Philadelphia Court Visitor Collapses from Heroin Overdose

Man collapses on floor of court building in opioid overdose

Around 10:30AM today on Wednesday a court visitor had collapsed from an opioid overdose while visiting the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas building across from City Hall.

In a sign of how bad the heroin crisis has become the unidentified man was accompanied with a female–also displaying clear signs of visible opioid intoxication according to witnesses at the court.

It is not known what business the man had at court that morning.   Witnesses at the court say that the man had collapsed in one of the heavily-trafficked halls that run along the spine of the 17 story building which houses most of the courtrooms for the Commonwealth’s criminal court division (civil cases are heard in City Hall).  The court visitor was unresponsive on the floor as others inside the court building tended to him as the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Department responded.

One source at the First Judicial District expressed frustration that Philadelphia Sheriff’s Department, who provides the security for the city’s courtrooms, does not carry naloxone; the drug commonly known as Narcan.   Nor are many of the Sheriff’s Department officers trained on how to dispense the drug.   Narcan is a fast-acting opioid receptor blocking agent that is widely used to revive addicts who have overdosed on heroin and other synthetic opioids.

DRAMA: Amber Hikes, Kenney Aide, Lambasts the City’s Leading Gay Journalist

Whatever your feelings on Ernest Owens are, you will agree with me here: something is seriously wrong

Ernest Owens is a columnist and reporter for Philadelphia Magazine.   His editorials and exposés are widely read across the city.    As a black gay journalist he has unearthed several hidden controversies like (this, and this, and this) and failings of Philadelphias gay population to come to grips with a long-term problem that it refuses to address: a rampant racial divide that separates black LGBT people from the rest of the gay population in the city.

That divide was exposed raw for the entire world to see when Darryl DePiano, owner of the iCandy bar was caught on tape calling his black patrons the N-word.  As a consequence, the Black and Brown Workers Collective formed and focused intently on the leaders and businesses that operate within the city’s historic gay district.  The City’s LGBT liaisons put together a marketing campaign that included adding two new colors to the rainbow pride flag that flies outside City Hall.  This made international news.

Slapping two extra colors on the flag apparently satiated everyone into thinking that the racial issues in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood have been healed and all is now well.  Except that hasn’t happened.  Further, a startling private conversation from a Kenney aide now reveals that the mayor’s own personal irreverence for the press has spread throughout the Kenney administration.

Here’s where it gets crazy

Amber Hikes. Photo credit | Ashlee Kulp

Amber Hikes was appointed to run the mayor’s office of LGBT Affairs after interpersonal disagreements led to the ousting of Nellie Fitzpatrick, the former occupant of the office who was reeling from criticism for her handling of the City’s response to iCandy and other instances of discrimination against blacks and Hispanics at Gayborhood businesses.  The replacement to Ms. Hikes resulted in praise from most everyone in the LGBT community believing it to be a wise decision.

At the end of last month Mark Dobbins, a mentally-unstable former Philadelphia resident approached Hikes claiming that Owens was threatening to harm him.   Dobbins frequents most of Philadelphia’s neighborhood and political Facebook groups and maintains a presence on Twitter.  He has been electronically harassing Owens since the beginning of Owens’ coverage of the Gayborhood and has attempted to have Owens fired from Philadelphia Magazine without success.   The Philly Mag reporter has since retained an attorney and delivered a cease and desist letter to Dobbins’ home in Connecticut.

Dobbins posted select screenshots of his interaction with Hikes to his social media profile, leading to Owens discovering that his far-away serial stalker and harasser hasn’t given up his infatuation and has taken it to the Kenney administration.  But there’s a twist:

During that conversation, Hikes claims that Owens has led a “smear campaign” against her and the Office of LGBT Affairs.   A simple Google search reveals only positive or neutral factoid articles from Owens over the last 12 months about Hikes and the LGBT Affairs office since her elevation.

Owens responded directly to Hikes’ claim that he was running a smear campaign against Hikes and the LGBT Affairs office from his position as a columnist and reporter at Philadelphia Magazine.  Hikes responded with this video, where she doesn’t even mention Owens’ name and claims nothing untoward occurred.

What’s really going on

It’s pretty easy to see that Hikes’ inflated claims that she’s being mistreated by the city’s gay press is meritless since there isn’t any critique to be found of her by any established publication in the city, least of all from Mr. Owens’s reporting.

