OK, Here is a Real Difference Between Nutter and Fattah

This is Mike Nutter, both talking about the specifics of the Chaka Fattah plan to lease the airport, and his philosophy on using Philly resources to fight poverty (from The Next Mayor):

Another candidate has proposed leasing the Airport as a funding mechanism to fight poverty in Philadelphia. This proposal is flawed in both theory and practice. In practical terms, the experimental leasing program authorized by the FAA is slow (the only lease obtained took 34 months to approve and it was for the airport in Newburgh, New York!) and uncertain (if Midway Airport in Chicago receives its expected lease approval, then federal legislation will be needed to allow a second “major hub” lease, which is now prohibited.) But beyond the practical limitations, generations of experience has shown that confronting social challenges like poverty requires the resources of the state and federal governments. It is simply misguided public policy to use limited local resources to meet the responsibilities of higher governments. Democrats since FDR and LBJ have understood that it is wrong to ask orphans to build their own orphanages, and that it is just as wrong for cities to spend down their limited assets to provide limited help for the nation’s poor.

Read again the last three or four sentences, and you see real, fundamental differences in the philosophy of Mike Nutter and Chaka Fattah. Nutter believes that even if Fattah's program to lease the airport could work, it is simply wrong to do anyway, because cities should not be spending their assets on programs for poor people.

I am not going to get into a big flame war by saying, uh, "that doesn't sound so progressive." I will just say it doesn't sound so hopeful to me, or particularly ambitious. Yes, we need more resources from the State and Federal Government. But, if we don't get them, or don't get enough of them, Nutter is basically saying a lack of solutions will not be his fault, because that ain't the city's job.

Again, whatever you want to call it, that is a pretty big difference in two candidates.

More accurately, I think,

More accurately, I think, Nutter believes that unfunded mandates are a drain on the City's finances. Cities should have a rol in helping their poor, but the relative advantage enjoyed by Philly's suburbs in terms of service costs right now is almost exclusively a result of the City's unfunded federal mandates and its costs in dealing with unions.
Its my impression that Nutter's stance is that the Federal government should should some of the responsibility for its decrees. I concede that his delivery needs work, but I think he has a point, not merely for Philadelphia, but cities in general.
The way I understand it, he is trying to be politically realistic while trying to benefit the City as a whole. Does he need a better plan to help deal with poverty in a society with widening income disparity? You bet. Is he biased toward the upper middle class? Absolutely. Is that a bad thing? Maybe, but who did the Rendell tax cuts favor? We all know the middle class shoulders the cost of most city services. What happens when they all leave for Bryn Mawr?

I don't think anyone

I don't think anyone disagrees with this:

Its my impression that Nutter's stance is that the Federal government should should some of the responsibility for its decrees. I concede that his delivery needs work, but I think he has a point, not merely for Philadelphia, but cities in general.

Legislative Committee Did Not Recommend Airport Sale or Lease

I served on a legislative committee established by John Perzel in 1998 or 2000 to look into the sale or lease of the Philadephia Airport. The argument was that Philadelphia had too few passengers for its size, and that private enterprise could run the airport better and pay the city $1 billion to $2 billion for the privilege.

When placed under a microscope, however, the wisdom of the plan did not seem very great; no committee consensus was reached; and Perzel eventually dropped the idea. The relatively low passenger totals at the Philadelphia airport could be explained by the fact that there are so many other airports within a short drive of many potential fliers. Philadelphia then had plans--which since have been executued--to increase its capacity and its menu of flights.

Further, Philadelphia's interest in having a strong airport is faar more constant than any contractor, who may, at any given time have other priorities or conflicts of interest.

Airport costs are almost entirely paid by the federal government and the airlines, so there is virtually no savings to Philadelphia taxpayers. But the city gets to employ many people at the airport--paid for by the airlines and the federal government--so that generates considerable wage tax revenue as well as sales tax revenue, car rental tax revenue, and liquor by the drink tax revenue, and Parking Authority revenue. Allowing the airport manager to lay off better paid workers and hire lower paid workers would likely lower the quality of services provided and certainly would reduce the tax revenue to the City of Philadelphia.

$1 to $2 billion in payment sounds like a money. It is undoubtedly considerably more than the net worth of all the message board posters here combined. But over a 99 year period--the period of the suggested lease--it is not very much to solve seriousl social problems.

Even if it was all to be paid immediately, the best possible but unlikely scenario, it should be kept in mind that total ANNUAL budget of the city and school district combined is now more than $6 billion. Taking the most optimistic proposal as fact--that we would get $2 billion to put in the bank for the long haul--we could get only about $80 million a year in interest assuming a 4% annual return. That would amount to an increase in spending of about 1%. That will not end poverty in Philadelphia, or even seriously curtail it.

Whoever proposes sale or long-term lease of the Philadelphia airport, it is a bad idea that denies the city of Philadelphia of full use of a major asset, if indeed the the vast regulatory hurdles that have to be crossed for it to take effect could be overcome.

I agree it isn't exactly a

I agree it isn't exactly a ringing endorsement on how to help the poverty issue, but both sides of the coin can be seen.

On one end he is saying we don't have the resources to wage a war on poverty, by ourselves. You mentioned yourself that the pension issue is a grave concern, and we all know infrastructure and schools need dire help. So, is he being heartless or a realist? Although it would be nice to hear some sort of targeted plan, it isn't completely unreasonable to say "we need help".

The other side we have Fattah. He has a variety of plans targeting poverty. The problem is, to fund his promises, it is involving a revenue stream that currently we are not going to get. It would be nice if he had a a "Plan B" for his promises if the airport is a no-go.

Some, one of the similarities is that they both are putting their poverty plans on the shoulders of the Federal government. Nutter wants the State and Feds to step in more and handle it and Fattah wants the Feds to legalize a revenue stream.

So, when it comes to the poverty issue, based on what I have read, I think they both are not properly addresing the point. Neither has a realistic plan for helping poverty. No one has a plan that can start being implemented the day they take office.

Talking about a plan is nice, but it doesn't count if you can't implement it.

Another difference

With my perspective as someone who grew up in the suburbs and still has family in Delaware and Montgomery Counties, I was encouraged to see this part of the plan:

The Airport, however, is a valuable asset that can leverage regional cooperation for comprehensive transportation planning and investments. I propose putting the Airport’s considerable value on the table as an inducement to form a powerful Regional Mobility Commission that could make investments that would benefit all residents and workers in the metropolitan area. In addition to the Airport, the City also owns the tunnels and tracks used by SEPTA’s MarketFrankford El, Broad Street Subway, and the Subway/Surface Routes to West Philadelphia. The leases for these tunnels with SEPTA expire in 2007. They provide a second enormously valuable asset that could facilitate the negotiation of a whole new governance structure for transportation in the metropolitan area.

It's been a long time since I've heard any Philadelphia politician talk about what the city can actually offer to its neighbors and the state as a whole. It seems that most of the time, they talk about going to Harrisburg to get what's coming to the city without bringing anything to the table themselves.

That said, the skeptic/cynic in me thinks that Philadelphia could offer Independence Hall, The Liberty Bell and Citizens Bank Park to the suburbs and they still wouldn't want to cooperate. The divisions of race, class and politics (though the 'burbs are trending bluer all the time) are still pretty deep. It may take someone far more charismatic (dare I say, messianic?) than Nutter or anyone in the field to bridge that gap. In that way, a plan that depends on regional cooperation may be just as unlikely to happen as one that depends on federal and state funding or federal permission to lease the airport.

Ain't it great to hear them all talking about this stuff, though?

Street hasn't talked about

Street hasn't talked about it. But Rendell talked about it all the time. He then had to promptly shut up about it when he ran for Governor, because the idea of regionalization was so unpopular in the 'burbs. So, while yeah, it is good to hear them talking about it, I am not confident Nutter could do it. In fact, in a sort of Nixon to China thing, we might need some sort of really popular suburban official who could be the person to do it (of course, with the county divisions, even that is hard).

