“The Wraparound Service” – Mayoral Candidate Nelson Diaz with Citified’s Patrick Kerkstra


Nelson Diaz last night at Venturef0rth with the editor of Citified Patrick Kerkstra. Photo by Kenneth Lipp

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]

About Kenneth Lipp

Kenneth is a writer and researcher. He’s from Alabama, and will not apologize for it. He moved to Pennsylvania in 2012, but has been in love with Philadelphia since a late-night stroll down Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum in July of 2011 with the love of his life. He is interested in telling Philadelphia’s dynamic and absolutely unique stories with the zeal of a constantly enamored newcomer. Kenneth is also passionate about government transparency and protection of whistleblowers, most notably PFC Chelsea Manning. His research and reporting on law enforcement and surveillance have been featured in various publications, including Rolling Stone (Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters) and Popular Science (Boston Tested Crowd-Watching Software That Catalogues People's Skin Color). His training is in both genetics and history and he likes the joke about being a helicase and unzipping your “genes.” He’s driven to know, and thinks you can handle, the truth. Follow him on Twitter @kennethlipp.

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