What’s really going on is that Mayor Kenney considers Ernest Owens to be a threat.

Left out of this little internet drama are two articles that Owens authored that directly attack the mayor and his policy he campaigned for as mayor:  the Philadelphia Beverage Tax which was practically the only sales pitch Jim Kenney had when he was a candidate in the mayoral race, and Ernest Owens exposing Rodney Mohammad, the head of the Philadelphia NAACP who was caught in documents being a paid campaigner championing the soda tax.

Exposing our city’s mayor using the leader of the NAACP as a paid stooge to promote a soda tax that is designed to be regressive and disproportionally impacts low income people, which is mainly black and brown people given the city’s demographics is of course going to make our mayor…the same one who is super sensitive to criticism in the press…mad.

If you want to stay in Kenney’s good graces that means Ernest Owens is your enemy as well, or as Amber puts it “his behavior” needs to be “corrected”.

And that’s why Amber Hikes attacks him so.

Can Someone Stop This From Becoming an L&I DISASTER

Point Breeze neighbors are exploding over cowboy construction

Deep late in the evening there is a basement dig-out going on at 1202 S. 21st.

Not only is it going on super-late at night, long past the allowed hours in the City’s construction code, but it’s a basement dig-out on a house whose basement has not been underpinned, according to the fun person who submitted this video to a Point Breeze facebook group.

The controversy over this construction then boiled on the same neighborhood facebook page, where the developer tried to mook out everyone complaining about his shitty construction practices.

Not underpinning a foundation is the root cause of many rowhouse collapses that are undergoing rehab.

 

KENNEY LIED: All The Soda Tax Money Is Being Thrown to City’s General Fund

The Philadelphia City Controller has issued the following statement.   I strongly suggest you read every word of this.

Very, very carefully.

As part of a larger effort to increase transparency and show the public how the City spends taxpayer money, the City Controller’s Office will release information periodically to keep the public informed.  Today, the Office of the City Controller released its first set of information as part of this effort, data on the revenue generated by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) and FY18 to-date and the expenditures related to those funds.

The data shows that the majority of revenue generated by the beverage tax is not being spent on Pre-K, Community Schools, and debt service for Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild), as originally intended.  According to information recorded in the City of Philadelphia’s general ledger system (FAMIS), about 74% of the nearly $85 million generated by the beverage tax since its inception has gone to the City’s General Fund.

In FY17, the City collected more than $39.5 million, spending 21.2% or about $8.4 million on Pre-K and less than 3%, or $1.2 million, on Community Schools. About 76%, or $30.0 million, of FY17 beverage tax revenue, went to the General Fund.  To-date (as of March 2, 2018) in FY18, the City has collected almost $45.2 million, spending about 25% of funds, or almost $11.3 million, on Pre-K and less than $1 million, or just 2%, on Community Schools.  Almost $33 million, or about 73%, of revenue generated by the beverage tax t0-date for FY18, has gone to the General Fund.  No revenue has been used for Rebuild.

 

I think history will reflect that today is the worst day in the mayor’s entire political career.

This Is Who Philly Progressives Hope Can Unseat Martina White

Mike Doyle is running against Martina White for state rep up in Northeast Philly–home of detached townhouses and the Fraternal Order of Police.

Here’s probably the most Democratic Party-type of Facebook post he’s made in the Trump era…

Well, Mike…

Firearms-ownership isn’t restricted to citizens, legal permanent residents and American Nationals (i.e. Samoans) can also acquire them.   Even then it does require that they not be under the category that Commonwealth and Federal Law have defined as prohibited possessors.   So, citizens who have serious misdemeanors that carry the possibility of one year of jail time or longer, a felony, someone who is under a protection-from-abuse court order, and people who have been declared by the state as mentally unfit are all excluded.

As for the “you commie liberal pu**y” remark, yeah that’s a pretty progressive thing to say as a candidate.  Oh yes… he also has back taxes and he claims that he fell behind on his taxes with the City’s Revenue Department because he donated money to the #NoDAPL protests, who were trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Because obviously that is something a person who is concerned about “commie liberal pu**sies” would do.

Something tells me that Doyle isn’t going to be getting the FOP Lodge 5 endorsement.

