I apologize for interrupting the flow of great recipes and praise from food writing superstars to bring a little dose of civic engagement to the blog. Since we are as much about community as we are about food, we want to make everyone aware of an upcoming event that will have huge ramifications for this area for at least the next four years. That’s right. It’s election time.
But wait, you might ask, I thought elections in November and in years when we get to see our formerly dominant U.S. 4×100 relay team get schooled by the Jamaicans? That’s not this year, is it?
While we wait for 2012 and the grand national Bobby Flay-style Throw Down between Barack Obama’s grilled endive and roasted pepper with a side of arugula and fava bean crustini and Sarah Palin’s grizzly bear pot roast wrapped in wild boar bacon, we have our local, municipal elections for mayor, city council, sheriff, commissioner, and register of wills.
Since the mayor’s race has effectively been canceled this year by the lack of serious opposition, South Philadelphia is left with the important task of choosing new city council representatives for the 1st (east of Broad) and 2nd (west of Broad) Districts. Longtime incumbents Frank DiCicco and Anna Verna are retiring after a combined 328 years in public office leaving us with a situation that occurs about as often as you can find a vegan cheesesteak at Pat’s or Geno’s – two open seats.
And if you’re waiting to see extensive news coverage of these races on television or hear it on the radio or read in the newspaper, you may be waiting until Charlie Sheen decides to enter the race and his opponent is a structurally deficient Southwest Airlines 737. It’s going to be up to you (a) to figure out which candidate to vote for and (b) show up at the polls on May 17th for the Democratic primary (oh yeah, all the declared candidates are Dems so if you want a say, better get that voter registration in order… deadline for that is April 18). I’d be more than happy to help with (b). Let me know and I’ll knock on your door to remind you when the polls open at 7am (you’ll want to beat the lines).
As for (a), the civic associations in the area – Passyunk Square Civic Association, Lower Moyamensing Civic Association, East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association, the South Broad Street Neighborhood Association and Columbus Square Advisory Council – are sponsoring a candidate forum for the four guys who are running in the 1st District. They are Vern Anastasio, Joe Grace, Jeff Hornstein, and Mark Squilla. Those of you who attended our Spring Community Forum should be familiar with the location:
What: District 1 City Council Candidates Night
Date and Time: Thursday, April 14, at 7 pm
Location: Neumann-Goretti High School (11th & Moore)
Attendees will be able to submit questions for the candidates in writing on the night of the meeting. We hope at least a few of those questions will be about supporting a food co-op.
Thanks to the folks at LoMo civic for asking us to post about this! Here’s an extra link to their post about the event.
As an aside, I had a chance to attend the Urban Sustainability Forum candidates night for districts 1-5 at the Academy of Natural Sciences, which basically turned into a forum for the 2nd Council District since that was the only race in which all the candidates showed up. Each of the candidates seems earnest though it’s evident, judging from the way they talked about these issues, that none of them necessarily has sustainability as their top priority. Sustainability, access to fresh and local foods, food co-ops… these are issues that most candidates are only going to pay attention to if they keep getting questions about them from potential voters.
Though it applies to everything contributors to this blog write, it should be expressly stated that any opinions above are solely those of the author and DO NOT reflect any policies, rules, or decisions made the South Philly Food Co-op’s steering, legal/finance, or outreach committees.