Where name meets shame

Posted: August 31, 2011

JOHN PERZEL'S political career is all but over, but the former state House speaker will still have a place in the everyday lives of many folks in Northeast Philly.

Well, kind of.

A Mayfair recreation center that opened in 2006 is named after Perzel, who was expected to plead guilty today to charges related to a political corruption case involving taxpayer money that was used to aid Republican campaigns.

It's unclear whether the John M. Perzel Community Center, on St. Vincent Street near Battersby, will eventually be renamed.

Leaders of the Mayfair Community Devleopment Corp. which runs the center, could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Perzel isn't the only disgraced local politician whose name can be found in a prominent public space.

Many folks mistakenly assume that Cianfrani Park, at 8th and Fitzwater streets, is named in honor of Henry "Buddy" Cianfrani, the late ex-state senator who was once convicted on federal racketeering and mail-fraud charges.

The park is actually named in honor of his mother.

The surname of former state Sen. Vince Fumo - Cianfrani's successor - can be found on the front of the Fumo Family Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, on Broad Street near Ritner.

The words "Fumo Family Building" also adorn the property that houses Christopher Columbus Charter School, at 13th and Wharton streets.

The names have stayed on the buildings, in spite of Fumo's 2009 conviction on federal corruption, conspiracy and fraud charges.