Attorney Anastasio, a former staffer of the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission, has worked on cases involving anti-LGBT bias crimes and bullying and helped conduct LGBT sensitivity training for police officers and first responders.
He coordinated the first-ever domestic-partner ceremony held in City Hall and said he would “aggressively pursue” the passage of a measure to extend domestic-partner benefits to employees of some city contractors.
Anastasio, who supports marriage equality, would vote against the proposed Boy Scouts settlement, as he said it amounts to “little more than sanctioned discrimination.”
Anastasio has pledged to sell city-owned vacant and untaxed properties, which he predicted would net $400 million, revenue he said could fuel housing opportunities for people with HIV/AIDS, an initiative for which he’d also seek state funding.
To support HIV/AIDS services in the city, Anastasio said he would pursue corporate gifts from for-profit medical companies and payments in lieu of taxes from nonprofit entities.
Anastasio said he would hire a director of LGBT outreach for his office, who would work to meet the needs of 1st District LGBT constituents.
He added he would institute brown-bag lunch meetings for LGBT community members and police representatives that would “result in a better understanding of the issues the LGBT community faces and lower the rates of anti-LGBT violent crimes.”
Grace, a former director of a gun-violence prevention agency and a past communications director for the city, said he would bring his “passionate, lifelong commitment to equality” to the 1st District.
He called the proposed Boy Scouts settlement a “sweetheart deal” and said he doesn’t believe the city should sell the building to an agency that discriminates.
“I strongly believe an agreement can be reached by all parties, but all parties need to be at the negotiating table — that includes the LGBT community,” he said.
Grace, whose campaign manager is gay, called SEPTA’s gender-marker system “de-facto discrimination” that must be stopped, and pledged to advocate for the extension of domestic-partner benefits to employees of some city contractors.
Grace said the state anti-bullying law is “weak and ineffective” and that he would work to ensure each school has a gay-straight alliance.
He said he would make funding for HIV/AIDS housing a priority if elected and would also work to back the completion of the proposed LGBT-friendly William Way Senior Residences.
Grace spent several years as chair of the board of Prevention Point Philadelphia and said he’d work with this agency and others on HIV/AIDS issues, as well as pursue new revenue options to fund public-health causes.
Grace supports marriage equality and said he would work with “fellow progressives to find creative ways to advocate for this important civil-rights issue,” tapping into his experience at passing local-level gun laws when the state refused to do so.
Labor organizer Hornstein, whose finance director is openly gay, said diversity will be a priority in his own hiring, and he would advertise jobs openings in PGN and work with agencies like The Attic Youth Center on internships.
He called the current Boy Scouts settlement an “absurd backroom deal” that must be revisited with input from the LGBT community.
Hornstein said he would partner with Riders Against Gender Exclusion to press for the removal of the SEPTA gender markers and would urge public hearings.
He said he would advocate for a bill to require certain city contractors to offer domestic-partner benefits, and that housing opportunities for the HIV/AIDS community must be a city priority, for which he would advocate for city funding as well as work to secure private funding.
Hornstein said efforts to curb bullying have thus far been “inadequate,” and said he would work with the school district’s LGBT advisory committee and LGBT youth groups to confront the issue. He said he would also press for each city school to offer a gay-straight alliance.
He noted the 1st District Councilmember needs to be city government’s “champion for preventing crime in the LGBT community” and, in that vein, he would work with the Police Liaison Committee and press for increased sensitivity training for police, with special attention given to transgender issues.
He supports same-sex marriage, calling it the defining civil-rights issue of our time.
If elected, Hornstein said he would partner with out at-Large candidate Sherrie Cohen “to create the most outspoken and reliable advocacy force for the LGBT community in Council history.”
Squilla, a systems analyst with the state Auditor General’s office, is a South Philadelphia native who said he is proud of his “long history of working with all people, no matter their race, gender or sexual orientation.”
He said he is “disappointed” in the city’s proposal to sell the building to the Boy Scouts, adding it “could have been sold to others who did not discriminate like the Boy Scouts.”
