This Friday City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. will celebrate the opening of his new digs –a second office in the Fourth Councilmanic district.
Rent at his first district office located in Wynnefield was paid for with campaign funds, and taxpayers paid $2,450 in furniture made by inmates in city prisons’ PHILACOR shops. Jones said the $600-a-month rent at his latest office located at 5462 Ridge Ave., in Roxborough will also be paid for through campaign dollars.
The city, Jones said will donate a “beat-up” 2003 Dell Computer and a phone.
Some Council members have said that district offices are essential for constituent services and traveling downtown for many residents can be a hassle.
“State representatives have district offices, congress members have district offices, people can go into the neighborhood and be serviced by those entities,” Jones said. “Yes I am a legislator, but I am an ombudsman for city services.”
Following through on his campaign promise, Jones, whose district includes Roxborough, Manayunk, Andorra and part of West Philadelphia, said he needed another district office because some residents like those in Andorra may have difficulty traveling to Wynnefield.
Council members Marian Tasco, Brian O’Neill and Bobby Henon each have a district office.
O’Neill’s district office is located in Bustleton and Tasco shares state Rep. Mark Cohen’s district office. An aide from Tasco’s office said the Councilwoman does not pay for the space which is used one day a week.
Henon, who is also set to open his new district office this week located at 6730 Torresdale Ave., will pay the $500-a-month rent through campaign funds. He too is waiting to receive a city computer for the office.
Councilwoman Cindy Bass said she tried in vain to acquire city-owned vacant property to turn into a district office, but she was shot down by the Vacant Property Review Committee. She had hoped to fund the office through Council’s capital budget, adding that she was short on campaign dollars.
“We’re still working on getting a district office,” she said. “We’re not going to let bureaucracy stand in the way.”