A great group of Cedar Park neighbors are running for election to the CPN Board of Directors. Read more about them below. And come out to our annual meeting on April 21, 2014 from 7-9 pm to hear them in person. Candidates' bios are after the jump.
Michael lives in Cedar Park with his partner, Susanna, and five-year-old daughter, Zora. He is has served as the president of Cedar Park Neighbors for the last two years and is now running for re-election. For the three years prior to that, he served on the board. During the day, Michael works as a managing attorney practicing consumer and housing law with Community Legal Services. Michael is the co-founder of the West Philly Tool Library, is a Democratic party committeeperson in the 46th Ward, and, until recently, served on the boards of UC Green and Shakespeare in Clark Park. Michael is excited about the opportunity to continue to work together to improve Cedar Park for long-time residents and newcomers, seniors and school children, and everyone in between.
Candidate for First Vice President Suzanne Banning Anderson 7XX S. 48th St.
Suzanne joined the board last year after being active on the Zoning Committee for several years. She lives on the 700 block of S. 49th Street with her husband, Kelvyn, two teenage daughters and two Golden Retrievers.
Suzanne currently work as a psychiatric social worker at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital at 54th & Cedar Avenue, having earned her MSW from Temple University 20 years ago and her JD from Widener University School of Law in 2012.
Her particular civic interest is in greening and cleaning the community. She is an avid gardener and an active Zoning Committee member.
Suzanne hopes to continue to apply her skills and interests to reduce blight and litter and increase the number of trees and amount of green space in the Cedar Park. She believes that a cleaner and greener neighborhood will enhance the quality of life for everyone in Cedar Park.
David has lived in Cedar Park for the past 6 years. He and his wife are raising a 5-year- old daughter, Lucy, who attends the Children's Community School at Calvary Center. They are actively involved on their block, assisting in the annual end-of-summer block party, block clean ups, parent support group meetings at their house, etc. They love the neighborhood and are excited to see it brimming with activity (new and old), such as supporting and bringing Soccer Shots to Cedar Park in fall 2013.
David is a licensed architect and leverages that knowledge and expertise to assist a multitude of neighborhood groups. He has a particular interest in issues that impact the quality of life in the community, such as the vitality of neighborhood schools, zoning, development, safety, etc. David was the lead volunteer on the Baltimore Avenue Community Corridor design study, completed in 2010.
He is currently the chair of the Development Impact Task Force, which produced the "Future of the Neighborhood" survey in 2012. David's goal is to assist CPN in achieving the Baltimore Avenue vision to re-extend prosperity further west along our main street. David is a member of the West Philadelphia Coalition for Neighborhood Schools (WPCNS), which is working closely with Henry C. Lea Elementary School. He was also part of the Greening Lea Task Force, focused on improvements to the building and schoolyard.
Candidate for Treasurer Amara Rockar 50xx Catharine St.
Amara Rockar has lived in West Philadelphia for more than 10 years, most of it in Cedar Park. She and her husband bought their home in 2010 and intend to raise their family here. Amara is a board member of the West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools. During the day, she works as a paralegal at an immigration law firm.
Candidates for Board of Directors Lisa Johanningsmeier 9XX South St. Bernard Street
Lisa has lived in the Cedar Park neighborhood since 1983. During the last 12 years she has served on the CPN board and Zoning Committee. She hopes to be able to help the Cedar Park community grow and change in a positive way that is inclusive of all community members.
Shawn Markovich 9xx S. Farragut St.
Shawn and her family have lived in Cedar Park for 10 years. They moved to this community because they love the beautiful parks, the great community spirit and the wonderful homes that can be found in West Philly.
Shawn and her husband have 2 children, ages 10 and 8. In addition to being a current board member, she is also on the Cedar Park Zoning committee and involved with the Development Impact Task Force. She is active at her children's school. She and her husband have invested their time, energy, and resources in Philadelphia and, for the past 10 years, in West Philadelphia. They have purchased properties with an eye toward health, beauty, and sustainability of their community. The architecture, green spaces, and friends continue to inspire them and keep them rooted here. Shawn is impressed that CPN has taken on complex issues such as zoning, park improvement, distressed properties, and education, all key topics that affect the growth and stability of their community.
Mavil Spence 50XX Catharine St.
Mavil has resided in Cedar Park all of her life.Her parents moved to the 5000 block of Catharine Street in 1962, and she was born there the next April. She moved out at age 27 to the 800 block of S. 47th Street. She lived there until 1992, when she and her family were burned out. She moved back to Catharine Street and purchased a home in the 5100 block of Catharine in 1993. Since 2009, she has been back on the 5000 block of Catharine. She has three children, Makeiah, Lauren and Zachary and one grandson Mason. Makeiah is a graduate of Immaculata University, and Lauren is finishing up at Community College of Philadelphia and then will attend Lasalle University to obtain her registered nursing degree. Zachary is a CPN scholarship recipient and attends Howard University School of Engineering in Washington DC.
Mavil now works for the United States Postal Service. Previously for 10 years, she worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia until 2009, when technology knocked her out of a job. If she is re-elected to the board, she plans to work hard in this community to make it an even better community than it is now. She will do the best that she knows how to make people want to move to Cedar Park.
Saba Tedla 8XX S. 48th St.
