Occupation: Husband, father, and Housing Specialist
Political Experience: Democratic Ward Leader for 16 years, Democratic
Committeeperson for 31 years.
Bio: Paulmier is a lifelong resident of Germantown. He and his wife, Lillian, have three children. Paulmier graduated from Germantown Friends School and attended Community College of Philadelphia, Philadelphia College of Textile and Science and Temple University. He became a licensed real estate agent in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1983, and retired from realty sales over 10 years ago. He now devotes his time to community service, political activism, and providing quality housing in Germantown. Paulmier is a lifetime member of Germantown Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
Web site: http://www.gregpaulmier.com/
What makes you a good fit for the 8th District Council job?
I’ve got a plan and I know it works. I know it works because I’ve been working it for 30 years, right here in the 8th District. I don’t have to propose an Economic Development Plan for the District because I’m the only candidate who has been putting one into practice for my entire adult life. Here’s the plan and here’s how it works.
I’ve been using my own money to acquire abandoned houses, put local people to work fixing them up, then putting families into those houses, right here in the 8th District. I’ve also worked with Habitat for Humanity, partnering with government and getting grant money to do the same thing.
This changes neighborhoods block by block; it instills pride and it reduces blight and crime. But it also changes the economy of our city by increasing the tax base. The people I employ fixing the houses become taxpayers, the people who move in to the homes become taxpayers. This helps everyone in the 8th District and everyone in Philadelphia.
That tax money goes to pay firefighters, police, teachers and to keep libraries open in every neighborhood. This plan is the economic engine, the factory that if expanded throughout the 8th District can really change things. It’s not a factory we need to attract to the 8th District, it’s already here. I’m the only candidate who’s been running a factory like this, and I’ve been doing it right here for 30 years.
Chestnut Hill has seen numerous zoning disputes in which the neighborhood’s economic interests have run counter to near neighbor interests. How much input should a community have into zoning decisions vs. near neighbors? What is the councilperson’s role in zoning disputes?
The community and near neighbors must be engaged in dialogue that, as much as possible, must reach consensus for zoning to go forward. The councilperson’s role is to encourage and promote an environment where all perspectives are clearly heard. As the most locally elected city official the councilperson has to make sure the needs of the residents and businesses are protected. The historic nature of our community and the importance it has for our local economy makes its protection a top priority. All meetings concerning local zoning need to be public, publicized and attended by all interested parties. As your councilperson I would like to be in attendance in any capacity requested, either as guest, moderator or mediator.
How can the city balance the needs to encourage small businesses and keep residents’ taxes low and services running?
The city can balance the needs to encourage small business and keep the residents taxes low and services running by reducing the cost of operating city government and increasing the revenue it collects. My experience as a small business owner, developing the abandoned and neglected areas of this District by employing local residents, offers the best approach to keeping residents taxes low by turning properties that drain city funds into city revenue producers.
The city’s public schools seem to be in a near constant state of crisis. What steps do you think the city should take to improve city public schools?
The city should take back control of the school district. At my testimony to the School Reform Commission, I emphasized the importance of Transparency, and I believe making the dealings with the school district open and visible to the public is the best way to empower the people to insist on making education the priority it should be. The new blood in City Council will be instrumental in gathering the political will we need to get back control of our schools. The human resources that operate the schools must get the material resources they need to do the job. The cuts have got to be reversed, and the people we entrust to nurture our children must get the recognition and compensation they deserve, no less than those in other parts of the state get.
Polls have shown that voters are fed up with politics and distrustful of government. What would you do as a councilperson or are you doing as a candidate to address the corrosion of the public’s faith in government?
I’ve accepted no PAC money and no developer money. I will lead by example. City Council has the power to institute campaign finance reform and I would make that a priority as the city councilperson from the 8th District.
Finally, the DROP program has made a lot of headlines for what can best be described as abuse by city officials who retire for a day in order to collect large cash payments. What is your attitude about DROP? If you are elected will you support for City Council President anyone who has entered the DROP program?
I favor campaign finance reform to address the issue of corruption in our democracy. DROP is for rank and file city employees and not for elected officials and I will not support anyone who attempts to take advantage of the tax payers of the city by using the DROP program as an elected official. And to those elected officials who are taking the DROP money, retiring for one day, then running for office again, shame on you.