(curious music) - Thanks for tuning in to the 100th Mayor Restoring Safety Forum.
I'm Sam Searles from WHYY's Gun Violence Prevention Desk.
In a few minutes you'll hear from the people vying to be Philadelphia's next mayor.
The questions posed to the candidates came from community listening sessions with real people like you, the residents and voters of Philadelphia.
This is an edited version of the March 1st mayoral forum that was live streamed via Facebook.
- Everyone deserves to live a life free from gun violence.
But as we know, a thousand people have died in the last two years in Philadelphia.
And ultimately we learn about those lost, whether it's at Roxborough, Officer Fitzgerald at Temple, or the daily survivors being shot across the city through the stories and reporting of news, and the discussion and the sharing of their stories from the survivors.
We need lifesaving action now, but we know that the next mayor will inherit a continuing crisis.
Each of the candidates in the race believe public safety and gun violence is a top priority.
We hope tonight you'll learn about the way they approach it, the solutions they put forward, and how they will focus the limited resources and tools available to them to ensure that everyone in Philadelphia can thrive.
Ceasefire PA works every day to help the public understand the drivers of violence and support key solutions.
And that's why the questions you hear tonight are informed by three focus groups that we convened, where community violence prevention leaders, activists, and survivors discussed the epidemic, why programs haven't succeeded, and what they believe needs to happen.
There were way too many questions to ask.
We would be here for days.
So Ceasefire PA and WHYY has tried to focus these questions to help you understand what's at stake in their approaches.
Here are the rules.
Each candidate will get asked eight questions.
Four of these will be open-ended questions directed to four or five of the candidates by the moderator.
They will have two minutes to answer those questions.
And then four of those will be quick answer questions, where the candidate will raise a card saying yes or no, to indicate their answer and the moderator will repeat those answers.
In addition, each candidate has two cards they can raise at any time to jump in.
They will be called on after the called candidates for those questions and give them 30 seconds to add their perspective on the question.
Our timekeeper will remind candidates when they need to wrap up their answers and moderators will probably at some point politely ask candidates to stop if they go over time.
It's my honor to introduce our moderating panel.
Sam Searles is a reporter for AmeriCorps, member covering gun violence and prevention for WHYY News.
Chantay Love is the co-founder and president of EMIR Healing Center, Every Murder is Real, which works to heal communities one family at a time.
The organization creates new modes to support healing and to uncover trauma with the goal of breaking the cycle of future violence.
And Dr. Elinore Kaufmann serves as the medical director for the Penn Trauma Violence Recovery Program, which provides individualized support and case management to survivors of violent injury.
Sam, will you start us off?
- Thanks, Adam.
This first question is for former council members, Helen Gym, Derek Green, Allan Domb, Cherelle Parker, and Maria Quinones Sanchez.
The question is, what would you do to combat gun violence as mayor that you could not do on city council?
Ms. Gym first.
- Good evening everybody and it's a pleasure to join you.
You know, one of the things that I have talked about is 10 years ago I walked into a school, and led a community coalition to turn around to high school that many people, the state included, called one of the most violent high schools in the state.
Students were being hurt, teachers were being assaulted, families were fleeing the area, and a school district could only react, punish and disinvest.
We brought in a group of community members.
We established a culture of safety and respect.
We talked about the importance of prioritizing the voices, including victims and family members, parents as part of the solution and young people, we retrained our teachers, and created new policy solutions and we turned that school around in less than two years.
We held a city and a school system accountable for the violence that was happening to young people and we made sure that it was a priority to turn it around.
I did not have a title, I did not have power.
That's who I am fundamentally and that's who I will be as mayor.
I've been very clear that the mayor harnesses the different agencies and pulls together a coordinated approach that is not possible to do simply from city council.
It's why on day one I will establish a state of emergency that talks about how we bring our police and officers back on foot and bike patrol, how we reduce 911 response times, how we make sure we have a coordinated response, an emergency protocol response for immediate responses to victims of tragedy, how we make sure that we reach our young people and that we make sure that we bring and deliver safe routes to and from schools for young people to make sure that they have safe passage.
I am the only candidate in this race that has a clear focus on our youth.
I have been very clear that I came in after a mayor shut down beacon centers and schools and libraries and other institutions that serve our young people.
I'm here to invest in them and to show that the response to safety is about not just creating safe streets, but ensuring that our children, families, and others are stronger, more resilient than they have been before.
- Thank you so much.
Next, former council member Green.
- Thank you for that question.
That's actually part of the reason why I decided to get into this race because I saw the fact that we're not doing anything to really address gun violence in our city.
The fact that the last two years we've had over 500 homicides, and as someone who realizes that the challenges we have in the city of Philadelphia as an African-American man, especially the fact that I was an assistant district attorney who was once racially profiled while leaving the DA's office, we have to have a much stronger approach to how we deal with gun violence in our city.
Now, when I was a member of city council, and there's another reason why I decided to run for mayor, I tried to bring best practices to the city of Philadelphia, like hiring bonuses, which cities like Seattle, who went from the defunding the police, now doing $50,000 hiring bonuses, Baltimore, Newark, I tried to do that as a council member.
The current administration didn't see the benefit of that.
Unfortunately, other elected officials from around the country do.
And that's why I decided to run for mayor of the city of Philadelphia 'cause we have to be proactive in how we address these issues.
So my public safety plan talks about presence, which is bringing police officers, like my friend Muriel Bowser is now doing with a hiring bonus, but also accountability, making sure we're doing what I saw when I was an assistant district attorney working with all of our criminal justice partners, including the US Attorney's Office, which we're not doing at the level we should.
We have too many guns in the city of Philadelphia.
The fact that 74% of the victims and the shooters look just like me, that is a problem.
But we're not aggressively going after illegal gun possession.
But it's not only presence and accountability and having a stronger perspective, but also opportunity and investment.
Making sure that those who unfortunately get caught up in the criminal justice system have a real opportunity to get a family sustaining job, as well as investing in those critical infrastructure and organizations that can help provide and address some of the trauma in our city.
So it's a holistic approach, not only presence, not only accountability, but opportunity and investment.
That's something I could not do as a member of city council, but I will do as mayor to reduce the gun violence in our city.
- Thank you so much.
Former council member Domb.
- Thank you for the question.
Good evening everybody.
Look, Philadelphia has a violence crisis.
We have a low paying jobs crisis, we have an affordable housing crisis, a poverty crisis, and a violence crisis.
But the biggest crisis is a crisis of leadership.
Because with strong leadership, all of these can be resolved.
That is the number one issue and that's why I'm running for mayor.
We need strong leadership.
You know, the violence is really a symptom of many other issues.
The issues are lack of good paying jobs, which makes housing unaffordable, which can then take people out of poverty and reduce the crime.
So education's a big part of this in the long run.
In the short term, it's getting the violence under control.
I'll share with you the long term then I'll go to the short term.
In the long term, we need to really change what we teach in our schools and add K through 12 financial literacy, add technology K through 12, add entrepreneurship K through 12, give kids an opportunity to create their own businesses and create wealth.
And then in high school, which is something that I did, allow kids to go to school four days a week and the fifth day working a job, get credit, get paid, and get a summer job.