Maybe the leverage he talks about will work, but I am skeptical. I will tell you though, after spending 4 years in Minnesota, having a metro area that thinks regionally really does make a big difference.

Moving beyond talking about it

You're right. They all talk about it to some extent. Apparently, Wilson Goode actually used to have breakfast meetings with all of the county commissioners from the suburban counties. Then his popularity took a nose dive and regionalism got pushed aside. I'd love to know what he could have accomplished if MOVE hadn't happened.

As for other examples, Chicago and Denver also show what can happen when regional cooperation is the norm. We're working on a short video based on what we learned about regionalism when we went to Chicago as part of the Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange (attended, by the way, by Nutter and Evans). The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia is bringing Denver's mayor, John Hickenlooper, to town on April 18th to talk about what he's learned. He's a very interesting story and happens to have grown up in the Philly suburbs. We (The Next Mayor Project and WHYY) hope to provide some coverage of that too.

So, let me get this

So, let me get this straight? You are claiming Nutter is not "Progressive" because he is unwilling to mortgage Philadelphia's future to achieve a short-term fix? So because Nutter is not willing to screw the next generation of Philadelphians, you think he is not Progressive?

That makes complete sense.

Dan, can you explain to me how you can on one hand criticize pay-day and sub-prime lending and on the other hand support Fattah's plan hock the airport?

This site is quickly becoming a joke.
______________________________
Phillyville

Down stalker boy, down.

Down stalker boy, down.

The point is that there is a clear difference in their philosophies, in terms of the role City government should play in terms of getting people out of poverty.

Or is it a matter of

Or is it a matter of realizing that, on the local level, there are significantly less resources and assets to mortgage?

I think a reasonable criticism of Fattah's plan is that it is short sighted and, perhaps not all that well developed. Like I have said before, it is not either or. You original post is much more absolutist than this comment above.

A little Different

No, I mean, I get that on the local level we have a lot less resources.

But, again, if Nutter just said the airport plan would not work, that would be one thing. But, again, this was a purposeful answer in a paper put out by his campaign where he laid out a pretty clear philosophy: Even if it could work, the City shouldn't do it, because funding programs for the poor is not the job of Philadelphia.

I guess I don't get though what in his position I am misreading? Many people have the basic philosophy that Nutter is talking about- that the job of a Mayor is to efficiently provide services, period. That doesn't mean he is a bad person, but it does pretty clearly show a difference between his and Fattah's philosophies.

Your Fattah-Colored Glasses

Funny how good Dan is at applying the principles of statutory interpretation when it comes to getting Brady knocked off the ballot. But when it comes to Nutter, Dan settles on an interpretation that is completely nonsensical.

For the sake of my sanity, I'll refrain from further comment.

DeWitt, I am gonna send you

DeWitt, I am gonna send you a couple pictures of me for your office, so I can be with you more often. Headshots? Rowing? What do you prefer?

Who's the absolutist?

Let's look at this quote yet again:;

Democrats since FDR and LBJ have understood that it is wrong to ask orphans to build their own orphanages, and that it is just as wrong for cities to spend down their limited assets to provide limited help for the nation’s poor.

That is a very strong statement of political philosophy, is it not? The only ambiguity there is in the expression "spend down." What exactly does that mean? Does it mean that a city can't divert revenue from other vital services in order to fight poverty? Does it mean that a city can't divert any revenues into povery-fighting programs?

I would assume that the answer lies somewhere in between those two positions, but given the possibility that Nutter is an idealogue who sees good policies for Philly as being synomous with policies recommended by the Chamber of Commerce, reading such a quote is disturbing. I say that as someone who is seriously considering voting for Nutter.

Spend Down Is . . .

"Spend down" in this case means selling an asset and using the proceeds from the sale for operating or program expenses. When you have an asset like the airport that is producing positive cashflow and is well performing and increasing in value, and you sell it and use the proceeds on operating costs or programs, you have a number of economic problems, such as:

1. It does not solve underlying budget problems and is a temporary solution to funding operating costs or programs at the expense of losing a asset, which has value and can produce revenue in excess of expenses for an extended period of time (as in the case of the airport).

2. Once the revenue from the sale of the asset is used up you either need to find new funding to pay for the operating costs or programs funded by the sale of the assets or cut operating costs or programs.

3. Once you sell (or do a long-term lease of) an asset you lose all or some control over the asset, and in the case of the airport its operations. This is not to say that the party buying or leasing the asset will do a worse job running the asset, but you still do lose control, which can have an impact on the level or types of service, especially in the case where certain aspects of the operation that have a public benefit may be unprofitable or undesirable to the new owner.

The issue is not on spending more money for anti-poverty programs. It is who pays and how to pay for it; and in this case the position against having the City pay for anti poverty programs by selling an asset is a prudent position.

deleted

oops! My post was obviously wrong.

I agree with DeWitt here

not in tone, but in substance -- I think you're misreading your bolded sentence to mean that he doesn't care about the poor, where as I read it, it seems like he thinks the suggested solution is short-sighted and would not only be a bandaid (where really blood infusions are needed) but would cripple the city in a way that kept it from continuing to help later. I think that's the right assessment.

I feel the same way about the turnpike lease idea -- you're talking about giving up a small revenue stream for a burst of cash, which is a reasonable plan if you have short-term physical plant needs, but not just because your overall budget needs more operating funds (because you're inherently losing money on the deal or else nobody would be willing to lease). a thumb in the dike, but one that actually deepens the water on the other side. not good.

acm

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
— Margaret Mead

Wooh!

Yes, a clear read of Dan's post shows it's not so much about the airport and more about what each candidate thinks about the City's role in addressing poverty. Nutter effectively said that the city shouldn't use its resources in a major way to do it. That's a very strong statement.

It's fair to read Nutter's quote as saying "airport money or otherwise."

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BradyDale OnLine
The R.I.I.C. Blog
The Philadelphia Unemployment Project

not so sure

I disagree that "it's fair to read Nutter's quote as saying 'airport money or otherwise.'" while it might apply to more than airport money (e.g., selling off Fairmont Park would fit), I think he's talking quite specifically about using assets for cash, rather than finding real, lasting sources of cash-flow to deal with real long-term problems. sure, he'd prefer that the state and country step up to help with poverty, rather than leaving poor cities to find money for poor people (as stupid as expecting homeless folks to cure homelessness), but I don't get the impression *at all* that his problem is with cities dealing with poverty as much as they can, just with sacrificing important assets (assets, physical properties, not money) for funds that don't really fix the problem and leave you with less thereafter.

I don't disagree, nor do I see this as in any way incompatible with a progressive outlook. selling your house to buy groceries may get you through the month, but it's not going to get you through the year -- that's just bad finance, and cities should have better ways of keeping their people fed.

acm

But what about the first five words

in this sentence from Nutter: "BUT BEYOND THE PRACTICAL LIMITATIONS, generations of experience has shown that confronting social challenges like poverty requires the resources of the state and federal governments." (I capitalized because I couldn't figure out how else to give emphasis.)

Don't those words make clear Nutter's not merely arguing against capital sales but saying too that fighting poverty as a general rule requires specific targeted funds from other governments? They do to me. Otherwise he wouldn't single out poverty-fighting programs as needing help from other governments. We're quite overwhelmed financially in any number of other areas, but he doesn't say we can't deal with those without state or federal aid.

Furthermore the truth is that you can't deal with "normal" urban issues without dealing with poverty. If police, trash and fire spending is truly local in nature, they're wasted expenses unless we deal with poverty. We will have unsafe, unsanitary and dangerous streets and buildings -- and more and more of them -- unless we build our human capital. These "normal" expenditures will, and already are, getting well out of hand. So the distinction between normal city spending and poverty spending is weak at best and, I fear, only serves to build additional wedges between the classes in our City.