Saba moved to Philadelphia in 2007 and has been a resident of Cedar Park since then. Saba's professional background is in Corporate Finance in the technology industry, and she currently works for Bentley Systems in Exton, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Bentley, she worked at Lexmark International, a NASDAQ listed company and a worldwide distributor of printers. She currently serves on the advisory board of LIFT Philadelphia, a grassroots community organization with a mission to combat poverty and expand opportunity for all people. In addition to nonprofit work, Saba is a local business owner and continues to make critical investments on the Baltimore Avenue corridor. She renovated a vacant commercial space and opened the Aksum restaurant in 2011. Saba has strived to make a contribution by helping to improve the economic development of the community. Saba considers herself a self-starter/ entrepreneur and plans to continue making tactical investments in the neighborhood. She has the drive and passion to make a meaningful impact and the commitment and leadership skills required to be an effective board member.
Malcolm Burnley is currently working as a journalist for Philadelphia magazine. He's passionate about the preservation and development of urban neighborhoods; how they can build around existing demographics without succumbing to rapid gentrification. Even as a young adult, Malcolm has already lived in a variety of East Coast cities —New York, Providence, Washington, D.C., and now Philadelphia. Cedar Park stands out as unique among them. Having attended several meetings about the city's "blight recertification" of the 5000 and 5100 blocks of Baltimore Avenue, he's witnessed outstanding community resilience and energy. Malcolm believes that as someone who just transplanted to Philly last summer, he may bring a unique perspective to the board. His profession, along with being a renter, might provide a fresh and honest perspective on how Cedar Park can retain similar young adults within the neighborhood.
Renee McBride Williams 51xx Webster
Renee McBride Williams has been a long-time resident of West Philadelphia. For most of her life, she has lived in the 'hood and taught in many of the West Philadelphia school rooms. Renee believes that knowing the pulse of the community is paramount for its success, its revitalization and mostly, its redevelopment. A site organizer for the Media Mobilizing Project after retiring early from The School District of Philadelphia, Renee began to reinvent herself and reaffirm her mission to contribute to the community at large. Renee attended the neighborhood high school and is familiar with its residents. Nothing would make her happier than to be involved with the process of change and to provide the historical aspects of our community to better serve the CPN community and its residents. In addition, Renee is a volunteer station coordinator and general manager of WPEB 88.1 community radio. She is a historical storyteller and participates in an educational music program with the Philadelphia Clef Club. Renee is married to George Williams and has a son, bassist Christian McBride.
Far McKon 50XX Cedar Ave.
Far McKon is interested in working with CPN to improve the community for everyone, and sees joining CPN board as one of the clear paths to accomplish that. Specifically, Far is interested in enabling/supporting programs for the following:
• Neighborhood Work-swap program, where neighbors can sign up, to swap tasks/skills or assistance around the house, yard, etc. Extra or spare work-time donated to neighbors that need more than usual assistance.
• Work on Soft-scaping streets for walk-ability (more bump-outs like at 48th St.), finding out if streets want speed-bumps.
• Talking to blocks and finding out if or which would be willing to host community notice/post boards to post paper announcements for those that do not frequently use email or the internet.
• Assisting where he can in using his skills as a programmer and as an outreach coordinator.
Mostly, Far is interested in taking on some responsibility for a few projects and helping out where he can.
Ryan Spak 51xx Springfield Ave.
Ryan Spak is an entrepreneurial business owner dedicated to his family, his city and his neighborhood. He and his wife, Jessie, are firmly planting their family's roots in this community. Over the past three years, Ryan has invested heavily in rehabilitating distressed properties in our neighborhood. It is his desire to continue to invest physically and monetarily in the neighborhood in the future. But it is also important to him to invest in the community by engaging his neighbors. Joining the CPN board will allow Ryan the opportunity to continue support the community and its efforts.
Three years ago, Ryan created Project Rehab for the University City District. This completely free, yet comprehensive real estate program guides owners of distressed properties through the process of rehabilitation. The program has positively influenced the renovation of 24 previous blighted properties, creating over $8.1 million in real estate values in our neighborhood. Over that same time, Ryan has practiced what he teaches others by financing, rehabilitating and managing more than 30 units —mostly in West Philadelphia.
JJ Tiziou 45xx Osage & 49xx Pentridge
JJ Tiziou is a photographer who is actively invested in the Cedar Park neighborhood. Although he lives outside of Cedar Park, he works out of a studio space in The Cedar Works at 4919 Pentridge. JJ is the creator of the largest work of public art in Philadelphia: the 85,000 square foot mural How Philly Moves at Philadelphia International Airport.
Philly has always been home for JJ, specifically West Philly and the Baltimore Avenue corridor. JJ supports communities working for positive change through his photographic work. He is now looking to broaden his experience by working as part of a team with a longer term focused vision, plugging into the facets of the neighborhood that he's not yet familiar with, and bringing his communication skills to directly advocate for all of his neighbors. JJ is also an enthusiastic community cheerleader — much of his photographic work has involved advocating for artists, activists and communities that he's wanted to support. He hopes to also bring some of those skills to help share CPN's messages.
Michael Williams 8xx S. 48th St. (at Warrington)
Michael Williams has lived in West Philly for 10 years, and has been a block captain on the 800 block for 8 years. He is a semi-retired gardener and works throughout the Philadelphia area. He has served as Warrington Community Garden president from 2013 to present.
Jason Sandman 80XX S Saint Bernard
Jason has lived on S. St Bernard St since 2010 and he is an active member of the community garden on the block. He has worked or volunteered with several non-profits and a volunteer of UC Green.