An aggravated Mayor Jim Kenney addressed members of the press on Sunday after a reporter asked what he would say to President Donald Trump, who has continued to complain about voter fraud since Saturday’s announcement that Joe Biden had claimed more electoral votes and would be the next president.
Before a gaggle of press, Kenney tore away the mask from his face and let out an audible sigh, saying, “Frankly, what the president needs to do is put his big boy pants on…Stop this and let us move forward as a country.”
In a way, it was refreshing to see the mayor express such exasperation and frustration with Trump, who has offered no evidence of voter fraud and has made little headway in court with his litigation. Yet, watching a snarky Kenney tell Trump to “put his big boy pants on,” I felt like saying to the TV: “Where have yours been the last six months?”
It doesn’t appear that he’s expelled much of it at all, but it does seem that some of that energy would’ve been better spent during the summer and fall to deter bad actors. When peaceful protests decrying the death of George Floyd devolved into riots and looting, that might’ve been a good time to speak out. I bet the small business owners of the wig shop in West Philly or the corner tavern in Center City felt more than a little exasperated and frustrated when their places were broken into and looted.
Where was any emotion or reaction when residents asked the city to clean up the Ben Franklin Parkway and Ridge Avenue when homeless encampments took over their neighborhoods? As we now know, the mayor set a deadline for vagrants to move, only for him to submit to their demands, month after month.
He kept pushing it back while taxpayers of Logan Circle and Brewerytown suffered accosting, harassment and witnessed open-air drug use and public defecation. Kenney’s soft-handed style allowed upwards of 100 people to live in squalor – no matter that it was their own choice. Meanwhile, the taxpayers who take pride in their community were put at risk.
“Where was any emotion or reaction when residents asked the city to clean up the Ben Franklin Parkway and Ridge Avenue when homeless encampments took over their neighborhoods?”
I was in the Poconos Saturday afternoon with a group of friends when word quickly spread Biden had won the election. My cohorts and I (yes, I voted for Biden!) cheered and clinked glasses. Some of their eyes welled up with tears when he delivered his acceptance speech.
In Philly, people rejoiced in the streets – singing, dancing, beating drums and waving flags. People were practically doing backflips. I hadn’t seen Philadelphians so joyful since the Eagles won the Super Bowl. It warmed my heart and made me smile. That’s the form of expression we should be doing more of – building our city and each other up instead of tearing it down.
But as Election Day approached, storefronts and shops across the city were boarded up in the run up to Nov. 3. It makes you think – why were they boarded up? Were the owners afraid of a Biden win, or a Trump win – and of which side having grapes so sour they would surely turn to breaking things again if they didn’t get the results they wanted?
This week, I assumed the new role as editor-in-chief of Philadelphia Weekly. When the publication launched AltPhilly, Philadelphians made it apparent they wanted a more contrarian viewpoint to be part of the conversation, and Philly Weekly surpassed its fundraising goal.
“I think PW’s decision to switch makes sense. Right now, content coming from our local news outlets is largely redundant and people are being led by the nose. We want to change that.”
So, I’m excited to lead this new charge as editor because I think we need a fair voice of reason in this city. The Philadelphia Inquirer axed all their conservative columnists, from Stu Bykofsky (for whose last day of work I was present) to Christine Flowers. Most columnists in the city are screaming so loudly into the liberal echo chamber that there is hardly anyone hearing anything from the other side.
That’s why I think PW’s decision to switch makes sense. Right now, content coming from our local news outlets is largely redundant and people are being led by the nose. We want to change that. The paper can now offer readers a platform where conservative perspectives can challenge liberal ones. Here, there is room to share ideas, debate and learn.
Don’t get it twisted: Philly Weekly isn’t going to turn into a publication that pumps out right-wing propaganda for the Grand Old Party. It isn’t going to promote conspiracy theories or sympathize with Donald Trump. But we are going to question the Democratic establishment that has owned this city for more than 50 years. It has gone unchecked for far too long.
Trust me, I’m anticipating the backlash, the berating and the judgment that may come from this move. But I believe allowing ourselves to look at urban issues through another lens will help us see more clearly, consider other points of view and truly be alternative.