And what about spending for health centers which mainly serve the poor? Is that poverty spending or spending for public health? If we have to choose between hiring more cops or more doctors and nurses with local money, how does Nutter's comment help us choose?

Because I think it requires

Because I think it requires a balance. I think people have to keep in mind that every citizen isn't an idealistic person.

At what point is the poverty threshold too much? At what point is it acceptable to cannibalize other services? I took his point as saying that cities do not have the resources to effectively combat poverty, let alone with a 25% rate, without sacrificing quality of life for others as well - in the form of more taxes and/or less services.

As stated, we have a 20%+ poverty rate. On estimation, how much a year do you need to spend to "solve" the problem? Let's say the poverty rate is only 20% and Fattah manages to get $130 million a year. That is about $464 per person under the poverty line per year. I think we can assume that isn't going to solve the poverty problem (or else the US would have won the war on poverty back in the 70s).

So now with coming budget problems, as mentioned with the school and pension, where does the money come from?

Raise taxes? How far can you go on taxes before you alienate the rest of the populace and destroy the local economy?

Cut other services? What is worth cutting? Parades throughout the year? They are just frills. Layoff municipal servants? That just adds to the unemployed and poverty rate.

I think it is the city's job to "sustain" the poor, but the City does need to other help to aid in elevating them without raising taxes or cutting services.

I think the gist of it is, a local municipality has the first priority of supplying services necessary for the city to function and benefit all residents - i.e. schools, police, health inspections, transit, building inspections, some level of culture and entertainment (museums, public festivals) ,etc.

If the city can raise revenue above those needs, then I am all for more targeted programs.

It all comes down to, what can a local municipality solve on its own without sacrificing the rest of its residents.

And as Ray keeps pointing out, we have a huge poverty problem ... that makes it even more evident that the City needs help. 25% is a staggering number.... a staggering number that grows while the other tax paying base is leaving the City.

It comes down to tough choices that benefit the whole city and allow it to prosper while still doing what it can to help the less fortunate.

My point, and the point Ray makes is

you don't have to be an "idealistic person" to care about poverty. Poverty ruins cities. The services that "are necessary for the city to function" include those that take down the poverty rate. Unless you think poverty doesn't impact the quality of life for everyone. Personally, as a nonpoor person, it's not cool for me to have to worry about what parts of the city are, or are not, equivalent to a war zone. To have a quarter of the population or more, without the essentials of life means there's a lot of desperation out there that I may come face to face with. The non-idealistic approach to that, I guess, is to say that we'll just lock up that problem and put it out of sight. But we know we can't do that. The prisons -- which we have to pay for -- are teeming. And sucking up tons of money. It's not an optional goody for us to find a way to deal with poverty; it's part and parcel of what we have to do to have a functioning, fiscally sound, city.

So from a strictly *nonidealistic* standpoint, it's strategically inept to think fighting poverty can be separated out from the rest of what a successful City government needs to do.

But a local municipality can

But a local municipality can deal with poverty in ways that benefit more than just the poor.

We have all agreed that education is a HUGE aide in fighting poverty. So what is wrong with, instead of a new poverty targeted program, you invest in the school infrastructure? It is probably one of the best long term solutions to poverty, distinctly within the jurisdiction of the City and not going to get people to argue against it.

Public transit funding helps everyone, but the savings are a bigger percentage of a poor person's wage than the middle and upper class.

Why not concentrate on services that directly benefit the whole city, but have a higher rate of return for the poor?

My "idealistic" reference is to some that think everyone is willing to be taxed at Canadian rates to fight poverty. Everyone is not like that, not even the majority of people (whether you find it unfortunate or not).

We do have a poverty problem, but people have to realize that the middle class is struggling too and any cut services or raises in taxes hurts a group of people able to up and leave and tax their tax stream with them.

Like I said, it requires a balancing act and unfortunately one that can't adequately be done without other help.

What have we already done with the airport?

Philadelphia can't wait for help from outside any longer to solve its own problems.

The airport has been steadily generating revenue for the city of Philadelphia since its inception. It brought about $271 million in last yearbut it cost $267 to operate the airport (which includes purchases, personnel,and debt service). So that's a net profit of $4 million a year or .1% of the city's annual budget.

So, it's great to hear all of this talk about the airport as an asset, but it's not one we've been taking full advantage of for some time.

And, at the end of the day, this conversation is a lot bigger than just the airport: Fattah has come up with a plan to halve poverty because he thinks it's not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do for a city that is trying to remain solvent now and into the future.

What would median real estate values be if you cut the poverty rate in half? How would all of our daily lives improve and how much better would city services be if we significantly reduced poverty here?

Fattah has a plan. What is Nutter's? What is Knox's? What is Evans'? What is Brady's?

If your candidate has a plan to reduce poverty in a serious way, cool. Tell us what it is. If your candidate doesn't, and you don't care, because you don't think significant reduction of poverty is a top goal, that's cool too--but be upfront about it and stop conflating very distinct positions.

Lastly--Nutter is totally right--the state and the feds need to step in and provide us with funds to deal with poverty reduction. But that does not mean that the city can't do a lot more to come up with its own streams of revenue to address this issue--what I consider a core issue--too.

WHAT IS THE PLAN?

As best I can tell, Fattah has a plan to have a plan, which isn't really a plan, is it?

Yes it is an asset and what

Yes it is an asset and what confuses some people is "what would a private investor do to be able to give us $130 million a year when we only generate $4 million a year off of it"?

You need to be fair Ray. On one end you trash the idea of privatizing PLCB because it will get rid of good middle class jobs for the sake of lowering alcohol prices. Well, wouldn't that be exactly the same case with the airport? Where do you think a private investor is going to net cost savings to justify their ownership? Wouldn't you be sacrificing middle class jobs to fund poverty programs? It sounds like a bad Robin Hood story of "robbing from the not so poor to give to the poor". Not exactly an efficient redistribution of wealth.

So how about this. We privatize the PLCB and the licenses the State sells for stores goes into poverty programs and the alcohol tax funds the current PLCB programs. Would that be sufficient justification for you to sell out the middle class jobs you covet?

In a nutshell, this is what I am getting at and what people seem to be overlooking. We currently have 25% poverty. It was 22%. Total pop is dwindling. This would indicate we have a problem of middle class getting poorer and/or they are leaving the city. Ignoring issues of the middle class is just as bad as not helping the poor, if not worse because that 4% wage tax is the brunt of the tax base to fund the City.

As for other candidate plans, I don't have a candidate. It is true Nutter has my vote as of this moment, but there is over a month left in the election. My choice is not final until I punch my card.

And you say Philly can't wait for outside help. That is also another problem I have. Evans and Fattah are the people to help! But not as mayor. They can bring us money right now. Hey, if in the next two weeks Fattah comes out and says "I secured $40 million a year from the government to fund X poverty programs for Philly." I would be happy and Fattah would shoot up my list because he put his money where his mouth is and fought for Philly poverty at his current job and delivered.

So, with pressing budget issues and a struggling poor AND struggling middle class, I think the best thing for the city is to concentrate on what it can fix and I think the #1 overwhelming way to help the middle class and poor is to give us at least average grade schools for the masses. Increase the quality of the schools and the poor become more educated and can help break the poverty cycle. Increase the quality of the schools and the middle class doesn't need to spend $5-10K a year on private school per child and that can go into disposable income, college and retirement.

Dump the money into what is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to help everyone, ESPECIALLY the poor.

Schools.

read the plan

Go to Fattah's policy center and read the plan. Here's what it says about the airport:

this lease arrangement would ensure the continuation of current labor contracts, current employee retention and the assumption and expansion of all minority business contracting agreements. Any lease would also include the requirement that collective bargaining rights be protected.

