Philly’s paper of record endorses Quetcy Lozada for City Council for the 2023 primary
As political tension brews in District 7 over who will succeed Maria Quiñones Sánchez, a longtime incumbent, the Philadelphia Inquirer gives its recommendation.
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The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Editorial Board offered its district-level municipal recommendations over the weekend, and interim City Councilmember Quetcy Lozada, of the 7th council district, made the cut alongside two colleagues.
The Editorial Board, a body of journalists who “debate matters of public interests” separately from the paper’s newsroom, said the 7th district stood out this election for offering a slate of competitive candidates amid “mostly noncompetitive” races.
“Given the hold that Philadelphia’s Democratic machine has on local politics, perhaps that should be unsurprising,” the Inquirer’s Editorial Board wrote in their endorsement.
Over half of the district council races have no more than one candidate on the ballot whose incumbent status is likely to grant them an easier time on the ballot, aside from the fact that they’ll face no competition.
The 2023 race, however, is panning out differently further north. Lozada, for 14 years, helped sustain Quiñones Sánchez’s reign against the machine, serving as her Chief of Staff throughout her repeated terms and forwarding policy that addressed language disparities and business reforms, as noted by the Inquirer.
“Lozada also has been more supportive of measures designed to help small businesses and commercial corridors by reforming the city’s tax code,” the Inquirer’s endorsement read.
No more than two years into her first term, Quiñones Sánchez partnered with fellow freshman Councilmember Bill Green in 2010 and proposed legislation to lessen the tax burden on city-based businesses by gradually staving off gains from the gross-recepts portion of the tax levies.
Gross receipts, which impose a tax on sales, are one of many ingredients the city uses to generate revenue, whether or not the business stands to make a profit from its sales. Net-income profits are also taxed.
Competing positions on new development in the 7th
“Lozada also has been more supportive of measures designed to help small businesses and commercial corridors by reforming the city’s tax code, while Celin has been endorsed by groups that are firmly opposed to these reforms,” the Inquirer’s Editorial Board argued.
She has also signaled in past forums with the city’s business community that she’d welcome new development to revive the seventh’s commercial corridors. Still, she argued that community input was a non-negotiable in those conversations,
“Not everyone will become or can become a homeowner, regardless of what the funding availability is. And so, creating opportunities for mixed-income or mixed-use spaces is extremely important to somebody like me and my district,” she told the business community in February.
Celin, on the other hand, has noted in the past that Community Development Corporations, or groups helmed by community leaders, should lead those discussions. In a past forum by the Riverward Area Democrats, Celin made an extensive case for bringing community advocates and organizers to City Hall, and not the other way around.
Responding to questions from AL DÍA related to the Inquirer’s comments, Celin says he believes “that the city should not prioritize raising revenue through regressive tax policies that put the burden on working families in my district. It's critical that we support small businesses and ensure that larger corporations give back to the city."
"I believe that over the long term, our city should become less reliant on wage taxes to fund our budget, as this is a particularly volatile form of revenue. I also believe it's the city's responsibility to ensure we have a balanced tax code to support the hardest hit, most disinvested communities in the city, many of which are in my district," Celin noted.
Battle for the 7th
In the 7th district, a primarily Spanish-speaking area, the electoral saga observed a long, bitter power struggle between Quiñones Sánchez, a party outlier, mostly facing former State Representative Ángel Cruz over the years, who also serves as a ward leader.
And yet Lozada heads to the May primary with the full confidence and unanimous support of Quiñones Sánchez’s former acquaintances.
Because Lozada was elected in a special election last year enacted by outgoing Council President Darrell Clarke, Lozada has to campaign — and win — the primary election as well.
After ward leaders voted to forward Lozada to a special election, one in which Cruz was absent, she pledged to maintain a united front, both from the noted establishment and progressive groups, and has avoided even the appearance of conflict.