Mayoral Hopefuls Featured in Latino Forum

The six Democratic mayoral hopefuls gathered at the Pipeline offices in Center City for a public forum on Latino issues in the city.

Candidates Lynne Abraham, Temple Trustee Nelson Diaz, City Councilman Jim Kenney, Doug Oliver, Milton Street and State Senator Anthony Williams were hosted by Al Dia News in partnership with the Knight Foundation and 900 AM WURD.

The discussion was moderated by Al Dia’s Managing Editor Sabrina Vourvoulias, alongside journalists from:

While the forum was sponsored by the Spanish newspaper Al Dia News, the topics ranged as far and wide as the panel of journalists, only touching on Latino issues towards the end of the two and half hour event.

While the major issue covered was Philadelphia’s educational system and its funding dilemma, candidates Lynne Abraham, Doug Oliver and Nelson Diaz agreed that the ability to promote job creation stemmed from a solid educational foundation.

Job creation and violence were also hotly discussed issues.

Milton Street advocated for prevention, not punishment when discussing how to curb violence in the city. He also argued that the only people that can stop violence in schools and in the communities, are those who live there.

Nelson Diaz argued that “Immigration is a federal issue,” as the topic of immigration in the city was mentioned many times. Diaz spoke out against what he called ‘fire-sales’ on the closed school district properties, saying it would have been better to give those over to the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

Lynne Abraham said “Competition is good,” when asked about Uber & Lyft being in the city alongside long-time taxis and cabs. She also mentioned that regulation must be put in place to provide the same opportunity to all driving services in Philadelphia.

Doug Oliver said he believes “What frustrates Philadelphia parents is weak communication,” when asked about the educational system and what he would do to ease the tension between the school district and the constituents of the city. Oliver also touched on police violence in the city, particularly against young, black men, saying “The responsibility rests between both groups.”

Senator Williams argued for the development of small businesses in the city by providing them access to capital through a municipal bank. “Banking is big business in America, but they don’t do it for small businesses.”

Jim Kenney said he believed that cultural sensitivity classes would improve police violence in the city, and was cautious about body cameras because they can be turned off by the officers, and then offer no assistance as a tool of intervention.

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