Temple president Richard Englert “seemed oblivious to the pain and history that drove the opposition” at Tuesday’s “debacle of a town hall,” but the university’s absence in the community is not the only problem, writes the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Inga Saffron. Stadium Stompers Ruth Birchett and Jackie Wiggins, “the two grandmotherly residents who are the proud ringleaders” in the stadium fight since 2015, explain to Saffron that “part of what drives the opposition to the stadium...is the feeling that their North Philadelphia neighborhood is being ignored, not just by Temple, but by their elected officials.” Saffron points to the elected officials in the room: “former Councilman Frank DiCiccio, now a lobbyist and adviser to Temple” and current head of the Zoning Board next to Englert at Tuesday’s town hall, and "only State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, who is retiring this year, attended the Stadium Stompers meeting" last Thursday. Council president Darrell Clarke, who represents North Philadelphia, did not attend either meeting, citing scheduling conflicts. The council president “has met with the Stompers at least four times in City Hall,” according to Clarke’s Communications Director Jane Roh. While the Stadium Stompers have organized and formed alliances with sympathetic Temple students and faculty, the lack of local political support serves as “another reminder that their struggling North Philadelphia is on its own in this fight.”
Editors note: This article has been updated as the previous version included a quote from the Inquirer that was not fact-checked and has since been removed from the article PlanPhilly quoted.
"Obligatory classic liberal commitments"
“It seems the only way the Mayor knows how to make money is by hustling more of it from residents,” writes WURD Radio’s Charles D. Ellison, contributing to the Philadelphia Citizen. In response to Mayor Kenney’s annual budget address, Ellison argues that the budget is not very creative, and in fact “shows rather negligible investments in community revitalization or poverty-busting growth other than those obligatory ‘I’ve-checked-the-box’ classic liberal commitments.” Ellison suggests “three fairly simple steps to guaranteeing a filled budget by 2023” without further taxing citizens: secure the recently discovered “$78 million owed by the PPA to the Philadelphia School District,” have the PPA pay the city’s school district about $35 million per year, and try not to deprive the city of $216 million in revenue each year (citing a Pew Charitable Trusts study on the city's business taxes, the property tax abatement and other incentives).