On day one, I would declare a crime emergency, I would also declare a public health emergency in Kensington.
I have a complete 10 point action plan on my website, votedomb.com, and I've had additional first year actions also on the website.
I won't go into all the details because of time, but I will say that we will aggressively crack down on the illegal guns.
We know there's about 1700 to 1800 extremely violent people on our streets.
I've been told by past police commissioners and ETLA law enforcement experts, we need to focus on them.
And we'll cracked down on retail theft, but also have a public safety cabinet, which I will conduct those meetings on a weekly basis or more if needed, consisting of the DA, the police commissioner, FBI, ATF, US Attorney, Attorney General, courts, SEPTA and Paco Security, Eds and Med security.
security eds and med security.
And I think that's important.
I think the number one issue is get the violence under control, but in the long term, the symptom is of better education and better paying jobs.
- Former council member Parker.
- Thank you so very much for that question.
I will actually be doing more of the same, but in the mayor's office with the convening power of the mayor.
When many folks were paralyzed into inaction, I as a member of council held hearings across the city of Philadelphia to ensure that this loud narrative we were hearing, calling for us to defund the police, that it was not in tandem with the people of our great city.
And in effect, when I did that, I learned that our people were in fact saying they wanted those of us to be elected to not be expert articulators of the problem, but they wanted us to proffer solutions.
I am the only person seated here today who proffered a comprehensive neighborhood safety and community policing plan that consisted of modern prevention strategies, modern intervention strategies, and modern enforcement strategies.
First, we did call for proactive community policing.
That is, officers, 300, 10 and 30 in each of the 10 council districts, walking the beats, riding a bike, getting to know the people they're sworn to protect and serve with zero tolerance for any misuse and/or abuse of authority.
But we also call for smart technology.
How is our police department expected to solve crimes using Flintstone-like technology?
We need a modern day forensics lab, and we already are at 30 million, we need additional funding.
In addition to that, we need a comprehensive approach to neighborhood stabilization, along with access to opportunities that will put people on the path to self-sufficiency.
Support for grassroots anti-violence organizations that have a proven track record of delivering, and showing people that there is a reason to have hope and faith.
When I have the ability to take care of myself, I'm not interested in being involved in violent activity.
- Thank you so much, former council member.
Former council member Quinones Sanchez.
- Thank you for that question.
If you go to Maria for Philly, you will see a comprehensive public safety strategy that could only be implemented by the mayor, and where operating departments make our neighborhoods safe.
Unlike most folks who are looking at this from a police perspective, the reason that I'm running for mayor is because systemic changes are needed and how our operating departments make our neighborhoods actually be safe.
I'm calling on all operating departments to do what they can to make neighborhoods safe.
What does that mean?
Cameras, we know all the data sets that make a block, a neighborhood safe.
Cameras, LED lighting along, trash pickup, blight removal, stabilization of vacant lands, all of those data that shows us that when we make an area safe, the neighborhood begins to feel safe.
So part of the public safety plan that the mayor has to manage is prioritizing that.
How do we do that?
We have to go back and invest in neighborhoods that we haven't invested in, so those neighborhoods look and feel safe.
Then we have to stop policies that, again, only the mayor control around how we destabilize families.
In our criminal justice reform, in our health and human services budget, we remove more children from families than any part of the world.
And most of the time we're removing them for issues based on poverty, not the reality of what's going on in the family.
So I would call on our health and human services budget, which is 3.6 million, and invest in people to help people be safe.
We ignore the next victim, we ignore the next shooter.
We have failed them.
We failed them in our education system, and we failed them when they entered our criminal justice system.
And then a whole reform of the police department that calls on training, equipment, deployment, and adding civilian positions.
10 years ago I asked my council colleagues and the DA at the time, Seth Williams to look at focus deterrence.
We did a pilot program in my district, we did it in south Philadelphia, and it proved it worked.
And why is focusing in on the folks more likely to create the crime, 'cause we know who they are.
That is what's going to make us a more efficient and smarter policing in our city.
- Thank you.
I'm noticing an opt-in from former judge DeLeon.
- So, a municipality cannot declare a state of emergency except for seven days.
And when they declare it, they have to give the legality of it, as well as the procedure that is going to operate.
Also, a state of emergency would take the constitutional rights away from 1.6 million people in Philadelphia for those seven days.
And if you're at the same place, what are you going next?
- Thank you everyone, and welcome.
I will give you, this next question will go to our former controller Rhynhart and former Judge DeLeon.
Gun violence is a citywide issue, but data makes it clear that the majority of shootings and homicides occur in highly localized hotspots.
How would you partner with community members who understand what's driving violence in their neighborhoods, and what are the other options, approaches would you use to address these hotspots, areas differently than the rest of the city?
- Thank you for the question.
Gun violence in certain areas in our city is devastating.
And as city controller, since 2019, I worked on the issue of gun violence, even though it isn't in the traditional area of responsibility of the city controller.
And I did that as a mom, as a resident, as someone who saw the data that our gun violence rates in Philadelphia were going up while other places were going down.
So what I would do as mayor is a continuation of what I did as city controller, but with the full power of the mayor.
So as city controller, I looked at the data, I put out the data on where the violence was happening.
I wrote about and urged the mayor to do what works.
The intervention strategies in the communities, offering a choice to those individuals most likely to shoot or get shot, offering them a way out of that life.
Those programs have been found to be immensely successful.
And early results from the city just yesterday show that it's having an effect here.
I would scale that up.
I also worked with community leaders in West Philadelphia and North Philadelphia, Darryl Schuler, Salam Musin.
We need to go to the community and work with the community as the partners that they are.
And as mayor, I would hit the ground running on day one to work with community members, to work and galvanize the power of the people that know their communities, and to implement what works.
And that is the intervention strategies that have been shown to work across the country that we need to do here.
It all starts with the community and as mayor I would use that power.
- So as mayor, my number one concern is the safety of every individual that lives in Philadelphia.
As a judge, I made decisions on a daily basis that established the safety of every single individual that lives in Philadelphia.
That's decisions on a daily basis for 34 straight years.
Now, based on what I've seen as a judge, I've come up through what's known as the Local Incident Management System, which is a series of processes and procedures that would enable the local responders to manage more effectively the root causes of gun violence.
It's similar to the National Incident Management System that manages things that happen on a horrific basis, from hurricanes and tornadoes and those type of situations.
And it would be used here for the horrific crimes of gun violence where on day one I would declare all gun violence in Philadelphia a dramatic incident, and I would move the court system involved as well as neighborhood groups involved, because what we're trying to do in this particular type of situation is that we want to reduce the crime, recover the person, and recover the neighborhood.
And we need to have neighbors helping neighbors recover the neighborhood.
And we have to have the court system involved.
The court system is going to be the filtration system for everyone that we arrest for gun violence and domestic violence and any of the other types of crimes.
And we're going to give them on a case by case basis, a social media ban, and a curfew, to make the streets more clear, so the police can do their work, and there's more involved in it.
- I have two opt-ins.
Allan Domb first and then we will go, you have 30 seconds each.