As for you other points, Fattah's plans do not only benefit the 25% of people who live below the federal poverty line. You are getting confused. His plans benefits every middle-income family who wants better city services, an improved environment, or illegal guns taken off the streets.

Most importantly though, the Fattah plan's centerpiece is education. I am glad i convinced you to support Fattah since you made his point pretty clearly:

So, with pressing budget issues and a struggling poor AND struggling middle class, I think the best thing for the city is to concentrate on what it can fix and I think the #1 overwhelming way to help the middle class and poor is to give us at least average grade schools for the masses.

Dump the money into what is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to help everyone, ESPECIALLY the poor.

Sounds a lot like the opening salvo in Fattah's Opportunity Agenda, doesn't it?

The Opportunity Agenda will be comprehensive, education-led and evidence-based. Through it, the city will enhance and expand early childhood education, literacy, and science instruction. The city will create the best learning environment possible at home, in the school and after school. This agenda will provide incentives for youth to stay in school, expand access to college and create a culture of achievement throughout our city. Through extensive oversight, data analysis and enhanced accountability, the Fattah Administration will ensure that the city is getting the right return on its investment.

Again, how is it expected

Again, how is it expected that someone can afford to give the city $130 million a year if there isn't anything they can rally cut and why isn't the City currently doing it?

And then, without the airport, where is Fattah getting the money for all his plans? If I recall correctly, a lot of his plans involve funding non-profits for other new programs as well, correct?

I would honestly be more inclined to Fattah if I felt he had anything concrete to show he could support his plans in a sustainable manner.

Hoping for the airport is not sustainable.

Response on Fattah Airport plan

Fattah is pretty confident about his airport plan. It's not a plan to fund city government; it's a plan to leverage an asset to make an investment.

You clearly would not pay the city of Philadelphia to run an airport, but there are private firms who would. It's been done it in other cities.

Why would a private firm run an airport? They think that they can do two things better as a private enterprise with expertise running airports:

1- get more concession contracts (more deals with Burger King, more ads on walls, etc.) to generate revenue.

2- get people in and out more efficiently and thus use more gates (and fly in more planes).

We make $ 4 million off the airport now because we run it as a public service--but there are private firms who think they can make a lot more and I am not sure I agree with you that labor force or wage cuts are where the profit comes from.

If Fattah sells a company on this plan, and he is pretty confident that he will, the city would get an upfront payment from the private firm.

This lump sum gets invested in the Philadelphia Opportunity Fund (which is basically an investment fund, just like any foundation uses to invest their money--in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. This Fund would then generate $150 to $160 million per year.

That money is used to accomplish what you said should be the number one priority of the city:

the #1 overwhelming way to help the middle class and poor is to give us at least average grade schools for the masses.

Dump the money into what is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to help everyone, ESPECIALLY the poor.

Like I said previously, this is Fattah's plan. It is pretty detailed, and it's been done in other places. Voters will have to decide:

a- if they think it's a good idea

b- if they think investing in education to reduce poverty makes sense.

Well, I say pay us $135

Well, I say pay us $135 because even though we are generating money off interest, it is money they aren't using in other ventures.

And thank you for stating why Fattah believes a private investor would be interested.

What and Where

Ray - where have governments monetized public assets and used them for new programs? I am very familiar with this practice and yes, it's being done all over the place (for toll roads, parking garages, etc.). But where has it been used to fund new programs that are in no way related to the asset being leveraged?

Like I said

Airports have been leased. Have any been leased to fund an investment in ending poverty?

Jeff, I don't know and I don't care. You keep skirting my question:

Should we make investing in reducing poverty our top priority?

I get the feeling you think the answer is no. That's fine, but on May 15th, voters who think that halving poverty and ending generational cycles of poverty is the smartest thing to do to grow Philadelphia know who to vote for.

No Skirting

Ray - I think that one of the jobs of the mayor of our City is to juggle myriad competing interests. I want a Mayor who has a number of "top priorities" and then works to accomplish them. I couldn't possibly pick a top priority out of public education, public safety, poverty abatement, sustainability, and effective/efficient public services. They're all so important.

As somebody who is concerned about government effectiveness, I do care to know whether a government has leveraged a public asset to fund new programs unrelated to the asset being sold and you should too. Here's why - the airport - or any other asset that can be monetized - has tremendous capital maintenance and infrastructure needs. That's why governments lease these assets out...to get up front payments to fund deferred maintenance and capital projects. If you take all that up front money and spend it on something unrelated, where are you going to get the money to take care of the asset?

Priorities

So Jeff, I hear you and i think you are confusing rhetorical passion with a cut and dry list of priorities.

Fattah has listed a number of "priorities" that he will enact via policy changes and through the legislative process with Council. These include public safety, public education, sustainability and efficient, ethical and transparent delivery of public services, and many more. Go to www.phillyforfattah.com, go to the policy center and you will see a list.

But Dan's original post said let's ID some key differences between the candidates.

The biggest difference between Fattah and everyone else is that he said he would:

a- use the airport as leverage for investments (something no one else had said prior.

b- that he would use the money gained from a lease of the airport to invest in a significant reduction of poverty.

The airport currently brings $4 million a year into city coffers--that's .01% of the city budget.

The lease deal that Fattah has proposed would take all day to day maintenance decisions about the airport and put them in the hands of the private firm.

Long-term and bigger dollar capital investments traditionally come from federal sources anyway, but there's no reason that some of the money that is invested in the new Opportunity Foundation could not be set aside for capital needs.

Rhetorical Passion

Ray - I hear you too. But for "b", there's really no plan, just a plan to have a plan.

haven't we already had this conversation?

Jeff, I always enjoy debates with you. For those who are unacquainted, I will respond to Jeff's points, and then he will respond and say "that's not really my point, instead what will you do about X?" So, I may not have enough time today to play that whole scenario out with him. So far, Jeff has said, "I don't want to lease the airport for poverty. It's too risky to give up income needed to maintain the airport."

I answered that. Now he's saying, he doesn't like the plan.

Fattah has a lot of good ideas to reduce poverty--including putting all of the proceeds of expired ten year tax abatements into the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, not to mention his entire workforce development plan which talks about focusing economic development monies on industries with growth potential.

But, to specifically address your point that Fattah only has "a plan to have a plan" to end poverty, I thought I would just reprint the Opportunity agenda here which is specifically focused on using dollars from the lease of the airport to reduce generational poverty in Philadelphia:

#1 Mayor Fattah will establish a Philadelphia Opportunity Foundation of civic, education and business leaders to oversee the entire implementation of Fattah's Opportunity Agenda. This volunteer foundation, headed by Mayor Fattah, will carefully oversee all program and spending components of this agenda, monitor its successes and look to improve the initiatives undertaken to maximize the opportunities offered to all Philadelphians.

# 2 Ensure that Every Child Has Access to Early Education. Every parent and community stakeholder should understand the importance of early childhood education. During the 2004-2005 school year, the percentage of children entering Philadelphia's public school kindergartens that received formal early child care and education fell to 66 percent from 70 percent the previous year. Four decades of social science research tells us that investing in the minds of children between the ages of three and five yields extraordinary returns to both our society and our economy. As Mayor, Chaka Fattah will create a network of early child care and education centers, available to all Philadelphians.

# 3 Focus on Literacy in Elementary School. An early grasp of literacy is the cornerstone of future academic achievement. To promote literacy in our city's elementary schools, Mayor Fattah will call on teacher trainers like the Children's Literacy Initiative and others to make sure all of our early elementary school teachers have the training to effectively teach literacy. He will also provide parents with basic training in literacy education through teacher training programs and the Free Library of Philadelphia. Finally, Fattah will look for new ways to provide reading materials to children, including through the Wireless Philadelphia Initiative, local cable television and new library outreach efforts.