Squilla said he would work with colleagues at the state level to ensure SEPTA receives adequate funding to support the proposed Smartcard fare system and, in the meantime, would press the agency to eliminate the gender markers.
He would consider supporting the measure to extend domestic-partner benefits to employees of some city contractors but would need to review the legislation.
He is in favor of strengthening anti-bullying legislation and supports marriage equality.
He said he would support increased funding for HIV/AIDS programs and would work to better educate the general public about LGBT health concerns.
Squilla said he would press for a unit within the police department to specifically handle LGBT issues.
Attorney and real-estate developer Capozzi is seeking to represent her native South Philadelphia.
Capozzi does not support the sale of the Boy Scouts property to the organization for any price and said an eventual buyer should pay full-market value and comply with the city’s nondiscrimination law.
She called the SEPTA gender markers “totally inappropriate” and said she would hold public hearings with SEPTA officials and the LGBT community on the issues.
She is in favor of enhanced education of the public and law enforcement on anti-LGBT hate crimes, and increased LGBT-specific antibullying training in the school district, and would work to include LGBT businesses in the city’s minority-owned business certification.
Capozzi said she would lobby Harrisburg for state recognition for unions like domestic partnerships until full marriage equality is achieved, which she supports.
State Rep. Johnson is looking to bring his state legislative experience to the municipal level as 2nd District Councilperson.
Johnson, a marriage-equality supporter, supports efforts to require some city contractors to offer domestic-partner benefits. He said he would work with Council and SEPTA to institute a gender-neutral system and would lobby against transferring ownership of the Boy Scouts headquarters to the organization.
He recently testified at an antibullying hearing in City Hall and said he will continue to press for the district to “aggressively pursue all reports from students and parents. Schools should implement programs to prevent and address anti-LGBT bullying.”
He said he’d make housing for those with HIV/AIDS a budget priority and would oppose cuts to HIV/AIDS programming.
Johnson said he would press for mandatory sensitivity training among city workers and the police force, and work with domestic-violence groups to ensure they are equipped to work with LGBT victims.
Fifth District Council candidate Carn, legal secretary and former state legislative chief of staff, is eager to bring her diverse experiences to her native North Philadelphia.
Carn, who supports civil unions, would back the funding of housing opportunities for people with HIV/AIDS and would advocate for funding for HIV/AIDS services.
She is a former HIV counselor and board member at Calcutta House, served as the project director for state Rep. Jewell Williams’ HIV/AIDS initiative and founded an HIV/AIDS referral and counseling website.
She would support efforts to remove the gender markers from SEPTA transpasses and is in favor of a bill that extends domestic-partner benefits to the employees of some city contractors.
Carn said she needs to review the proposed Boy Scouts settlement before issuing a position.
She said she would work to ensure all businesses receive fair and equal opportunities and would engage the LGBT community on solutions to anti-LGBT crimes.
Incumbent 5th District Councilman Clarke spearheaded the legislative effort to evict the Boy Scouts from their local headquarters on account of their antigay policy.
Most recently, Clarke introduced a settlement agreement following last summer’s court ruling on the issue.
“This legislation ensures the use of the property for organizations that address issues of diversity and tolerance,” he said.
Clarke has also supported legislation to eliminate the property-transfer tax for same-sex couples and said he would support the current effort to require certain city contractors to offer domestic-partner benefits to their employees.
He said he would work with SEPTA board members, as well as agencies such as Equality Pennsylvania and the city’s Human Relations Commission, to eliminate the transpass gender markers.
He said he supports preventative projects targeting anti-LGBT violence and would press for better training across the school district and stronger enforcement of anti-bullying policies.
He urged the community to back him at the polls because of his commitment to “represent individuals and communities equally, regardless of differences in gender, sexual orientation, economic status, race, etc.”
Maria Quiñones Sánchez
As a Latina woman, Councilwoman Quiñones Sánchez said she has a unique and personal commitment to fighting discrimination.
Quiñones Sánchez employs several out staffers and said she’ll continue to search for the most qualified and diverse employees.