- Thank you.
I just wanna mention that when I was in council in December of 2021, I put in a resolution co-sponsored and supported by all the council members sitting in front of you tonight.
Everyone supported it.
And that was to have the administration analyze the $200 million of gun violence spending by our academic institutions like community college, like Drexel, St. Joe's, Penn, Temple.
And we just saw today that I think Penn analyzed the GBI, which showed it was working very well.
That was a million dollars.
There's still a lot more that we need to analyze.
That should be done day one.
- [Chantay] Thank you.
- Thank you.
I just wanna add that historically the city of Philadelphia has not been good partners with our civic and our stakeholders in the community, and as a former executive director of a nonprofit, that is the part that I would change drastically.
You know, my colleague calls on the review and inspection of the $200 million, we have a $3.6 billion budget.
And what we need is, and what we've done in the last 20 years is we've decimated the infrastructure and capacity of nonprofit organizations throughout the city.
And we need to be willing to invest in these organizations, build capacity, and not stumble the work of the community and the folks who are leading some of these groups.
So as a government- - [Chantay] Thank you, time is up.
- We need to be a better partner.
- So this is our first rapid fire, yes or no question, so I'll ask you to just hold up your cards.
Members of city leadership, including some of the candidates sitting here, have touted the current city budget as including a historic high of $208 million in antiviolence spending.
Do you agree that all of these resources should be classified as antiviolence?
Okay, so, wait, no, hold them up, just so I can tell the audience.
We have a yes from Ms. Parker, Mr. Domb, Mr. Green, Ms. Quinones Sanchez and Mr. DeLeon, and a no from Ms. Rhynhart and Ms. Gym.
This next question is for Ms. Quinones Sanchez, Mr. Domb, Mr. DeLeon, and Ms. Gym, Chester, Trenton, and other cities that have been able to reduce gun violence during the last two years have credited close coordination of different parts of the public safety system as being key to the efforts.
How would you improve collaboration between the mayor's office, the Philadelphia Police Department, the district attorney's office and the judicial system?
Ms. Quinones Sanchez.
- Thank you.
If you go to Maria for Philly, you will see that we have called for a public safety dashboard that includes not only, in addition to the folks that you've named, includes the public defenders, probation and parole.
We have more people on probation and parole than any other major city.
It includes our police and our jails and the court system.
And I'm calling for the public dashboard, because people need to know the truth.
We are running a government that is not transparent about who and what is supposed to be helping our community.
And within that system, you know, I'll use an example.
When a young person is entering the juvenile justice system at the public defender's office, we have an opportunity to stabilize a family, and make the necessary interventions to prevent that family from being destabilized from someone going to jail.
As well as with with the courts, and the jails, and the reforming of the system.
Folks are frustrated with the system because we don't know the truth.
We have a backlog of homicides, we have victim services that are not reaching the folks.
So how I would improve it is telling the people the truth, and then holding all of these systems accountable.
I would lead that discussion for the first year.
I would have a deputy mayor of public safety that will continue that work to make sure that all of those departments are being held accountable, and that we're following best practices, best practices in the public defenders, best practices in parole, best practices in the court system.
What are bail commissioners doing, right?
There's always a push and pull about who's responsible, is it the DA's office, is it reform?
And then finally, our jails need to help young folks transition back into society.
And we need to get programs in the jails so that folks walk out of there with their birth certificate, with an ID, the basic folks people need, but skills so that they can reenter society.
So I have the most comprehensive plan around telling the public the truth, and then working and holding those systems accountable so that we can wrap ourselves around people, and we're not bogged down with systems.
- [Chantay] Thank you.
- Thank you for the question.
I actually met with the former police commission of Camden and I'm familiar with the program in Chester.
The police commissioner retired in 2020, and he also told me one of the things we need to do is get police out of their cars, walking a beat, so they can build trust in the neighborhood and the community.
But back in August of '21, I will share with you what I did.
I noticed that some of our council members went to Chester to talk to the police chief about public safety.
And I called the police commissioner Daniel Outlaw, and I said, how can I be of help, under the radar?
I don't want any publicity or any, you know, publicity or any press on it.
And I said to her, "How about if I conduct public safety law enforcement meetings under the radar with all law enforcement just to help all our law enforcement entities?"
She said, "That'd be great."
I called the DA, US Attorney, Attorney General, FBI and ATF.
I had nine meetings with all six present.
Did not publicize this.
With one goal, to have them work together.
And we accomplished a lot.
A lot of things that happened in council during my term came out of that meeting, like the hearing on the employment for police officers and some ideas on how to accomplish it.
But I would conduct those same types of meetings but expand them on a weekly basis.
And I think that's the most important part of being the mayor of the city.
It's providing the leadership.
All these problems can be solved and results can occur, providing you have the right leadership, and that's really the biggest issue that we need to resolve.
So that's what I would provide as mayor of the city.
- [Chantay] Thank you.
- As mayor of Philadelphia, the whole aspect of involving the district attorney, the court system, the public defender, the mayor's office, city council, is to reverse generational poverty.
Because we have to get down to what the root cause of gun violence is.
And we have to remember, the saying that some of you may have heard, that a person that doesn't have anything has nothing to lose.
So that's why we have to get there.
Now, that's why I would, each one of those components is a part of my LIMS program, and each of them is receiving money because we know that the victim will end up being the perpetrator.
And we know that the perpetrator, if we don't do something for him, he's going to perpetrate again.
So, once we receive these people into the court system, we're going to give them job counseling, anger management counseling.
We're going to, entrepreneurial skills, mental health skills, respiratory health, general health.
And it's not just for those that are in the court system, but we're going to see the district attorney's office, so that the district attorney in his social service will be able to do the same thing for the victim.
And we're also going to seed the public defender's office so that they can do the same type of situation for people that we in the court system weren't able to secure within ourselves.
And then we're also going to use the neighborhood groups, because the neighborhood groups are very important in this aspect.
And they are the people that we're going to seed out some of these victims and perpetrators to for help in recovering themselves.
- So I wanna give a a basic example of how the complicated nature of working with, especially those who are in the path of violence and especially young people, impact both all these different agencies and requires a coordinated, comprehensive approach.
There are almost 4,000 young people who cycle through the Juvenile Justice Services Center each and every year.
Their families cried out for help long before they ever step foot into that center.
And as soon as they leave, we put them into a path of probation and monitoring that very poorly meets their needs.
We know that because so many of them cycle back through.
One of the most important things in terms of an emergency coordinator response for many of these young people is that when we have them, and as they are being discharged with it, which they are discharged very frequently, sometimes dozens by the day, through court systems, through the center itself, is that we have no plan of action for them when they actually are discharged and leave.
They do not have a plan for schooling when they leave.
We do not make parents part of the solution.
We do not ask questions about housing, whether they are safe in their communities and may need to be relocated.
We are not asking them whether they need family therapy, whether they need a reconnection with employment or other opportunities.
We give them the number of PAN, and a probation officer and let them take the rest.
No surprise, we have poor outcomes for these individuals, even though we say over and over and over again, we know who is in the path of violence, well then let's do something about it.
