A Nutter Day

Philadelphians have to bear the (budget) cross too.

By Liz Spikol
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 26 | Posted Jan. 14, 2009

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It's Dec. 18 and at Martin Luther King High School on Stenton Avenue, at the last town hall meeting held by Mayor Michael Nutter and his cabinet, Diane, a registered nurse, is asking a question.

"There's legislation at the state and national level for single-payer health insurance," she says. "It would provide healthcare for everybody in the country and therefore everybody in the state for much less than we're paying now. ... I wonder if you would prevail upon [the state] to do a feasibility study because healthcare is one of our most urgent needs."

The mayor asks Philadelphia's Health Commissioner Don Schwarz to speak to the issue. After explaining some financial subtleties in state and federal healthcare dollar allocations, Schwarz talks about the city's support for reform of the health insurance system. He says the city wants every Philadelphian to have health insurance and access to care, and the mayor assures Diane he'll talk to every member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly about the city's position on the legislation.

The conversation is a substantive one. The issue of affordable healthcare--access to lifesaving medication, doctors and critical care--affects most of the roughly million and a half people in the city. But as soon as Diane sits down, another woman stands and raises the issue that's been overshadowing all the other challenges the city faces: the libraries.

It's the same at every other town hall--and every countertop diner, bar and beauty salon or barbershop: The outrage over the proposed closure of 11 branch libraries--David Cohen Ogontz, Charles C. Durham, Eastwick, Fishtown, Fumo Family, Haddington, Holmesburg, Kingsessing, Logan, Queen Memorial and Wadsworth--is pervasive.

Some of the mayor's opponents have been cordial, but at most town hall meetings, Nutter has been treated like the enemy: heckled, booed and ridiculed. The anger has been palpable, whether at rallies or at hearings where legal proceedings were drowned out by the yelling of protesters. The mayor was even served a subpoena from a young man who said, "We're putting you on trial for the crime of genocide being committed against African people."

The Coalition to Save the Libraries issued an indictment against the mayor for a number of ills pertaining to the library closures. Charges included abandoning the minds of children, promoting illiteracy, encouraging street violence, increasing joblessness, creating neighborhood blight, targeting low-income communities, violating the public trust and last, but definitely not least, ignoring the people's will.

The fury is even greater on local blogs. On PhillyBlog, for example, pcounselor--who has plenty of company--writes, "It seems Nutter plans to decimate every neighborhood in the city" and says the mayor should be impeached.

Photo by David Scott

You name it, Nutter is taking the blame for it. Longtime Philadelphia journalist Tom Ferrick sums it up on WHYY.org: "The man who was praised a few years ago as a savior of libraries, now is cast as a villain."

A villain who's being nailed to the cross over libraries that saw a total of 671,885 visitors between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008.

Back in January 2008, the scowling faces, boos and vitriol would've been unimaginable. Beloved as a well-known councilperson willing to fight City Hall, Michael Nutter came in on a wave of good will and high expectations. Philadelphians put him on a pedestal, believing he could transform a city mired in corruption charges and dashed promises.

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Comments 1 - 26 of 26
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1. Corina Delman said... on Jan 13, 2009 at 09:34PM

“In a time of economic downturn it is especially crucial that people across the city have access to libraries - they are a lifeline for adults seeking employment and self-improvement. Public libraries are the core of a democracy and an essential city service - not a luxury. If cuts must be made (and Nutter's lack of transparency leaves me unconvinced - I have heard many creative budget solutions at the town hall meetings I attended, all of which he brushed away - check out the videos yourself on whyy.org) - than they should be made equitably across the system, and the cuts should be viewed as temporary measures, not permanent closures or transformations of the library system into corporate-sponsored "knowledge centers." I don't envy Nutter his job right now, but please - I can't find it in my heart to feel sorry for a man so deeply in bed with corporate interests, a man who, once elected, has been deaf to the needs of the people who got him there. Truth is, he doesn't care about the poor, he doesn't care about our neighborhoods, he doesn't care about our futures. We have a right to be angry, and we have a right to demand that our city provide us with essential services - we've proven this in court already, and we'll keep fighting for it. Nothing personal, Nutter, but this is our city and our lives. ”

