Verna Tyner announced last week that she is a candidate in the 2011 Democratic Primary for Philadelphia City Council in the diverse 8th District.
Tyner is an accomplished neighborhood activist and former Chief of Staff to the late At Large Councilman David Cohen and At-Large Councilman Bill Greenlee. Tyner has the endorsements of Councilman Greenlee, State Sen. Shirley Kitchen, State Sen. Leanna Washington, State Rep. Mark Cohen, The Honorable Al Stewart, 9th Ward Leader John O’Connell, the 11th and 17th wards and hundreds of residents across the 8th District.
Tyner launched her campaign with a series of news conferences in the communities of Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy, Germantown, West Oak Lane and Nicetown before formally announcing her campaign this evening in Tioga where Tyner has lived for 40 years.
Verna Tyner began her day in front of J.S. Jenks School, a K-8 public school in the heart of Chestnut Hill. “We cannot tolerate any cuts in funding for our schools,” said Tyner. “While we fight for the necessary resources for our students, we can pick up the slack by pushing for more community involvement in our schools.”
Tyner also called for a district wide youth summit, to get high school and college students and young workers to discuss issues of safety, recreation, after school educational opportunities and partnerships with the private, public and non-profit sectors to advance an environment conducive to a healthy community for our youth.
Community approved economic development is a plank ofTyner’s platform. She visited the thriving Community Acupuncture of Mount Airy (CAMA) and the abandoned Germantown Women’s Y. At each location Tyner stressed the importance of thriving small businesses, responsible development, and ending the property neglect, sweetheart deals and abuse of power that has resulted in rampant abandoned lots and neglected properties.
“On my watch,” said Tyner, “We will help and support new businesses like CAMA throughout the district and will not tolerate any more debacles like the now bankrupt Germantown Settlement.”
“We must sell unused City-owned property to responsible individuals, investors and non-profit developers,” said Tyner. “And there must be a community-approved plan to renovate the properties – This will lead to positive development, permanent jobs and more tax revenue.”
Tax revenue is critical because Philadelphia’s budget is teetering and state support for schools and social services is going to be sharply cut this year. Tyner believes that we must work with other cities and communities throughout the Commonwealth to keep cutbacks to a minimum.
“We cannot afford more cuts to vital social services,” said Tyner when she visited the Phillip Murray House on Old York Road the home of many senior citizens and the Nicetown-Tioga Branch Library.
Tyner said she believes that revenue begins with fairness and that we must begin with large corporations that do business in the City, but that are located elsewhere, paying their fair share. Tyner also wants to see City agencies and departments working more efficiently and effectively.
Tyner wants to fill the gaps in the City budget and services with more institutions like the St. Catherine Laboure Medical Clinic where she held a news conference in Germantown. The clinic is funded entirely by individuals, corporations and grants from foundations and religious organizations. In 2010, the clinic was visited approximately 3,400 times by approximately 700 patients.
“We also can’t let precious City dollars go to elected officials,” said Tyner. “I am not supportive of elected officials taking advantage of DROP. The program was designed for hard-working public workers and City efforts to anticipate their retirement. It is wrong, fiscally irresponsible and unethical for our elected officials to join DROP while running for another term.”
The central theme ofTyner’s campaign was repeated throughout the day. “When I become Councilperson,” said Tyner, “I intend to lead the district in an unprecedented organizing effort to achieve community unity anuse the power of people to come up with creative ideas to solve problems.”
Tyner’s 16 years serving the residents of Philadelphia as a senior staff member in City Council have left her uniquely qualified to bridge the gap between City government and the neighborhoods it serves. She understands how to improve the quality of life for residents of the 8th District by working both inside and outside government.
To learn more about Verna Tyner and her campaign, go to: www.tynerforcouncil.com