A coordinated approach brings together the municipal courts, brings together the district attorney, brings together our city agencies at a critical juncture in a young person's life who is most at risk.
This is not the venue of just that Juvenile Justice Services Center.
They can't bring the courts in.
This is not solely the venue of the municipal courts.
I need programs for these young people to go into for anger management, for support for their needs, to help with mental health therapies that are not currently being done right now.
That is the difference on how we do a coordinated approach that pulls people together and targets those who are most in the path of violence and turns the city around by investing in their capacity and their family's capacity to meet the future.
- We have a opt-in response from Mr. Green and then Ms. Rhynhart.
So all of the candidates here all have ideas in reference to opportunity and investment, how we make a system work for those who have been caught up in the system.
But the question is, what are we gonna do day one to address the gun violence in our city, so we don't have another 500 homicides like we had the past two years.
As the only person who's been on this stage who's running for mayor, who's been a prosecutor, I released a public safety plans on derekformayor.com that talks about how we use additional resources, which is the US Attorney's Office to address these issues.
We need to not only provide real accountability for someone who may try to victimize my 83 year old mother, but also we cannot over criminalize the criminal justice system with young black men that look like my 20 year old son on the autism spectrum.
I'm the only candidate who's actually tried cases in the courtroom and understands how we need to bring those resources together to reduce the gun violence in our city.
- [Elinore] Thank you.
And Ms. Rhynhart?
- The question was around how do we get the different partners of the criminal justice system to work together as mayor, the district attorney, the courts, the police commissioner.
As city controller, I pulled together the district attorney, Krasner, police commissioner to talk about the data, to ask the questions, why is the arrest rate so low for violent crime?
That was the question I asked to the police.
And I asked to the district attorney, why is the conviction rate for illegal carry of guns going down despite the police making more arrests?
As the mayor, I will convene the police commissioner and the district attorney and say, "We must solve this."
We must move in one direction to make our city safe.
- And we have one more opt in for Ms. Parker.
- Yes, when we talk about intergovernmental cooperation, we are not thinking big enough.
We have to think about the supports we need from both the federal, along with the state government, and we have to have more of a regional approach.
We can't forget that gun violence is fueled by big guns, and big guns are flooding cities and urban areas with guns, just like big pharma is flooding cities and urban areas with opioids.
We have to have a regional approach.
Every branch of government has to be at the table and the mayor has convening power.
- Thank you all.
- All right, this is our next speed round question, meaning that you're going to need your cards.
In the May election, voters will see a ballot question on changing the city charger to create an office of the chief of public safety, with the director making $230,000 a year.
Philadelphia already has an Office of Violence Prevention and some have questioned whether this change is meaningful.
Do you support changing the city charter to create this office?
That is a yes from Cherelle Parker, a yes from Allan Domb, a yes from from Derek Green.
A yes from former Judge DeLeon and no from Rebecca Rhynhart, a no from Helen Gym, and a yes from Maria Quinones Sanchez.
You may opt in, yes.
- So... That position that they're calling for is what I've been campaigning on from day one.
And those city councilmen that have brought that bill forward have been right under me, listening to me speak as to bringing about a commissioner, a public safety/deputy mayor who would operate my local incident management program.
So it was no surprise to me that they took that and made it part of a new city charter change.
Because that is what's necessary, and that's what I've been talking about.
And I'm glad that they finally woke up to see the light.
- Thank you.
- Alright, this next question goes to Derek Green, Helen Gym, Rebecca Rhynhart, and Representative Brown is not with us yet.
So there are several different violence reduction programs currently funded or run by the city, yet many survivors and high-risk individuals never receive the services necessary to save lives, and community groups have sometimes stepped in.
What is your approach to increasing coordination among these various programs, groups, and initiatives?
- So my approach is making sure that those organizations are doing the grassroots work, really get the support that they need.
You know, I was a former deputy city solicitor, and when I worked in the law department, I worked with all the funding that went to organizations that provided housing counseling, and we provide technical assistance to those nonprofit organizations, so they can not only provide those services, but make sure they're doing it in an efficient way and also hold them accountable to make sure they're providing the units of services that they need to do.
That's something that was not part of the plan in reference to the dollars that went out to grassroots organizations.
As part of a Green administration.
We're gonna work with those organizations who are doing a great job and providing those services, but need some additional support.
When you talk about leadership and addressing these issues, one of the concerns that many people have, they don't see the return on their investment.
And so you have communities who are concerned that we're not seeing the ability to address gun violence in our city, even though there are people who are doing jobs in our city to address those problems, but don't have the support that they need.
It's unfortunate that, you know, this administration tried to do the READI program here in the city of Philadelphia and it's still taking time for that to be implemented.
At the end of the day, it's about leadership, but also providing the resources and the support for those organizations that they can actually do that work.
Because there are many organizations doing great work.
Organizations like Ceasefire, Philadelphia Ceasefire, Temple University, the organization I've worked with, ShapeUp, at Mike Monroe's barbershop in West Philadelphia is also working with the University of Pennsylvania, but could not get funded from the city of Philadelphia.
And then you have other organizations who are providing services that people have some questions about.
So under a Green administration, we're gonna use an infrastructure that we've already had through the Department of Housing and Community development and working with those organizations to make sure they have the support that they need to provide those services, and also make sure we're communicating those services to people all around the state of Philadelphia, so people can get the help that they need, so we can really address gun violence in a cooperative, cohesive way, in an efficient way, so people really see the return on their investment as we address gun violence in a Green administration.
- Thank you.
So I am somebody who has always rolled up her sleeves, gone straight into communities and worked directly with leaders to figure out responses that are shaped directly out of communities and neighborhoods to fix the problems that are facing people.
It is wrong to think that violence everywhere is gonna be handled with a simple cookie cutter approach.
And honestly, I came into government because this was, the former administration that I had been opposing for a long time had shut down neighborhood public schools, closed down fire stations, libraries, recreation centers, took out beacon centers from neighborhoods and communities, and the path to restoration, the path to safety, is not just seeing homicides go down, but actually seeing the health and wellbeing of invested communities and the lives and experiences of people actually rise.
That is one of the most core things and one of the reasons why a community-based response initiative is critical.
I hope I'll have a chance to talk a little bit more, but one of the core parts about solving crime.
Yes, of course technology, yes, of course modern forensics, but we do also need trained community interveners on the ground who are going to work with young people, who are trusted voices, who are gonna work with young people and intervene in the path of violence, who are able to deescalate situations that might be escalated through other more official measures.
One of the the other areas, when we talk about an emergency response, I feel very strongly about having a 72 hour protocol in response to tragedies that happen.
That means door knocking, communities that have been impacted by violence, making sure that we are bringing forward surveys, that we are asking, we are offering food, we are offering mental health supports and services, that we are asking people that if they had their window shot out or if there's a car that's been damaged that we are looking at funds and supports because violence is that kind of a tax on people's lives, especially when when 70 blocks get 10 shootings or more, that you can see repeated over and over again.
We have to get better at responding to our neighborhoods and communities, and community members are a critical part of that process and solution.
- [Elinore] Thank you.
- So there is a real disconnect with the size of the city's budget and that money actually getting to the groups that are doing the work on the ground.