She is cosponsoring a bill to extend domestic-partner benefits to the employees of some city contractors and is in favor of marriage equality.
Quiñones Sánchez said she has a close relationship with the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office and the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative and has worked to heighten awareness about HIV/AIDS, especially among Latino populations, as well as fought to maintain funding for Prevention Point.
She said she is eager for public discussions on the immediate removal of the SETPA gender markers and, in regard to the Boy Scouts settlement, is “very concerned about the liability to the city government and feel we rushed to a settlement that did not hold the Boy Scouts accountable for their discrimination policy.”
Bass, a policy advisor to Congressman Chaka Fattah, said she is on the side of the LGBT community on all of its significant issues — from marriage equality to nondiscrimination and the funding of health and LGBT cultural initiatives.
She is opposed to the proposed Boy Scouts settlement, saying it is “subsidizing discrimination by allowing the Boy Scouts to buy property for under market-rate and continue its discriminatory policy” and pledged to lobby the mayor to allow the building to be sold at fair-market value.
A former housing counselor in Mt. Airy, Bass said she understands the housing challenges faced by some in the HIV/AIDS and LGBT communities and would work to find funding sources for such initiatives.
She said SEPTA’s gender markers reflect an “obsolete, discriminatory system” she would work to change.
Bass would press the state legislature to enact legislation requiring all schools to adopt LGBT-inclusive antibullying policies.
Durham, La Salle University’s community-relations liaison, is looking to represent his native Germantown.
Durham supports marriage equality and said he would back efforts to afford local same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.
In regard to the Boy Scouts dispute, Durham called it “beyond inappropriate to use resources that belong to the public to subsidize discrimination” and said he supported the current settlement. “It will save the city money, while ensuring that our taxpayers are no longer supporting discriminatory activities.”
Durham said both school bullying and anti-LGBT violent crimes can best be curbed through gradual culture change.
“Philadelphia was founded as the most tolerant, diverse and welcoming city in the 13 colonies, and our future strength lies in continuing that tradition,” he said. “This isn’t going to be an overnight transformation, and no set of laws we could pass will change that. But I do think government can lead by example.”
He supports funding for HIV/AIDS housing opportunities and suggested sensitivity training for the Philadelphia Housing Authority to ensure employees provide the best service to this population.
Paulmier is looking to bring creative, progressive change to the 8th District, including several initiatives to expand and protect LGBT rights.
Paulmier said he would vote against SEPTA appropriations until the transit agency removed its gender markers. He said he would participate in protests against the agency and would be prepared to sue in order to force the change on civil-rights grounds.
To contend with bullying, he recommended an LGBT point person for each city school.
“Every school has a basketball coach, and we think this is a given in the school budget and culture. It is never questioned,” he said. “We must have an LGBT ‘coach’ and club in every school, someone LGBT students can turn to as needed, daily if necessary. Fifty years ago, when few ‘came out,’ this was not seen as needed. Today, it is needed.”
He is opposed to the current Boy Scouts settlement and would urge the city to appeal the recent court ruling.
Paulmier supports full marriage equality and would support the current effort to require certain city contractors to offer domestic-partner benefits.
Eighth District candidate Treatman is entering the political fray after a 25-year career in real-estate development.
Treatman said he would support the Boy Scouts settlement as long as it will allow the city to get full-market value for the property.
He said if SEPTA cannot quickly implement its new fare-card system, he would push for the gender markers to be removed in the meantime.
Treatman, who is in favor of marriage equality, also would favor including LGBTs as certified minority-owned businesses.
While he noted the issue of domestic-partner benefits is important, he doesn’t support a current bill that would mandate certain city contractors offer such benefits, as he said the city should not be involved in the policies of private companies.
“Where we have power to appropriately set policy is in choosing the companies the city contracts with. The city should not agree to work with a private company that does not adhere to our shared principles.”
He noted that during his tenure as president of the Germantown Jewish Centre, the congregation joined the YES! Coalition, a group of LGBT-affirming congregations, and said he is eager to promote the city as a welcoming locale.
