Sometimes things are more clear from a distance. When you read the paper every day, the news seems like a river current, ever changing, too fluid to grasp, a blur.
After being away for a week, sitting down with the papers (I know, many of you don’t touch paper) helped me to connect some dots I might have missed in the daily flow.
There was not a lot of coverage of the May primary, especially the mayor’s race, but two stories about the mayor were bookends to my time away, and raised questions about his fitness to be re-elected.
Oh, Jim Kenney will be re-elected — no Democratic mayoral incumbent has not been re-elected — but someone should hold him responsible both for action and inaction.
A shocking story hit the papers on the day that I left. In a follow-up to an earlier story, the Inquirer reported that Kenney continued to delete work-related text messages for six months after an open records request revealed he had been improperly erasing reputed public records.
The earlier story said that in August, after The Inquirer used the Right-to-Know Law to request copies of Kenney’s July work-related texts, the newspaper was told he deleted all his text messages. That included potential city business-related ones subject to open records laws.
And he kept right on deleting them.
Sit back and appreciate the arrogance of that.
According to its own rules, the mayor’s office must retain all correspondence, but the office told my colleague Claudia Vargas that the rule doesn’t apply to texts.
Translation: When you don’t like the rules, ignore them. It’s the Philly way.
That’s the thinking the city uses to shield convicted foreign felons from deportation by ICE.
On that point, while I was away, Philly began distributing city ID cards that have several uses. One is to make life easier for undocumented people who live here in violation of U.S. law.
Another inconvenient law prohibits establishing a drug house, but the city has put its imprimatur on a “supervised drug injection site.” Kenney calls it a “good thing,” while the residents of Kensington, where the shooting gallery will be located, don’t want it. That’s because they are not idiots and they know it will make their neighborhood worse, not better.
The city chooses to not enforce a bevy of laws, from littering, to jaywalking to dangerous bicycle riding to restaurants blocking sidewalks.
Hillary Clinton caught hell for deleting emails, but Mayor Jimbo knows Philadelphia is a sanctuary city for sleazy Democratic politicians — at least until the feds bite.
No surprise, then, that Kenney continues to accept campaign money from Electricians Local 98, whose leader, John Dougherty, is facing a 116-count indictment for corruption.
Given that Kenney has 11 times as much in the bank as challengers Anthony Hardy Williams and Alan Butkovitz, you’d think he’d be embarrassed to take greenbacks from that union, but, no. We’re all progressives now!
Being a progressive Democratic mayor in Philly means never having to say you’re sorry. Not even when your staff is found to be “too white” despite your endless cackling about “diversity” and “inclusion.”
The other bookend story ran upon my return. It was another on the Philadelphia real estate tax, with its skyrocketing increases in some neighborhoods, and taxes varying wildly from door to door.
The Office of Property Assessment is the culprit, but the mayor is the boss. This hot mess pre-dated his election, but he’s been in office almost four years and it’s gotten worse.