And I hear over and over from community leaders that they are working so hard, that it is so difficult, and they're not supported by the city.
At the same time, we have a city budget that's close to $6 billion.
I was the city's budget director for five years.
I know the city's budget inside and out.
And I know that money can be directed to where it is needed most.
And as mayor, that is what I will do.
Intervention programs, community-based programs to reach those most at risk of gun violence.
We're funding them at $6,000 per shooting.
New York and LA fund them at over $25,000 per shooting.
We need to fund what works.
We also need to make sure that the city departments are working together and working in the best way.
We spend $800 million a year on policing.
But yet people across our city don't feel safe.
We need to look at the police budget, district by district, neighborhood by neighborhood, and ask community leaders and clergy and business owners what they need from police, and redo the resource allocation from the ground up.
We need some serious changes.
Behavioral health, we spend a billion dollars a year, a billion dollars on behavioral health.
Yet I've spoken to mothers who've lost their children, and they're told they have to wait three months for a therapist to deal with the trauma.
That is not okay.
And as mayor, I will change that.
- [Elinore] Thank you.
- Thank you, this is our speed round, and all of you are able to answer.
Survivors of gun homicides and non-fatal shootings have regularly complained that the Philadelphia Police Department does not keep them updated on the case or engage them in helping solve it, leaving valuable information unknown.
Would you order the police department to develop a procedure to regularly engage victims of gun violence as they investigate the crime?
All panelists have have answered yes.
- All right, this is our next question.
- This is for Ms. Parker, former Judge DeLeon and Ms. Quinones Sanchez.
Community leaders and antiviolence activists have for years pushed for more funding, locally identified solutions and targeted programs to save lives.
While the city started to listen to them in recent years, there have been numerous stories, including by WHYY, about the mismanagement and slow implementation of programs that have saved lives elsewhere, such as the Resilience Project, the READI program, or credible messengers through the community crisis intervention program.
We'd like you to name at least one existing program you would keep, and one you would change or end, and explain why.
We'll start with former council member Parker.
- One of the programs that I would keep is the Rebuild initiative.
One of the things we haven't done successfully in this city is to address our aging infrastructure.
And that's from a building perspective, but also the human infrastructure.
Ensuring that we have modern parks, rec centers and libraries and places and spaces for our people to congregate with quality program is essential.
And we also need to think about how we deliver those services, and that includes the school district of Philadelphia.
There is no reason why we don't have year round of public educational offerings that our entire community can take advantage of.
Our schools should open as early as 7:30 in the morning and close, the earliest they should be closing would be 6:00 PM.
We need year round educational opportunities.
We need to fast track execution of how we make those repairs.
And quite frankly, it is the only way we are going to let Philadelphians feel safe in their city.
That's if we show them that we've been unapologetic about making public safety the number one priority, and they will see it and judge it by the communities that they live in.
It is very interesting seeing people tout their expertise in community programming, but people look at what they see in our neighborhoods.
Have we married home preservation to our young people and those who are underemployed and unemployed in our city?
Have we married those opportunities?
Have we been able to use our intergovernmental experience to think outside of the box and address comprehensive problems like what we see, quite frankly in Kensington with the opioid and homeless crisis?
So yes, Rebuild for me is a program that I will continue, but we would ensure that equity and access to opportunity is a part of it, and we would make sure that quality program and the timing of the offerings is essential.
- Thank you, Mr. DeLeon.
- So, as a former military army officer, I know that sometimes when you go into a new command, you hear rumors about, this was a officer killer command.
And a lot of that sometimes has to do with morale.
So when you walk into a new command, you do not walk in to get rid of everybody until you find out what's been going on within that particular organization, how they were operating before you arrived, what they need to do after you arrived.
Can they perform the mission, is number one.
So you have to look at every organization, and when you review the individuals that make that organization, you have them and you yourself sitting down, asking that question.
Can you complete the mission?
What does it take for you to complete the mission?
Do you have the tools that you need to complete the mission?
What are the tools that you need to complete the mission?
I have the tools you need to complete the mission.
If I give them to you, what are you going to use those tools on to make sure that the mission is completed?
These are the type of things that a leader looks at when they first come into a job.
They do not come into a job with a self-determination that before they arrive, they're going to cut through whoever is there.
Because they don't know the people that are there.
They don't know the morale situations that those individuals were going through before they arrived.
So this is where being smart comes in, and being a proven leader comes in.
A person that knows the leadership skills and is able to use the leadership skills on a daily basis to make sure that the lives of Philadelphians are forever safe.
And that's what I would do as mayor of the city of Philadelphia.
- As I mentioned earlier, I think we needed to do more.
As chair of appropriations, I helped navigate the first 185 million and then the 200 million that we have on the table.
Some of the programming, first of all, we have to streamline what we're asking some of these nonprofits to do.
We set them up for failure.
We don't give them the money ahead of time.
So I would totally revamp that program, so that more of the smaller organizations could participate.
What I would expand.
Some of the emergency grant programming that we did in the summer where we gave small organizations money to create events and keep young people engaged, I would put that on steroids.
I think every single neighborhood should create those kind of activities in the summer to keep our young people safe.
One of the things that I worked on that COVID allowed us the opportunity to do with federal dollars was open up school buildings.
And I would streamline and support more organizations having access to our schools and to our rec centers so that they can use those facilities.
We all know that in order for you to get into the school district, there is so much bureaucracy.
And I would match a lot of the sports and extracurricular cultural activities that we have, along with the schools and rec centers to serve them, to serve as anchors.
And we use bureaucracy, we use insurance, we use, sometimes we use Act 21, and you know, and not allow ex-offenders to be able to participate in some of our buildings, and I would streamline that.
So that's what I would look to do.
We really need to anchor some of these programmings and support them and let these volunteers do the great work.
I would expand football leagues, soccer leagues, it's like, what could I give you so that you can keep more young people engaged all year long?
So I think we do a horrific job at supporting those very much volunteer based organizations throughout the city.
So I will put 'em on steroids.
You know, in terms of, we're gonna fail sometimes, and we're gonna need to be okay with it.
Some people are gonna try to do some work, and especially if we give them their bureaucracy and we don't support them.
And I'm okay with that.
Scale up what works and shut down what doesn't.
- [Sam] Thank you.
Opt in from Ms. Gym first, and then Mr. Domb.
- So in July of 2021, Philadelphia piloted the first non-police mobile mental health crisis units.
And it was the idea that there are a number of 911 calls that come in that are not definitively requiring of a police officer.
We have a number of mental health emergencies that happen all across the city of Philadelphia.
There have been articulated instances where individuals say they do not want a police officer responding.
We piloted those in 2021 to help respond to those.
And Denver did the same thing.
The difference is is that three years later, Denver is now taking thousands of calls out of 911, allowing trained medical professionals to respond to mental health emergencies and police spending more time on crime.
Still at the same pilot number.
We have to get out of pilot phase and invest in the things that work.
- [Sam] Thank you.
- Two things.
One, I would analyze the $200 million we're spending on gun violence prevention programs by our academic institutions to tell us which ones are saving lives and which ones are not.