“Celebrating our local LGBT community goes beyond merely showing respect and modeling tolerance; it is a key part of how we bring residents, ideas and energy to our city,” he said.
Rubin is running unopposed in the primary to challenge longtime incumbent Republican Brian O’Neill in the fall to represent the 10th District in the Northeast.
A pension consultant and the former vice chair of the Philadelphia Board of Pensions and Retirement, he employs openly LGBT people and would search for the most qualified and energetic staff if elected.
He supports the city pursuing the best fair-market deal of the Boy Scouts property, in light of the city’s financial situation.
Rubin supports removing gender markers from SEPTA transpasses and said he would advocate for low-interest collateralized loans for housing opportunities for all Philadelphians with specialized needs, such as those with HIV/AIDS.
He said he would meet with LGBT leaders to determine the best way to expend the city’s resources in regards to HIV funding, and would support City Council hearings and legislative efforts to address bullying based on all characteristics.
“I believe in fair and equitable treatment of all Philadelphians regardless of race, religion or sexual preference. I will fight for the rights of all citizens so there will be no persecution of any.”
Blakney retired earlier this year from his post as an older-adult center director after more than two decades as a city employee, and is looking to continue his city service as an at-Large Councilmember.
He pledged to introduce a bill to press for the removal of gender markers from SEPTA’s transpasses and also said he would advocate for efforts to secure funding for HIV/AIDS housing opportunities.
He said his religious beliefs prevent him from backing full marriage equality, but he does favor extending equal rights though a system like civil unions.
Blakney said that while he supports the Boy Scouts, he believes the city’s nondiscrimination law must be enforced and opposed the current settlement, saying the agency should be required to comply with the Fair Practices Ordinance to remain in the building.
He said he would support a bill to require certain city contractors to provide domestic-partner benefits, provided it did not deter the startup of small businesses.
To confront bullying, Blakney would introduce interactive workshops on the issue in city schools.
Attorney and community activist Cohen is striving to become the city’s first openly LGBT councilmember.
Cohen does not support the current Boy Scouts settlement, and would spearhead a Council resolution opposing the sale of the building to the Scouts if the agency continues to discriminate. She said she would press the city to commence the unconditional termination of the Scouts’ use of the city property, which was an option under last year’s jury decision.
She would press for the city to terminate subsidizing SEPTA until it removes its gender markers and engage labor unions and progressive groups in fueling the change.
She supports extending domestic-partner benefits to the employees of some city contractors and would work to ensure LGBT businesses are included in the city’s diversity-contracting program.
She said the underlying assumption of those who would cut funding for HIV/AIDS services is “fundamentally flawed,” and that she’d fight to protect and prioritize funding for these issues.
“If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re on the menu,” she said. “It’s long past time that Philadelphia had a publicly out member of the LGBTQ community on City Council. I believe that my knowledge of the issues facing our community and my commitment to ensuring our equality through every available venue surpasses all other candidates.”
In his first term, Councilman-at-Large Green supported several pro-LGBT initiatives, such as the expansion of the city’s nondiscrimination law.
He has supported increased funding for the city’s Human Relations Commission and Law Department, which enforce the nondiscrimination law, and said the “onus is on us as a government to do the requisite education and enforcement” to ensure the law is being upheld.
Green said he is a longstanding and vocal supporter of marriage equality and, in 2008, introduced a resolution urging the state General Assembly to oppose a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions.
He said he opposed a “backroom deal” without LGBT input to resolve the Boy Scouts dispute.
“If the Nutter administration has decided that the best way to resolve this matter is to sell the property, I think we should engage in an open and transparent request-for-proposal process and allow the property to be sold to the highest bidder — who, at this point, might well be Mel Heifetz,” he said.
Green called SEPTA’s reasoning for the gender markers “nonsensical” and said he has pressed for years for an electronic-fare card system.
“I ask for your support to continue these efforts and to demonstrate the LGBT community’s support for a city with its people fully employed, well-schooled, not over-taxed and believing in and getting value from their government.”
