Northeast Times

Editorial: Just do the job

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Is Phil­adelphia gov­ern­ment all that it can be? If you’re a typ­ic­al Phil­adelphia homeown­er or mer­chant, you’re chuck­ling now.

That’s why last week’s vis­it to be­lea­guered Frank­ford by movers and shakers in loc­al gov­ern­ment is not likely to bring about any great change in the way Phil­adelphia does busi­ness.

It’s all well and good that of­fi­cials from a med­ley of city de­part­ments toured the neigh­bor­hood to see for them­selves what’s ail­ing the area, but if Phil­adelphia gov­ern­ment had been run the way it should be, the vis­it by the big shots wouldn’t even have been ne­ces­sary.

In­stead, we see houses (not homes) that have long been aban­doned save for vag­rants; aban­doned houses that are sealed up — or worse, not sealed up — and ab­sent­ee own­ers who thumb their noses at the city from afar be­cause they’ve got­ten away with it for years.

A city rule that a prop­erty own­er must re­place win­dows and doors if 80 per­cent of the neigh­bor­hood is oc­cu­pied is well in­ten­tioned. It’s also a joke. Why 80 per­cent? A prop­erly run city would re­quire prop­erty own­ers to main­tain their real es­tate re­gard­less of the neigh­bor­hood. Strict and swift en­force­ment of city codes and laws — in­clud­ing heavy fines today, not to­mor­row — would pre­vent neigh­bor­hoods from go­ing down­hill.

Con­trary to what the politi­cians would have you be­lieve, Phil­adelphia has enough mu­ni­cip­al em­ploy­ees to keep the city run­ning ef­fect­ively and ef­fi­ciently, in­clud­ing pre­vent­ing blight and qual­ity-of-life prob­lems in neigh­bor­hoods like Frank­ford. But un­til city work­ers are re­quired to tend to the city the way private in­dustry would, don’t ex­pect mir­acles. ••

Send let­ters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com

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You can reach at staff@bsmphilly.com.

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