But go back 12 years.
Under Mayor Nutter and former police commissioner Ramsay, crime was roughly half, half what it is today.
And they had focused deterrents, which my colleague council member Sanchez mentioned.
And recently I've noticed that the Dallas, Texas public safety plan goes back to what Philadelphia did in 2011, 12 and 13, and they're instituting what we did 'cause it was so successful.
We should do what was successful back what we did before.
- Thank you.
- Thank you, our next question is for former councilperson Derek Green, Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, council member Cherelle Parker, and council member Allan Domb.
What does community policing mean to you, and what is your vision for going forward?
We'll start with Green.
- Thank you, so community policing, what it means to me, it is a true public-private partnership, where we have police officers who understand and reflect the city of Philadelphia.
That's why when I talk about my public safety plan, we're gonna bring in police officers that look like the city of Philadelphia, and we're gonna recruit them from local universities and historically Black colleges and universities.
But we're also gonna work and rebuild trust with our community based organizations and our communities.
We don't want to have situations like we had with Walter Wallace Junior, and have that dynamic happen again.
We need to grow the infrastructure of culturally competent providers that are in our city of Philadelphia that are not getting the support that they need.
Because so many people in our city are really dealing with trauma, especially coming out of COVID-19, but also from all the gun violence happening in our city.
So we're talking about community policing is making sure we have police officers who are going to small businesses like I used to have my wife on Germantown Avenue and other businesses would assign a composition log like they used to.
Really engaging with community members.
When I was on the board years ago of the Maneri CDC, we had bike patrols and other type of investments where we had police officers really developing those relationships in our communities.
Many of us have relatives like myself who are, you know, police officers who are part of police athletic leagues and engaged in either a deacon in a church or an a mosque, but really have those connections, and we've gotten away from that.
So we need to make sure that when we are bringing new police officers and we need to bring a number of police officers, when they're going through the academy, they're gonna have a perspective on why you need to have not only crisis intervention training, to make sure they can deal with young people like my son who's on the autism spectrum, but also just people in the community as a whole, because that's not what we're doing as a city.
So in order to have a real reduction in public safety, we need to have police officers who understand our community, understand their neighbors, understand the organizations who are trying to address the violence in our city and making sure that we're gonna make our city safer for everyone.
- Thank you.
- Community policing is an important part of changing safety and making communities truly feel safe.
As controller, my office did an audit of the police department.
And one of the main recommendations coming out of that audit was to implement true community policing.
And what this means is to go neighborhood by neighborhood, district by district, and convene stakeholders, community members, residents, business owners, clergy, faith leaders to ask what they want from policing in their neighborhood.
Do they want police walking the beat?
Do they want bike cops?
Do they not want that?
And do they just want faster response times to 911 calls?
What does that neighborhood want?
And then redoing policing to be different by neighborhood.
That is true community policing, and it is what I will do as mayor.
It is one part of my overall public safety plan that I released several weeks ago.
The other parts, on day one, immediately declare a citywide emergency on gun violence, that's different than a state of emergency.
What I'm saying that I will do is open the emergency operation center, and coordinate the response not only of the police department, but of the streets department, to fix lighting, and the other departments as well.
And I also will crack down on illegal guns, pulling the DA and the police commissioner together to do that.
As your mayor, I will reduce this homicide rate.
I will cut it in half within my first term from over 500 to under 250 where it was seven years ago.
- [Chantay] Parker?
- As responded to earlier in a very detailed way, community policing is one tool in the toolbox needed to ensure that public safety is the number one priority.
But while they're proactively building relationships with the community, I want residents to see a return on their investment, and their tax dollars being spent in their neighborhoods.
I wanna ensure that residents across the city get access to the resources, to preserve their most valuable asset, which is their home.
I want Philadelphians on a path to self-sufficiency, investing in Philadelphia first, where people get closing costs and down payment assistance, to own a home instead of just renting.
I want restore, repair, renew, so that people can get access to the funding they need that they can't walk into a bank and get access to a loan for one reason or another.
I want them repairing their most valuable assets.
I want our school district partnering with the building trades so that our young people are being trained with the skill that they can be the ones doing this actual work in neighborhoods, being put on a path to self-sufficiency.
I literally want every industry that is growing in the city of Philadelphia to ensure that our people get access to the opportunity to learn that skill, so that they can have retirement security, and they can have healthcare, and not have to depend on government to take care of themselves.
I want to invest in Philadelphia's human infrastructure.
So those little leagues like the Oak Lane Youth Association that I'm a product of, yes, we should be investing in them across the board, because that is prevention.
Proactive community policing is actually prevention.
We need to ensure that we are thinking about how to prevent crime, and that's investing in neighborhoods before the crime begins, along with people.
We haven't used our resources effectively.
- [Chantay] Thank you.
- Thank you.
You know, about three months ago, I went to visit Solomon Rockman up E4 in Wayne Junction, at three o'clock in the afternoon.
And I get there, there's four police cars and an ambulance outside his place of business near some of the row homes.
I went over to the sergeant and said, "What happened?"
They said there was a shooting, two people were shot.
I said, "Over what?"
This was three o'clock in the afternoon.
Someone posted something on Instagram and the people didn't like it.
I said, "Were you able to get any witnesses?"
They said, "No, no one will talk to us."
This is not unusual, but this is the problem, why we need community policing.
Why we need police to walk a beat.
Why we need to build relationships where the public can trust the police and the police can trust the public.
But we also need to rebuild the public safety infrastructure.
We have 4 to 500 vacancies, we have 900 people out on sick or desk duty.
We have a ton of people in the DROP program coming up the next few years.
And we need to do some immediate impacts on hiring people.
But we also think of this long term.
Long term, 'cause we don't always think of long term.
So our schools, as mayor, I will have at least two, maybe more, high schools, 9th to 12th grade to train our residents to become police officers, firefighters, and EMT.
At 18 years of age, you can become a firefighter and EMT.
Police officer's 21.
So we can then marry them with a cadet program, which Commissioner Outlaw and former Police Commissioner Ramsey were cadets.
So at 19 and 20, they can do the desk jobs.
We can grow our own.
Think of the Philadelphia Phillies.
They have three different farm teams, AAA, AA, and single A.
We need to do this more so we can grow our own into these good paying jobs, not just with the police and firefighters and EMT, but with the building trades.
We should have five building trade schools where we make an arrangement with the building trades to train our young people for jobs in the union.
We could even do it for other professions across the board.
We need to train people to go into good paying jobs.
That's what I would do for the public safety issue.
- We have two opt-ins, Helen Gym, and then we'll go to you, Parker.
- So I wanna be clear that in a time when there has been historic levels of trust broken between institutions, we actually have to spend some time to retrain our officers about what community policing actually looks like.
That includes stepping out and making sure that each one of our 21st police districts holds an accountability review session where we're having data shared, and we're bringing together stakeholders to talk about feedback and other types of things in order for police departments to become more responsive.
Second, I talked a little bit about the importance of walking to neighborhoods in the aftermath of a tragedy, door knocking, offering food, taking surveys, interviewing and engaging with people who- - [Chantay] Thank you.