Green was endorsed by the Liberty City Democratic Club.
City Councilman-at-Large Greenlee led the effort this year to overhaul the Fair Practices Ordinance and strengthen the city’s nondiscrimination law, considered to be especially relevant to the LGBT community.
“I have always been a strong advocate for the community,” he said. “I believe in equality and equal opportunity for all citizens of Philadelphia regardless of sexual orientation. I believe my legislative record speaks volumes.”
A marriage-equality advocate, Greenlee said he would press for state recognition of same-sex unions. He is currently cosponsoring a bill that would require certain city contractors to provide domestic-partner benefits, and his Fair Practices measure relaxed requirements for domestic-partner registration.
Greenlee has pressed SEPTA to remove its gender markers on its transpasses and said the “unnecessary” practice places an “undue burden on the transgender community.”
He participated in a Council Education Committee hearing on bullying, and said his effort to update the nondiscrimination law empowered the city’s Human Relations Commission to better address school bullying.
Greenlee said the proposed Boy Scouts settlement is not in the city’s best interest, and he would oppose any bill that would give the Scouts the building as part of a settlement.
“I firmly believe that the city should appeal the decision because I believe the case is winnable on appeal,” he said.
W. Wilson Goode Jr.
At-Large Councilman Goode said he would continue to advocate for the LGBT community if re-elected.
Goode is a marriage-equality supporter and employs an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policy in his own office.
He opposes the proposed Boy Scouts settlement and believes the “property should be put out to bid, and all bidders must be in compliance with the Philadelphia Code.”
Goode supports the effort to extend domestic-partner benefits to employees of some city contractors and is in favor of SEPTA removing its gender markers.
Goode said he “strongly supported” the recent expansion and strengthening of the Fair Practices Ordinance, which he said must be strictly enforced in city contracting, law enforcement and schools to contend with anti-LGBT bias.
Goode said he would vote to amend a city budget if funding was not allocated for housing opportunities for those with HIV/AIDS or other HIV/AIDS services.
At-Large Councilman Kenney said he’s demonstrated his commitment to LGBT advocacy throughout his nearly two decades of public service.
Kenney, a marriage-equality supporter, spearheaded the bill to grant domestic-partner benefits to city employees in the 1990s and is cosponsoring the current effort to require certain city contractors to offer such benefits.
He said he would not vote for any “legislation that empowers the Boy Scouts to continue discrimination” and would prefer to see the city appeal the recent court ruling, as opposed to proceed with the proposed settlement.
He said he will work with The Attic Youth Center and Mazzoni Center on antibullying efforts and is currently pressing to have the film “The Bully Project” shown in all city schools, as well as in charter and parochial schools.
He supports funding for housing opportunities for those with HIV/AIDS and opposes SEPTA’s gender markers.
“As an elected official for the past 19 years, I have been an unwavering supporter and advocate for LGBT issues,” he said. “I and my office have always been open to LGBT issues and concerns and have worked with LGBT organizations on numerous occasions. As a Councilman-at-Large, I will continue this support and advocacy.”
Psychotherapist Manson said she lives by the mantra “all people are created equal” and will bring that tenet to work if she’s elected as an at-Large City Councilmember.
Manson said she would work with LGBT business owners on developing their “infrastructure, capacity, feasibility, strategic planning” and other business components to ensure they can rise above any potential biases in the industry. She supports the efforts to mandate certain city contractors to grant domestic-partner benefits to their employees.
She would advocate for funding for HIV/AIDS causes and lend her support to grant-writing and other efforts to secure funding for initiatives like HIV/AIDS housing.
With regard to school bullying, Manson said she has “zero tolerance for this type of behavior on any level and to any group of people. I would advocate for any human being’s safety.”
Blondell Reynolds Brown
Among her pro-LGBT advocacy during her decade in Council, incumbent Councilwoman-at-Large Reynolds Brown is spearheading the measure that would mandate certain city contractors provide domestic-partner benefits to the same-sex partners of their employees.