# 4 Make Philadelphia a Leader in Math and Science Instruction. Philadelphia is blessed with a number of leading scientific companies and institutions including the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Philadelphia Zoo, the Morris Arboretum, University of the Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Rohm & Haas, Temple University and the math, science and medical programs at all of our region's first-class universities. Mayor Fattah will bring the expertise of these institutions into our city's math and science classrooms by asking representatives of these institutions to help develop the math and science curriculum for our city's schools. This will ensure that our math and science teachers have the necessary professional development to effectively implement this curriculum. Similarly, Fattah will attempt to bring all of our city's science classrooms to these institutions for hands-on learning. Finally, Fattah will expand the Educational Advancement Alliance's mobile learning lab program to provide every elementary and middle school student access to a hands-on learning experience in science.

# 5 Build Cutting-Edge Community and After School Centers. Project H.O.M.E.'s Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs is a state-of-the-art learning center, which is outfitted with cutting edge hardware and software systems, and which provides after school programs for area children and teens with evening GED and literacy classes for adults. The Center focuses on helping Philadelphians increase their educational and employment opportunities through comprehensive technology and literacy instruction. Mayor Fattah will expand this model and build 21st Century community and after-school centers in other regions of the city to provide support and valuable educational tools to our city's children, youth and families.

# 6 Make Every Classroom a Classroom of the Future. Philadelphia cannot afford to overhaul each of the city's 270 schools, but it can modernize every classroom for grades six through twelve, with Smart Boards, wireless internet connections and laptops for every child. In order to maximize the usefulness of this new technology, the Fattah Administration and the School District will design and implement a Smart classroom training course for all teachers, so that they will know how to effectively utilize this new technology. This effort will utilize various state funding sources as well as city dollars.

# 7 Expand Paid High School Internships. Mayor Fattah will work with the School District of Philadelphia, the Chamber of Commerce, labor groups and other area employers to increase the number of paid internships offered to students, including providing incentives to area businesses that provide internships. The Chamber's recent announcement that it will provide 1,000 paid internships is a great start on this effort, and more can be done. Internships can be a valuable tool for high school retention by providing an incentive that can bolster future employability.

# 8 Increase Apprenticeship Opportunities for High School Graduates. Chaka Fattah full supports the recent agreement between the Building and Construction Trades Council and the School Reform Commission to accept 250 to 425 high school graduates from the city's public schools over four years in exchange for participation in the city's $1.8 billion school construction plan. As Mayor, Fattah would use other government contracts to leverage apprenticeships and internships for the city's high school students and graduates.

# 9 Help Philadelphia High School Students Get a Jump on College. The Fattah Administration will call on the 83 institutions of higher education in the Philadelphia region to partner with the city's neighborhood high schools to create Early College High Schools. Early College High Schools provide high school students the opportunity to earn an Associate's degree or college credits. Under the program, earned college credits are paid for at public expense. Instruction is compressed into four or five years and emphasizes rigorous instruction, relevant curriculum and supportive relationships. Finally, Early College High Schools focus on serving students traditionally underrepresented in higher education and target first-generation, low-income, English language learner, and minority students. By offering the chance to get a jump on college, our city's comprehensive neighborhood schools will improve student retention and help students prepare for and experience advanced learning. The possibility of earning two years of college credit while still in high school will draw some of our strongest students back to neighborhood schools, reduce the financial burden of college and increase the chances that Philadelphia students complete their degrees.

# 10 Increase Access to College for All Philadelphians. Chaka Fattah is committed to fully endowing the Core Philly Program regardless of the outcome of the Mayoral election. This program offers all Philadelphia high school seniors - whether from the public, private, charter or parochial systems - a unique opportunity to attend select Pennsylvania colleges and universities through need-based, last-dollar scholarships up to $3,000. Currently, CORE Philly Scholarships help students pay for their first year of college. Once the first year has been fully endowed, Chaka Fattah will explore expanding this program to provide funding for the second year of college as well.

# 11 Create an Incentive Program to Institute a Culture of Excellence in Philadelphia. Mayor Fattah will work with the Opportunity Foundation to build a culture of excellence in Philadelphia by providing incentives for success. The aim will be to recognize and reinforce success and excellence at every educational level, for achievements large and small in order to change how our city thinks about education and opportunity. Incentives and rewards could range from certificates of recognition to scholarships and other awards which will help Philadelphians move beyond self-sufficiency and significantly increase their life chances.

# 12 Increase Adult Education. As Mayor, Chaka Fattah will work to implement a strategic plan to help Philadelphia adults with college credits complete their degrees. According to a study by Graduate! Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Economy League and the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board, 80,000 Philadelphia adults between the ages of 25 and 45 have earned college credits but have not finished their Bachelor's or Associate's degree. If 10,000 of these adults finished their degrees, city tax revenues could increase by $272.3 million over 30 years, social service expenditures would save $300 million over 30 years and increase Philadelphia's purchasing power by $1.05 billion. Chaka Fattah will work to expand outreach, establish a re-engagement center to provide individual academic, financial, career, and logistical counseling. Mayor Fattah will also work with area colleges and community colleges, to increase financial aid for returning students, bolster aid for students attending school less than half time, establish flexible class scheduling and providing need-based discounts on online courses. Finally, Fattah will provide incentives for employers that provide tuition aid and reimbursement or flexible workweek scheduling to allow time for course work.

# 13 Create a Senior Administration Official to Coordinate Workforce Development. Mayor Fattah would establish a senior administration official to manage, oversee and coordinate the city's workforce development efforts. This senior official will focus on coordinating training efforts in growth industries, working with vocational programs, colleges and universities. In addition, this staff member will work with these institutions to expand their workforce development course offerings, seek to partner area employers with high schools and work to increase funding for workforce development from state, federal and private sources. Another task of this senior staff member will be to identify promote and expand successful workforce development programs like those run by A.P. Orleans, TOP/WIN, 1199C, Physicians Billing Solutions Inc. and Sunoco. Finally, this staff member will oversee the creation of job clubs, organized by Councilmanic District, for those seeking work. These clubs will provide support and information to unemployed Philadelphians and help them identify employment and training opportunities through formal and informal information sessions.

# 14 Create a Workforce Development Action Committee. Mayor Fattah will invite major stakeholders to form a Workforce Development Action Committee to help develop frameworks for workforce development and provide advice to the Mayor as he formulates his policies. This group will include business representatives, including the various chambers of commerce, representatives from unions, major workforce development non-profits and representatives from area colleges and universities.

# 15 Create Mobile Opportunity Centers. Mayor Fattah will create mobile opportunity centers that will travel throughout our city's neighborhoods six days a week, to help connect citizens with the many opportunities in our city. These centers will be a one-stop information shop to find out about both public and private programs for all Philadelphians. The city offers many economic assistance programs, including help buying and repairing a home and providing job training. But these programs are not well known. Information will be available on youth and adult recreation programs, cultural outreach opportunities, volunteer and community service outlets, charity programs, city assistance programs for homeowners and small businesses.

# 16 Hold Financial and Consumer Empowerment Events. The Fattah Administration will provide adult education on personal finance proficiency and help Philadelphians get their fair share of state and federal benefits. The city will work with organizations like the Benefit Bank to simplify the process of applying for state and federal benefits, and give Philadelphians the tools they need to successfully file taxes and navigate other government and private bureaucracies. People do not take advantage of federal and state benefits worth billions each year because applying for state and federal benefits is time consuming, confusing and stigmatized. Billions in tax credits also go unclaimed out of lack of knowledge and fear of audit. The Benefit Bank removes helps all citizens claim the benefits and tax credits they are entitled to. Chaka Fattah believes there is an unmet need for financial empowerment education in Philadelphia, and will partner with federal agencies and non-profit organizations to expand provision in our city.

