Kenyatta Johnson, Have You Lost Your Mind???

Off His Rocker – Councilman Johnson’s Newest Foray In Writing Legislature is a Dud (Photo: DN)

Skinny version:  Councilman Kenyatta Johnson wants to use your Wage Tax money to buy up land in Point Breeze so nobody builds a thing on it.    While Darrell Clarke is pondering the gentrification protection plan, Johnson is proposing the gentrification prevention act.

The not-so skinny version is after the jump…

It’s Tuesday and it’s more Point Breeze again.  You know, I’m getting kind of sick of this crap.   I almost didn’t want to post this because:

  • This involves new City legislation
  • Kenyatta wrote it, so we know it’s a winner
  • You’ll roll your eyes in the back of your head when you see what it’s about

In what can only be described as probable retaliation for the Point Breeze Lot Affair, Councilman Johnson has introduced Bill No. 120755 which starts off the massive PRA Land Grab campaign where the City of Philadelphia’s Redevelopment Authority (which calls itself the PRA) basically plans to eventually own most, if not all of the blight in Point Breeze.

There’s nowhere near a fraction of the money in the Neighborhood Stabalization Program to develop the existing land the City already owns.  So, why does it want to add even more land to its books?

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Included in the condemnation bill are lots owned by private developers.  And we’re not really talking about long-dead owners who have walked away from their property.   These are homebuilders’ properties, particularly OCF Realty who has already pledged to build more market rate housing on the lots it previously acquired from the City of Philadelphia.

Now, why would a Councilman seek to strip away land that a developer has already settled and squared to build, especially when there isn’t any money in City coffers to actually build anything on those lots?

The answer:   Stop and/or thwart any more development in Point Breeze.

Because the City cannot just “steal” land away from you, some private owners like OCF Realty would be getting reimbursed by the Philadelphia taxpayers for land they’re are currently sitting on (minus any back taxes of course).

Yes, you read that correctly.   The City is going to start BUYING land.

Isn’t that strange?  Whenever you usually ask City employees or Council why it can’t take property to Sheriff’s Sale en-masse, one of the responses that is usually pulled out of the bag is the City is afraid that it will own the property if the auction fails.   But in Kenyatta’s bill, the City is not only taking property without even trying to auction it it is buying some of the property which private parties were hoping to build a taxable house on.   Insane?   You bet!

To that end, OCF Realty’s Ori Feibush has released the following statement:

We need your help friends. Kenyatta Johnson just introduced BILL NO. 120755 to the City Council Committee on Rules.

Mr. Johnson wants to take $1.7million from your teachers, fire fighters, and police officers to pay my clients for vacant land we are ready to build on. We don’t want your money. We want to build a better Point Breeze and maintaining blight does not build a better Point Breeze!

Please call your City Council representatives and tell them to VOTE NO to my councilman’s petty effort to subvert small business owners in his district. He calls it BILL NO. 120755. In plain English it’s called retaliation.

Kenyatta has no plan in place, and no available money to build on these lots. This is not about building affordable housing vs. market rate housing. The City owns 14,000 lots (300 of which are within 2 blocks of the condemned parcels) which they could build on. He wants these lots so he can stop all development in one part of his district by taking land BOUGHT by one constituent to then GIFT to another.

Think this idea is stupid?   I do.   That’s why I’ve launched a new petition to stop the land grab in Point Breeze.

I strongly urge you to sign it.

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