3 candidates in Democratic primary race for Philadelphia mayor

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Mayor Jim Kenney is Philadelphia's 99th Mayor. In Tuesday's primary election he faces two challengers: State Senator Anthony Williams and Alan Butkovitz, a former city controller.

Butkovitz has taken direct aim at Kenney's first four years, saying the city has very serious problems that Kenney has ignored.

Butkovitz says there has been a lack of effort to deal with what he calls "Philadelphia's homicide crisis." Part of the former controller's plan to de-escalate the current street violence is to use mentors in a crisis intervention plan in the same way the city did in the 1960s and 70s to stem gang violence.

"I think adults paying attention to what is happening in kids' lives makes a very big difference," said Butkovitz.

If he were elected mayor he would organize a formal effort and thinks the adult mentors should be paid a $1,000 a month.

Action News spoke to Anthony Williams Friday as he stopped to campaign in North Philadelphia. Williams lost to Kenny four years ago in the 2015 mayoral primary. He says he is running again because the streets are still dirty and filled with potholes.

"The level of violence in this neighborhood and many others is far beyond what it should be," said Williams.

Williams is against Kenny's soda tax but a proponent of pre-K classes, which are funded in part by the tax. He says if elected he has a plan that could get rid of the controversial tax yet fully fund the pre-K program.

Incumbent Jim Kenny said Friday, after four years in office he is proud about his administration's record to help education. He cited his pre-K expansion, the return of Philadelphia schools to local control and more city money for Philadelphia Public Schools.

Referring to added costs to fund education, he said he realizes people don't want to pay taxes. Good schools are the foundation of a great city, Kenney added.

He indicated if people don't want good schools then "don't vote for me."

As for his challengers in this primary race, Kenney said, "I have not heard a solid idea from either one of them."
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