Pat Stringer Q&A

  1. What is your current employment? RETIRED
  2. Do you own your residence or other property in the City?Own my residence only
  3. Have you ever been delinquent in paying your real estate taxes at the City, school district, or county level? NO
  4. Have you ever been charged with a crime, including summary offenses (other than a speeding ticket) and what was the disposition? NO
  5. Do you have any outstanding warrants or liens against you? NO
  6. What are your connections to the community?

Community Connections:

     Member – Harrisburg Strong Task Force (appointed by Receiver General Lynch)

     Life Member – Historic Harrisburg Association

     Past Volunteer – Susquehanna Art Museum and VanGo

     Volunteer – American Red Cross

     Volunteer – Stand Down for Homeless Veterans (2013 – 2015) – Harrisburg Armory

     Volunteer – Hamilton Health Center

     Silver Life Member – Greater Harrisburg Area Branch NAACP and former Executive Member

     Member – American Legion Post 733 – Harrisburg

     Member – Esther Chapter No. 1 – Order of Easter Star – Harrisburg

     Member – Unity Temple No. 61 – BPOE – Elks

     Member – National Congress of Black Women

     Member  –  AFSCME Council 13 Retirees (Subchapter 9001) Program Committee

     Member –   PARSE (Pennsylvania Association of Retired State Employees)

           – Program Committee

     Member – Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

     Member – Coalition of Labor Union Women

     Member – Red Hat Society

     Member – Friendship Force of Greater Harrisburg

     Member – Harrisburg Young Professionals

     Member – Community Resource Network YWCA

     Member – Harrisburg Youth Commission

     Former Board member: 

     Camp Curtin Area Branch YMCA

     Greater Harrisburg Area YWCA

     Central Allison Hill Community Center

     Harrisburg Multicultural Coalition – Chair

     Black Women’s Caucus – President

     Metro Arts

     Political:     

     Member – Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women (Tri-Co. Chapter)

     Member – Dauphin Co. Democratic Committee, Committeewoman Ward 13-1

          (Melrose School Precinct)

 

  1. When did you decide to run for City Council and what inspired you?

(1997) I was inspired by the need to assist the citizens of Harrisburg and give them a voice.

I, believe this came from serving on Student Council when I was in high school.

  1. Why are you running for two offices (the 2-year and the 4-year term) when you can serve in only one position? (if applicable)I am only running for vacant 2 year term on Harrisburg City Council
  1. What is your assessment of the current City Council? I feel that they could use the help of the

talented candidates running in 2015 which would include myself.  I was never part of the

back-and-forth the existed on Council when I served.

  1. What are the responsibilities of City Council?City Council is responsible (1) for passing bills, resolutions and ordinances once they have FIRST gone to the appropriate committees for

PUBLIC discussion (2) interviewing and approving all department heads and (3) under the Third Class City Optional City Code to pass an annual budget before December 31 of each year.

  1. If elected, what Council committees would you be best suited to serve on or chair, and why?

I would probably choose Parks, Recreation and Enrichment or Arts, Cultural and Tourism (not sure

what the official title is since it has been called both names).  I have experience working with

events having worked in scheduling and travel with three prior Pennsylvania Governors in

planning events.  I am the former chair of the Harrisburg Multicultural Coalition and have served on the board of Metro Arts.  My background also includes work in the tourism and hospitality industry.  I have also served as a friendship force ambassador and have welcome visitors from foreign countries.  I have traveled to five of the seven continents and enjoy learning about various cultures.

  1. Do you know anything about other candidates other than their names?

Brad Koplinski and I worked on the Kerry/Edwards Campaign at the Harrisburg Office.

Jeff Baltimore and I worked on the United Negro College Fund (Central Penna. Advisory

Committee) under Homer C. Floyd.

Ellis Roy, only that we both applied for positions on City Council in the past.  We both

comiitteepersons in our respective wards.

Ron Chapel, I have seen at various veterans programs, city council meetings and he also

ran before for Harrisburg City Council.

Destini Hodges – know her mother and have seen her at Harrisburg School Board meetings

and Harrisburg Hope forums at Midtown Scholar Bookstore.

Rhonda Mays – When I worked in the Penna. Dept. of Human Services, Office of     LegislativeAffairs, we would talk about the community since she worked in the same building.

Wes Majors – He joined the Harrisburg Youth Commission in 1994 when we took some

30 some students to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Assembly in Little Rock, Arkansas.
I was a chaperone and group organizer for the trip where we met Coretta Scott King.  I

also know his mother, who worked for Mayor Linda Thompson.

