GYM: Angry Responses Are Why Rizzo Should Go

Misogyny, racist and rude attacks justify removal

Councilwoman Helen Gym has followed-up on Twitter in a tweetstorm of her thoughts on the negative reaction that’s taken place since she announced that she wanted to dump the two monuments honoring former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo.

I have openly questioned Gym’s timing.   It comes right on the death of Heather Heyer.  It feels like a cheap search for a local angle; given that we have no confederate statues in Philadelphia to speak of we were the nerve center of the Union’s fight against the Confederacy.  It also feels like a progressive-led fisting of long-time Philadelphia residents, particularly South Philadelphia Italians, who are consistently sneered at by their upwardly-mobile neighbors.

It also feels like a distraction.   For instance, no one at City Council–not a soul–demanded that the Kenney Administration enhance the discipline rules in the FOP contract; a document that has express power over every cop in this city.  The FOP contract lays the groundwork how cops will be treated when they fuck-up on the job.

Police brutality was Rizzo’s fame.  We are living under that legacy.  Getting rid of his statue won’t fix that ugly part of his legacy.  Raising the standards and expectations of the men and women in the Philadelphia Police Department is what does that.  Gym is in a position to call for those changes and put pressure on the mayor to make them.

And now the FOP contract is signed and it will be three years before there can be an honest discussion about what changes should be made to the police.  During that time we’ll have bullshit culture wars like the one Helen Gym started, taking a shit on Frank Rizzo in effigy yet doing nothing to improve the lives of the living.