When Progressives Hate LGBT People and Jews: Farrakhan’s Newest Followers

I guess the leaders of the Women’s March hate the Jewish people now

The only controversial things I am going to say in this post are controversial to the dumbest people that God ever created.   And those people happen to be the most devout followers of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation Of Islam.

Farrakhan also happens to be getting old and he’s in search of a new generation to adopt and co-opt his church of crazy; to continue warping more minds for future generations to come.

So it’s really interesting how all of the leaders of Women’s March have come into Farrakhan’s orbit.

Tamika Mallory is one of the leaders of Women’s March and apparently both her and Linda Sarsour have developed this very strange daddy-complex for the extremist leader.  And it’s not just those two.  Every single top leader of Women’s March has fawned over him.

It led Beri Weiss at the New York Times to pen “When Progressives Embrace Hate,” documenting the strange fascination for the anti-homosexual, anti-feminist and anti-Semitic king of all hoteps who just recently at a congress of Nation of Islam once again denounced Jews.  Not Israelis.  All people who have any sort of attachment to the Jewish faith.

And this isn’t anything new.  This is the Louis Farrakhan that I’ve known since my childhood in the 1980s.  He rips into Jewish people once a year at his annual conference like renewing a wedding vow.

It strikes me so odd, not just reprehensible but just plain odd—that young liberal activists have no problem with Farrakhan-worship amongst their ranks.   Everyone who is age 38 and older has known how nuts Farrakhan is all of our lives.   But perhaps you are just too young or naïve, or both, to recognize any of that.   I find it weird though how Farrakhan’s homophobery and anti-Semitism is often met with silence; yet some of these same folk can pick out David Duke or Richard Spencer in a crowd.   Apparently wishing death to American Jews and gay people is OK so long as you do it with the right identity?   This makes no sense.

Farrakhan is toxic waste

Louis Farrakhan is toxic waste.  He has nothing to contribute or teach humanity.  For whatever virtues he might have teaching self-worth, black liberation, traditional family life, renewing marital vows, rearing children… it’s long been overshadowed and outmoded by his crazy and demented bullshit.

Farrakhan also has a large following.   But it’s entirely comprised of hoteps.   He capitalized on Elijah Muhammad and Malcom X to build a base that many urban activists and politicos want to talk to, and want to cater to.   But to draw yourself into Louis Farrakhan’s orbit is to play with fire.   If you’re caught in regular attendance at his sermons, then you must have a problem with Jews.   Gay people must frighten you and they ought to not exist.    And perhaps you also think Farrakhan, who sees himself above a prophet–must have gotten divine inspiration from the people he met on the UFO he stepped on into down in Georgia.

That is the orbit all the leaders of Women’s March have put themselves in.    By doing it they are turning Women’s March into a joke.

Think of people of color who are near you who are gay, lesbian or trans and are stuck with family members or one or both parents who not just are in the Nation of Islam, but their family members are indoctrinated into this nightmare of homophobia and anti-Semitism and subscribe to it.   Think of what they have had to go through and continue to endure.   It’s one of Philadelphia’s most darkest LGBT secrets.   Very few people can talk about it; and there are plenty of people of color who live in Philadelphia who feel forced to suppress their gay identity not because the broader society is not accepting of them so much as they have loved ones, their own family members, who are as intolerant as hell.

Minister Farrakhan keeps the logs burning of gay hatred and suspicion within the black community; and by extension–our own.   This is only compounded with the injuries from our own Gayborhood, which venues like iCandy that has an owner who abhors blackness.

You cannot call yourself a progressive, or a liberal, and be silent on crap like this or condone it.

 

So for all the millenials who still have no clue what Farrakhan is all about; here’s a link-basket you can surf through on your phone:

Farrakhan Claims Ebola is Designed to Kill Black People

Farrakhan Blames the Jews for 9/11

While we’re on 9/11, he also called it a false flag operation.

Not a shocker, Farrakhan denounced Obama’s pivot on gay marriage; then spent one month attacking President Obama (while in office) from the pulpit.

And of course there’s the most famous sermon from his youth; the sermon that put him on the map and scored him interviews for all the national television networks… where he LITERALLY PRAISED HITLER:

Here’s Louis Farrakhan on Feminism:

I will leave it to you as an exercise for the reader to Google what Farrakhan had to say about himself and UFOs and “The Great Wheel in the Sky”.