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2. lspikol said... on Jan 14, 2009 at 09:23AM

“I understand what you're saying, and it's certainly true that during recessions and other financial crises, library use goes up, precisely because of the things you articulate here. The problem is the hierarchy of cuts, I suppose, given the discretionary options: police, fire, human services, streets, recreation and library. There have been cuts made across all government entities, and there will certainly be more, but as a first round, I suspect cutting police is not the first thing the administration wanted to tackle -- and rightly so, I'd argue. Fire companies did get closed and I'm guessing human services will be compromised as well; I don't believe any department will escape this crisis. What the library administration decided (not Nutter) was that it was preferable to have superior service in most branches rather than compromised service in all. I too question the permanency of the cuts; that makes them suspect to me. But I also believe that Nutter is essentially the same person he's always been: committed to the poor and the neighborhoods, but faced with an insurmountable challenge. As for suggestions at town hall meetings, I have watched those meetings and found that many of the recommendations from the crowds were interesting but not well-informed. Getting money back from debtors sounds great; already-in-process legal battles surrounding such debts can't simply be interrupted. They mayor, like the president, has certain powers, but he doesn't control everything. His limitations are clearly frustrating citizens. Sadly, this financial crisis is, indeed, shutting down services we need--like the libraries. But we must prepare ourselves for worse, and try to work together.”

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3. phillygrrl said... on Jan 14, 2009 at 09:42AM

“Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you Liz Spikol. I was feeling so alone and outnumbered for sharing this opinion.”

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4. indiemaker05 said... on Jan 14, 2009 at 10:08AM

“At least Philly Weekly is trying to help the mayor some as it's been one of the many to quickly lash out against him the past few months. I'm sick and tired of this library issue. Philadelhia is a city of weak minded whiners and losers. A city where overpaid, wife beating, pseudo athletes throwing and catching balls well is an historical event that we celebrate by rioting. Pathetic. World. Fucking Champions? Really, Ummm. not really. I don't remember the Phillies playing against any Puerto Rican or Japanese teams that would surely decimate them. Libraries are important and are needed. But the real issue here is that people are lazy and expect the mayor and government to fix all of the problems that they've created. Philly isn't that big, there's a perfectly decent public transportation system and close to 80 some other libraries in the city, much better libraries that can be reached in a very short train ride, or even better, bike ride. Many of the libraries weren't even libraries. They were just places where people could hang out and watch videos on youtube and possibly get the latest Tom Clancy book. It DOES suck that they're being closed. But come on, it's not stopping people from getting jobs or finding education. There are still career link centers through out the city, and there are other libraries, again, better libraries. It might make it semi more inconvienent, but if that's such a deal breaker. Well, there's a fucking reason why your unemployed and uneducated to begin with. Good luck with that. This does hurt the younger children too young to ride there bikes 1 or 2 miles in the city or take the bus or train, and I feel for them. If Philly really was the City of Brotherly Love, there'd be people willing to donate time and resouraces to have a safe place for elementary aged school children to go after school. But to seriously state that closing the libraries will be the catalyst for children becoming drug dealing thugs is ridiculous. It's disgustingly ridiculous. Offensively ridiculous. This is just another way for a population to refuse to take responsibility for their own god damn actions. It's insane how Nutter is being blamed for gun violence. It's gone down over the past year. Mayor Nutter is not fucking Superman, he can't fly around the city as an indestructible being, swooping down blocking bullets. Rather than fighting him, what if people volunteered their time to work at the libraries, raise funding, apply for grants to turn the libraries into non governmental non-profit organizations? Oh, I forgot, Philadealphia is a city full of lazy, whining losers who'd rather get angry and fight rather than work towards a positive resolution. With all of the time and effort that has gone into these silly, stupid protests, these people could have actually achieved something. I see lazy locals who just want a reason to be pissed "What, you mean? I actually have to watch, teach, and maybe be an actual parent and accompany him to another library ?!!!!!" I remember growing up in a rural surbarn area where the library was a good 4 miles away. Before I was old enough to go there on my own, my mother would take me. An only mother who worked two part time retail jobs. That and I see bunch of affulent, self righteous yuppies and hipsters in these protests who I guess feel cool, smart, and enlightened for protesting this issue. Let's see them sign up with city year and actually fu*king do something. Oh, I forgot, that requires actual work... Maybe this is why were in recession to begin with. We're collectively lazy and always looking for a scapegoat and refuse to address the hard hitting issues by looking at ourselves. ”

