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Take a long look at this face because you may never see it again.

This is Darryl DePiano, the owner of iCandy nightclub in the Gayborhood.   As many of you might have heard, Darryl is racist af.

Let’s have a listen into this video posted by Joshua Scott Albert.  Put your earbuds on.

 

If you thought you heard “Nig, nig nig” and “nigger“, twice, you heard correctly.

In case you have any doubts that this might not have been the owner of iCandy actually speaking, let’s have a look at this rambling non-pology from iCandy’s owner:

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This post makes me intensely more angry than listening to the audio.

First… as a gay man, a white gay man, a registered-Republican white gay man, let me unpack your rambling which was obviously written in a panic.   I’ll start off and be honest with my actual reaction:

Darryl, you have GOT to be the dumbest homofag in the Delaware Valley.

Yeah, I know some of you are creeped by the word I chose.   It was the one that entered by brain.  It’s literally what I thought watching a prominent owner of an LGBT space acting like an old bigot yelling “nig nig nig!” from his porch somewhere in Fuckmycousin, Mississippi.

But context is everything when you write or speak in public, so Darryl I’m gonna take the liberty here of unpacking your apology.

First:  You said this video was from three years ago.    Obviously you knew this video was floating around somewhere because it sounds an awful lot like you’ve had to apologize for this once before.  And last I checked it still wasn’t socially acceptable for a white male to be uttering the word nigger in casual conversation in a business setting in 2013 as it is in 2016.   Don’t tell me you’re a late bloomer and had your Strom Thurmond epiphany just now.

Second: “It was never my intention to do so”.   If it wasn’t your intention, then why did you say it?   Listen, a lot of people know how much of an asshole you are better than I do.  I don’t personally know you, if that helps, but I have too many friends that are more familiar with you than I am.   “I apologize, I didn’t mean to do it”… do you understand how childish that sounds?  You did mean to do it otherwise you wouldn’t have said it.

I wouldn’t accept that answer from a 9-year-old much less someone balding.

And of course:  you were talking about white people when making the comment about your nettlesome customers/vendors/performers giving you a headache.   As if somehow that context gave you license to do this.

Since you’re so oblivious and infantile I will explain some more–and in a way that the protestors outside your business can’t explain for you:

While it may be legally acceptable for you to utter “nig, nig nig….nigger” in your own place of work that you own since you are the proprietor, that doesn’t mean it’s socially acceptable.  You and your vast network of glom-on friends and your money don’t actually get to dictate that.   Moreover, it is in a business setting–your office.   You are the leader of all your employees.  They take direction from you.  Most of them depend on your wallet in order to pay rent.  And this is the direction you give, so that’s got to be a real bummer for some of your employees (and a lot of your ex-employees).

Oh sure, you’re sorry now, but you are only sorry now because the whole city now knows about it–and you know how tight the LGBT community is and how this can damage your business.

I’m guessing here that there’s probably some interpersonal things going on which led to this video leaking out to the public; some frustrations which you’re obviously not going to be willing to discuss openly.   Why else would someone record THE REAL YOU in your own office surreptitiously and then put it out there?  Whatever that side-salad drama is, at this point it doesn’t matter anymore–the deed is done.

And this is what really gets me.   Philadelphia is one of the most liberal-ass places in America, where race dominates conversation all the time, to the point of nausea.   How in the world did you think in a city such as this one that you can get away with behavior such as that and not get called out on the carpet for it?  I’m more surprised that this did not come out sooner.

And if you are worried what this will do to your cash flow, you should be.

Because I don’t see any absolution for you other than to leave.   You need to put your ownership stake in iCandy up for sale, and just leave.

No, really.   There are going to be some gays (mostly white gays, and mostly dumb ones) who will think that you writing a check or running some benefit or doing some community charity will make this all better.   Nope.   I am still going to see this face in the Gayborhood and think “ahh, the racist asshole.”   So will many of your ex-customers.

You may have suddenly found the cure for your stupid persona within the last 12 hours, but really I don’t want to see your face again.  I will never step foot in your establishment ever again.  Plenty of other LGBT people won’t either.   The Liberty City Democratic Club has already issued a ban on holding any events at your bar and issued an evening press release announcing it.

For fuck’s sale the biggest event in the Gayborhood is days away: Outfest.

Darryl, until you are gone from 12th Street I see no reason why a cent should ever be spent on your nightclub.   No words need to be said and no pressure for you to lie through your teeth.  You need to either turn your business over to someone who isn’t as stupid as you are or just give it up and close.  Someone else will come along and re-activate the space.

You just need to go, walk out the door, ‘cuz we don’t we don’t need you anymore.

Until then, #BYECANDY.

—-

I have had to copy the video from YouTube because SOMEONE is attempting to have it removed, as the person who uploaded it has indicated that YouTube has notified him or her that it’s trying to be taken down.  So, I’ll just host the video myself and if you want to make it vanish off the Internet you’ll need to go through my lawyer to make it go away.   Good luck. With. That.