 

So please for the love of God: stay the hell away from Louis Farrakhan.   There is nothing this man can give you–be it votes, money, inspiration or volunteers; that you can’t find for yourself or within yourself.   Do better.   Leave this nightmare from the past where it belongs—in the past.

Old City Fire: IT’S ARSON

239 Chestnut Street which burned into a crisp in Old City has an interesting new development: a criminal investigation.

A source close to the building has relayed to Philadelinquency that the ATF has identified a person of interest related to the fire investigation.  Investigators have been reviewing security camera footage around the 200 block of Chestnut Street to ascertain where the suspect was moments prior to the fire.   Police have privately relayed to close residents that the fire was deliberately set.

The historical commercial building which included condo apartments burned early Sunday morning.  The fire consumed nearly all of the apartments above.   At least 9 cats and 4 birds perished in the fire.

At a police-to-community relations meeting held late Wednesday, residents who attended were given a bit more detail about how the fire transpired.   The fire began in the basement underneath the B Side Diner.   From there, it spread laterally from basement to basement and up to the ground floor, racing its way up vents and openings between floors.

Any time there is a suspicious fire in Philadelphia where the circumstances are peculiar, the ATF is called.  Fire inspectors examining the structures could not pin down any fault with maintenance of the buildings to be the root cause of the fire.

L&I has also announced today that they will now take measures to protect the building facades affected by the fire in hopes that they can be redeveloped.

A Lesson On Being Woke

Sometimes you just sound stupid.

Behold:

You know, I stared at this for about five minutes wondering whether I should anonymize these names.   But since this is open to the world on Facebook and was a real conversation about the etymology of the word history, I think not anonymizing it in some way heals me from the cringe I had reading it.

It’s not that I take issue with no one bothering to check etymologies of words.  Far from it.

It’s that this type of interaction is the echo-effect of “thot”.   No, not t-h-o-t as in “that ho over there”, but T-H-O-T, as in: it’s meant to be the word thought but it’s missing the required letters.  Because it’s “brainless af”.

I get woke people (aka “socially conscious”) climbing up my responses all the time; wondering “what happened to Philadelinquency?”  The honest-to-God answer is that I’m really tired of Dumb Progressivism.   The kind that doesn’t take much thought to execute, only thot.   This used to be amusing back when gender studies students from Penn and Swarthmore were primarily the ones driving the bus; with their lunacy safely contained to their friend farms.

Today in urbanism there’s no shortage of “woke” people who get into urbanism with the only one goal:  to disrupt and stop everything.   A “Woke NIMBYism” if you will.   It’s also a portion of the reason why I reject the idea of Amazon HQ2 coming to Philadelphia.   Not only will it not do a thing for working-class people of color; it will import trainloads of more dumb progressivism into the city; the kind none of us need.   The kind where overpaid white people try to hog space and use their white voices to speak over other races who are capable of voicing their opinions on their own.

Philadelphia is a place where people of color fought and gained their right to speak out, to get noticed, to take control and ultimately: gain power.  No one needed nor required Dumb Progressivism to score any of those achievements.

And when nobody asked white people to be a bullhorn for people of color (psst: nobody’s asking you to do that now, either).   And of course: they can’t see these optics; and when you call them out on it they double-down.  Every time.

I really don’t want a city that has just as much blight as before but with tons of more “woke” people who don’t do anything but see past it all and concentrate most of their thinking energy on crap like this; where caring is the only thing that matters; not doing.

Oh, speaking of which… the word person is now problematic according to some stupids because it has the word SON in it.   I saw a Penn graduate proffering that idea yesterday.   🙄☕

DA Larry Krasner Drops Charges Against the ANTIFA Teacher

Because of course he does

John E. Sheerin, 63, a former Philadelphia public school teacher was arrested last year for threatening police officers during protests sparked by social media posts from Councilwoman Helen Gym demanding a statue of former Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo to be removed.   That episode was captured on video by Inquirer reporter Helen Urbiñas.

John Sheerin (Philadelphia Police)

In a move that comes as a complete surprise to nobody, the DA’s office has quietly withdrawn the charges of terroristic threats and harassment.

How was that achieved, you ask?

Easy.   A series of interesting delays occurred that punted the scheduled trial date out, which was scheduled for January after a series of other delays.   Getting a delayed date would ensure that a DA’s office under the assertive control of Krasner would be handling it.