Your time is up.
- Nothing's more frustrating for Philadelphians than not being able to see their government at work in their neighborhood.
I have committed to having a mayor's community council in every council district.
No more will people who don't live in neighborhoods engage in, I know what's best for youse people policymaking without touching bases with the people who live there.
Every branch of government, every department will meet with community-based organizational leaders from every level in neighborhoods across the city.
And they won't say, mayor, the only time we see you is when you're asking for our vote.
They'll be interacting with their government.
- Thank you.
- All right, this is our next speed question, so we'll need your cards again.
Just a reminder not to lean too close to the mic.
If changing how we police is part of the solution, does it require a change in Philadelphia Police Department leadership?
- Repeat the question?
If changing how we police is part of the solution, does it require a change in Philadelphia Police Department leadership?
- This is a difficult question.
- Leadership's not just one person.
- [Sam] Ah, it's a yes or no, unfortunately.
- Can I use- - There's a lot of abstentions, okay, yes.
Okay, hold them up please, if you had a yes or no.
Okay, so that is a yes from Mr. Green, a yes from Ms. Parker, a yes from Ms. Quinones Sanchez, a yes from Ms. Gym.
Who had a no?
A no from Mr. Domb.
Ms. Rhynhart is using her last opt-in.
- Yes, I would like to make a comment on that question, that in terms of leadership, what we need is good leadership from the mayor.
And the police commissioner has been put it in a very tough position to get no support from Mayor Kenney.
And as mayor, I will set a vision for the police department, set accountability, and hire a police commissioner, whether it's the current one, or someone else that shares that vision and will execute upon that vision to make our city safe, and to reform policing at the same time.
- Mr. Domb, you can you use your last opt-in.
- I've had the opportunity to work with Commissioner Outlaw on several occasions.
And I kind of feel, as former controller Rhynhart said, her hands have been tied to a large degree, and I've seen it.
I think she has the ability to do the job if we work with her, and I would give her that opportunity first.
I think she deserves it.
- Thank you.
We are going to wrap up.
This is our last question for the evening.
Successful antiviolence programs often come from the community, and must have community support to succeed.
It's a testament to the efforts of local leaders that Philadelphia has developed many of these efforts.
The initiatives can take different forms.
They can be designed to address root causes of violence, or they can be efforts to immediately reduce shootings.
What framework will you use to balance these two approaches during the first two years of your term?
And this is for everyone.
So we are gonna start with Judge DeLeon, and then Allan Domb, and then Green, and Helen Gym, and then I'll give the next four.
- What were the two aspects?
- The two aspects is the root causes, how will you address the root causes of violence, and the efforts of the immediate, reducing shootings?
How will you balance the two approaches?
- Well, again, we're back to the system that I'm offering to the citizens of Philadelphia.
The Local Incident Management System.
Which is specifically, to reduce gun violence, reduce violence, and overturn generational poverty.
Because it's the generational poverty that leads to the violence and the crime and the gun violence.
So when I'm using through that system, the necessary responders, which are from the health field, the court system, the district attorney, the police, even the prison system, the school system, see, there are a lot of components that are needed in order to turn the city around.
We can't just like, look at one aspect of it.
But they all have to be working together for a common goal.
So the common goal here is reducing gun violence.
The common goal is by reducing gun violence, you're also reducing crime.
But the major common goal is to bring the poverty, generational poverty to a reduced level, because Philadelphia is the poorest large city in the United States.
So we have to reduce that situation.
And that's where the seeding of the money comes in.
As far as with the district attorney, with the public defender, with the court system, in recovering as many of our citizens as we can.
We have to invest in recovering our citizens, both those that may become perpetrators, those that are perpetrators, because we have to show for their children that there is hope that if you recidivate, and you try to be reclaimed, and you are reclaimed, we can help you, and it's going to help us, because it's going to give us better citizens.
- Councilman Allan Domb, you are up.
- Well, you know, we, I think I mentioned this earlier, the crime, the symptom of crime or what's causing it is lack of good paying jobs, unaffordable housing, poverty.
And for the balance of the two pieces, I would say violence is the number one thing we need to get under control, but it's simultaneously, simultaneously, we need to deal with the root causes of it.
So we need to do both.
You can't really pick one or the other.
Because at the end of the day, if we think long term, and I mentioned this earlier, if we had done 15 years ago the teaching of financial literacy technology and entrepreneurship K through 12, we'd have a different city today.
If we had adult education, which I want to do in 25 locations across the city in libraries, churches or rec centers, where we teach adults seven to nine o'clock at night, financial literacy, technology and entrepreneurship, we'll have a different city.
We'll be dealing with those root causes.
There's two ways of generating generational wealth.
I'm sure there's many others, I'll just share two.
Entrepreneurship's a big one.
2 to 3% of our Black and brown population are entrepreneurs, it should be 15 to 20%.
And home ownership is a big one.
95 to 97% of the people in the United States have their biggest asset as their home.
The average wealth of a tenant is 4 to $6,000.
The average wealth of a homeowner is $200,000.
So their previous question about nonprofits, I would engage nonprofits, I would engage financial institutions.
I would ramp up dramatically the ability of our residents to buy their own home.
That's how you pass on generational wealth.
In many cases, generational wealth is great, because when you own a home and you wanna start a business, you can borrow against that asset.
And we have to really, like, I would set a goal of having 5,000 to 10,000 people step into home ownership per year.
That's the long term.
That is the long term.
You know, I have an overall goal for the city, and that is 100,000 good paying jobs the next 10 years, 100,000 people outta poverty the next 10 years, and 100,000 new residents into the city to expand our tax paying base.
- Thank you.
Council member, former member Derek Green.
- Yeah, thank you for that question.
When I released my public safety plan, it's based on the fact that Philadelphians should expect more and deserve better from our city.
It's not an easy or approach, it's an and approach.
So when I talk about presence, accountability, opportunity, investment, presence is making sure we have police officers that reflect our city and understand our communities to make sure that they are rebuilding the public trust.
We need to reduce the gun violence in our city.
When I talked about accountability as part of that public safety plan, it's working with our US attorney's office to make sure we're bringing all of our actors and our criminal justice system partners, working collectively together to add additional resources, to really hold people accountable who may wanna victimize people in our city, but not over-criminalize young Black men.
The other two pieces are the the opportunity investment, which we have to do at the same time that we're doing presence and accountability.
The opportunity is making sure that we're exposing young people to the jobs and the trainings and all the future that they can do in our city by giving them exposure in school, creating more jobs, family sustaining jobs that I talked about.
Working with people like you know, Ken Frazier, growing small businesses, which is initiative that will be helped by my public bank initiative, 'cause too many small businesses do not get access to credit.
And that's gonna provide more jobs in our city.
And then the final piece is investment, investing in our city, investing in all the infrastructure and opportunities for young people to see these issues and address these concerns.
It's not an either or perspective, it's an and perspective.
And so my public safety plan does exactly what that question says, which is presence, accountability, opportunity, and investment.
And people in our city expect more and deserve better from our city.
And we can't decide we're gonna do one approach or the other.
We have to do both approaches at the same time.