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5. Lel said... on Jan 14, 2009 at 10:23AM

“Thank you, Liz for reminding us that the Mayor's choice to close the library branches was not done out of malice or contempt, but necessity. Of course, it's a tragedy that so many people will lose access to these resources, but there are alternatives for literacy promotion and throngs of volunteers desperately trying to combat these closures (and the plethora of other ails plaguing our city). I truly believe that now is the time to become a more service centered community; become a tutor, let you neighbor's kid use your computer after school, feed the homeless, sweep up your block. The possiblities are endless and if we're willing to cut each other some slack and lend a hand, I imagine a day when the libraries reopen in all their slendor. ”

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6. anonymous librarian said... on Jan 14, 2009 at 11:59AM

“As a librarian at one of the branches slated to close I have been mostly attempting to hide my pro-Nutter stance from patrons and other staff members. First because as city employees we're not supposed to voice our opinions openly about this matter (not to mention no one is asking us how we feel about it) but also because I know my view will be unpopular. I really appreciated Nutter's effort to get community non-profits into the game of creating knowledge centers. Yes, having a librarian or two at a branch is ideal but in these tough financial times shouldn't we try to provide those services that are most needed, ie. access to computers with internet, and after school safe havens where kids can get a knowledgeable adult to help them with their homework? I have to say that this whole experience has been an emotional roller coaster for me and a lot of the other staff, especially those at the closing branches and it is at times hard to even really understand how I feel about it all from one day to the next. I care about the community I work in and I do wonder at times if the poorer neighborhoods were unfairly targeted; the idea that any child would feel that their library was being closed because they live in a bad neighborhood breaks my heart. But the direction we are now headed in... one where two or three librarians would be charged with running two libraries each on a part time basis scares the hell out of me. Library service will decline across the board and we're taking away the opportunity for credible non-profits to provide quality service every day of the week. I appreciate the coalitions concern but we're forcing the administration to create a new kind of library system staffed with reduced numbers and stressed out individuals. I've heard it from the director's mouth myself, she made this plan, the board of trustees of the library approved this plan... certainly Michael Nutter has no personal vendetta against the 11 closing branches and the people fighting against the closures are taking away the best option the library administrators had for maintaining a workable library system. It has been so wonderful to see how important libraries and library staff are to the people of Philadelphia; the outcry has been more then I could have expected. I just feel that we have to temper that passion with a reasonable understanding of the financial crisis. ”

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7. Rep. Mark B. Cohen said... on Jan 14, 2009 at 12:30PM

“Rendell's budgeting assumes that the state will get at least $450 million a year extra from the federal government. Nutter assumes the city will not get a penny from the federal government. Rendell is actively searching for the least painful ways to raise new revenue. Nutter is not searching for any way to raise new revenue. Rendell fully discloses the econonmetric studies firm that gives him his projections. Nutter does not. Rendell has found countless little ways to save a little money here, a little money there, such as extending the longevity of state automobiles, banning reimbursement for interstate travel by state employees on official business, making most copies of the Pennsylvania Manual paperback copies, etc. Nutter has not disclosed any similar initiaves to save money . Nutter's mayoral campaign aroused expectations of greatness. That is clearly out of his reach. It is time for him to set a new goal of adequacy in terms of meeting the day to day expectations of Philadelphians before that goal, too, becomes out of reach.”