And like magic the “new-and-improved” DA sees no reason to bring a trial with video evidence before a court for it to decide.

Chris Sheerin (Facebook)
Chris Sheerin (Facebook)

Things were not so lucky for Sheerin’s son, Christopher Sheerin.  He was arrested earlier that same year for assault–also captured on video–during a Trump tax protest.   He worked a deal with prosecutors and was given ARD probation with a goal of clearing his criminal record.

RIP: Robert Brady – King of the Philadelphia Democratic Political Machine

With a flash meeting called at DCC headquarters at Spring Garden, key Philadelphia ward leaders were given the news:   Congressman Bob Brady will no longer seek office.   The immediate effect:  Brady’s political career is winding to a close.  And with that will soon come his job as chief cat-herder of Philadelphia’s Democrat establishment.

There is a strong expectation that Brady will soon be named in an indictment that has already resulted in a guilty plea from former Municipal Court judge Jimmy Moore.   Moore admitted to a payment arrangement and lying on campaign finance reports where he received over $70,000 in compensation from Brady in exchange for dropping out of a Democratic primary challenge.   In addition to this, Federal prosecutors are currently pursuing charges against two other close Brady aides.   Brady paid Judge Moore to drop out given that Brady has had a record of skepticism and fear about African-American candidates vying for his position as a US House rep for Pennsylvania’s first congressional district.

Most millennialkin in Philadelphia have absolutely no clue how much their closest friends in local government have had their lives and careers controlled from the party boss.   As head of the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee, Brady leads and directs the city’s Democratic ward leaders.

Ward leaders in turn manage the local party’s GOTV efforts and distribute pay… and payola… to elected volunteers known as ward committee people, or “committee-people” for short.   This system ensures that no one rises in Democratic politics without going through the ward system.  In turn the ward system exploits the aspects of having full control over the City government.   In the bad old days this meant ward leaders would directly hand out civil service jobs, also known as patronage.  Nearly every City Council person who serves is a product of the city’s ward system and must have the full support of the wards in their district in order to have a shot at getting volunteers and access to residents.

The Closed Loop of Control is Gone

Social media has had an interesting effect on the city’s political system.   It has allowed direct criticism to be levied at the lower rungs of Philadelphia’s politics; in particular the ward leaders.   In years past this part of local politics was mostly ignored save for brief mentions in flash news about a more visible local corrupt politician who got intro trouble and how various ward leaders were involved.

Ascendant progressives looking to get into City government have had direct resistance in the form of the city’s ward system and the overarching protectionism coming from Bob Brady.

With Brady’s ability to control most of the party’s hotheaded and aspirational ward leaders already gone; it’s is expected that there will be a lot of folks both visible and invisible vying for control over the city’s political machine.

How long Brady remains is a mystery only Brady knows the answer to.   But Brady’s magical consensus abilities have already eroded, starting with the debacle over the 197th state representative special election and a current struggle between building trades union loyalists and upstart progressives.   In the 197th District special election, Brady lent endorsement to a replacement candidate who lives in Bucks County—far away from the Hispanic neighborhood of Feltonville.   Once Republicans challenged the party’s nomination, a cat fight ensued in front of Brady where upset committeepeople were locked out of DCC party headquarters while Brady selected a replacement ward leader who worked at the Parking Authority as a substitute.   The chaos ultimately left the Democratic City Committee without a named candidate on the ballot and a scramble ensued to issue stamps and cajole Spanish-speaking voters to the polls, informing them that the machines were broken and that they need to vote as a write-in using a stamper.

And I’ll make one easy prediction here:  the word “unity” will come up a lot at internal gatherings and discussion while this struggle takes place.   I don’t expect this to be the death of Philadelphia’s long-running political machine; which has strangulated this place for too long.

Instead, I think Democratic ladder-climbers at the low-rungs of the party will attempt to sell the idea that Philadelphia’s political machine never existed and will repackage the machine itself as “unity”, and for good measure invoke the Trump boogeyman as a distraction while they battle it out in the Brady vacuum.

Meanwhile we will get more of the same types of people looking to build political fiefdoms out of the city’s neighborhoods and ignoring the great and the good and instead settling for mediocre people because friendships, family and loyalty are more important in Philadelphia’s political system than good people.

