Apr 3, 2023 - Politics

Meet Philadelphia Dem mayoral candidates: James DeLeon

James DeLeon

Photo: Courtesy of the James DeLeon campaign

James DeLeon is one of nine candidates running in the Democrats' mayoral primary on May 16. (Read all our candidate questionnaires here.)

The candidate: DeLeon is a lawyer and grew up in West Philadelphia. He previously served as a municipal court judge for more than 30 years.

  • He previously ran unsuccessfully for positions on higher courts, including the state Supreme Court.

🏡 What neighborhoods have you lived in? Germantown, West Philadelphia, Chestnut Hill, West Oak Lane.

🍽️ Favorite Philly restaurant: Seorabol Korean Restaurant.

🏢 Favorite downtown building: Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice

📺 Favorite Philadelphia TV show: “Have Gun — Will Travel.”

💰How much did your property taxes go up last year? $1,000.

🏀 Favorite Philly athlete (past or present) and why? Wilt Chamberlain — best basketball player ever.

🚗 Savesies: Pro/con? Pro — I don’t do it, but I understand that a person shoveled their spot and believes they should keep it for at least one day.

🏙 How would you enhance the vibrancy of Center City in the post-pandemic era? I would have street festivals, open air dining, special events and shopping specials.

What's the one moment in your life that most shaped you? When a cop pulled a gun on me in Charleston, South Carolina, because I was riding my brother on my bicycle handlebars. We were 12 and 10, respectively.

🪶 What is one fun thing voters don't know about you? I am an award-winning playwright and my work can be watched on YouTube under "J. Maurice DeLeon."

Sum up the state of the city in 5 words or less. Leaders lack coordination among themselves.

And, of course, why do you want to be mayor? I want to be mayor to save lives, reduce gun violence, fix our schools and create more good paying jobs.

On the issues

Would you increase (⬆️), keep level (⏸️), or decrease (⬇️) the police department's budget?

  • ⬆️ Increase

What's one big idea you have to address the ongoing gun violence crisis?

  • I'd establish a program called Local Incident Management System, which is a set of policies and procedures allowing the city to enable the necessary responders to manage the root causes of gun violence.

Do you support the 76ers proposal to build a new arena in Center City? Yes (✅) or no (❌)

  • No

Explain your answer, in 1 sentence.

  • The expanding and widening of the streets and roads through Chinatown will destroy Chinatown.

Do you support installing permanent public bathrooms in the city? Yes (✅) or no (❌)

How many would you look to install and in what neighborhoods? (1 sentence or less.)

  • Six, in neighborhoods that are near transportation centers.

💡 What's 1 big idea that would be a game-changer for Philly? (2 sentences or less)

  • My Local Incident Management System, where I will declare all gun violence as a “dramatic incident.”
  • That would begin a system of processes and procedures to combat gun violence by enabling the necessary responders to manage more effectively and efficiently the root causes of gun violence.

🪓 What law, tax or program would you scrap immediately, and why? (2 sentences or less)

  • I'd immediately get rid of the major restrictions imposed on restaurants to expand their businesses to accommodate outdoor dining.
  • These restrictions are an impediment to our growth as a center for culinary, cultural and social development and activities.

Read Axios Philadelphia's other candidate questionnaires.

Editor's note: This q&a will be updated as primary season continues.

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