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A zoning-meeting protest sign being prepared in Point Breeze to counter other protestors who don’t want a grocery store because it will have stuff in it that gentrification-people love

There comes a time in community zoning meetings, often from the volunteers running them, where you just want to throw up your hands and go “why bother?  Who really cares about most of this stuff?”  When residents don’t show up for the meetings when they’re called that’s a large clue that you may need to pare down on applicants that request zoning meetings and time from your community.

I threw up my hands at a zoning meeting I ran where a homeowner–and neighbor–is in zoning for rebuilding a rear extension.  Nearly every rowhome in my early-19th century neighborhood has a rear add-on extension, most of them built when indoor plumbing transitioned from a curiosity to a necessity.  Those extensions later became cramped kitchen closets when home refrigeration removed the small ice box in the corner and replaced it with a large humming white fridge.

Knowing how your community is configured and all of its buildings determines what pattern of zoning appeals you’ll get.  Some RCOs have a lot of parcels that are simply too small for the required residential rowhome–this causes numerous alteration and new construction projects to trigger the zoning process.

How to Clear Your Zoning Agenda

I spoke with L&I about these types of super-routine boring zoning variances and how a Registered Community Organization could deal with them and whether they could skip them so as not to harass residents who either are simply not interested or the variance being asked for is extremely close but not quite in line with the Zoning Code.

It makes sense if you know your community not to do a zoning meeting for it and just issue a default letter.   The key word is knowledge.   You have to be familiar with most of the properties in your neighborhood well-enough to know what kinds of zoning requests you can remove from your calendar.

First: Set some rules

In my case I know that my neighbors do not care about open area violations if the project is coming very close to being legal and there’s no height increase in the structure.

For instance, the Zoning Code requires 30% of a lot area to remain unbuilt.   It also mandates a 9 foot minimum depth in the rear yard and 3 feet for a side yard.  On 765sqft lots you’ll always trigger all three limits on a home renovation where you’re going to change the dimensions of the house.

If the applicant happens to also be the homeowner who is living in the house, no neighbor in their right mind is going to make a public spectacle at a community zoning meeting to oppose a couple feet of growth to the extension.

NOW, the first thing you’re thinking is:  The next door neighbor might be opposed!   And you’re absolutely right.  They might lose a view out their kitchen window.

But at community zoning meetings the community vote comes into play.  So under the traditional community zoning process you have put two neighbors in a position where they need to round up as many supporters as they can and sit in a room to have a Jerry Springer-style argument over a kitchen view.   Even in the very few instances where I’ve had neighbors show up for these variances, it’s usually only two people: the applicant–who is not allowed to vote, and the upset neighbor–who can.   The rest of the neighbors on the block don’t want to get involved into drama that’s clearly an interpersonal problem and that it barely concerns them.

In my community we are testing a new rule:

IF:

  • If your project comes within the 9′ rear limit and the 3′ side yard limit
  • You triggered an open area zoning violation
  • Your remodeling project is not going to increase the height of the structure
  • You’re not adding on a roof deck
  • And you live in the property (<– important!)

My civic association will write a default letter of support.

Projects You Must Always Hold a Zoning Meeting For No-Matter-What

Anything that involves parking.  Because parking.   Don’t you love to hear about parking?  Me too.

I keep a spare flask of whisky in my bag for Parking Extravaganza zoning meetings.

Next, Announce the Rule to the Community

If your civic has a Facebook page or a newsletter you should broadcast what the new rule is to the community, even if no one listens.   Keep the announcement forever, as any dispute later you will need to call the announcement back up, re-issue it or remind those who are upset that your civic had made a decision to forego zonings on small projects.

In Point Breeze people can get really passionate about grocery stores, because healthy food == gentrification

A Neighbor Came to Me Upset That We Didn’t Do Zoning for XYZ Project!

This is certainly a possibility and if that keeps happening you should look at the rules you set for issuing default zoning letters because your neighbors are starting to care about those zonings.

If you’ve issued a default letter to an applicant’s lawyer you certainly should not rescind it.  Instead, send the upset neighbors to the ZBA where the real decision-making about the project will be held.

Tell the ZBA What Your Doing

When you issue a default letter of support or non-opposition to the Zoning Board of Adjustment you should include a statement telling them that no actual community meeting was held.   For instance:

Due to the routine nature of these types of zoning variance requests and the general lack of widespread community interest in them the Board of our civic association has determined that this request does not meet the conditions we have held for holding a Community Zoning Meeting.   We therefore have issued this Letter of Non-Opposition as a result.

Will Skipping Zoning Get Our Civic in Trouble?

As the City’s present zoning code is structured the simple answer is no.

However a Councilperson that likes to tinker with the Zoning Code (such as Jannie Blackwell) could certainly amend the Code and place heavy demands on community associations to hold meetings–or else. The chances of that happening are very low though. Take solace in the fact hurting a community organization would hurt the very same people these councilmembers depend on for votes and support.  No member of City Council would ever want to take credit for dissolving a civic association.  That’s a super-bad look.

