Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Long Way to Go!

Looking at Billy Penn from the Philadelphia Museum of Art
(click on pictures to enlarge)

I am a native Philadelphian and I have something to say about the way the City of Philadelphia has gone so far from being the great city it once was when I lived there. I was actually born in Delaware County Pennsylvania not more than a mile or two from the Philadelphia border but my parent's first home was on 57th street in West Philadelphia and that’s were we lived until I was about three years old. My Father then moved us to just south of the city to a section of Delaware County called Folcroft. We lived there for about two years and then moved to Broomall, Pennsylvania and that’s where I grew up. My Mother and Father lived there for the rest of their lives. The town is located 14 miles due west of “Billy Penn” which is the statue of William Penn that stands atop Philadelphia’s City Hall. Any time I wanted a look at Philadelphia and Billy Penn all I had to do was walk to the corner of our street and look straight down West Chester Pike and there he was standing there looking over the city.

When I was growing up during the 1960’s there were some tumultuous times going on. There was the assassination of JKF, the Vietnam War, the assassination of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. With all the other cities in the United States on fire Philadelphia was relatively safe and riots just did not happen. This can be attributed to one man and his idea of law and order. That man was Frank L. Rizzo. That name evokes a lot of emotion in segments of Philadelphia even today because of his standards of keeping a tight control on crime and the criminal element. If you were a criminal you hated Frank Rizzo but if you were a law abiding citizen trying to go about your every day business and keeping your neighborhood free of crime you loved Frank Rizzo.

"Big Bambino" Frank L. Rizzo Sr.

Frank Rizzo was a beat cop, a motorcycle cop, a Police Commissioner and then a two term Mayor. You either loved Frank Rizzo or you hated him depending on what side of the law you decided to be on. This isn’t about how well he preformed his job as an administrator or what kind of personality he had when dealing with the press, Frank Rizzo had his faults but being soft on crime wasn’t one of them. When I went away to the Navy and I met people from other parts of the country I used to brag “I’m from Philly and Frank Rizzo is our mayor. God bless you Frank and may you rest in peace. Frank Rizzo died in 1991 of a heart attack and the city of Philadelphia is in dire need of another Frank Rizzo. Frank’s son is now a City Councilman and he’s a good man but he’s not his Father.

Today in Philadelphia there have been over two hundred murders so far this year. It is heading for a record and the summer is only half over. The current crop of bumbling idiots they call government officials are letting this crime wave become out of hand and have done precious little to come up with any solutions. One ridiculous notion that keeps coming up is; it is the fault of the availabilty of guns that is causing so many young black men to murder each other. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The availability of firearms is the same throughout the state of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia is the only place where they are killing each other at such a tremendous rate. Everyone wants to gloss over the reasons why all of these murders are happening and the politicians dance the political correctness dance but the truth of the matter is as plain as the corrupt dollars hanging out of the Philadelphia politician’s pants pockets.

The root cause of the problem of so many murders can be directly related to the out of wedlock birth rate and the single parent homes that are so prevalent in many neighborhoods in Philadelphia. The statistics back this up and I am not the only one to point this out. It is completely overlooked and no one seems to want to do a damn thing about it because it is a hard problem and a whole culture has to be changed. The politicians think if they come up with phony solutions that are seemingly a quick fix and affect the people’s rights that obey all the laws and are responsible citizens they will be able to muddle through until their term expires or make new promises for the next election.

The next mayor will be former democrat City Councilman Michael Nutter because Republicans have completely abandoned the city of Philadelphia leaving it to one party rule. I say to Mr. Nutter, if he wants to solve his crime problem he needs to hire more police, cut the business and wage taxes to bring businesses back to Philadelphia so the next generation will have jobs. Mr. Nutter also has to make it a priority to bear down to teach the young children and their parents they have to be responsible for their actions and they have to be responsible for their child’s education at the public schools. After all, the ones that are murdering each other haven’t been held responsible for anything in their life and life itself has become so cheap to them. Most of all we will not tolerate you blaming the rest of us for the problems you and your party have created in Philadelphia. It’s not like people are coming into the city and killing the citizens and then leaving.

