Dina Yarmus
Dina Yarmus

Last year in Point Breeze, the group Point Breeze Organizing Committee staged a march and rally on Point Breeze Avenue to protest the real estate community in general and in a disjointed Occupy-style, a “people first” development model to replace it.

Well, I think it’s clear what People First Development means in the eyes of one PBOC anti-gentrification activist.

Dina Yarmus who is believed to be the girlfriend of fellow PBOC activist Gary Broderick purchased 1705 Titan Street, a non-offensive 2-story house with absolutely no gentrifying roofdeck for the small sum of $120K.

Three years to the day after she bought the place, she has now listed it up for sale for $234K, which is 195% of the original sale price.

You too can own the home of an anti-gentrification activist
You too can own the home of an anti-gentrification activist

Dina’s listing agent describes the house:

Beautiful, recently renovated townhome situated on one of the HOT blocks in South Philly’s Point Breeze. This fabulous 3 bedroom or 2 bed/office home features a spacious open main floor layout, a large master bedroom with master bath, bamboo hardwood floors throughout, aesthetic recessed lighting throughout, large eat-in kitchen with lovely wood cabinets, a main floor powder, and a large back patio. Just recently installed: top of the line new granular rubber roof with 15 year warranty, central air, ADT alarm system, and ceiling fans.

To compound the irony further, Ms. Yarmus’ house is a 2 story as is much of the rest of Point Breeze.   While the Office of Property Assessment does not compare two story homes against three story homes, they certainly do comparables between adjacent two story homes even if one house is original and the other is a recent renovation.

If Ms. Yarmus settles for $234K or even higher than that upon closing, her sale will certainly have a faint echo on what the value of a Point Breeze two story rowhome actually is, at least one that has been renovated.

Of course, if she does close on that listing price or even higher than that, I am probably certain she’ll react more this way:



Maybe she’ll donate her profit to her neighbors on her block who will eventually get reassessed upwards after she moves out.

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Senator Anthony Williams is THE charter school god in PA [Photo: Northeast Times]
Tom Ferrick at AxisPhilly explains in detail and in lay terms what the whole charter school mess is doing to our public school system and why it’s causing total public education costs to go up, up, up.

There’s been at least two dozen criminal prosecutions in recent years over charter school scandals.

Republicans nationally have bought into the idea that charter schools are like vouchers which equals choice.  But in practice in Pennsylvania, what charter schools actually are is government contracting.   If you want to do publicly-funded private education that’s fine, but government contracting requires very strict controls and auditing to prevent scoundrels and incompetent people from getting their hands on the public purse.

That doesn’t happen in Philadelphia, because the School District of Philadelphia and the School Reform Commission are the ones who hand out the contracts; the same group that is criticized for running underperforming schools and not taking care to keep waste and graft out of regular school district funding.

Democrats love charter schools too, but for different reasons.   Senator Anthony Williams, who wants to be your next mayor, hangs his whole career on charters.  And he is the biggest driving force in the PA legislature to charterize more of the public schools and eventually wants to see public schools die off.   To replace them:   schools run by non-profits, community groups, corporations and whatever esoteric forms of organizing school ownership that pop up.

I’ll give you an example:

The Hardy Williams Academy (named after Senator Williams’ father) had academic achievement fail and get worse every year it had been a charter.  Dawn Chavous, a board member of the charter and at the time an aide to Senator Williams, also a board member, said in a press release that the board had “more to do” and it reached out to Mastery Charter Schools to take over HWACS.  Dawn Chavous is the wife of Councilman Kenyatta Johnson.

The reason for the takeover: it failed to make AYP in the No Child Left Behind Law and school performance declined year over year.

Charter schools run by political figures are not uncommon in Philadelphia.  Housing developers also launch charter schools, the prime example being Universal Companies, run by Kenny Gamble and his wife.   Thinking of sending your kid to a charter school run by Universal?   Your child will probably come out a dumbass. [Newsworks]

A more infamous example of charter schools-gone-wrong is the case of Germantown Settlement, the mega-non-profit that was lauded with huge state and local cash funding, which has since been liquidated into bankruptcy.  It ran two charter schools, both of which were poorly managed and in buildings festooned with major problems.

By the time it came to shut the school down, Germantown Settlement CEO Emmanuel Freeman had already moved out of the city with his wife and commuting back in style… with his and her Cadillacs.

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Homeless over $6.30 [Philly.com | AP]
This case should make it quite clear what Pennsylvania law thinks about not paying the Real Estate Tax. [Philly.com/AP]

BEAVER, Pa. (AP) – A widow was given ample notice before her $280,000 house was sold at a tax auction three years ago over $6.30 in unpaid interest, a Pennsylvania judge has ruled.

The decision last week turned down Eileen Battisti’s request to reverse the September 2011 sale of her home outside Aliquippa in western Pennsylvania.

But wait… your house can be sent up the river in Pennsylvania just for $6.30?

Joe Askar, Beaver County’s chief solicitor, said the judge got the decision right, based on the law.

“The county never wants to see anybody lose their home, but at the same time the tax sale law, the tax real estate law, doesn’t give a whole lot of room for error, either,” Askar said.

Eileen Battisti lost title to her home as it’s explained, because her late husband used to take care of those kinds of bills.   And now she’s waging a court battle that’s not clear what the outcome will be, which will cost her thousands, over $6.30

Think about that as you look at all the deadbeats on the PDQ Tax Delinquency Map.