These are some of the main issues Joar believes is necessary for any community to thrive
60% of the properties in Darby Borough are owned by landlords. We need to encourage and support home buyers in our communities - especially first time homeowners. It makes no sense that our current tax codes essentially punish homeowners with higher tax rates while landlords (rental properties) pay significantly lower rates in taxes. We have to level the playing field - this is not fair to people that invest in our communities because they genuinely care about it and want to raise their families here - with no expectations of monetary profits. As your next mayor, I will lead initiatives that will educate you on first time home buyers options.
Darby Borough is located in the perfect place to be a vibrant area for small businesses. We have public transportation that goes from Darby right to the heart of Philadelphia and many other municipalities in Delaware County. Unfortunately however the success of our small businesses have not been apparent. I have met with some of our small business owners: some of them are struggling to make ends met. Way too often we see businesses come and go in Darby - that is not okay! We need sustainable, family owned businesses in our community.
On my business tour of Darby Borough, some of the business owners shared some of their financial insecurities with me and I in return recommended them to the proper channels at the state and federal level that could help them with grants. Our small business owners expressed to me that they didn’t even know that there were resources available for them at our state and federal governments - this is incompetence on the part of our local government for not making these resources readily accessible to the people. Under my administration, we will establish a Chamber of Commerce for our businesses so that we can all be able to support each other to grow - this is a community effort.
From my perspective, the majority of Darby lacks a sense of community. People are not taking pride in our community and that is partially because the local elected officials are not giving them much to be prideful about. In my fifteen (15) years in Darby, I have never had a local elected official knock on my door to tell my family why they are running for office (and my family is a super vote - since we became citizens, we have voted every year.) This is one of the reasons that Darby has one of the lowest voter turnout in all of Delaware County. This is not okay with me - I refuse to have my community have such a negative reputation (especially when I know I can change it - I’ve single handily knocked on more doors in a single election year in nearby state legislative districts than the total number of voters that voted in our last mayoral primary election between two candidates that have both been mayors of Darby Borough before - That is unacceptable.
We also have to build more of a sense of community in the sense of our people actually getting to know their elected officials and each other. A FAQ I received when canvassing for this seat was “who is our mayor?” This is a problem. People should know who represents them. In my 15 years in Darby, I’ve never once seen a town hall hosted by the Mayor. How are the people to know who represents them when their elected representatives keep their distance and are not visible in the community. Under my administration, we will create a Mayor’s Office of Community Engagement. This is much needed in our community, our elected officials and bureaucrats should be interacting and engaging with our constituents frequently if not daily.
There are way too many abandoned and depreciating properties in Darby Borough and our local elected officials are not taking any initiatives to address this problem. My administration will work directly with the Sheriff’s office to make sure we can get these properties into the hands of the right investors that actually care about our community, not just making a profit in it.
So far in the campaign trail, something that a lot of you, the residents, have complained to me about is that your trash does not get picked up sometimes for 2 to 3 weeks and your streets are not paved when it snows. You call Darby Borough about the issue and nothing gets done about it, so you end up calling our state representations. I share in that frustration with you as the same things happen on my street. As your mayor, I will prioritize these issues as these are local issues - these are not issues that you should have to call our state representations for. These are the things we elect local representatives for. Sanitation of our community is not something political, it can not and should not be compromised.
During my second tenure as President of the Student Government at Bloomsburg University, I presented a check to the town’s mayor on behalf of the student body. This check was for the sole purpose of buying trash receptacles for the town. As the representative of the student body, I had to be proactive instead of reactive. Albeit I organinzed an annual spring cleanup in the town, bringing about participation from over 1,000 students, it made sense to me to also have trash receptacles conveniently place in town so that students can properly dispose their trash in there instead of on the streets. Darby needs many things - trash receptacles being one. We also need a recycling system.
As a young person, I can attest to the fact that a lot of the young people that are on the streets in our community are only there because there is nothing else for them to do. I experienced this growing up. A lot of my friends growing up did things that they ended up regretting later on in life just out of pure boredom. My parents did not want me to fall into that trap, so they kept me busy. They had me play football, basketball, run track and wrestled. To this day, I honestly believe that all of those extracurricular activities are some of the reasons I stayed out of trouble when trouble so easily found a lot of my childhood friends.
My parents had to send me to other communities to stay out of trouble. I played sports in other municipalities in Delaware County and Philadelphia County. Now that I’m older and interested in public service, I realize how much we are robbing our youth in Darby Borough of their Childhood and allowing them to go down the wrong paths. Since graduating high school, I have worked with multiple non-profits that focus on the youth. As your next mayor, I will do everything in my power to make our community welcoming to young people again. I will fight to bring youth sports to Darby Borough. I will fight to build partnerships with local trade schools so that interest can be sparked in our young people at an early age. We have to start giving our young people life/survival skills, because if we don’t the streets will.
Invest in our community!
With close proximity to Philadelphia, Darby Borough experiences significantly larger episodes of gun violence compared to other suburban municipalities. Even I myself have been put to gunpoint in this community. I have lost childhood friends to gun violence, some from right here in Darby Borough. The problem with guns in this community is a public health crisis and as Mayor, I will treat it as such. As a private citizen, I have hosted and participated in many events/marches/rallies in response to the gun violence pandemic in our community. Now as an elected official, I will work with our state representations to advocate for common-sense gun legislation. I preach often that not everything can be legislated but this is one of those things that the proper legislations and proper community efforts can have a positive impact on. As mayor, I will host community gun buybacks as well as community events to educated our community on the consequences of these horrific actions.