Philadelphia's next democrat Mayor_ Michael Nutter

I for one would like to see a renaissance of the city because I grew up there and still visit there and find Philadelphia can be a wonderful place. I don’t hold much hope though when I hear politicians suggesting solutions of taking my rights away from me instead of them taking control of their own house like Frank L. Rizzo did!

George Washington atop his horse on Eakins Circle looking down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at Twilight

Update: While browsing through the "City Section" of the the Sunday Phildelphia Inquirer I found an article about a fabulous collection of Philadelphia historical photos


THERE is no chance, no destiny, no fate,
Can circumvent or hinder or control
The firm resolve of a determined soul.
Gifts count for nothing; will alone is great;
All things give way before it, soon or late.
What obstacle can stay the mighty force
Of the sea-seeking river in its course,
Or cause the ascending orb of day to wait?
Each well-born soul must win what it deserves.
Let the fool prate of luck. The fortunate
Is he whose earnest purpose never swerves,
Whose slightest action or inaction serves
The one great aim.
Why, even Death stands still,
And waits an hour sometimes for such a will.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Mike's America said...

How's that one party rule working out for Philly?

Have they blamed all their problems on White racism or President Bush yet?

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Thanks for sharing a bit of your history, as well as Philly's (skye, Troll, and GrizzlyMama should read this). I learned some things. Had no idea about Frank Rizzo

and no one seems to want to do a damn thing about it because it is a hard problem and a whole culture has to be changed.


The Wordsmobile is still broken down, and so I've been riding the city buses. The other day, high school kids got on, and went straight to the back of the bus where they were simply obnoxious and loud. It may sound racist (so be it), but the hip-hop "gangsta" culture just perpetuates the problems.

My college roommates came from a black family that grew up middle class American. In college, some would disparage them as white-washed because they didn't talk and act "black". They are now successful doctors.

People blame white racist America for "holding the black man down". Some of that is true; but it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and perpetuating cycle when blacks also choose to reject "white society", and purposefully talk "ghetto" and gutter English. And have an "in your face" attitude and sense of entitlement.

J_G said...

Mike, the one party rule is a major part of the problem. Nothing can get done unless it goes through democrat party bosses. This is a result of the direct interference in legitimate political debate and processes by the ultra left wing Americans for Democratic Action. The northern part of the city called Northern Liberties have tried to secede from Philadelphia many times because of this one party rule system. There's so much more to be said about the need for change in Philadelphia that there isn't room enough here to discuss it all.

Word, Bill Cosby came from these very neighborhoods and he has tried with all his might to change the culture of single mothers on welfare and shame the young men into becoming responsible adults. Cosby is only one voice and the race merchants are backstabbers who want no part of what Cosby is saying. The last thing the race merchants want is an empowered and educated constituency so they deprive the neighborhoods of good schools and jobs to perpetuate their power and keep the people in misery.

At one time it was the whites that were keeping the blacks down with racism and bigotry but they have moved away and now it is the race merchants that keep their own people down and hold them back in order for them to sustain their power through the democrat party in Philadelphia.

Joanne said...

Thanks for that great post on Frank Rizzo. It was weird reading about him again. Why? You ask.

Because one of my favorite uncles was Frank Rizzo! Really. My step-mother's (who raised me) maiden name was Rizzo (a form of the name Riccio, which means curly hair, and is quite a common surname in Sicily).

It was fun for us to hear "Frank Rizzo" in the news during that time, and for us to yell at the teevee "Hey! That's Zio Franco! (Uncle Frank) He's in the news!"

My Uncle Frank Rizzo was a very popular barber in the town where I grew up, just 8 miles north of Boston. He also was a talented musician (played guitar and violin) and when our family got together on the holidays, he played, and we sang for hours.

Those days are long gone, all the aunts and uncles are dead, and the good times we had with them are only fond, fond memories.

I've never been to Philly, but have read so much about it, someday I will make the trip to that historical city.