Cornelius Johnson – I just meet him this year.  I understand he is a scholar in the Dr. MLK

Leadership Development Institute, which I graduated from in 2009, the first pilot class.
He also is a member of Harrisburg Young Professionals for which I am a member.

Jeremiah Chamberlin – I do not know.  I do know he applied for a vacant position on

Harrisburg City Council in the past.

  1. What strengths will you bring to City Council?

I relate well to people I work with.  I have previously served on Harrisburg City Counciland know the PEOPLE, PROCEDURES, AND THE PROCESS.  I know other elected officials

at the county, state, and federal level.

  1. How would you improve the way City Council operates?

There are presently  seven standing committees on Council:

(1)    Budget and Finance  (2) Building and Housing  (3) Economic Developent (4) Parks, Recreation and Enrichment aka. Arts, Culture and Tourism (5) Public Safety (6) Public orks.  I have served on all these committtees during my term on Harrisburg City Council.

 I would combine Building and Housing and Economic Development because they were

one committee at one time.  They are overseen by the same Executive Director.  I would

re-instate the Children and Youth Committee which was in place at one time.  I would create a

Communications and Technology Committee which would have oversight Channel 20 programming,

review the telephone and computer, IT systems.  Also, since Verizon is trying to do away with the

land lines, monitor this because it will affect the 911 system used by the police and Dauphin County.

  1. What is your assessment so far of the Papenfuse administration? Name one thing you think the Papenfuse administration has done right and wrong.

Right: Hired Aaron Johnson, a veteran, capable and experienced person to handle the Public Works Department.  Aaron is accessible and knows how to relate to the citizens and he is prompt in responding to the citizens.  He works on the weekend to cover events on Harrisburg City Island.
Wrong:  Mayor Papenfuse needs to get out and engage the larger community.  One church told me they invited him early to come and give welcoming remarks for 10 minutes since they were hosting a statewide conference.  It was weeks before he responding and then said he would send a staff person who never showed up.  I thought he was trying to encourage tourism.

  1. What will you personally do to improve cooperation between City Council and the mayor’s office to benefit the City?

I have no problem dealing with the Mayor.  We shared the same ticket one election cycle when we both ran for Harrisburg City Council. Since we will have some new folks on Council, I do not see any problems since we are working with professional people in the best interest of city residents.    As long as the “sunshine law” is not violated, I would encourage weekly chats.

  1. How would you address the problem of trash and litter in the City?

Engagement:  Organize the city by Blocks.  Have (3) block campaigns who will help to organize:

(1)    Monthly cleanups (weather permitting).  People take pride in their neighborhoods, once

(2)    One persons starts painting, planting flowers…neighbors seem to follow.

  1. What is your plan to clean up the multiple “mini-dumps” throughout the City and gain control?

Once Public Works cleans up these dumps, we will need monitors to insure that

waste is not returned.  I personally organized a clean up on my street, Kensington Street

and additionally handed out literature during one earth week activitity.

  1. Do you favor fining violators of City ordinances regarding trash and litter?

Yes, if they break the law.

  1. Do you favor using work-release convict labor for litter cleanup in the City?

Yes, we have used them in the past to help with weed removal.  It is a win-win situation

since it provides a needed service.  Dauphin County has been quite helpful with this.  The

work release participants enjoy the opportunity to be out and about in the community.

Many churches take advantage of this opportunity since the works are polite, strong and

healthy and able to life and move items.  In Cumberland County, the juvenile probation

office suppliers workers to remove snow at private residences to prevent the elderly from

falling on ice and snow.

 

  1. If elected, what will you do to provide more sidewalk trash receptacles so litter disposal becomes a user-friendly activity?

I would engage the business community to see if they can assist in supplying receptacles

that blend in with the type of activity taking place.  Example something appropriate for

daycare center, dry cleaners, pizza, etc.

Would you encourage trash cans along the lower sidewalk by the Susquehanna River?

  1. Would you encourage trash cans along the lower sidewalk by the Susquehanna River?

They would need to be attractive and strong to blend in so not to be distracting and

make sure they do not blow into the river.

  1. Do you have any ideas for managing the goose feces along Front Street and the Susquehanna River?

Just clean up behind them.  There are goose feces in other parts of the City also.

