Jabari Jones. (Jones campaign)

Jabari Jones, an entrepreneur and business advocate, is running a third-party campaign for District 3’s City Council seat. It’s a continuation of his quest to oust incumbent Councilmember Jaime Gauthier, who was elected to rep West and Southwest Philly in 2019. 

Jones initially planned to run as a Democrat, filing a nomination petition to run in May’s Democratic primary. Both campaigns filed legal challenges, seeking to get the other kicked off the ballot, a courtroom duel that was won by Gauthier. 

After opening legal proceedings, Jones withdrew his nomination petition. Now he’s running under a party called “West is Best”, and weathered an additional legal challenge to get on the ballot. 

Pro-Jones posters can be seen up in various parts of the 3rd District and flyers have been sent to area residents, so despite Philly’s overwhelming Democratic majority, there appears to be a very real race going on in West Philly. 

Many see a Gauthier v. Jones contest as one between a progressive and a moderate. Jones has played a key role in opposing progressives citywide. He’s chair of a political action committee called the Coalition for Safety and Equitable Growth, which ran ads opposing former councilmember and mayoral candidate Helen Gym. 

The committee drew headlines for its main supporter, Jeffery Yass, a conservative billionaire from the Main Line. For the general election, the PAC is opposing the Working Families Party’s bids for at-large Council seats. 

Best known for leading the West Philadelphia Corridor Collaborative, Jones has long advocated for safe and clean commercial corridors through heightened police presence and more aural and visual surveillance.

In a spin on the idea to bypass DA Larry Krasner by incorporating federal prosecutors, which surfaced during Philly’s mayoral primary, Jones says he wants to send District 3 cases concerning violent crime to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. 

Jones also has a suite of affordable housing plans that he believes would speed up the disbursal of City-owned vacant lots when affordable housing is part of design plans. Other plans include using tax and other incentives to attract businesses that will pay area residents at least $50k and offer medical benefits. 

When it comes to education, Jones’s vision includes an elected, not appointed, school board.

In recent weeks, Jones has been campaigning by visiting the businesses he’s built relationships with, as well as those hit by vandalism in the wake of recent protest and unrest.

Jones’s campaign finance situation

Jones’s campaign currently has about $2,600 on hand, according to the most recent campaign finance report. From June to September, Jones raised $10,940 and spent over $11,000 on campaign-related matters. Jones contributed $6,500 of his own money to his campaign in this timespan. 

Jordan Levy is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn, always aiming to help Philadelphians share their stories. Formerly, he has worked at Document Journal, n+1 Magazine, and The New Republic. He...