Meanwhile, Jeff skirts the issue again. Fattah wants to invest a lot of money in reducing poverty. He has other priorities, but this is the one he thinks will truly guarantee Philadelphia's sustainability over the long run.

If you don't agree, don't vote for him. But out of curiosity's sake, what would your candidate do to make Philadelphia sustainable?

Fighting poverty does benefit more than just the poor

The more effective it is, the more it helps everyone. Improving schools is definitely part of it, but so is job-training, public service jobs, anti-recidivism programming, expanded child and after school care, etc. But getting back to the original post, none of these programs readily divide themselves, as far as I can tell, between those that must be funded by other governments or the City. And the primary ones on your own list, education and transportation are themselves jointly funded. So again, Nutter's post, at best, makes pointless distinctions which only exacerbate class tensions. Particularly between the middle class and the poor, because this contrast that he draws feeds on the notion that it must be the middle class that funds spending on poverty alleviation, not the rich corporations who are busy impoverishing us all. And that effect of Nutter's formulation is the only real thing about it.

Cities need help from the state and federal governments. Help with schools, transportation, police, criminal justice, job-training, child care, all of it. Period. That should be the common bottom line.

Yes, they do. But as stated

Yes, they do.

But as stated we aren't getting the money, so you have to prioritize.

this is exactly right

"Why not concentrate on services that directly benefit the whole city, but have a higher rate of return for the poor?

That is a critical component of improving the lives of the poor.

Clean everyone's streets. Fix their lights and sidewalks.

Improve everyone's elementary education (actually we should start with good pre-schools.)

Provide good transit for everyone.

Reduce crime for everyone.

Provide rec centers for everyone.

Provide support for new businesses for everyone.

Everyone benefits, but the poor benefit far, far more because they rely on these services. And they don't just benefit as individuals People spened more time on the streets. Communities get stronger. Businesses start arriving.

This is not the whole story, but it is a critical path to reducing poverty.

Marc what are you doing?

Marc what are you doing? Don't you know people aren't supposed to agree with me here? ;)

--------------------------------------------------
Staff member of Longacre for 5th Council District.

This is from The Next Mayor

This is from The Next Mayor blog:

I also heard that Ray Murphy also recently used the Philadelphians Against Santorum mailing list to send out a Fattah campaign advertisement, despite the fact that the user agreement for the list states that it will not be used for anything other than PAS communications.

could someone verify?

Clarification

That's from a commenter on the Next Mayor blog.

The former is true; he sent

The former is true; he sent out an email for Fattah. (When you have a blog, you get on every damn listserv there is.)

I don't know if that's what the EULA for Philadelphians Against Santorum said, however. I skimmed the PAS privacy policy and didn't see anything in it, however.

Update: Er, wait, nevermind: "These addresses will only be used by our organization to send out Philadelphians Against Santorum, a campaign of PA PAC for Progress communications (for example, the Philadelphians Against Santorum, a campaign of PA PAC for Progress newsletters)."

I was surprised as well

it was carefully couched as an invitation, not an advertisement -- "if you haven't made up your mind, here's an event where you can hear Chaka's ideas" and so forth -- but it did seem a bit surprising to me. of course, PAS was also set up as a subsidiary of a different group (forget the name -- Progressive Philly?), which obviously intends to reincarnate as something else at some point. (probably not a campaign in a primary though.)

Context

Nutter's putting poverty abatement into a broader policy context that includes having the Commonwealth and Federal government playing a strong role in ameliorating poverty. This very point has been consistently made by many on this site; that the Federal and State governments must do more for the City. Why is it that when Nutter says it it triggers off your "he's not a progressive" alarm?

No one disagrees that we

No one disagrees that we need more from the State and Feds. It is the rest of it that statement that I think shows a real difference.

The appeal of Nutter is that I suspect he will be a very skilled administrator of the City. For example, I suspect more more than any other candidate, he will save money where it can be saved.

The appeal of Fattah to me (forgetting the campaign finance for a sec) is more that I think many of his basic instincts are the same as mine. The question is whether you think it is achievable or not.

But, there is a basic difference in their appeals.

Sure, There's a Difference

I would have bolded this section:

"But beyond the practical limitations, generations of experience has shown that confronting social challenges like poverty requires the resources of the state and federal governments. It is simply misguided public policy to use limited local resources to meet the responsibilities of higher governments."

I'm concerned with how the next mayor will perform as the CEO of a public corporation with 23,000 employees, a $3 billion dollar budget, and a socio-economically diverse citizenry that wants/needs a broad array of public services. Skilled administration sounds terribly unsexy, but if you examine the characteristics of the most successful American mayors in recent history, they have been focused on fiscal discipline and effective management. Making sure that local government focuses on its core mission (good public services, most importantly public safety) creates the kinds of economic and social opportunities that we all dream of. Again, unsexy stuff, but it is what works.

I'm with Dan on this

Having expressed my disappointment with all the candidates, Nutter's statement highlights what's wrong with his campaign. The problem with City finances is that there's not enough money to cover City needs. Period. Therefore all programs are in jeopardy unless money is found through increased funding or increased efficiencies. But Nutter's statement identifies what should be sacrificed if those economies or increases can't be found: i.e., programs for the poor. In the grand scheme of things without looking at esoterica such as who should fund what, why would anyone suggest that in this City the needs of the poor should be the first to go if funding can't be found. That's a) heartless and b) a disaster for all of us since we are all impacted badly when upwards of 25% of our residents go without the necessities of life.

And, btw, it's not true that other governments are especially likely to use their scarce resources to fund social services. At the federal level these days, war spending is by far the chief discretionary priority. And state government loves to fund big capital projects at the behest of the Chamber of Commerce, i.e., convention centers, commuter tunnels, stadia, etc. Then it likes to serve other interests of the powers that be like a) sheltering them from taxes, b) privatizing as much as possible, and c) regulating land use for their benefit. On social services for the poor in recent years, we mainly get buck passing. And that's what we're getting from Nutter.

Spinning with Stan

Good spin Stan, but that's not what Nutter's saying (did he say to stop funding poverty abatement programs? No.) and that's not what his record indicates, notwithstanding your recollections of his evil doings :)

Where's that spin, Friedman?

From Nutter, quote: But beyond the practical limitations, generations of experience has shown that confronting social challenges like poverty requires the resources of the state and federal governments. Unquote. What about this did I spin? This doesn't suggest that he's punting on poverty alleviation funding to other governments? If he said confronting pension shortfalls "requires the resources of the state and federal governments" what would that say to you about who he thought should pay for pension shortfalls?

Spinmeister Stan

When it comes to Nutter, you love to jump to absurd conclusions about the darkness of his soul. Your spin? You really are that biased, aren't you? No, I don't think he's punting. I think that he's saying that poverty abatement is something that needs to be addressed at the local, regional, state, and federal levels. I think he saying that poverty abatement - like a lot of other issues - needs to be a collective effort.

Friedman, colorful wordmeister

You: Darkness of his soul. Me: Misplaced priorities.

Substance?

And in the hopes that we might have a substantive conversation about this - taking it beyond a political discussion - do you (or others) know of other cities in America or elsewhere that have successful abated poverty primarily using their own resources? Have any other cities in America sold major assets (like airports) to fund successful poverty abatement programs? Is this a pragmatic approach? Has it worked elsewhere?

And Further

I've never heard Nutter suggest that we should be reducing funding resources to the multitude of City and City-related agencies that provide poverty abatement (and related services). Have you?

My point: enlarge the pie

My point is this: all opportunities for increasing city funding, for all programs, should be explored and fought for tooth and nail. There was a time when there was such a thing as revenue sharing which sent (largely) unrestricted funds to cities. There was also a time when the feds paid for a public jobs program called CETA. Currently the state is constitutionally obliged to send money to the City to pay for the Courts, but doesn't do it.