J_G said...

Joanne, Philadelphia is rich with Italian history. Much of the Italian history is centered around the South Philadelphia neighborhoods but that's not the whole story though, there is Italian in just about every neighborhood you go to. I'm sure you would feel right at home at the Italian Market at 9th street.

Francis Lazzaro Rizzo Sr., truly a Philadelphia original. I admired and respected that man and Philadelphia is indebted to him forever for preserving it during one of the most tumultuous times in US history.

I was in Guantanamo when I recieved a letter from my Father. In the letter was the cutout article from the Philadelphia Daily News. It was the story about Frank Rizzo saying to Fidel Castro that he and the Philadelphia Police would come down and invade Cuba and kick Castro's butt. The Philly Press/liberals went almost off their rockers when he said those words but I read the article to the people in my divison and everyone thought Frank Rizzo was great.

I guess there not much better of an indicator on how the people felt about Frank; when he died his funeral was the biggest in Philadelphia history.

Andrea Mitchell's passing will go largely unnoticed. Richardson who?

SusieQ said...

I didn't know you were that close to the city of brotherly love. I have never been to Philly, but it is one place I want to go for the historical features.

The problems Philly is having are taking place across the U.S. in every big city. Some cities fare better than Philly though. I think New York when Guiliani was mayor improved a lot.

I had not heard before that black merchants might be partially to blame for the cultural conditions. It makes sense. Look at some of the political activists and how they make a living off the suffering of their own people.

I would not want to be a mother trying to raise children in the inner city. Nor would I want to be a child in the inner city trying to get an education at those poor excuses for schools there.

J_G said...

Susie, I don't live that close to the city of Philadelphia now, it's about 50 miles from here. I'm much closer to the City of Lancaster.

Black merchants are not the people I was referring to Susie, most of those blacks that own their own businsses are fed up with the politics and crime too. The merchants of race that I'm talking about are those politicians that make it their stock and trade to use the club of the word "racism" on politicians in order to have things their way.

Right now the transit agency is trying to save money and eliminate paper transfers from the fare system. You can argue it doesn't make sense or that it is a bad idea or that maybe they should come up with something more efficient but no, the first argument that comes from the politicians and liberal activists is that the agency is racist. People have had enough of it. That's the type of race mongering or race merchants (my terminology) that I am referring to.

This statistics that confirm what I am saying about out of wedlock child births being a root cause for the atmosphere that breeds the continous stream of criminality was referred from a book that made it's rounds not long ago. There was further research done by one of the foundations here in Philadelphia and it was reported in the Phildelphia Inquirer by a columnist name Stu Bykofsky. The Philadephia AM Talk Radio Hosts were all abuzz with this just six months ago but I'm having trouble finding links to point the information. I'll try again tomorrow when I get more time.

Like I said to Mike earlier, there is so much information about the work needed to be done to turn Philadelphia around there is hardly enough room for it all here in this tiny comment box.

SusieQ said...

Jenni, I am sorry I misunderstood who you were talking about regarding the merchants. I need to be more careful when I read.

This is what I learned about the broad problem after reading something that Thomas Sowell wrote a long time ago. At one time the lower paying industrial jobs were held by black men. Those jobs began to disappear in the fifties due to technology advances I am thinking. Eventually welfare was used to help women and children who had been abandoned by unemployed males. When that happened, it was like castrating the black man. He wasn't needed anymore. Government had taken over his position as bread winner. The culture broke down and you had out of wedlock births in record numbers after that. This is one theory anyway.

But how can it be fixed? We need to encourage and help people like Bill Cosby who see the problem for what it is and realize it will require major reform on the inside of the culture in order to fix it. I thought the million man march was all about encouraging the black man to accept responsibility for his family. Or maybe there is more to the problem than this. Probably so.

J_G said...

That's OK Susie, I tried to make myself clear but when I am talking about Philadelphia I tend to talk "insider baseball" and forget that not everyone is going to understand. I think we had this discussion over at LG's about the different terms used in the different areas of the country. Gosh I find myself talking south Philly sometimes because I spent a lot of time there.

