Despite having a balky knee, mayoral candidate James DeLeon forgoes the inconveniently located elevator and takes the stairs to our third-floor office. DeLeon needs a minute to rest his knee, and he mentions that he first injured it decades ago on the basketball court, landing badly after a slam dunk. Though I never scaled those heights playing hoops, I commiserate with him about the toll of high-impact sports. The aches and pains of running have driven me to the pool, though swimming feels like a foreign language. In fact, I tell him, as I spend more time swimming, my neck is beginning to hurt.
DeLeon’s eyes light up. He knows what the problem is. “Turn your body, and look up and back when you breathe.” How does he know? “I’ve taught over 5,000 kids how to swim,” he says.
Next time I go to the pool, I do exactly what he says, and not only does the neck pain disappear, I’m able to swim faster than I ever have.
If you’re wondering if this story is leading to a mayoral endorsement, it isn’t — though I wholeheartedly endorse DeLeon as a swim instructor. Our endorsement will occur later, closer to the May 16 primary. This issue is an impartial voters’ guide, funded in part by the Lenfest Foundation for Journalism.
We submitted questions to all 10 candidates running for mayor. Two of them, Amen Brown and Warren Bloom, did not respond to our requests, and Republican David Oh announced his candidacy too late in our production cycle to be included. We will continue to reach out to them, and publish answers online if we receive them.
As we spent time with the candidates during their respective photo shoots, we largely kept the conversations light and apolitical, and that made for some entertaining revelations.
For example, we discovered that Allan Domb has a pocket full of finger puppets, just in case he encounters any kids. When he finds out I have a seven-year-old, he gives me one for her. I know technically I shouldn’t accept the gift, but I just can’t refuse the kindness.
We get the best pictures of Derek Green when he explains why Tupac, for him, is not a top-five all-time hip-hop artist. The music connoisseur also reveals his go-to karaoke song: “The Humpty Dance.” I fully endorse this choice.
Jeff Brown expresses his certainty that the Eagles are going to win the Super Bowl (sigh). I talk with him while Rebecca Rhynhart and Grid operations director Nic Esposito share some laughs.
Helen Gym mentions the restaurant in Chinatown that her kids call “their true mother.”
Maria Quiñones Sánchez shares some hilarious takes on a few of her fellow candidates, and Cherelle Parker exudes great humor and confidence during her shoot, determined to show off her stylish white pants.
There’s plenty of personality to be found in this field of candidates.
But, of course, we wanted to document the substance of the candidates, so we asked specific, detailed questions that we hoped would force the would-be mayors to skip the platitudes and explain their plans. We made the editorial decision not to limit the word count; we wanted everyone to have the ability to fully articulate their answers.
I hope you enjoy reading this issue. There’s a lot at stake in this election, so let’s dig in!
Alex Mulcahy, Editor-in-Chief
Grid Magazine’s Mayoral Voters Guide is a part of Every Voice, Every Vote, a collaborative project managed by The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Lead support is provided by the William Penn Foundation with additional funding from The Lenfest Institute, Peter and Judy Leone, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Harriet and Larry Weiss, and the Wyncote Foundation, among others. To learn more about the project and view a full list of supporters, visit www.everyvoice-everyvote.org. Editorial content is created independently of the project’s donors.