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8. freddy said... on Jan 14, 2009 at 01:58PM

“look, no one is against closing a library till the economic issues end, but get real here. any permanent closures should be fought to the bloody end. take from the privileged(wealthy) areas before you permanently alter the infrastructure of the other neighborhoods. when you close the rittenhouse branch you can come talk to me about my library. ”

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9. brendancalling said... on Jan 14, 2009 at 02:36PM

“hey liz? "What if police stopped patrolling your block and crime surged?" Liz, i live in southwest. The police have NEVER patroled our block. We had 3 murders in 2007. My house was broken into and my g/f's possessions stolen, but the police didn't respond to 2 911 calls. when she went to the police station to report it, they told her "don't bother". You know when the killing stopped (or slowed)? when the neighbors formed a blockwatch. it wasn't the police that helped at all. No one except michael nutter himself put him on a cross. and contrary to your story, the mayor is using these "town hall meetings" as an opportunity for people to vent, not an opportunity to listen. that's self-evident in his claim that nothing will change his mind. So why hold the meeting at all? "But we won’t solve illiteracy by keeping 11 libraries open; we’ll solve it by ensuring that children stay in school and have good teachers and appropriate materials. " Liz, many of the schools depend on the libraries because they don't have libraries of their own. The SDP spent $125 million on books between 2005-2008 with nothing to show for it. the libraries provide a lot more than just books: they provide space for adult ed classes, internet access. No, keeping 11 libraries open won't solve the literacy problem in Philly (more on our disgraceful literacy rate here: http://youngphillypolitics.com/more_1_5_philadelphians_are_illiterate) but that's a strawman you're erecting: the fact of the matter is that the libraries scheduled to be closed are located almost entirely in neighborhoods with 40% or higher child poverty rates. So it;'s not just any libraries are closing, but specifically those that serve the poor. There's a lot more I could go on about, but there are space limitations. your article is disappointing, to say the least.”

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10. lspikol said... on Jan 14, 2009 at 03:03PM

“Hey Brendan, I thought I'd hear from you! I too live in Southwest, about two blocks from you, so I hear what you're saying. I'm just trying to urge people to think more broadly: If a police station was shut down instead of a library, there would be riots in the streets. Isn't it true that there are no good cuts? That any cuts at all with be lambasted? As for the school libraries, I'm well aware that the schools in question don't have libraries. So where's Arlene Ackerman on all this? Why wouldn't the District comment for my article? Why aren't people standing out the school and picketing the fact that their children don't have books in SCHOOL? That's where they're supposed to be! (I apologize for the caps and the exclamation mark; it's out of character. I'm just frustrated.) If you look at the turnstile counts for the libraries, there's simply no denying that many of them--poor neighborhood or no--are the least utilized across the system. When you compare the turnstile count of 07-08 between Northeast Regional (570,467) to Durham (31,232), you can sort of understand the rationale for closing Durham, right? So when people at town hall meetings are upset that libraries in the Northeast aren't closing, isn't that erecting a strawman too? Nothing is black and white; there's plenty of blame to go around. Placing that blame primarily on one person doesn't make sense, nor is it productive.”

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11. phillygrrl said... on Jan 14, 2009 at 06:13PM

“Stay strong, LIz!”