There are certainly good Democrats out there with good ideas for the city–but right behind Bob Brady stands a lot of people who have been waiting for “their time” participating in the this city’s political machine hoping to get morsels of spoil from it.  They will be a massive impediment to progress.

Attn Local Bored Marxist-Communists – I Have a Task For You

Since we’re a dark blue county and there’s hardly any Nazis here, it leaves our local Nazi-fighters with very little to do.

Meanwhile, there is this:

He’s running for Congress over in Wisconsin. And he’s a real Nazi. Like—an actual, living, breathing real Nazi.

Observe:

I’m pretty sure Paul’s “America First” has a lot less to do with international trade imbalances and a lot more with this:

 

No… this isn’t some little Ren-Fair LARP bullshit like most of the Nazi hype from 2017; this one is a verified dude running for Congress who also happens to have a verified Twitter account. An account that Twitter appears fine with. That happens to spend a great deal of its time finger pointing all sorts of problems at the hands of Jews.

So—what you can do all the way here in Philadelphia?

If you can’t even be bothered to bitch at Twitter corporate for letting this guy stay on their platform–then you’re a Nazi enabler and sympathizer; there’s just no excuse there.

First off:  get this moron off Twitter. Head on over to his timeline and start reporting all of his posts.  And complain to @support on Twitter. And basically call out Twitter’s hypocritical bullshit about it wanting to cleanse its platforms of directed hate. If you can’t even be bothered to bitch at Twitter corporate for letting this guy stay on their platform–then you’re a Nazi enabler and sympathizer; there’s just no excuse there.

Now… is this Nazi dude have a shot in hell at winning an election?

Well, he’s running against Paul Ryan, the current speaker of the House of Representatives.  So it’s probably unlikely.  However if there’s a bunch of Nazi sympathizers in Wisconsin–we might be doomed.

 

 

(p.s. I have Paul’s home address. Here’s his campaign forms from when he ran against Ryan the last time.)

RUMORS: Second round of DA firings coming

Rumors are circulating within the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office that more employee exits are on the way.

A source within the DA’s office has confirmed that since the firings a number of additional employees have decided to bail and have left with more remaining with their resumes out.

At the start of this month District Attorney Larry Krasner announced the firing of 31 prosecutors including culling much of the Homicide Unit.  The resulting rapid exit of employees left loads of criminal cases and trials in limbo and threw the Common Pleas court system in chaos.

ENOUGH: Baltimore Fires Its Police Commissioner Due To Skyrocking Homicide Rate

It appears Charm City’s love affair with soft-on-crime is over

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has decided to fire Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.   You might remember Baltimore for the protests and rioting surrounding the death of Freddie Gray, a heroin dealer who died in the back of a police transport van.

With arms crossed and a frumpy face–characteristic of Pugh–she cited the out of control escalation in violence that has come to dominate all political conversation in the city of Baltimore.   The city ended last year with 343 homicides–a record for a city of only 600,000 people.

Mayor Pugh has also announced other step-ups in police presence, including the tactics of swarming and swamping violent neighborhoods with police in hopes to clamp down on violence.   All are tactics reminiscent of Philadelphia’s attempts to control escalating violence in the mid aughts, which eventually led to the implementation of stop and frisk.

It wasn’t that long ago that Baltimore residents enthusiastically installed Marylin Mosby as Baltimore’s top prosecutor.  A self-styled progressive, Mosby tried and then failed to convict Balitmore city police officers who handled Freddie Gray.    Since that time, crime has exploded.   Deep distrust in police has nearly neutralized community outreach efforts.   The despair has even led to revitalization efforts outside the downtown core slowing down and outer neighborhoods are seeing continued unabated blight.

It’s clear from Mayor Pugh’s firing of the police chief that there is a motivation to think about crime and policing differently.

Amazon Should Stay Away From Philly – For Our Own Good

Amazon isn’t a positive experience for any city

My career is in tech.  I have done tech all of my life.  I’m also a fan of capitalism, reasonably-regulated markets, and disruptive technology.

I’m one of the first people to tell you that Amazon should stay as far the fuck away from Philadelphia as possible.

It’s not that I don’t like Amazon’s business.   Like you, I order things from Amazon regularly.   It’s a slightly less evil corporation than Google; a company that started its life trying to avoid invasion of privacy only to turn its back on that for good.