Reynolds Brown is opposed to the Boy Scouts proposed settlement, saying Mel Heifitz’s offer to purchase the building is “the right thing to do, not only ethically but financially as well. It is also worth pursuing the course recently presented in PGN in regards to Bill 1048, and [I] will push the city to abide by this law.”
Reynolds Brown, a marriage-equality supporter, said she would work with leaders in the LGBT community, including members of Riders Against Gender Exclusion, to secure the removal of SEPTA’s gender markers.
Her office runs a series of small-business roundtables, and she said she wants to work with the Independence Business Alliance to garner participation from a greater number of LGBT-owned businesses.
Reynolds Brown filmed a video for the “It Gets Better” antibullying campaign and is working with Councilman Jim Kenney to bring the film “The Bully Project” to city schools.
“Whenever I have been asked to support a measure, legislative or otherwise, by members of the LGBT community on issues that have an effect on the community, I have been there,” she said.
“As a person of color in America, I am very much aware of what it means to be discriminated against,” said Toy, who could become the city’s first Asian-American councilmember.
Toy said he would use his background as an economic-development specialist to assist the growth of LGBT businesses, including creating an LGBT minority-owned business certification and registration.
Toy is a marriage-equality advocate and supports the current effort to mandate certain city contractors to provide domestic-partner benefits.
A member of the school district’s Racial Harmony Task Force, Toy has been at the forefront of the discussions on antibullying and said he would advocate for mandatory diversity courses.
Toy said the city should leverage its relationship with SEPTA to urge the removal of the system’s gender markers, adding he would join a lawsuit to force such a change. He supports charging the Boy Scouts fair-market value for the property the group occupies due to its antigay policy.
“I support all laws that prohibit discrimination of individuals in employment, housing and public accommodation based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” he continued.
Equality Forum founder and executive director Lazin is looking to become the city’s first openly gay councilmember.
“I have a demonstrated history of walking the walk for the community,” he said.
Lazin supports the effort to require certain city contractors to offer domestic-partner benefits and favors the removal of SEPTA’s gender markers.
Lazin said he has spoken out against subsidized discrimination and opposes the current proposed Boy Scouts settlement.
“The case should be appealed,” he said. “On appeal, there is a high likelihood that the city would win.”
He said HIV/AIDS advocates need to lobby state and federal government sources for funding for housing programs, and that LGBT-health causes should receive “funding proportionate to our population and needs.”
In regard to school safety, Lazin noted that five Philadelphia high schools included in a March Auditor General report did not have antibullying policies posted in classrooms.
“We need to restore the safe-school advocate eliminated by Superintendent Ackerman and correct the school police training deficiencies noted in the Auditor General’s report,” he said.
Lazin supports marriage equality.
McColgan, a financial-management executive, is a Northeast Philadelphia native vying to join City Council as a Republican at-Large member.
McColgan supports civil unions and, while he favors a private company’s right to offer domestic-partner benefits, he doesn’t support mandating some city contractors do such, which he said could “thwart job creation and growth of our great city.”
On the proposed Boy Scouts settlement, McColgan noted that “if the building is to be sold, it should be sold at market value and not one penny less.”
He is opposed to the SEPTA gender markers.
McColgan said antibullying efforts need the support of communities and neighborhoods, and he would endorse the creation of working groups to tackle the issue.
After a narrow loss in the last election, attorney and Republican at-Large Council candidate Oh is returning to the race, focusing on job creation, education, prevention of crime, enhancement of quality of life and honest government.
Oh said he supports the city’s efforts to enforce its nondiscrimination law in the Boy Scouts case, but that he would need to learn more about the proposed settlement before issuing an opinion. He did say the case appears to be a “no win” for all parties and settlement may be the best option.
While he doesn’t support the city’s efforts to mandate certain city contractors offer domestic-partner benefits, he said he favors Council setting criteria to give advantages to businesses with certain benefits policies, and that he would support or introduce legislation to include domestic-partner benefits as one of those priorities.
