Run, Cindy, Run!

It may be the only way the 8th District can get a City Council member who serves her constituents. 

Cindy Bass for Mayor!

Yes, you read that right: Cindy Bass for Mayor!

But lest you think I’ve taken leave of my senses, let me assure you that I am not jumping on her campaign bandwagon — it hasn’t even started to roll yet. Nor am I urging you to vote for her in next year’s city primary.

I’m just encouraging her to enter that primary, as some rumors say she might.

Why am I doing this?  It may be the only way we can get a City Council member who works with rather than at cross purposes with constituents on matters of concern.

Our City Charter requires that anyone currently holding elective office in City Hall must first resign that office before seeking another. That means that to run for mayor, Bass would have to give up her Council seat.

She has given Germantowners several reasons to want her to resign over the last several years.

For starters, consider the defunct Germantown Special Services District. Its board, which had been stacked with several members of Councilmember Bass’ staff, rebuffed property owners’ and residents’ efforts to learn how it was spending the money it got from those property owners. (It certainly wasn’t spending the money on its mission of keeping the business corridor clean.)

In response to the complaints residents lobbied at the board, Bass complained about the complainers instead.

More recently, she gave a similar performance when confronted with questions about another underperforming entity: the developer she had backed to restore the long-vacant Germantown YWCA. Rejecting a community-supported proposal to redevelop it as low-income senior housing, Bass in 2016 tapped a Pittsburgh-based developer, KBK Enterprises, to turn the building into market-rate apartments.

Click here to read this WHYY article
Germantown YWCA

That was five years ago. The building remains vacant today, and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority revoked its contract with KBK on the grounds that it could not prove it was financially capable of doing the job.

At a public meeting called by the Friends for the Restoration of the Germantown YWCA (Facebook group) last Dec. 7 to collect community feedback on its future, Bass lectured the audience about their lack of support for Black-owned businesses.

Since when did one developer become all Black-owned developers? Her contention — and her request for an investigation into the Redevelopment Authority — are disingenuous, to say the least. Established local firms like Mosaic Development Partners have shown that they have the knowledge, skill and financial backing to tackle projects like this one. And Jumpstart Germantown continues to graduate Black developers by the boatload.

What Bass meant by her remarks, it seems to me, is, “If you don’t side with the people I prefer, you’re anti-Black.”

There is, or ought to be, no room for that on City Council. Bass has demonstrated that her own interests come before those of her constituents.

But, it seems, enough of those constituents are undisturbed by that to re-elect her. And since that is the case, the only way it looks like we will get a Councilmember who puts constituents first will be to have her unseat herself.

Run, Cindy, run!

(ed note: we did not create the video in this post, we found it on youtube — it’s from Oct 2019, the last time Cindy was challenged for her seat)

About Sandy Smith 11 Articles
Sandy’s interest in journalism stretches all the way back to high school, and he’s been scribbling away ever since then, either in the field or in its hired-gun cousin, media relations. He currently runs the Real Estate & Home channel at Philadelphia magazine's website, phillymag.com. You'll find his column on trends in real estate and design in the print edition. Cities and the built environment float his boat, as does rail transportation, and he’s written about all of the above for Philadelphia-area media and beyond. His work has also appeared in Next City, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Hidden City Daily and several other regional publications. Sandy is a Kansas City native who currently lives in East Germantown. Follow Sandy on nwlocalpaper.com and social media -- Twitter: @MarketStEl Facebook: WriterSandySmith

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