I want to show you something.   This is what Seattle is like, the city where Amazon’s HQ1 is located:

People think that the tent city dwellers are comprised solely of heroin addicts.  There are a lot of former tech employees living in a situation that Seattlites happily call “camping”.   They’re trying to sound cute, and still show that they care.   The monied classes in the Puget Sound don’t really give a shit about any of these folks.

And the tent cities are not small.  Over 15 different Seattle neighborhoods including 5 suburban towns in Puget Sound now have camps.  There is a camp less than 2 miles from Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, WA.

Employment cures homelessness.    No company no matter what size would accept tax breaks or even 100% tax exemptions with a condition that local employment be a requirement.   Likewise a company like Amazon wouldn’t accept clawbacks for non-compliance either.

And Amazon is not going to setup shop without massive exemptions from direct taxation.   The term we call this behavior: crony capitalism.

Tech companies are far from being diverse workplaces

San Francisco and Bay Area tech firms have often lauded their diversity scorecards.    When it comes to racial diversity there is no tech company anywhere in Seattle or in Silicon Valley that looks good when you look at one simple metric:

How many black people check in source code or are the principle architects of the core products of your company?

In medium to large tech firms in the Bay Area this value is usually zero or a single digit number close to zero.

You will see black employment in tech firms rising when you look at any tech company’s diversity scorecard.   That is because black people are only allowed on the periphery.   They’re in graphic design.  Sales.  Marketing.   Operations support.   None of them are encouraged to move into the roles that are critical to a tech company’s survival.   Programming is so critical that few tech companies have felt the need to use their enormous pressure on colleges and universities across this nation to create more black tech employment in the jobs that truly matter–the ones that pay the highest salaries.

If you’re black and you want to get into that role you’re going to have to be like my friend Wil ReynoldsCEO of Seer Interactive:   start your own fucking company.

A tech firm that’s heavily loaded with whites, Asians and imports in the critical roles of the company is not a diverse workplace.  There’s no indication that the arrival of Amazon would change any of this hiring behavior and that is going to stick out like a sore thumb in Philly that has a large black population.

This old motel in Seattle will be demolished by Amazon soon. The company lent the building out as a temporary homeless shelter to fend off bad publicity.

There’s a bunch of starry-eyed people around here who believe that Amazon HQ2 will be a magical quick fix for our econ woes in much the same way the legislators believed casinos would be the cure for budget deficits.

It will do no such thing.   Fuck Jeff Bezos.

THE KENNEY PLAN TO FUND SCHOOLS: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Yeah, nuh uh.

Today is one of those days where I need to climb over the Inquirer‘s paywall for you.   This concerns a future massive tax hike coming down the road that is gonna hit somebody.  And that somebody is likely to be you.

First, the high points:

  • City Council and the mayor think next year’s SDP deficit is $103MM, and likely to be $1 billion dollars over five years–and that they need to cover that.   By “they”, we’re talking about the City finding the money.
  • Council President Darrell Clarke nor Mayor Kenney will say where they’re going to get the money.
  • The SRC has already opted to disband—so the City is going to run the school district again no matter what.  It is a responsibility it hasn’t done since 2000 when the School District of Philadelphia slid into bankruptcy.

The Kenney Administration has already been putting out feelers on (yet another) property tax hike–the most obvious go-to, but it and Council are both being dodgy whether it will commit to that, or for how much.

I’ve lived in Philadelphia long enough to know exactly how property tax hikes go down:

If any of the previous (five!) property tax hikes that occurred under former mayor Michael Nutter are any clue, a property tax hike would likely be proposed right at the end of the spring.  Then, it will mysteriously slip into the final budget plans right before City Council goes on summer recess.   Some department head for the mayor will finally answer a question from a City Council member during the annual budget hearings and only then do we get to learn what pain we have in store for ourselves.

Pennsylvanians statewide did vote in a referendum last year to allow municipalities to sever the linkage between commercial and residential property tax rates; mostly by allowing residential properties to take a steep discount.   Whether City Council’s intent is to take advantage of this is also unknown.

As far as the soda and cigarette taxes—they aren’t doing shit for the gaping SDP deficit, a budget hole which climbs at an asymptotic rate.

Another depressing point: neither City Council nor the mayor are really all that concerned about waste in the SDP budget; so don’t expect that deficit estimate to climb down.