  1. Do you have thoughts on what City Council can do to improve the way the City looks?

Start a “Harrisburg YES Campaign”.   Recognize groups or organizations that are

helping in the effort.  Have contests for students to win prizes for their efforts.

Have announcements on Channel 20.  Also, ask the residents for input.

  1. What is your opinion on converting Front Street from 3 lanes to 2 and a bike lane?

As I said at the candidates forum,  some further review would be needed.  If delivery trucks are in the left lane, the middle lane becomes congested.  When you move over the bike lane may cause some problems.  We have many deliveries, UPS, Federal Express and folks moving items into buildings. 

  1. What is your opinion on converting Second Street from one way to two ways?

It may prove to be a problem because of delivery trucks to bars and restaurants making

you have to pull around….thus tying up traffic lanes.

  1. Considering that Harrisburg is ranked the fifth most dangerous city in Pennsylvania, in which residents have a 1 in 16 chance of being the victim of a crime, what is your plan to make Harrisburg a safer place to live?

Use Channel 20 or have the community policing officer provide the opportunity for residents to go through the Citizens Police Academy.  I went through two classes and in addition, enrolled in the Pennsylvania State Police Academy class.  I, also, got a bulletproof vest and did a ride along to acquaint me better with “what is going on out in the streets”.  

  1. What is your opinion of the creation of a Civilian Complaint Review Board consisting of community members to review complaints of alleged police misconduct?

The Harrisburg Human Relations Commission once re-funded and re-enacted could handle

this function.  It has been presented many times but Council has taken no action on this.

The Human Relations Commission is mandated by the codified ordinance so it needed to

be re-staffed, funded and put back to work.  I served on this commission.

  1. What actions will you take to relight the lights on Front Street?

According the last night’s Pennlive, LED lights are being tested.  It looks like action

has already begun (4/22/15).

  1. What is your opinion on so-called “nuisance bars,” including the City’s planned actions against Third Street Café, the Taproom, and the Royal Pub?

Shut them down if they are creating a problem.

  1. What is your opinion about the proposed idea of permitting bars to remain open until 4:00 a.m.?

2:00 a.m. is long enough for bars to stay open.  No one needs to spend one-half of the

early morning hours in a bar.  Healthwise, we need our rest.

  1. What specific ideas will you advocate for economic revitalization?

As I indicated when serving on the Harrisburg Strong Task Force, provide some of the funds to

persons over 62, like the HELP program so seniors can take care of plumbing, heating, and

electrical problems.  If a home is maintained, it will not fall into gutter.

  1. What is your position on tax abatements: 10-year sliding scale; 10-year complete abatement; no abatement program; or another scheme?

How can the City be assured that a business will still be there after 10 years.  If not, how do you collect the unpaid taxes?  A lot of business do not make it past five years.  More review required.  If elected to City Council, I will be able to take a better look at what it proposed. To date, I have not had the opportunity to review any material.

  1. What are your plans to encourage residential revitalization in Harrisburg?

I would encourage residents to attended the annual housing conference held every

November at the Hilton in Harrisburg by the Pennsylvania Housing Alliance.  The attendees

include PHFA, HUD, and many others.  There is funding available that gets returned every

year because residents do not know that it exists.

  1. How would you propose to incentivize City development of green and sustainable infrastructure?

There is money from the sale of the incinerator that has been earmarked for economic

development and infrastructure that can be utilized by applying to the non-profit organization

IMPACT  HARRISBURG which was a result of the City being put into the Receivership under

Act 47.

  1. What policies would you advocate to encourage developers to build on empty lots where buildings once stood?

First, you must have ownership of the property before you can erect anything.  Once, that

is obtained, start with gardens or some green activity until the lots are actually ready and

available to be developed.  It is amazing how a few bushes and plants can change a piece of

land.

  1. Until empty lots are developed, what temporary use would you advocate?

(same as I indicated above)

  1. If the Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority contracted to build and landscape and neighborhood and the types trees planted damaged those properties and reduced property values, what kind of assistance would you propose the City offer these homeowners?

Residents of Walnut Street near Central Allison Hill have experienced this problem with no assistance from the City.  We would need to see if any environmental grants might be available to assist in this effort.

  1. What do you think of reducing parking rates to $1.00 per hour from6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can such a proposal be made and succeed?

I would need to see what the Receiver Coordinator in DCED has to say since some items

went off the table with the “leasing of the garages”.

