Host the 2016 Democratic Convention? Philly, get your goddamn priorities straight

By Josh Kruger
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 2 | Posted Jun. 18, 2014

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There are no more K-Cups left here in the pantry except decaf, and I want to cry.

Last night, instead of investing in my future—aka this morning—I decided to hang out with my friends. I would have been better served if I just bit the bullet and took the time 12 hours ago to buy coffee at the Acme to avoid this morning’s caffeine-withdrawal disaster. But it was easier, cheaper and more fun to spend the night being a social butterfly. Treat yo’ self, you know?

But now my head fucking hurts and I’m cranky.

Josh, you stupid asshole, you’re probably thinking, why don’t you quit blubbering about it and just go out now for your damn coffee? And you’re right: It’s never too late to do the right thing. It would be silly and short-sighted to just keep on whining. It would be incredibly childish to say: Oh well, now that I don’t have coffee, I might as well just say fuck it and go play some more. I mean—then I still wouldn’t have coffee!

And yet, oddly enough, that’s exactly what some Philly leaders are doing right now by distracting themselves with the mere possibility of hosting the Democratic National Convention in 2016.


We all love parades, and Democrats are particularly looking forward to 2016. It’s going to be a de facto coronation of Hillary Clinton should she choose to run. All indicators are pointing to her running, and there’s an entire movement of activists and fans in the Ready for Hillary movement.

Putting aside Clinton’s cult of personality—a well-deserved fan base, but let’s be honest here: it’s a fan base first and foremost—the Democratic Party is salivating at the prospect of 16 straight years of Democrats in the White House. That long a span of liberal executive control hasn’t happened since Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. And in Philadelphia, Democrats outnumber Republicans 7-1.

Apparently, we’re among the top six cities from which the DNC is currently mulling proposals to host the convention. Factor in the psycho-cultural tendency for Philadelphians to be egomaniacs with inferiority complexes, eager for everyone to remember that we’re a world-class city, and you can imagine the public enthusiasm surrounding this potential red-white-and-blue extravaganza.

Cue Ed Rendell, former Philadelphia mayor and Pennsylvania governor and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to point out that if Philly seriously wants to host the convention in 2016, it needs to raise $40 million with which to produce the event. Yes, $40 million.

Mayor Nutter has already said that city resources are at critical levels, so the city itself can’t really do much to help. Most of that will have to come from private donors—and, should Philly win the convention bid, the state will inevitably kick in a few million dollars. (For instance, when the Republicans held their convention here back in 2000, Pennsylvania spent $7 million to help mitigate the cost and attract the appealing “we can do this thing” nature of a major party convention.)

But you know what? Even without city tax dollars going toward the effort, this prospect still leaves a shitty taste in this Philadelphian’s mouth.

Right now, the Philadelphia school district is in dire straits. Nobody seems to have any idea how to fix the problem, and part of Superintendent William Hite’s solution seems to be increasing administrator salaries. So why the hell are we getting distracted by the prospect of throwing Hillary a tickertape parade?

Some say that the issues aren’t related. To these people, I say: You probably don’t have a child in a public school in North Philly. Maybe if dutiful local Democrats would start rolling up their sleeves and actually doing something instead of letting the gin go to their heads at cocktail parties, they’d be able to understand why the issues are related.

If we want to stay true to Democratic ideas of a strong public school system—if we want to really embody our party’s values—we need to draw a line in the sand right now. Here it is:

Hey, rich Dems who might be considering donating money so we could to host the national convention—I don’t suppose you’d be willing to donate $40 million to the public schools in Philadelphia?

It’s obvious that the Republican-controlled state legislature and the Republican governor have no sincere intention to actually, you know, educate our children. If the Republicans had their druthers, charter schools would put public schools out of business and education would be a luxury of the rich only. Over the past decade, the city and state have diverted millions in funds from public schools to the charter system. Meanwhile, since assuming responsibility of the Philadelphia School District in 2012, Superintendent William Hite has been forced to lay off 4,000 employees and close 24 school buildings because of budget shortfalls.

We now boast a population of underachieving schoolchildren lagging behind every major city in the country. And even under these horrific conditions, our school district is still falling short—at last count by $35 million—of meeting its obligations.

With that in mind, I have to wonder: Wealthy Democrats who want to see Hillary Clinton in the White House, do you not actually subscribe to her declaration back in the 1990s that “it takes a village to raise a child”?

Or do you mostly just want to enjoy a limousine-strewn private party with all your well-heeled friends?

You want to talk about Philadelphia being a “world-class city” worthy of hosting the DNC in 2016? We can’t seriously say that if we can’t even educate our children properly. I mean, what kind of priorities do rich liberals in Philly actually have?

Fix the damn schools.

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1. Anonymous said... on Jun 19, 2014 at 07:32PM

“Its all about the Revenue!!! That convention will generation MILLIONS of dollars into our economy, which we do not have now. Cha Ching!!”

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2. Anonymous said... on Jun 21, 2014 at 12:27PM

“"Some say that the issues aren’t related. To these people, I say: You probably don’t have a child in a public school in North Philly."

You're really bad at making your case.

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