Top Democratic Candidates Share Street Cleanup Plans – NBC10 Philadelphia
Community cleaning and greening is one of the problems most mayoral candidates see eye to eye on, it seems.
Everyone wants cleaner streets.
But what is the correct way to accomplish this?
Whoever is elected to the city’s highest office will be able to determine the fate of Philadelphia’s mechanical street-cleaning pilot program, which seeks to clean up communities across the city but has been such a controversial topic that some are unwilling to haul their cars for cleaning equipment.
“We need a street sweeper, we’re the only major city without a citywide cleanup. We need to pick up the trash on time,” Democratic candidate and former city watchdog Rebecca Reinhart said recently.
Cleaning up and greening Philly’s neighborhoods is part of Reinhart’s plan for safety, with the Street Department having improved street lighting, and the Department of Licensing and Inspection clearing hazardous areas and sealing vacant buildings as goals it would focus on, if elected.
“Brighter streetlights, cleaner streets, it’s all part of addressing this public safety issue,” Cheryl Parker, a former city councilwoman and Democratic mayoral candidate, told NBC 10.
One of the pillars of the Parker Safety Plan will be quality of life issues. It said it would support continued – and in some places increased – funding for programs such as mechanical cleaning of streets, removal of graffiti, securing vacant lots and abandoned buildings and resolving persistent problems with garbage collection.
It would also call for more street lights and additional funding for the Philadelphia division of L&I, in order to give the office the ability to address quality-of-life issues.
Former city councilman turned Democratic mayoral candidate Alan Domp told NBC10 that he would look to tackle trash issues “on day one,” if elected.
He said: “My grandmother used to tell me: Cleanliness is next to piety.” “We have to keep the city clean, and I would like to say this, when I am mayor, on the first day, I will ask every citizen of this city to help me. We cannot do it alone, we need their help.”
In a list of ten actions that Domp said he would work towards in his first 100 days, if elected, the candidate notes an emphasis on cleaning up every vacant lot and closing every vacant building in the city. He said communities that are cleaned up and greened — along with getting new street lighting, increased tree canopy cover and providing access to green spaces — could see a decrease in criminal activity.
Former city councilwoman and Democratic candidate for mayor Helen Gem, will also support clean-up and greening of neighborhoods in an effort to reduce crime.
However, the gym’s plan to clean up the neighborhoods may go further than most of the other candidates as it looks to create a separate sanitation and waste management department. You may also want to increase garbage collection and street lighting in neighborhoods hardest hit by violence and illegal littering.
And in her first year, if elected, Jim said she would close 50% of vacant homes and tow 10,000 abandoned cars.
Grosser-turned-Democratic mayoral candidate Jeff Brown addresses trash-collection issues candidly in one of his campaign ads.
“It’s about city services. Pick up the fucking trash,” he says in the ad.
In his plan for safety, Brown likens cleaning and neighborhood greening to driveways at his grocery stores, saying clean streets will help reduce crime and give residents pride in their communities.
“In my stores, the aisles are clean, the parking lots are well lit and the entire area is safe. This is how we show respect to our customers. Somehow, the City Council missed the memo,” reads Brown’s safety plan.
He said he plans to hire more workers to manage Philadelphia Street, implement regular street cleanings and provide sanitation workers with the equipment they need to keep every neighborhood clean.
Brown said he also hopes to restore an anti-trash initiative, the Waste and Garbage Disposal Cabinet, which Mayor Jim Kenney closed in 2020.