Dear Mr. Mayor...

A lot is riding on the outcome of the Nov. 4 mayoral election, and we’re not just talking about Mayor John Street’s job security. Will wage tax cuts continue? Can the streets be made safer? Will Center City’s recent success spread to the neighborhoods? For supporters of both Street and opponent Sam Katz, the answers depend on the person chosen as mayor.

What should the next mayor—whoever he is—do to keep the city moving forward? We put that question to people in the Engineering School, where problem-solving is something they do in their sleep.

Patricia Petz
Administrative Assistant, Development Office

“To be genuinely sincere, and for the people. To become a politician and secure your position you have to step on people’s toes, so I don’t think any of them are truly sincere.”

Gail Schwarz
Administrative Assistant, Operational Services

“To put the children first. If we don’t have children, what do we have? They need to listen more to the people in the community about how the community should be run. It has to come from the inside.

Children need day care, school lunch programs, playgrounds, summer camps, after-school programs and activities, music, culture, make sure they have good role models.”

Jennifer R. Lukes
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics

“Reduce urban blight, the houses are all busted out. If people are happy about where they live, it makes for a good environment and it’s better for the whole city.”

Howard H. Hu
Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Chair, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics

“Some of the problems that need to be addressed I think are crime. I like the Safe Streets initiative. Also, I think business is leaving the city, the wage tax is too high.”

Jennifer Finley
Receptionist, Computer and Information Science

“I’ve paid enough in parking fines in the city to have my own spot by now. They should lighten up on the parking situation.”

Abby Whittington
Administrative Assistant, Office of Academic Programs

“Get much advice from Gov. Ed Rendell [C’65]. Because he was the mayor and because he loves our city, he’d have the wisdom to direct us upward.”

Helen Anderson
Senior Director, Computing and Educational Technology Services

“I hope he can enhance and preserve the cultural activities and restaurant scene downtown, because I love coming into Philadelphia from my home in New Jersey.”

— Jamal Shareef and Sandy Smith

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Originally published on October 16, 2003