Oh said he would support efforts to secure public and private funding for HIV/AIDS housing opportunities. He said school administrators, teachers and staff need to be held to a higher standard in regard to enforcement of antibullying policies, and he said enhanced education about LGBT-specific bullying is needed.
Oh supports civil unions and said he shares with the LGBT community a “desire to see Philadelphia become a better city.”
Incumbent City Councilman-at-Large Rizzo is seeking his fifth term and pledged to work for LGBT inclusion if reelected.
Rizzo supports the effort to require certain city contractors to offer domestic-partner benefits and noted he was in favor of the original legislation to provide such benefits to city employees.
He has supported the city’s efforts to evict the Boy Scouts, and said he opposes the current settlement on the table.
“If the property is to be sold, it should have been sold competitively to the highest bidder,” he said.
He supports funding for housing for people with HIV/AIDS and is in favor of the removal of SEPTA gender markers.
“Gender is not SEPTA’s business,” he said.
Rizzo said he believes education is the primary solution to bullying, and that strict penalties need to be enforced for school harassment of any kind.
Republican ward leader and former mayoral candidate Taubenberger is seeking an at-Large seat this time.
Taubenberger, who is in favor of civil unions, is opposed to SEPTA’s gender markers.
He said he is opposed to the proposed settlement between the city and the Boy Scouts. While he does support the Boy Scouts, he said “discrimination cannot be tolerated.”
“When elected to City Council, I do hope to be part of a dialogue with the Boy Scouts that would end any semblance of discrimination based on sexual orientation,” he said.
He does not support the current effort to mandate some city contractors to offer domestic-partner benefits because of a possible negative impact on commerce and competition.
He said the school district needs to undertake an educational campaign to raise diversity awareness, and make a concerted effort to enforce disciplinary policies.
Taubenberger said that, if the budget allows, he would support city funding for HIV/AIDS housing opportunities.
CITY COMMISSIONERS (Democrats)
Bell, former director of the city agency that oversees minority-owned business contracts, is seeking to bring reform to the city’s election process.
Bell said he would work to counter low voter turnouts by focusing on outreach and education, especially of marginalized populations with initiatives like mobile-voting teams for disabled and senior voters, a partnership with the Center for Literacy to reach those with learning disabilities and other efforts to reach immigrants and those with financial challenges.
Bell said he’d tap into new technology to fuel efforts like real-time election results and explore the possibility of online absentee and alternative ballots, and would also work to ensure those without access to technology are educated about the issues.
He said he would press for proper training for all poll watchers on voter intimidation and would work with the District Attorney’s office to ensure punishment for violators from all parties.
Bloom is looking to fuse technology with transparency if elected as a City Commissioner.
Bloom promised to introduce a voting system that would allow city residents to vote by phone, computer or hand-held devices.
He also would propose that the vote-counting process be done in the public eye.
“By proposing that all future elections be counted live — via mass media, TV, Internet, audio, radio, etc. — we will make history by setting a standard for all to follow,” he said.
To cut down on voter intimidation, Bloom said he would create public-service announcements to remind city residents that such actions can be classified as felony offenses. Bloom said he would also utilize PSAs to inform prospective voters about the specifics of upcoming elections and encourage full participation.
He said he would reach out to the LGBT community through regular town meetings to “enhance voter activity.”
Eighth Ward leader Singer pledged to bring far-reaching and transparent redevelopment to the City Commissioners’ Office.
A trained computer scientist, Singer estimated the office is 20 years behind in technology, and she would work to put all records online, from budget to election results.
She said she would undertake a comprehensive audit and review of the current office’s practices and make that information public.
“The City Commissioners’ Office has failed to let the city auditor, let alone the public, review their financial records for the last two decades,” she said.
With money saved by cleaning up the office, Singer said she would create education programs for students, adults and seniors about the importance of voting, and will reach out to grassroots and civic agencies to help promote voter participation.
She believes voter apathy stems from inefficiency within the current office.
“They are not focused on building a voting base, they are focused on building a voting base that benefits their special interests.I am pledging to keep politics out of the business of running elections and registering voters,” she said.