A wholistic budget should be developed which deals with all the City's needs, poverty-related and not. Then we need to find funding for it on whatever theories we can come up with, program by program, or based upon the overall programmatic notion that it's not in the interest of the nation or state for its major cities to die.

The Pie

Grow it and make sure that the pie is cut the right way. Do we agree? Weird!

Seems to me there's a big difference

Seems to me there's a big difference between questioning the city's ability to devote scarce resources to vastly expand programs aimed at alleviating poverty or the utility of that strategy and suggesting that "the needs of the poor should be the first to go."

I support Michael Nutter for Mayor

The Commonwealth

Don't know what state you're talking about, but in Pennsylvania nearly 40% of the budget and 25% of the employees work for the Department of Public Welfare.

Regionalism

I would also add that - in Mike Nutter's comments - I hear an implicit reference to regionalism, a theme that he has brought up many times during the campaign. With hundreds of municipalities in the metro region, we need a Mayor who understands that we're inextricably linked together. We need to work collectively on a whole range of issues, including transportation, sustainability, and poverty abatement.

Dan, I agree that you stated

Dan, I agree that you stated an example of their differences.

I think what people are getting edgy about is that it looks like you were trying to paint Nutter as an "anti-poor" guy.

The Real Difference

Well, well. So much for talking up what's good about your candidate rather than trashing the other guy. The stink is off that rose.

When it turns out that Chaka Fattah's old treasurer's firm commited bank fraud for Ali, Dan says it isn't a big deal, and Ray Murphy wants to talk about how the federal government caused poverty. Now that Michael Nutter says that he wants the federal government to do something about poverty, and Dan thinks it's a very big deal, and that Michael Nutter wants to let poor children starve.

With this kind of willful misreading of what Nutter said, I don't see how he can win, on this issue, in this blog.

Let's suppose that Nutter had just said that Fattah's plan was unfeasible, for all the reasons he gave. Doesn't say anything about poverty. Then Dan and Ray and Stan would say, "That's Nutter for you -- all numbers, no heart. He doesn't care that Fattah's trying to help poor people."

Let's suppose he does say something about fighting poverty, but doesn't mention a way to pay for it, only that leasing the airport isn't it. Then Dan and Ray and Stan would say, "This is why I don't like Nutter -- he proposes these programs, but there's no way he can pay for them."

Instead, he lays out why Fattah's airport plan will not happen, why it will not work even if it did, and why it's a bad idea in the long-term even if it could be made to work in the short term. Then he endorses the spirit of Fattah's proposals, and gives a perfectly legitimate source of funding for anti-poverty programs, which he's said over and over again he wants to pursue, also for SEPTA, etc. And the message Dan and Stan take away from it is, "Nutter doesn't think the city should do anything to fight poverty."

Total bullshit. The major source of funding for anti-poverty programs in the city of Philadelphia, administered by the city of Philadelphia, has always been the federal government. As I pointed out back in February, as recently as 2005, "Philadelphia received almost $350 million, or 10% of its total revenue, from the gov't. In 2006, that dropped to $200 million. Almost all of this came out of a 130 million dollar cut in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), also known as welfare." How in the world is Philadelphia providing for its families on welfare? And those numbers have dropped further, year by year, as Washington has defunded programs it doesn't have the political will to eliminate -- anti-poverty programs first. The state has cut back its funding, too, from SEPTA, from the schools, from everything else. That's why we have a budget crisis, and particularly a budget crisis when it comes to funding our anti-poverty efforts.

If revenue from the wage tax or the BPT had dropped by almost 50%, people on this blog would be calling for Michael Nutter's head. (We now get twice as much revenue from the BPT as we do from the federal government -- it used to be the other way around.) But the federal support of Philadelphia gets cut in half, and nobody notices. John Street isn't working with Washington or Harrisburg to get it done. Neither is Bob Brady, Allison Schwartz, or Chaka Fattah. And this is still true -- even with Democratic control of Congress and the legislature.

Why doesn't Chaka Fattah propose his anti-programs on the floor of Congress? Why doesn't he start up a national program, with Philadelphia as the pilot city? Why can't Bob Brady get the deal done to fix our budget and help Philadelphia's poor people? When the Republicans were running things, there was always an excuse, but now? The only reason why Philadelphia wouldn't be able to get state and federal funding is because our representatives in Congress and Harrisburg seem to have their heads firmly up their own asses when it comes to how Philadelphia gets its revenue. With Democratic control and competent representatives at the state and federal level, we should be able to get it done. Shit, it's in Fattah's, Brady's and Evans's own interest to get it done. Why aren't each of them putting forth some crazy windfall for Philadelphia right now, so they can say "This is what I'm doing and will continue to do for the people of Philadelphia." Is it because they can't actually make it happen?

Nobody else is talking about the shortfall in state and federal funding for city programs because directly or inadvertently, they're each responsible for them. Michael Nutter is talking about it. And he's being roasted over the coals, because he doesn't want to sell the airport or the highway or raise the sales tax or put in casinos or do everything that everyone has proposed to actually try and do what they're supposed to do. Michael Nutter is actually giving the big picture -- the long view that Ray Murphy called on everyone to express here on this blog. And he's anti-progressive. He doesn't want to help poor people.

The truth is that Michael Nutter has nothing to sell to poor people. Increasingly, Fattah's airport proposal looks like snake oil. The numbers are shaky, the legality is almost definitely not there, which makes an already bad idea worse. Half of what Fattah wants to do with the money just looks like photo opportunities. The real stuff -- preschool, college scholarships, etc. -- are honest-to-goodness federal programs, which either already exist and should be expanded or should exist. He should be pushing these things through Congress -- not selling off the airport to pay for them.

Fattah still has no idea what kinds of decisions he needs to make as the mayor of this city. He's avoided every one, using the airport and lofty language about poverty as a smoke screen. I don't need to dig up every piece of dirt to see that he has no integrity.

And, I've become convinced, neither do the webmasters of this blog. So, that's the last thing I have to say.

Wow. Buddy... They have a

Wow. Buddy... They have a basic philosophical difference about the role of Philly government. I am quoting him from his own policy statement. It doesn't mean he is a bad dude, it means he is selling himself as a different package.

I didn't realize saying that you vote for Nutter if you want someone who is more of a skilled administrator of the City (see Jeff's statements), and vote for Fattah if you think Philly government can take a much more ambitious role in ending poverty was exactly controversial.

And, you are blaming Fattah for the Republican Revolution?

I'm not Dan

For the record, Short, you won't find anything that i have written negatively about Nutter since I started working for the Fattah campaign.

i don't think what Dan said about Nutter was negative, but it is fair to ask if there are real differences between the two.

And seriously, Nutter

And seriously, Nutter people, please relax.

Its like that last time someone said I was biased because I talked about Nutter Butters. I am quoting him, and drawing a basic, real difference between the two of them. If your response is Fattah is unrealistic and Nutter is realistic, then go for it. That is a real argument to have. But, guys...

Was it not a Nutter supporter

Was it not a Nutter supporter who asked the following above?

And in the hopes that we might have a substantive conversation about this - taking it beyond a political discussion - do you (or others) know of other cities in America or elsewhere that have successful abated poverty primarily using their own resources? Have any other cities in America sold major assets (like airports) to fund successful poverty abatement programs? Is this a pragmatic approach? Has it worked elsewhere?

I have not seen any answers to these substantive questions. If anyone has answers that demonstrate that Fattah's proposal is reasonable and realistic, I would honestly like to hear them.

I support Michael Nutter for Mayor

And, that is a valid

And, that is a valid question- examining what each City in the country does, and has aimed to do.

I don't think there are any

This I guess to me why Fattah stands out above all others: I don't think there are other examples of cities using their own resources--like the lease of an airport--to fight poverty. That doesn't means its automatically unrealistic--to me, it's visionary.

