2011 Board Nominee – Paul Toner
Personal Statement: Why I am interested in being on the Board of SOSNA.
I want to continue my involvement with the SOSNA Board of Directors, which is an organization that has grown exponentially over the past three years in its ability, initiative and understanding of the potential of our neighborhood.
Ways I have participated in SOSNA or the community in the past.
I have been an active member of the Board of Directors for the past three years. Since first being elected, I have been fortunate enough to serve for the past two years on SOSNA’s Executive Board as its Controller and also on the SOSNA Zoning Committee. I was just elected to serve as Chair of the Zoning Committee this past July. Aside from my positions on the SOSNA Board of Directors, its Executive Committee and its Zoning Committee, I volunteered my legal services and led SOSNA’s successful zoning appeal of the PHA congregate living facility on South 20th Street. PHA was only willing to listen to SOSNA’s concerns after we convinced Judge Fox of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to reverse the decision of the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Skills, experience, energy, relationships, and/or interests I will bring to the Board that will help SOSNA continue to create a positive community impact.
Whether dealing with issues concerning zoning, human resources, public relations or working with the City, I have collaborated with my fellow Executive Committee members on most, if not all, of the difficult, internal organizational decisions faced by SOSNA over the past three years. I hope my reelection contributes to the enhancement of SOSNA’s institutional memory. In addition to my legal background and experience serving on the Board, its Executive Committee and its Zoning Committee, my perspective as a father raising our baby daughter in the neighborhood brings that unique experience and outlook to the Board and its decision making process. My wife Suzanne and I are proud to be raising our family in the neighborhood.
What I hope to accomplish as a Board member (relate to SOSNA initiatives).
Foremost, I hope to continue to serve as the Chair of the SOSNA Zoning Committee. A Zoning Chair must be able to not only objectively evaluate each application, but also be ever cognizant that the orderly functioning of the Zoning Committee is dependent on maintaining decorum during each hearing, fostering collegiality among the Zoning Committee members, working effectively with developers, and—most importantly—earning the confidence of our neighbors. I believe my record establishes that I can garner the support of fellow committee members, neighbors and developers alike. It cannot be overlooked that respect for the often competing (and contentious) opinions of Committee members, neighbors and developers is vital to the long-term success of the Zoning Committee. If reelected to the Board, the neighborhood can be confident that I will continue to evaluate each zoning application on its own merits, with due consideration of the unique circumstances and conditions of each proposal and every block.
I think that SOSNA as an organization is important to our community because . . .
In a City of well over a million people, SOSNA is unique in its ability to coalesce the varying perspectives and give a powerful voice to the roughly twelve thousand people who live and work in our neighborhood.