December 27, 1998
With the unveiling of the Frank Rizzo statue on the steps of the Municipal Services Building planned for Jan. 1, this question comes to mind: What other works of art do the public spaces of the city and suburbs need? What person, event or thing would you like to see so honored in your neighborhood? Why? Send essays of 100 words or less by Jan. 11, including a phone number for verification, to Community Voices/Heroes at the addresses listed in the Where to Write box above. Questions?
March 15, 1998 |
On a hot day last July, Bryan Shane Marks, 22, told his mother that he wanted to stop using: cocaine, heroin and marijuana. He called a dozen drug-treatment programs, detailed his addiction to the faceless voices on the other end of the line, and begged for help. One by one, they refused. Some were too full. Others he couldn't afford. One told him that if he was really serious about treatment, he should call back in 10 days. He didn't have 10 days. On July 25, less than a week later, he died of a massive drug overdose.
November 3, 1996 |
Bowing to residents who objected to the purchase of land in neighboring Medford Township for a new public-works facility and municipal building, borough officials will delay action until a questionnaire is distributed. The council plans to postpone any decision on the $300,000 purchase of 15 acres at Lenape Trail and Tuckerton Road until its Jan. 23 meeting, said Borough Councilman David Wasson. The council was swayed by opinions expressed during a standing-room-only meeting on Oct. 24, when many residents opposed spending any money to purchase the property.
June 29, 1994 |
For 26 years, Peg Gaskins said, she has been a good neighbor to the people who live in the tidy, white houses on Glenbrook Avenue. But since her neighbors moved out in recent years, she said, raucous college students renting the homes on each side have turned the block into a late-night party den. The loud music, the trash strewn across lawns, and the destructive pranks have taken their toll on Gaskins' patience. "Drunken orgies go on all the time. The students are terrible.
February 5, 1993
The chill winds that drive scores of homeless men to occupy SEPTA's Market Street concourse bear an urgent warning for all Philadelphians. Unless the Rendell administration and City Council move promptly to find other places for the chronically homeless, hopes for the Convention Center rising virtually above their heads - not to mention other plans for revitalizing this city - may well blow away. The Dickensian concourse scene is frightening and unhealthy for both the homeless and SEPTA riders, who smell the problem before they see it. The stench of urine, feces and unwashed bodies emanates from the area where dozens of people line the tile corridors.
August 16, 1992 |
Recent decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court reveal a disturbing paradox in First Amendment jurisprudence. The court has strengthened fundamental free speech protections by several rulings that underscore government's obligation to remain neutral in its regulation of the content of speech. At the same time, however, the court has ratified a different kind of censorship, one based on the nature of the physical area in which persons seek to exercise free speech. This broad discrimination, which limits speech in such areas as airport terminals and shopping malls, threatens the vitality of the First Amendment by failing to adjust free speech principles to demographic and other social changes.
October 14, 1990 |
Once this beach resort south of San Francisco had a prosperous downtown where a single lane of traffic meandered among an eclectic mix of architectural styles, its charm marred only by the trolls. Many people were scared away by the trolls - the homeless, the mentally disturbed and the deadhead veterans of too many electric Kool-Aid acid trips who gathered on the Pacific Garden Mall. At night some of these downtown denizens slept under bridges spanning the San Lorenzo River two blocks away, hence the local name: trolls.
August 5, 1990 |
Six years ago, developer Willard G. Rouse 3d plunged Philadelphia into an identity crisis when he announced his intention to transgress the city's informal height limit and construct two buildings taller than the statue of William Penn atop City Hall. The most visible result of this decision is on the skyline, where there are half a dozen buildings, either completed or substantially so, that can look down on the recently reconstructed tower of City Hall. Indeed, the controversy helped Philadelphians focus on the tower and statue, which were seen to be crumbling and requiring attention.
September 14, 1989
Maybe you don't own an office tower on Market Street. But you walk among the tall buildings at lunch time, right? Well, you and the other folks toting lunch in a brown bag know as much about this problem as the monied bunch who built Center City - probably more. The problem is, it's a desert out there for anyone who has to spend any time at all at street level. You try to escape your boss for a half an hour and here's what you encounter: a landscape of blank walls, sidewalks crowded with bollards, vendors or both; empty, wind-swept plazas; or long, sterile colonnades.
August 13, 1989 |
How charming! If we do not give spare change to people living on the street; if we enforce a policy of maintaining public spaces, including public toilets, for use by the public; if we recognize that the problems of homeless substance abusers are getting worse, then we may be able to reclaim a sense of public order in Center City. Unfortunately, this will not be enough. Getting tough with the homeless requires that we get much tougher with ourselves. Unless we are willing to assign scarce police manpower to revolving rousts of homeless bench-dwellers and grate-sleepers, solutions depend on the availability of long-term, in- patient drug-treatment programs, low-income housing and group homes.