrollment by 50%.
Linder – Agreed with mayor before going ‘off air’.
County funding to the city
Linder – Seeks to make the county more accountable to funding Chester.
Butler – Unlike in the past, county money is divided between jurisdictions. Seeks Chester get full share again.
Linder – Agreed. We must show our worth.
Why PPL & Harrahs get tax credit
Butler - They were built in the Keystone Opportunity Zones then went ‘off air’.
Linder – ‘Off air’
Butler – Was created based on the city’s excitement on being selection as a SC2 city.
Linder – Adding President Obama to the billboard is deceptive.
Linder – We need to do everything we can to help the police. The city is in a cycle of social failure.
Butler – Getting out of ACT 47 will allow Chester to get more cops.
Reducing unsolved gun homicides
Butler – Need witnesses to testify and cooperate with investigators.
Linder – ‘Off air’
Butler – If you are happy with his list of achievements and proud of the accomplishments they’ve had, vote for him.
Linder – If you are tired of murders, Harrah’s, schools, want infrastructure and skills vote for him. He can do what the mayor did and more. He has resources and connections.
Crime and Job
Garner – Mentor young people.
Nichols – Crime agree with Shep. Jobs – educate and bring things to Chester.
Woodland – Manage emotions and intervene. Become entrepreneurs.
What qualifies you?
Williams – 45 years of experience in insurance industry, 25 years in management. Knows how to lead, serve, and work from her Fortune 500 experience.
Shep – Has been a voice of the community. Has financial experience in city and corporate structure. Only candidate with a finance background.
Nichols – Community worker. Has worked in public sector. ‘Off air’.
Woodland – Establish partnerships and collaborations. Training. Education. Help businesses buy into the waterway.
Williams – Has put many welfare-to-work people in jobs. City has to be more friendly to business. Demand they give jobs and co-op opportunities.
Garner – Don’t demand, negotiate. Influence companies.
Reducing crime and murder
Nichols – Residents, police, government, and business must come together. Determine root causes and plan accordingly. ‘Off Air’
Noland – ‘Off Air’
Williams – Parents need to check on the guns in the home. ‘Off Air’
Witness Protection program
Shep – ‘Off Air’
Nichols – Has relationships with county, state, and national level and will have conversations with them.
Williams – Restructure school district and prepare students better.
Noland – Parents have to be active in the schools. Education starts before they get to school.
Williams – Will serve 110%. ‘Off air’
Noland – Serves on a lot of Boards. Current administration has 24 years of combined experience. Democrats only 2 years.
Garner – Do your own investigation. Strip the label of Democrats and Republicans. Look at what Republicans has accomplished.
Nichols – Invite people to the decision making process. ‘Off Air’