  1. Do you support a commuter tax?

It would greatly help the City.  People coming into our city could help relieve some of the

financial burden that city residents experience since they choose to work here.  Sure, everyone

pitch in and help.  Just like we pay to use the Pennsylvania Turnpike, commuters can help the

City of Harrisburg.

  1. What impact will Governor Wolf’s proposed increase in the Commonwealth’s income and sales taxes providing a reduction in school property taxes have on the City?

We will not truly know until the budget get passed.  Everything at present is just a proposed

status.  It would be great if it comes to pass.  As they say, don’t count your chickens until they

hatch.

  1. Will you support the right of entrepreneurs to open marijuana shops in the City when Pennsylvania legalizes recreational marijuana? Controlled medical marijuana sales with Strict enforcement and monitoring provisions.
  2. If elected, what will you do to encourage businesses to come to Midtown and Harrisburg to encourage the development of vacant and blighted properties, like the Carpet and Draperies building near Third and Reily streets?

This can be all a part of the Harrisburg YES Campaign.  Work with the Harrisburg Region Chamber to encourage businesses.  Work with business and residents for Clean and Mean Cleanup Campaign and a Good Rollout for

Tourism Promotion.

  1. How would you address the racial divide prevalent in the City?

Having served of the Harrisburg Human Relations Commission,  and Chaired the Harrisburg

Multicultural Coalition and as a former Executive Committee member of the Greater Harrisburg

NAACP, I would encourage dialogue among community leaders.  At present, members of the

African American community and the Jewish community participate in events and dialogue

such as the Seder and the trip to the Holocaust and the MLK monument.  Also, the Unitarian

Church has been instrumental in having conversations on race.

  1. How would you address the socioeconomic divide prevalent in the City?

Until jobs are available to residents and opportunities, nothing will change.  Education is the

key.  Through Careerlink applicants will have an opportunity to some positions.  HAAC is

doing the right thing.  They went out to an area where workers needed the skills to obtain

work.  Adjusted their schedules to accommodate the workers and now these folks have

jobs to feed their families.

  1. How would you address the geographic divide prevalent in the City?

Harrisburg is only about 11 miles.  It is not that big.  Uptown, Allison Hill and Southside.

Equity in providing opportunities for growth in each area.  We need a Citizens Advisory

Commission to meet monthly to assist the City in being aware of the needs of the people.

The Block Captains would report to the Commission members and take that input to the

monthly meetings.  Also, the neighborhood associations need to become more active in

engaging the community.

  1. How would you address the prevalent divide between lifelong residents and new residents of the City?

I have not encountered a divide.  I came here from Steeler Nation and got involved in this

community by joining organizations like the YWCA, cultural groups, etc.  I try to make

every new person I meet welcome.  I help by identifying where things are located, who to

contact or refer them if they need advice.

  1. What can City Council do for issues affecting the Hispanic community?

 Support their events like the Multicultural Festival and Parade on Saturday, May 9th on Derry Street, and the Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May activities), Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept/October).  Help sponsor a bus or transportation for a low-income family to see the Pope in Philadelphia September 27th.  One year, I was on City Council and we pitched in a bought rings for the Lady Cougars basketball team.   Help youth find jobs for the summer.  Direct them. I visited the Job Fair in my community for returning citizens and youth.

  1. If you acquired a pre-owned genie with only one wish, how would you use that wish to improve Harrisburg,

regardless of cost or authority of the City over that issue? What steps could actually you take from City Council

to make that wish a reality?

For those who have stayed the course (have not given up on Harrisburg property owners),

I would allocate $100.  This may not seem like much.  But it might buy food, medicine, help

toward a repair.  This would actually help stimulate commerce in our community.

  1. Considering issues over which City Council has substantial authority, what is the biggest issue facing the City and how will you work to fix it?

Money is the issue.  We cannot delivery services unless the budget is there for public works,

public safety and essential serves.  Grants and other methods must be found.

  1. Name one priority you would focus on if elected to City Council, and why is that important to the City?

Homes….affordable housing for all citizens and working to reduce the homeless population.

I am already working with the Capital Region Ex-Offenders Support Coalition (Housing Committee).

  1. What practical things do you suggest residents can do each day to make the City better? How would you motivate residents to do these things?

Here, again with the HARRISBURG YES Campaign.  YES, We can. Encourage the Media to help engage the community with public service announcements.   Have contests.  People like to try to win something for their efforts.

53   What is your opinion on regionalization of services, such as police, fire, schools, or even governance?

Good idea, save money, create good working relations.  Being united will only make us better.