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12. buhrayin said... on Jan 14, 2009 at 07:22PM

“ I think the last sign my daughter held was this one in this photo of her and Nutter. http://farm1.static.flickr.com/205/488688826_31ca7fa666_o.jpg ”

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13. Patrick said... on Jan 15, 2009 at 07:40AM

“I am not sure I undersatnd what the big uproar is. If it were your budget and you had a deficit you would have to cut something right? I am not against those that wish the libraries to not close as much as I am for a balanced budget. I believe Mayor Nutter understands that. He inherited this mess and is making tough choices to correct it. I do hope he creates more opportunities for income within the system in addition to the cuts. I think the people of the city should rally behind what the long term goal of Mayor Nutter is in reference to the budget and balencing it. If in the end the deficit is corrected and we have a surplus then I think the services that were cut can be looked at as something to begin again. Everone from each income bracket needs to be aware of the problems that will happen if the deficit lingers. ”

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14. lspikol said... on Jan 15, 2009 at 09:16AM

“So cute! I think a big part of the problem with Nutter is that, as opposed to his smiles during the campaign, he's now got a terrible bedside manner. People can handle a lot if they feel they're part of a process, if they feel their leader cares about them and empathizes. Nutter is kind of tone deaf emotionally these days -- not like Street; no one could be like Street on that subject -- but he's unable to project a conciliatory facade. It'll be interesting to see how Obama responds to some of the same challenges: Will he be warm and encouraging or hard and defensive? Either way, he can't win either.”

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15. brendancalling said... on Jan 15, 2009 at 12:56PM

“Liz: "If a police station was shut down instead of a library, there would be riots in the streets." Actually, more than a few people have asked to cut the police budget instead. personally, i'd cancel the crime emergency in chestnut hill and university city, where the brunt of the mayor's increased police presence is located (http://brendancalling.com/2008/02/26/philadelphia-shootings/). Unless there's been a rash of latte thefts, I don't see a need for it in chestnut hill or Ucity, which already has penn's private police force and safety ambassadors augmenting the PPD. Liz: "When you compare the turnstile count..." in terms of turnstiles, I think you should touch base with sean dorn who is a wealth of information. My library, which is scheduled to be shut, has seen circulation INCREASES. Also, your article doesn't point out that the majority of african american families don't have internet access, much less a computer, in the home: the library is where they go. Liz: "Placing that blame primarily on one person doesn't make sense, nor is it productive." That is certainly true, but the mayor set himself up for this: you can't go into a neighborhood and say '"there's a crisis, and we've decided what to do without your input, and no matter what you say or propose we're not making any changes" and expect that people will just take it. Liz: "So where's Arlene Ackerman on all this? Why wouldn't the District comment for my article?" You will not hear me defending arlene ackerman or the SDP, about which i could write volumes. but they are not responsible for the FLP. The other problem many people have with the cuts is that they are arbitrary. If it's based on another library located 2 miles away, how come rittenhouse doesn't lose theirs? they're only a few blocks from the central branch, and have a lovely barnes and noble right on the square. Can you say honestly that rittenhouse residents don't have more than a few alternatives? or a more personal example: Kingsessing has greater circulation (48,962 versus 39,014) and turnstile (109,065 versus 54,299) than cobbs creek (source: http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pWKvTi1GOfTUMHNl1ybHYYQ). Is it just a coincidence that the poorer performing library that stays open just happens to be in the mayor's neighborhood? these cuts are arbitrary and fundamentally unfair. Liz: "there's simply no denying that many of them--poor neighborhood or no--are the least utilized across the system." this may be true, but the children and families in wealthier neighborhoods have alternatives that the kids and families in poor neighborhoods do not, like bookstores, internet access from home, etc. Liz: "Why aren't people standing out the school and picketing the fact that their children don't have books in SCHOOL? That's where they're supposed to be!" School libraries have never ever ever been as large or all encompassing as a public library, and i think most people know and acknowledge that. Even the best school library in the best school district cannot compare to a branch library. also, school libraries close when school closes: the branches are open til 5 most days, and 8:00 pm on others. Also, libraries serve more than just kids, and most schools aren't too welcoming of strangers walking in off the street. what the mayor should be doing to raising revenue. get rid of the tax abatement. stop asking the incoming obama administration for millions to support a slots parlor on market street, and ask for money for services like libraries, police, and fire. Also someone has to do follow up with rob dubow: at the hearings that handed mr. nutter an injunction, dubow stated that after the cuts we have a $40 million surplus. Even if you accept the mayor's numbers (and those are in doubt) then saving the libraries would still leave us with $32 million. finally, on top of everything else, the mayor has been an unmitigated dick about this. people have spent the past year with the words "yes we can" getting hammered into their heads, and now you have the mayor saying "no you can't." it sets up a terrible dynamic to have a test of wills between the citizens and the mayor, but it's a confrontation HE set up.”

