The mayor's ambitious promise to remove 40,000 abandoned cars from Philadelphia streets in 40 working days seems to have been a great success. Almost 33,000 abandoned cars were towed, with an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 more removed by their owners, a commendable improvement to the quality of life in the city's neighborhoods and a boost to civic pride, as well as a remarkable logistical accomplishment.
The fulfillment of this campaign promise show Street's ability to take action and serves as a visible demonstration of his stated commitment to revitalizing the entire city.
Street's proposal to put the Phillies' new stadium at 12th & Vine streets is a more questionable plan. While the site has the potential to boost downtown tourism, it faces much opposition from residents of Chinatown, and boosts the combined cost of stadiums for the Phillies and Eagles to as much as $1 billion.
That's a great cost for a city whose schools are in the midst of a budget crisis, as Philadelphia's are. School district officials are planning to cut more than $30 million dollars from the district's already inadequate budget in order to reduce its operating deficit and avoid a state takeover of schools. This in a district just starting to see improvement, where many students still test well below grade level.
Part of the blame for the budget problems likely lies with the state, which has consistently refused to provide additional funds to the chronically underfunded district. Part of that problem may result from Street's supposed unwillingness to stoop to the games involved in state politics. Dignity is certainly a necessary and noble trait, but, unfortunately, in politics it is often just as necessary to be willing to play the game.
Challenges lie ahead for Street. City union's contracts come up for renegotiation over the next few months. Stadium plans must be worked out by this fall under a city council resolution. More work must be done to get the schools back on track financially.
The mayor's first months in office, despite controversy, have proceeded fairly smoothly. He still must show that he is capable of forming coalitions, and overcome his image as being hot tempered, something not improved by his walking out of a commnity meeting when organizers made changes to the questions on the agenda. The mayor has shown that he can act decisively, but it will take time to see what results his decisions will bring.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.