Although public policy influencers may agree on many of the suggestions being put forward for the 2023 Mayoral and City Council candidates, they miss the mark on some of the major issues of importance to Philadelphia voters. Philadelphians want to see better coordination of municipal services in order to improve the effectiveness of governance. We want infrastructure.
It’s this behind-the-scenes work that makes a difference in our day-to-day.
Philadelphia voters aren’t just concerned about the issues that make the evening news. We are also concerned about:
- Basic enforcement of License & Inspection regulations on maintenance of public property. Publicly subsidized housing also should not be ignored, but collaborated upon. The City needs to review ways to remediate infractions of regulations on private property to ascertain effectiveness of enforcement.
- Public health regulations on hazardous materials and air quality. (These need much stronger enforcement.)
- Emergency management relationships between entities involving public infrastructure. These must be reexamined for greater public safety.
- Water Department quality and safety should be publicly evaluated more often, not just when an incident occurs.
These are just a few examples of basic interruptions that should be carefully considered. Others include: street signage and lighting; synchronization of traffic signals on major thoroughfares; and municipal response to water main and gas line neighborhood interruptions.
Instead of the operating departments — City departments that are responsible for the operation, maintenance and/or use of certain equipment or facilities — being separated and supervised in different locations by different people, why not cluster similar departments and digitally monitor service delivery for better supervision of delivery timelines? Supervisors should spend more time in the field to visualize and personally verify progress and completion. The City should adequately staff the 311 system to respond to requests for services and requests.
All Philadelphians care about gun violence, poverty, education and jobs. But the next mayor needs to get the City’s house in order, because day to day, it’s the quality of life issues, from the day-to-day — the litter on our streets, the homes we live in, the water from our taps, the air we breathe — to the rare but vital — emergency services — that make us a happier, healthier Philadelphia.
Joseph Certaine is the former regional director of the Governor’s Office, former managing director for the City of Philadelphia and the former special assistant to the mayor.
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