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16. lspikol said... on Jan 15, 2009 at 01:36PM

“You make a lot of good points. My point about police department cuts is not pragmatism; it's about attitude. It's to say that if there were cuts to University City or Chestnut HIll, for instance, the protests would be as heated, if not more so, and that there aren't any cuts that wouldn't (and won't) provoke fury. But I agree that the cops are often in the wrong places, like Chestnut Hill, and usually just to quell rich people who actually think "crackheads" want to steal their DVD players. If they only understood why crimes occur and where, they'd leave their doors wide open. My point about school libraries is to challenge the one-issue people who say they're interested in keeping the branches open for children because the schools don't have libraries for those children. People who are focused exclusively on that cause and effect aren't looking at the school system; they're content to rely on the library system to provide what the schools lack. I truly believe that if we really want to advocate for our children, we'd do well to start with the SDP. Sometimes our Quaker parochialism limits our activism. The schools in Philadelphia have been shitholes for years, with kids using outdated textbooks and suffering without proper facilities. I heard one teacher say her entire curriculum was based on the library because the school was so under-resourced. Jesus. I wish people were willing to stand outside their neighborhood schools and demand their children get a decent education when they hear about illiteracy and drop-out rates. I wish they'd stand in the frickin' doorways and prevent teachers and principals from getting in. But if they're not willing to do that -- if they're only willing to do that when a neighborhood library that's compensating for the school's insufficiency closes -- it's frustrating. My understanding of the Rittenhouse branch staying open -- a point I specifically challenged Sandy Horrocks on -- is that it serves Washington Ave. Now, I don't actually believe there are throngs of people from Washington Ave. coming to Rittenhouse Square to borrow books, but if you adhere to the ALA standards, Rittenhouse has to stay open to accommodate the people in that neighborhood. The Central branch is too far from them. Of all the closures, I think the Kingsessing branch iis the most problematic, and I'm not saying that because it's in my neighborhood. I say that because as you point out, the turnstile count and usage is quite high. But in terms of accessibility and geography, I believe Cobbs Creek technically has to be open to satisfy the ALA standards? I could be wrong about that. I think the question that needs to be asked of Reardon is this: Must we adhere to the ALA standards? How have other cities that have made similar (and more dramatic) cuts made such determinations? With those standards? Or subjectively? ”

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17. brendancalling said... on Jan 15, 2009 at 02:10PM

“one other thing. when the mayor and his puppet reardon say "it's a two mile walk", that's one way. It's 4 miles round trip. i challenge you to walk from kingsessing to paschalville. alone. and then walk back after 8:00 PM in the dark. or wait for a trolley on woodland, a route that has no shelters for rain and snow. before you go, make sure you google "southwest philadelphia shooting 2008" before you go. "I truly believe that if we really want to advocate for our children, we'd do well to start with the SDP. " yes, i agree: but the mayor is not determined to close the SDP. he is closing libraries, and for this activist at least, the issue is more than just kids. it's also adults, and poverty, and PUBLIC resources. they belong to everyone. I'll write more off comments... ”

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18. BK said... on Jan 16, 2009 at 07:47AM

“Here here! I could not have said it better myself. Thank you.”

