Meet the Candidates: Jeff Brown


Brown is the founder and CEO of Brown’s Super Stores, Inc., which runs 12 supermarkets.

On protecting trees and natural spaces

One of Philadelphia’s greatest and most important resources is our green space. While the Fairmount Park system is perhaps the crown jewel, I am committed to building out and protecting green spaces in neighborhoods and communities across the city. We must ensure that preserving and enhancing green space is an integral part of the city planning process and that it is prioritized in new and ongoing development projects. Leveraging the private sector by providing incentives for builders and developers that advance innovative strategies for protecting and expanding green spaces is one way to accomplish that. We should also create an office that specifically creates partnerships with state and federal agencies and philanthropies to secure additional funding and resources for expanding the city’s green spaces. The Trust for Public Land believes that everyone should have a park or green space within a 10-minute walk of their home. That’s a goal I support and will prioritize.

We must support the residents of Eastwick, whose lives have been irrevocably damaged by a history of neglect and mismanagement by public officials.”

Photography by Chris Baker Evens.

On flooding in Eastwick

The story of the Eastwick community is one of short-sightedness and a failure to provide basic protections for Philadelphians. Flooding is one of many issues that plague the Eastwick community, and it exacerbates many of the others. Eastwick was built on contaminated, toxic land, and residents have seen a high incidence of illness, including cancer. Eastwick has also emerged as an environmental justice community. Current remediation efforts such as removal of contaminated soil, planting of trees and shrubs that serve as natural filters, etc., must be supported and expanded. My administration will also work closely with the Environmental Protection Agency, leveraging new grant funds made available by the agency, to support the clean-up. Finally, and most importantly, we must support the residents of Eastwick, whose lives have been irrevocably damaged by a history of neglect and mismanagement by public officials.

On improving bicycling in Philadelphia

The city has been slower than many to completely embrace biking as a viable transportation alternative. Aside from being an environmentally friendly alternative, biking also provides a lower cost transportation alternative for Philadelphians across the city. My administration would prioritize working with the many local organizations that support biking. We would coordinate directly with neighborhoods and communities to expand availability and we would explore public-private partnerships to advance this goal. In addition, I have called for the development of a Public Safety corps—individuals who can provide public safety support outside of the traditional law enforcement officer model. These individuals would be charged with helping to enforce laws and regulations that do not rise to the level of needing armed officer intervention. These individuals, deployed across the city, would serve as an additional layer of safety and support for biking lanes.

On sustainable development and the understaffed L&I

L&I is terribly overburdened, significantly understaffed and organized in a manner that prioritizes building safety. It is not equipped to execute on new policy priorities. We must re-envision the structure of L&I, reconsider the qualifications of inspection personnel and expand the agency to provide proactive support. The current L&I structural model is outdated and must be reconsidered. My administration will take a critical look at every major City agency, work directly with the labor unions that represent City employees, as well as convening residents, local nonprofits and other thought leaders, and explore how we can do things better.

On addressing the city’s backslide on waste management

Illegal dumping is a major concern for the city and addressing it will be a day one priority for my administration. We will expand the presence of cameras in areas that are notorious dumping sites and we will prioritize prosecuting those violations. My administration will make it clear that we are putting an end to illegal dumping. As for recycling, I want to make sure that everything that can be recycled in the city is being recycled. It will have a cost but I believe it is worth it. I look forward to collaborating with the environmental community and rebuilding the infrastructure we need to progress towards a greener future.

Successfully embracing green strategies requires that we find ways to make them integral parts of our overall city strategy.”

On using vacant lots to improve the community

I believe we have to re-envision the way the Land Bank is structured and administered. In a city where we have a major affordable housing crisis, I would want to provide access to portions of the Land Bank inventory to builders who commit to building and maintaining affordable housing for Philadelphians. I also believe that maintaining and growing community gardens and green space should be prioritized, and I would advocate streamlining the process for neighborhood groups to gain access to plots held by the Land Bank. Successfully embracing green strategies requires that we find ways to make them integral parts of our overall city strategy.


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.


  1. Flooding, green spaces? Are you this out of touch Jeff? The overwhelming issue is crime and guns. You seem to have. No interest and no answer
    Businesses can’t thrive until we control crime. Get tough on crime

    • Steve, there is *extensive* research showing how increased green space, particularly urban agriculture, and the attendant benefits, have a significant impact on “crime”. Come into the 21st century, in which we are quite clear that police don’t solve, let alone prevent crimes, while being perpetrators of violence themselves.

  2. For Jeff: Unfortunately, the response to Prompt #6 is a non-answer, gleaned from any number of generic talking points on the subject.

    What specifically do you mean by “re-envisioning” the structure of the Land Bank? How do you define “affordable housing” 80% AMI, like the Land Bank board does? Developers already have first dibs on everything in the LB inventory, and scarcely a proposal is turned down, *unless* it’s from garden groups. And what do you mean by “streamlining the process”? Does that mean getting rid of the 30 year self-amortizing mortgage?

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