By Kenneth Lipp
Last night at Venturef0rth in north Center City, PhillyMag’s Citified held the second Candidate Conversation series Q and A with former judge Nelson Diaz. This week’s conversation was well-attended, as was last week’s with Doug Oliver, despite inclement winter weather. Patrick Kerkstra conducted the Q&A for Citified, and was well-prepared to keep the Exelon Corporation and PECO board director from derailing into campaign-edition shareholder presentations, directing Diaz to the point with requests to hear discrete policies that might overcome such massive municipal hurdles as squalor in public schools, rampant bureaucratic corruption, and 10-figure pension deficits.
The veteran administrator and jurist performed well given the complex and protracted nature of solving city woes that are inextricably linked to Harrisburg politics, such as with the School District of Philadelphia and the School Reform Commission (SRC). Vocal support from the audience largely spared Diaz the fallout from a few stumbles prompted by persistent questions from Kerkstra.Last night the candidate made a contingent announcement that, if realized, would be an answered prayer for a great many public school advocates:
he said that he had spoken with Governor Wolf had agreed that if Diaz becomes Philly’s next mayor they will “get rid of the SRC.”
Diaz responded on twitter to doubts about his ability to follow-though on this promise, as only the SRC itself can vote for its dissolution, by explaining that it would be a simple matter of appointing SRC members who would call for and pass such a vote, and appointments to the SRC are the job of the Governor of PA and the Mayor of Philadelphia.
“The Wraparound Service” was Diaz’s term for his universal services approach to improving quality of life and increasing the tax base.
The discussion lasted nearly an hour, with audience questions following the main Q&A. You can read more about Nelson Diaz in The Declaration’s Election Update in The Spirit Newspapers. Watch the whole Q&A below:[youtube http://youtu.be/eTDTsRKI79U]