Ay, whatsa matta for you? Foget about it Petey. Philly Speak

Skye said...

Bravo, Jennifer, Bravo!

The city that gave rise to the dream of America would not be recognizable to the founding fathers.

I live and work in Philadelphia - at an inner city hospital. The violence and urban decay of this city is a testament to reaping what the city government has sown. The decades of liberalizing the public school system has converted our public schools into 'baby jails'. The city's welfare system, which has the largest concentration of participants in the state, simply perpetuates poverty. Pay close attention to the shattered lives of the welfare recipients and you will see the future of a socialized nanny state. Hillary Care in action.

Without saying, virtually all of these recipients vote democrat.

BTW - it was the Northeast section of Philadelphia that attempted (unsuccessfully) to break from Philly back in the mid-80s.

But who cares! You can safely dine in Philadelphia without the fear of ingesting trans-fats!!

Thanks to our brave city council members.

J_G said...

Skye, I always thought Northern Liberties was the same as the greater Northeast but I was mistaken, I talked with one of the guys I work with that lives in Kennsington last night and he told me that is a small section just south of Kennsington. My brother lives in Fishtown not far away from there. I remember all the talk and advertisements about seceding right after Wilson Goode the mad bomber got elected.

I have a friend that works in a one of the hospitals right in the thick of it and she said the Army has been sending doctors there for training right before they head off to Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's damn shame but when you don't hold the people responsible for their actions and turn the place into a nanny state this is what you get.

Donald Douglas said...

You know, I just passed through Philadelphia by train from D.C. to New York. I told my son we'd stop there for a visit next time.

Love the pictures you've posted, and I fully agree with your analysis of the city's problems.

Good for you! Keep hope alive (oops, sorry for the Jesse Jackson quote!).

Take care!

J_G said...

Thanks for stopping by Donald. I hope you do stop at Philadelphia next time because there can't be a full explanation to your children about our great country without including Philadelphia. Thanks again!

Mike's America said...

Philadelphia is a must see if you're interested in tracing the history of our nation's founding.

I've got one of those souvenir replica's of the key to Independence Hall on an end table in the living room as a reminder of my visit.

TrekMedic251 said...

Wow, JG,...seeing the pic of Hizzoner when he did talk radio on 1210! I listened every day!

Gimme the good old days when I could drive from Center City back home via Market Street, 52nd Street and Parkside Ave and always cross paths with a blue PPD car patrolling every three or four blocks!

J_G said...

Mike, It's still safe enough for tourists in the downtown districts. Independence Mall is a Federal Park and the upkeep is pretty good.

Philadelphia is in danger of losing it's history unless upstanding citizens take control back from the criminal element like John Street (the mayor) and his cronies. He just barely escaped Federal indictments on this last house cleaning by the feds.

This is where the regular working person gets so angry with diversity crowd that every time you want to discuss and remedy tough problems the first thing they do is to try and bludgeon you with the racism tag.

F- them , everyone is so damn fed up with it. The republicans have to start acting like they care and start getting inolved and engage in real debates and offer some real tough candidates that are prepared to go the rounds with those will use the racism club to keep control.

If they would work for a few years at it and put up a law and order guy the regular people would come out of every nook and cranny to vote for him.

Trek It's noticeable that the Philly Highway Patrol is gone, the Staties are in control out there now. Gosh I remember the Highway Patrol guys with their boots and caps. I don't think they let you in unless you were 6 foot tall and weighed over 210. The Staties are good guys but Philly Highway Patrol was the elite! It doesn't look right without the blue cars. Wack job Street and his cronies over common sense, no more K-9 either. They're killing each other like there's no tomorrow and they're cutting out the best units, WTF? Same old same old, the lunatics are running the asylum

patterns of ink said...

Now I know what you mean. My Detroit went through much the same and was in the 1980s the "murder capital of the world." There is some evidence that it is "healing." I'll be going to a Detroit Tiger game downtown next Tuesday so I'll get to see if it's any better than the last time I was downtown.