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19. brianbaughan said... on Jan 16, 2009 at 09:33AM

“Liz, I love that you're endorsing a "culture of creative solutions." I also love the debate that followed, and that Brendan is stubbornly fighting for the city's most vulnerable residents. The debate clearly isn't over. How about PW print a complete conversation between these two?”

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20. brendancalling said... on Jan 16, 2009 at 10:21AM

“'If it were your budget and you had a deficit you would have to cut something right?' not necessarily. one could also raise taxes to raise revenue; increase fines; find ways to save. my understanding is that Philly is suing the state to force them to start paying for the courthouse, as the state is legally required to do but currently does not. that would be a major savings. i think the real objection people have is the permanency of the mayor's proposal. I did a satire post a few weeks ago at my blog in which i portrayed the mayor as having a leak in his bathroom that he couldn't afford to immediately fix. In my scenario, instead of coming up with a temporary measure to deal with the problem while getting the resources together, he nails a sheet of plywood over the bathroom door and insists his family use an outhouse in the backyard (or walk 2 miles to use aunt sally's toilet) and shower with the garden hose. i think when presented that way, the decision to PERMANENTLY close 11 libraries in response to a TEMPORARY economic problem is demonstrated to be silly and shortsighted.”

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21. lspikol said... on Jan 16, 2009 at 10:50AM

“That's a great idea. I'll run it by our editor.”

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22. Patrick said... on Jan 19, 2009 at 11:17AM

“To: brendancalling While I don't particularly disagree with your premise. I find it to be simplistic and easy to say. To generalize your argument by saying "one could raise taxes to raise revenue; increase fines; find ways to save" Isn't that what they are doing by going after the major tax delinquents? For years we saw taxes raised and services decreased to "fix" a temporary budget issue. One administration after the other has done one if not all of those things to address a "temperary" issue. I don't believe the issue to be temporary. I believe it to be a political culture issue where those in office that decide to take fiscal responsibility seriously are the bad guys and those that do not are the saviours of the community providing service after service without any financial understanding of how it gets paid for. I think what Mayor Nutter is trying to do is present a responsible way to decrease the deficit. Begin spending more wisely. Create a stream of income that sustains the city without creating more debt. Whether he is able to accomplish this is yet to be seen. ”

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23. caretaker said... on Jan 27, 2009 at 02:11PM

“ You claim knowledge the city will receive monies from the Fed? Do you believe that between the current city tax policies, the parking authority nightmare, rotting infrastructure and housing stock allow for additional monies to be pulled from anyone besides the drug dealing, contract killing scum that seem to love this town? I agree transparency is paramount, but your claim " no initiatives " is disproven in Liz's work. Yes, I have confidence in her research, and commitment to honesty. Big time. Calm, unifying, in depth analysis of of issues is far more relevant than "aroused expectations ". It may be time to ask residents, are your'e expectations those of adults, or the heir apparents of a city government that ran it's house like Tony Soprano, with the added burden of the 200 + years Philly has been?”

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24. caretaker said... on Jan 27, 2009 at 02:51PM

“ Liz, Having read many of your works when you were coping and sharing personal experiences, I found myself thinking " wouldn't it be cool if this lady could shed a little light on issues bigger than the boardwalk? " Boy, was I right. I haven't had access to PW rag lately, and now at 48 yrs. just getting to know the computer thing, and relearn the keyboard. Tough times, tough measures, and you have brought facts, insight and that always critical concept of solutions to the fore.. My search for PW online led me here , and prompted my first response to a format like this. It appears as a response to Rep. Mark Cohen, and sits just below his post of a week ago. You, 2nd. Him, probably a Chaney love child. You , maybe Jon Stewart's sister? Best regards, Michael ”

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25. GW said... on Jan 28, 2009 at 08:58PM

“wake up philadelphia MAYOR NUTTER didn't create this mess,put the blame where it belongs with the last mayor (STREET) YOU VOTED HIM IN FOR TWO TERMS NOW WE ALL HAVE TO PAY.”

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