October 20, 2014 |
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. - Unknown That comment, often wrongly attributed to Winston Churchill, sums up quite a few responses when an elected school board is suggested for Philadelphia. That's understandable. One need spend only a few minutes thinking about the boss-driven, corruption-generating political system that democracy has produced in this city to decide it doesn't need any more of that. But such pessimism suggests that Philadelphians are incapable of what people in other cities and towns across America are doing, which is finding a way to maneuver through their own political cesspools to provide for the education of their children.
September 19, 2014 |
Take 100 Philadelphians drawn from every age group, ethnicity, and neighborhood, put them on a theater stage, and have them share stories about their lives. Sheer madness? Pure cacophony? Try a piece of cutting-edge theater. And a fascinating one at that. Called 100% Philadelphia , the FringeArts production will stage three performances, Friday through Sunday, at Temple Performing Arts Center. And yes, each will be an evening of storytelling, show-and-tells, and audience Q&As featuring 100 ordinary Philadelphians ranging in age from 2 months to 81 years.
September 8, 2014 |
Pennsylvania law is clear: Defendants must be jailed for at least two months if caught driving after their license has been suspended for a DUI conviction. But that's not what happens most of the time in Philadelphia. While city police issue about 800 tickets for driving on so-called DUI-suspended licenses every year, fewer than one in five sticks. The rest of the defendants have their cases dismissed or they simply flee, court records show, taking advantage of years of Traffic Court disarray.
July 15, 2014 |
DONNY SMITH, president of the Mayfair Civic Association, wants to split the sprawling 15th Police District into two districts, with a guaranteed number of officers patrolling each neighborhood. Right now, Smith said, the quieter neighborhoods like his suffer quality-of-life crimes, such as theft when cops are busy responding to the 15th's high-crime areas. "We're a blue-collar neighborhood," Smith said. "People are at work all day. They don't want to come home to find their house was broken into because there aren't enough police patrolling the streets here.
July 10, 2014 |
THE CITY yesterday opened six BenePhilly Centers to assist low-income Philadelphians who are eligible for benefits but are not receiving them. Increasing benefits access is a major goal of Shared Prosperity, an anti-poverty plan that Mayor Nutter unveiled last year. He tasked Eva Gladstein, executive director of the Mayor's Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, with creating and implementing the plan. The centers, Gladstein said, will help people "get benefits that can help alleviate some of the worst effects of poverty.
July 9, 2014 |
IN 1900, William McKinley was president. American soldiers were battling rebels in the Philippines. Orville and Wilbur Wright were tinkering with a contraption that was supposed to fly through the air, and Henry Ford was tinkering with the Model T, to be introduced in eight years and revolutionize American travel. And Anna Lois Berrian was born. Rural Georgia, her birthplace, was farm country, cotton and tobacco, and a place where black people knew their place, or paid dearly for not knowing it. In fact, it was the lynching of a young black man that was the main impetus for Anna's move to Philadelphia at age 22. Anna, who became Anna Henderson after marrying railroad worker Rembert Louis Henderson in 1925, became a much-honored and highly revered resident of West Philadelphia.
June 2, 2014 |
It's hard to imagine blue-collar Philadelphia sports fans, as impatient, boisterous and passionate as they can be, paying to watch people walk in circles for days on end. But for a brief period in the 1880s and early 1890s, when spectating options were as sparse as clean-shaven faces, our athletic-loving ancestors apparently found these marathons of monotony compelling. Competitive walking - or pedestrianism, as it then was called - briefly was the equal of baseball, horse racing, and rowing, particularly in large eastern cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.
May 30, 2014 |
SHENZHEN, China - The earnest young Chinese woman asked the question with a directness uncharacteristic of her world: How do you learn to appreciate Western classical music? She had come to the right place on Wednesday: an open, practical dialogue about symphony orchestra conducting featuring Philadelphia Orchestra associate conductor Cristian Macelaru. His reply: "You don't need to understand anything more than that it's beautiful. Allow yourself to be moved by the same things that move you in Chinese music.
May 28, 2014 |
MARY ROBERTS was packing a box - a care package of sardines, cookies, canned beans and Kool-Aid - to send to her brother in Vietnam when the knock came at the door. "My mother opened the door and just started screaming," Roberts, now 79, recalled yesterday during a Memorial Day tribute at Philadelphia's Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Her brother, Cpl. Lorrence T. Friday, was 25 when he was killed in Vietnam on April 7, 1968. "He had enlisted in the Army," Stellzene Roberts, 59, said of Friday, her uncle.
May 16, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIANS have strong opinions about the issues facing Philadelphia as well as poverty's causes and solutions. With support from Temple University's Center for Public Interest Journalism, we commissioned a citywide survey from the Insight and Survey Center, a survey-research unit associated with the School of Journalism of the University of Missouri-Columbia and the Reynolds Journalism Institute. Nearly 350 randomly selected people from across the city were phoned. The results of this survey demonstrate that an economically, racially and educationally diverse cross-section of Philadelphians see poverty as one of the most important issues that the city must address to move forward.