That's what you'll get in the Green administration, because that's how we'll reduce public safety, and address public safety, and reduce gun violence in our city.
- Thank you.
Our next up will be Helen Gym, Cherelle Parker, Maria Sanchez, and then we are gonna round it out with Rebecca Rhynhart.
- I'm a community organizer.
It's been where my heart has always been.
I look at everything in terms of two ways that the framework for how we do this work in the city needs to matter.
One, we have to strengthen our communities and make them stronger, more resilient, healthier and more capable than they've ever been.
And two, we have to build a more responsive government that responds to communities.
In both short term and long term, everything that we do has to develop that.
That's why when I talked about solving crimes, that it's also, yes, about surveillance technologies, modern forensics, DNA, cell phone towers.
But it's also about training police officers to do the 21st, in every single one of our 21 police districts, going into communities, holding meetings, sharing data, information, receiving information, and adjusting your behavior so we can become more responsive than we've ever been.
It's why when I talked about an emergency response unit and a 72 hour protocol for how we respond to massive tragedies like the shooting outside of Blaine Elementary School last week, that we train people to go out, knock on doors, take those surveys, ask people, what are the supports and assistance that they need?
Do they need mental health supports?
Are there family therapies that are needed right then?
Do they need access to funds to repair their homes?
These are important ways in which the city changes by listening to the residents that we have.
Of course, I've been very clear about what it takes to have the education, care and keeping of young people.
We said right now that most, when you talk to the district, our young people are being shot before 6:00 PM in broad daylight.
So yes, an immediate strategy is to develop afterschool programming, safe passages to and from school, so parents aren't worried.
But that's also a long-term strategy, because the more that we invest in that, the stronger that those programs become, and the more that our communities have those programs, they too become more resilient.
I've been also very clear that we have to support victims.
The question that you had asked, we look at victims in terms of their usefulness and prosecution, not to us as neighbors, as people who must heal and as people whose lives of this matter.
When we turn that around, we will become a better, not just a safer city, - Thank you.
Your time is up.
- but a better society.
- [Chantay] May I have Parker?
- Thank you so much.
We are going to be unapologetic about ridding our city of this sense of lawlessness that's been allowed to prevail, by using every federal, state and local resource that we have to ensure that the modern technology, that our police department, along with our district attorney's office that they need, from forensics to wire tapping and any other technical assistance that they need, to clear crimes and solve crimes, we're gonna make sure that we use those resources to get 'em done.
At the same time, we're going to make sure that access to economic opportunity is at the foundation of all that we do.
We're gonna put people on a path to self-sufficiency and get them off of the poverty hamster wheel by marrying every industry that's growing in the city of Philadelphia with those people who are in much need of training and access to that opportunity.
We are also going to ensure that not only the training is available for those who are entering into the police department, but we're gonna make sure that we civilianize many of those roles.
We just graduated our first class of public safety officers in the city of Philadelphia.
We have to make sure that we are unapologetic about sending a message that the open air drug markets that have been allowed to persist, that they are done.
We also, in the long term, Philadelphia has to be a leader in saying to big pharma, and to the big guns industry, pharma, you've been pumping our communities with opioids.
You've been indirectly supporting safe injection sites as solutions to those problems, and those solutions are not being proffered by Philadelphians, as I was so proud to see the people in South Philadelphia and in Kensington stand up to say, no, not here.
Informing partnerships with organizations like Project Home and Sister Mary to ensure that there's long-term treatment, long-term housing, access to economic opportunity from those who are suffering.
And we will use a regional approach.
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
- [Chantay] Have you next.
- So I'm going to use zero based budgeting, and ask every city operating department to come up with an anti-poverty plan, a public safety plan, and an inclusion and economic development plan.
And we are going to reinvest all of the money and the savings through innovation back in people.
And what does that mean?
In the 7th Councilmanic District, I had 36 RCOs.
And every single neighborhood wanted to see something different.
I will work and honor and see the work that is being done on a neighborhood basis and support it.
But government has to provide the basics to our community leadership and then support our community leadership, our community leaders and what they wanna envision.
The next mayor, she will build out this city over the next 10 years.
We need to create a common vision.
And the only way we create a common vision, if we start listening, right?
For too long as government, we have come in and said, this is what we need to do here, here, and think that a cookie cutter approach is gonna go everywhere.
The best talent that we have is the lived experience by our leadership in every community.
Whether you go to Kensington, or whether you go to Southwest Philadelphia, where we were at last night, everybody knows what needs to be done.
Everybody is ready to roll up their sleeves.
And guess what?
We're horrible partners as government.
We do not see and recognize the work that folks are doing.
We do not engage civic leadership in the decision making of their government.
What is it that you want in your neighborhood?
What is it that you need in your neighborhood?
So look, I've done community organizing in the past.
I've managed a nonprofit government.
This government needs to be turned back to the people in the neighborhoods, and the people feel that they're part of this government.
So in me, you have someone with lived experience who understands the work that goes on in every neighborhood, and will work with that local leadership so that they can feel included in what's gonna happen.
When we celebrate our birthday in 2026, we should feel like we're all rowing in one direction.
That doesn't happen if we don't listen to our leadership.
- [Chantay] Thank you.
- Thank you, Chantay.
We need to focus on both the short and long term at the same time.
And the question posed was around, as mayor, would I support the community groups that are focused on short-term or long-term?
And my answer to you is, as mayor, I would focus on both.
We need to fund community groups that are doing good work in the short term and the long term.
I've worked on this issue for several years and met with a leading expert, David Mohammed, who has divided anti-violence spending into three categories.
Intervention, which I've discussed, which is the programs that are short term, GVI, Cure Violence, and cognitive behavior therapy.
Then there's prevention and transformation.
Those buckets of funding are extremely important.
Because as mayor, I will work every day to correct the disinvestment that has happened in our city that has created the violence we see today.
The violence we see today, my office as city controller mapped the violence, and it's the same areas that were redlined in the 1930s and '40s.
This is the result of racist policy.
So as mayor, I would be adamant and focused on making sure that the education system is fixed, making sure there's job pipelines from our poorest neighborhoods, but people can't wait for safety.
People are getting shot in broad daylight, and kids are running from bullets across our city.
We need to fix the safety now, and that's the short term.
So I would do both, to get safety in the short term, opportunity and community health and prosperity in the long term.
- Thank you very much everyone.
- Thank you, Sam, Elinore and Chantay for moderating this powerful discussion.
And thank each of you for sharing your views on how you would restore safety in Philadelphia.
Let's give the candidates a round of applause.
(audience clapping) We also do appreciate staying on time.
Soon, it will be up to everyone listening and watching, which candidate do you believe has the best plan to address gun violence?
Who will engage the communities you believe have the solution?
And who will improve coordination and implementation of the programs to save lives?
The vision you see in front of you is the choice ahead of us.
And that's the choice you will get to make in May when you vote and again in November when you decide who will restore safety to Philadelphia.
- Thanks for watching the 100th Mayor Restoring Safety Forum.
You can email your comments and thoughts to email@example.com.
A quick reminder, Philadelphia's primary election is on May 16th.
For WHYY, I'm Sam Searles.