If you’re making the tragic mistake of turning down zoning meetings for large projects, commercial projects and projects where parking is going to come up–then you’re not doing this right.   You should also take heed from the Philadelphia City Planning Commission which granted your RCO status.  If you’re side-stepping zoning applicants that PCPC strongly feels you should hold community meetings for, you should hold the community meeting.

If nobody turns up, you can certainly remind the Planning Commission how much time you spent flyering and how much money you wasted on paper and toner to announce a meeting that no one cared about.

FNA

FISHTOWNISTAN, PHILA — In lawsuit-related news this week, the Fishtown Neighbors Association appears to have gotten into a bit of an online blow-up with former board member Jordan Rushie, Esq.   Rushie is suing the FNA over alleged defamatory statements made by former FNA president Neil Brecher.

Today, Brecher through his lawyer requested the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to place a gag order on Rushie.  The reason: over at Fishtown.US–an online message board for Fishtowners–Rushie had started commenting publicly about the details of the case and posting copies of exhibits that he had filed in his defamation suit against the FNA, including statements made by Brecher.  This erupted in multi-day furor on the sleepy neighborhood message board and caused the administrator to ban the topic from the site.

The original post which was since banned pointed to this blog maintained by Rushie where he explains the reasoning behind the lawsuit against the civic association from his perspective.

A previous attempt to bring the lawsuit to settlement via mediation had collapsed according to court filings.  If no settlement agreement is reached the lawsuit is expected to end in a jury trial tentatively scheduled for the end of summer 2017.

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Records Scam

I know our District Attorney, Rufus Seth Williams, is going to be fucked with a Federal prosecution any minute now, but that’s no excuse to let an economic crime continue to run in this town when it’s been well-publicized for months.

So I am going to write about this, AGAIN.

This letter appeared in the mail of a brand new Germantown home-owner.   I have received photos of the same letter from new homeowners in Kensington, Bella Vista and in West Philly.

The phone numbers on the letter do not start with (215) 686-, which is the prefix code of most City phone numbers, including the official recorder of deeds: the Philadelphia Records Department (that’s its actual title).

There IS no such thing as “Deeds and Registry Office”, the address that the letter points to in the Land Title Building only has one city office having anything to do with real estate directly, and that’s the Sheriff’s Office, and they have nothing to do with new homeowners.

This letter is a fraud and it is a scam and yet you have let this gone on for months, even after multiple people have brought it to your attention.  You just don’t know how to deal with an economic crime like this because you are incompetent.

I really hope this is the last time I have to write about this stupid letter.  No telling these scammers are bilking brand new Philly property owners out of their money.  They have to be making money because the letters keep coming.   And they will continue to go to homeowners until you fucking DO. SOMETHING. ABOUT. IT.

For the love of Christ and all that is Holy in his name… do your fucking job.  You are a law enforcement agency.  Enforce some fucking law for a change.

Holy crap you are the worst municipal law enforcement agency in this country.  A complete disgrace to the profession.

And I’m not even talking about cops, here.

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Over at PlanPhilly is the low-down on a zoning meeting that exploded the other night.  It’s about St. Laurentius Church, which has been deactivated by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Quick backstory: The Archdiocese claims that the brownstone church is structurally deficient and in danger of imminent collapse (I’ll save you the trouble: L&I doesn’t agree).   The Catholic Church wants to demo the church and sell the land off, considering how valuable Fishtown is.

So a developer finds that there is a profit to be made by turning St. Laurentius into apartments and can repair and retrofit the building.   Sounds good, right?

Nope.

There is another group that formed after St. Laurentius was nominated as historic by the City.   Their goal is to see absolutely nothing change with the building.  Any use other than “church” will make them upset.   The building itself is presently zoned RSA-5, as a single-family rowhome.

As you can probably guess the meeting erupted over parking, no surprise there.

And as you can also probably guess there’s a secret paper petition floating around to kill the project on the down-low.  The property stands inside Council President Darrel Clarke’s city council district.

By killing the apartments, can anyone else come up with $1,300,000 to do all the structural repairs and retrofit for a new use that will make money and will be a use that places zero demand to park in front of the building?   Even re-activating it as a church again will create parking pressure, especially if all the congregants aren’t Fishtowners.   And there’s not really a stampede of faith organizations that are in the market to take on giant historic albatross buildings.  The Mormons have money, but they already built themselves a temple on Vine Street.

Honestly I can’t think of any new uses that meet the ridiculous demands pressed by Fishtowners at the zoning meeting except to turn it into a vacant-abando that will sure make the building’s dubious structural integrity claims by the Archdiocese come true.

Then when the building does need to be turn down, it can be turned into a surface parking lot.

Shit… why stop there?   Let’s exhume all the graves at nearby Palmer Cemetery and make that a surface lot too.   Or perhaps be the first place in the USA to introduce GRAVESPACE—where you can park your family car on top of your former relatives.  Combine two uses for the living and the dead into one.

I swear, some Fishtowners are just dumber than a box of hair.