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VICTORY! – City Abandons Plans to Destroy Mantua Artist’s Studio Through Eminent Domain

James Dupree in front of his colorful wall piece

James Dupree in front of his colorful wall piece

Brian Abernathy, head of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, has penned an op-ed for the Inquirer this morning announcing that the PRA will abandon its plans to build a grocery store at 36th and Haverford, far from any commercial corridor where box stores normally locate, which would have demolished the self-made studio of Manuta artist James Dupree.

During the parcel assembly process several people benefited from financial transactions in negotiations with the City as documented in a piece by Ryan Briggs, which uncovered quite a bit of self-dealing.  Why did the developer need Dupree’s property?  For a parking lot.

And why put the grocery store at 36th and Haverford, far from any commercial street and in the center of Mantua, anyway?  Mantua has easily-reachable commercial corridors, where viable box stores could go.  This would have put it in the dead center of the neighborhood, which is an unusual location to put in the combo strip-mall grocery.

The likely answer is that a commercial street would be far more visible to more professional players in Philly real estate who would raise the cost of assembly quite high knowing what the City’s intentions were before-hand and would also have legal muscle to ensure the City can’t lowball the eminent domain transfer.  MCIC’s real purpose for the grocery store is to have a perpetual source of revenue from a rent-paying tenant (namely, the grocery store plus whatever additional commercial space that is created).

Either way, Dupree has won out, as Abernathy says:

Unfortunately, the legal costs associated with Dupree’s appeals make it impossible to continue. Despite all the work to date, PRA will end condemnation proceedings, enabling Dupree to keep his studio. While we have explored building around his property, a viable project is not possible, putting the prospect of bringing fresh food to this community at serious risk.

There are certainly other opportunities to get fresh food into Mantua.  Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, whose district covers this area, just has a bad reputation for thwarting many good things.  GreensGrow Farms, which operates a nursery and CSA food service operation in Kensington, had looked for City-owned property in order to open an expansion in West Philadelphia but eventually had to abandon the parcels it thought would work for the project.

Opening smaller CSAs in Mantua and even a much smaller co-op grocery store certainly would be far more preferable than a box grocery store.  Look at Camden’s experience with Bottom Dollar Foods which opened just a few months ago and is now poised to shut within weeks.

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Photo Of The Week Contender – Philly Self-Help Prison Manual Still Seems Relevant Today As Ever

Going to prison?

Jimmy Tayoun’s self-help book for the ins and outs of the slammer

This old book is still circulating, and probably still quite relevant given the pending fate of Fattah and Fattah Jr.

(In case you missed it, Jimmy Tayoun is the publisher of The Public Record, which is a tabloid of the who’s who in local Philly politics–formerly a Philadelphia City Councilman who was convicted and sentenced to prison for taking and receiving bribes in 1991.)

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DIVERSION: Bill Cosby To Be Subject of Broadway-Bound Play About Rape

I’ll just cut right to it:  PhillyMag’s own Victor Fiorillo has launched a Kickstarter for…  a play about Bill Cosby and his (allegedly) rapey self…


Yes, this is a thing

You know, I can’t really think of anything more that society could do to a black septuagenarian actor in the near term other than to wait for him to die and shit on his grave, but this appears to be the closest form of a burning effigy I can think of.

I hope I can buy shares in the troupe.  This has Tony Award written all over it.

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MUST READ: Johnny Doc Owns Your Ass Whether You Like It Or Not

John Dougherty on his way to fine-dining at McCormick & Schmidt's

John Dougherty on his way to fine-dining at McCormick & Schmidt’s

If there wasn’t anything more real and depressing about Philadelphia politics, it’s  Johnny Doc.  Consistently-outraged millennials, newcomers and most other Philadelphians who are not tuned-in to machine politics will never understand how one white and privileged union boss has most of our local pols tied-up on his leash.

He alienates most of the newer Philadelphians:  those left-leaning millennials who have moved here from elsewhere and don’t understand how machine politics, rife with its corruption, actually works [except if you moved here from Chicago].

Have no fear.  Today comes along an article that will school you.

Robert Huber’s deep exposé in PhillyMag  Meet the New Doc.  Same as the Old Doc?  provides the best primer of how local politics works in Philadelphia by looking at one of the men who controls it all: the business manager for electrician’s union IBEW Local 98 — John Dougherty.

The countless number of local activists and local pols who have caved to Doc is stupendous:   all of City Council, most of our state legislators we send to Harrisburg, countless Doc sympathizers are camped out in various City departments.

Some of my favorite bits, like Doc’s horse-trading game trying to back the next Philly mayor…

Then, when asked about Dougherty’s support for a mayoral run — Doc’s already had a fund-raiser for Clarke — the president of City Council gets angry: “Your whole line of questioning is offensive. Now you’re saying I can’t be mayor without Johnny Doc.

Or how about Doc goyim-splainin’ his love of the Jewish people?

But when I prod Dougherty about Weinstein’s claims, he goes into angry Docspeak: “He said that I picketed his kid’s bar mitzvah. Okay? And I knew about it. The insinuation, I was insensitive to Jews. I wouldn’t be where I’m at if it wasn’t for the Jewish religion, Jewish community. My lawyers are Jewish.

There’s countless more quotables in these piece that are just as delicious.

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WATCH: Ed Rendell Skulk Around I-95 For 60-Minutes

Ed Rendell

Our horrible road infrastructure is on public display for the world to see. [CBS]

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