I am sure Radnor Township and many other municipalities are thrilled that I have decided to “phocus” on Philadelphia today.
It’s always hard to say what the most negative thing is about Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at present. And as a native born Philadelphian, I don’t say this lightly.
Filthadelphia and Crimeadelphia are two of my favorite nicknames. I was born in Philadelphia in the mid-1960s. We lived there with my parents until the mid-1970s. I saw a lot even as a kid, and one of the things that finally drove my parents from the city in the mid-1970s was crime. And it was crime in part that happened to a friend of mine and myself. We were riding our bicycles in our neighborhood and we were jumped by a gang of kids from elsewhere. We were literally two little girls riding our bikes. And because we didn’t have anything worth taking, including our bicycles, they instead smashed the glasses of my friend into her face.
As a grew up I watched Philadelphia have fits and starts of a renaissance. During the Bill Green years (94th mayor), the Ed Rendell years (96th mayor), and with the Michael Nutter years (98th) you often felt better about the City of Philadelphia. A fun, unrelated fact is one Philadelphia mayor, J. Hampton Moore, who was the 83rd and 86th mayor and a member of Congress lived at one time in the house we called home in Society Hill when I was little. The current lame duck mayor is Jim Kenney. He is the 99th mayor of the City of Philadelphia.
To me, Jim Kenney is like the Dr. Oz of Philadelphia mayors of recent history. Started out talking a big game, but there’s nothing to back it up. And now he’s just a lame duck who limps along. And then if you look at what else is happening today, it’s like every day you wonder if someone else resigned from Philadelphia City Council to run for mayor?
Philadelphia is a major city in shambles. Crime literally runs the city, and the city is also literally filthy. There is trash everywhere and then if you look at the streets within the city of Philadelphia, and the sidewalks, they are like a giant hazard every day. From potholes to broken sidewalks, random holes in sidewalks to where grates are missing and someone could actually fall in some kind of a hole and really hurt themselves, Philadelphia is disgusting. And this is so horrible because Philadelphia is the birthplace of America!
So today when I saw a post on Facebook from a friend of mine it was like I can’t keep my mouth shut any longer. This friend of mine is an artist, he is one of the premier portraitists in the United States today, and probably extending as far as different parts of the world like Europe.
His name is Garth Herrick. He is not some kind of flashy, showboating artist, he’s a working artist. He is a gentle soul and a kind person and humble. He’s the kind of person that would stop to help you if you were in distress and he would do it even if he didn’t know you. He’s just a good person. Because he lives in the city he often rides his bike because look at Philadelphia? Do you ever try to park on the street Philadelphia? Or what happens if you give up a space? Also, he is an avid cyclist in general and he cycles everywhere.
He was going down the street in the right direction, sounds like a smaller street or something like that, and he encountered a cab coming the wrong way. What ensued is absolutely nuts, and essentially the cab driver beat the crap out of him.
After ramming Garth on his bike with his cab, it was recounted that then the cab driver got out of his car and went after Garth and his bike. Garth had nowhere to go and had warned the cab driver he was going the wrong way on a narrow one-way street. I think the cab driver sounded like he was screaming at my friend to get out of his way. The only problem with that is there were actually cars behind my friend as well proceeding in the proper direction. I don’t think he had much of anywhere to go?
According to what he said, and a statement that he and apparently another witness gave to the police it was a cab driver from Germantown Cab Company. The witness actually got the license plate according to what Garth posted.
Now let’s get to the rest of this. Germantown Cab Company has been in the news before. Not positive.
Philadelphia Business Journal and NBC 10report that the Philadelphia Parking Authority has shut down Germantown Cab Company, taking 150 taxis off the streets for allegedly failing to turn over proper documentation and background checks on the company’s drivers.
But that’s not the only thing. Apparently the Philadelphia Police Department didn’t show up for an hour and a half to the scene and how is that even possible????? My friend turned down their offer of medical assistance and friends took him to a local hospital to be treated that he was comfortable with. (Because that’s the thing in addition that makes this hard, when they send an ambulance or whatever to take you to a hospital it’s not necessarily where you want to go.)
My elderly mother has been accosted more than twice in front of her building in what is considered a good neighborhood by mentally ill homeless vagrants. The last time it happened it was so bad that someone kindly jumped out of a car on the street and pulled the homeless man off of my mother who was sitting on a bench next to the front door of her apartment building. When I asked my mother why she didn’t call the police she told me because when you call the police in Philadelphia a lot of the time they don’t show up or they show up hours later.
You hear horror stories about crime everywhere. But in Philadelphia it’s extra special. They have a police officer shortage to begin with, and a lot of controversy over what they call “extended tours“ for officers.
And I think a lot of this as far as the total deterioration of Philadelphia can be laid directly at the feet of lame duck Mayor Jim Kenney. He is what my great aunt from South Philadelphia would have referred to as a “bum.”
So Kenney, what are you going to do here, yo.? Why am I writing about this? Because this isn’t the end of the story. And I think this also needs airing.
When my friend was waiting for police to arrive, he posted about what happened including a photo of his battered face in his local Facebook group in Germantown. Some people were sympathetic, but others were downright terrible. He was accused of being like the living embodiment of white privilege to being called a “Karen.”
I have screenshots of these comments, but I am choosing not to share them. I think they would only serve to inflame tensions in a very beleaguered section of Philadelphia which is just tired of crime.
But victim shaming/blaming is just something I find reprehensible.
I have to ask have we stooped so low as a society that we can’t exhibit any compassion or kindness? And again my friend is a salt of the earth kind of human being, he is just simply a really good guy. I also wonder if in this instance if he wasn’t a guy reporting a crime within his local Facebook group while waiting for the police if it would have made a difference?
So that is it for this sad story of crime and victim shaming straight from the streets of Philadelphia.
I think we all need to do better and try harder no matter where we live. And here’s hoping that the City of Philadelphia does something about this. Enough law and disorder.