Evening Muse: WHYY’s Dave Davies on the Buck Fire

Tonight, Dave Davies’ comments on the Buck fire.

My only retort:  It’s pretty clear on the ground with a destroyed city block littered with a mountain of bricks and rubble: Kensington would have been much better off had the Sheriff’s Sale process started a lot sooner than it did, given that the owners are not particularly receptive to L&I complaints:

YML Realty Muni Cases
Most of these cases end up nowhere. Fast.

What motivated the City to send this property to Sheriff Sale?   I had asked a (then) City Council staffer to push it:

Request to push Bucks Hosiery into Sheriff Sale
The request to push the Bucks Hosiery into Sheriff's Sale

The City could have started the process a year after the Lichtensteins bought the factory, because they hadn’t paid a penny not long after they acquired it.

Darrell Clarke also has some musings about the delinquency crisis and wrote an op-ed letter to the Inky.

What makes this crisis different than the tire fire episode and some others is that the City of Philadelphia is very hard up for funds right now.  Its ability to borrow money in the form of bond sales is weak without a strong (and a reliably growing) revenue source.   Jacking up taxes repeatedly, like the property tax was done two years in a row, doesn’t prove a reliable boost of income when the tax hikes do nothing to stop property value decline.

Going after the blight is what recovers property values.   It’s what will grow the City budget, and it’s the answer to healing many of Philadelphia’s problems, including crime.