Vision?

If there was a real poverty abatement plan attached to the airport leasing concept, I'd be intrigued. There isn't. There is no detail. There is not baseline assessment. Just a promise to do something. That's not enough.

I'm not baiting you

But did we read the same plan? Have you read Fattah's proposals?

I understand that you may really believe what you say, but I honestly see it so differently, and have read the papers, I wonder if you are not just over generalizing to make a point.

I've read every single

I've read every single Fattah proposal. They sound nice.

I think however, Alinky would have understood that bureaucracies don't change systemic problems; they reinforce them. Furthermore, $170 million is a drop in the bucket and we've see before what happens to those who do budget projections--a la NTI. Cost overruns galore.

Actually, I'm not competely against selling the airport for a worthwhile cause...the problem is that so much of Fattah's ideas put the cart before the horse or suggest that we should just shoot the horse because it's hopeless to design neighborhoods and government that actually function properly. Furthermore, the more bridges you burn between Philly and the region--the more likely the airport is going to be confiscated--i.e. the parking authority.

I Don't Think You're Baiting Me...

And I actually do believe what I say. No, I haven't read all of Fattah's proposals but I read the opportunity agenda. I didn't get it. There was no mention of current poverty abatement and educational efforts in the City. The over $3 billion and 30,000 people the City currently dedicate to poverty abatement and educational activities weren't referenced. There was no mention of all of the non-profits that currently work in these area. I suppose it's good politics if it gets him some votes, but I cannot tell what the policy would actually be.

That's where we differ

Without a much higher level of detail with regard to 1) why he believes the airport would fetch $3 billion under the terms and conditions (with regard to city control, employment policies and length) he sets for the lease and 2) what specifically he, through his new opportunity foundation, would do with the $150 - $160 million a year he proposes to spend and 3) how those policies he would implement would specifically impact poverty and the poor, I will continue to believe his plan is unrealistic.

I know the plan lays out a lot of ideas, but there is little detail about cost, spending priorities or effects.

I see it as another example of Fattah expecting us to just take his word for it and I'm unwilling to do that. By the way, I don't think that visionary and unrealistic are mutually exclusive terms.

I support Michael Nutter for Mayor

And, um

You realize Democrats have yet to be in control of a single budget process? Think you might be expecting a little much?

But the point remains

that Nutter hasn't demanded that the justice system be funded by the state, although the PA Supreme Court said it's constitutionally required to, nor that revenue-funding should be restored, which would cover all city functions, nor that Clinton's cop funding program be restored which would pay for law enforcement. In fairness, none of the other candidates have either (as far as I know, confessing I haven't read every detailed proposal of every candidate), and that's too bad.

It's not just poverty programs that need to be funded by other governments, it's cities.

Which alludes to my issue

Which alludes to my issue with some of our candidates.

Like you said, we all agree we need more funding from federal and states sources. The people to do it for us are willing to abandon the positions of power that would accomplish it.

Evans could fight to have the state pay for our justice system.

Brady and Fattah could fight to get those cop and other poverty programs restored as well as allow airport leasing.

It all comes down to motives. If they really wanted to truly do the best for Philly instead of for themselves, why would they fight to be mayor instead of fight for Philly where they are at? Just with Evans and Fattah, so much money is in their control ... and nto just for Philly, but for anti-poverty programs across the state and nation.

Mr. Schrift

What do you make out of this statement?

...it is just as wrong for cities to spend down their limited assets to provide limited help for the nation’s poor.

Stan's point is valid. Is it wrong for cities to spend down their limits to educate kids, to pay for police, to collect the trash?

Why does Nutter specify poverty abatement as being an inappropriate target for city spending? The fact that he does so is disturbing.

I dunno

it might be the *readers'* priorities that are at question here. where I read the emphasis is "spend down their limited assets" -- that's a short-term solution that makes long-term problems worse. a bad idea. that he thinks it's the wrong solution for poverty seems less about his feelings on poverty than about the fact that that's what Fattah is linking to the airport suggestion. I'd bet that if Fattah had said "let's lease a capital asset to collect the trash," Nutter would also have been dubious, and rightly so -- and, in fact, you'd have agreed without thought. the problem here is the same, however much more noble the goal of poverty reduction. if you tap your last resources to help a tiny bit, what do you do for those needs the next day? better to have been spending your energies on that question to start with.

acm

I'm not sure about the airport idea

as a whole. It may not be realistic, it may not be legal, it may not be capable of raising a lot of money, but I think using funds raised for poverty reduction is different than using them for trash reduction. It's true that you don't want to sell capital assets to meet ongoing operating expenses. That would cover such things as trash collection. But hopefully poverty reduction doesn't require recurring expenditures; poverty is something you can actually end. So spending to reduce poverty is arguably a capital investment, a human capital investment. Selling one capital investment for another is not per se a bad thing; it's merely an asset exchange. Personally I would rather have a high functioning citizenry than an airport; I like that exchange if we could actually make it happen.

context

ACM, your points are worthy of consideration but I challenge you to contextualize this statement:

...however noble the goal of poverty reduction.

A politician who talks about treating people with kindness and respect is putting out a "noble" goal. Halving poverty is an economic intervention designed to boost the city's long term resources by reducing the pull on its human services while simultaneously increasing revenue by creating higher-wage earners.

Also, whether you agree with the airport plan or not, or whether or not you support Fattah, he is without peer in making poverty reduction the centerpiece of his campaign for Mayor--who else has made poverty the centerpiece of an electoral campaign? LBJ? Nelson Mandela? Maybe John Edwards? Not many people...

Ending poverty

Even Fattah isn't talking about ending poverty. The goal I have heard is to reduce the poverty rate by half.

Can you give me one example of any government at the country, state, or municipal level that has ended poverty? Do you really think that spending $160 million a year over the course of 20 years will end poverty in Philadelphia?

Let's look at the numbers.

25% (poverty rate) of 1.4 million Philadelphians = 350,000 (probably a low number)
Amount Fattah proposes to spend a year = $160 million

$160 million/350,000 = $457/year/person living in poverty.

If you believe (with no supporting facts or figures) that Philadelphia can lease its airport for $3 billion within the first two years of a new Fattah administration and you believe that $457 per year, per person living in poverty will lift 175,000 Philadelphians out of poverty over any time frame at all, then Fattah is your candidate.

I support Michael Nutter for Mayor

thanks for this frame, Stan

Selling one capital investment for another is not per se a bad thing; it's merely an asset exchange.

I guess I hadn't thought of it that way. I have to agree with others here that "ending poverty" isn't going to happen, or even cutting it in half, but for sure if you can push a substantial number of [unemployed poor] out of need (that takes further support) and into self-sufficiency (that actually contributes back to the city), you are indeed building an asset (as well as doing a clear good). It does make the distinction between "trash-collecting" and "poverty-reduction" more stark (i.e., practical as well as idealistic). Still not sure you can make that trade, but I'm willing to consider it as a reasoned consideration, at least.

:)
acm

You're welcome, ACM

We do need to find frames that put the lie to the notion that, in essence, poor folks are a special interest whose welfare doesn't affect the rest of us. Aside from compassion and altruism, we all benefit when poverty is lifted, when a strong and decent society is built. We benefit in very demonstrable, visible ways. Among them, is that it becomes that much harder to create divisions between the underclass and the working class, to the benefit entirely of those who laugh all the way to the bank.

I thank you too Stan....

But I really hope that you don't think that you had to strenuously make the case that helping poor people goes beyond altruism. Of course it does! As I've told you before Stan - old guard liberals such as yourself don't own compassion for the less fortunate. I assume that most people who read (or are addicted to) this blog feel that way. Heck, it's why I live in the City in the first place...I don't want my tax dollars going for deer and goose mitigation programs out at some development's man-made lake in the suburbs. I want to share, be communal, and help others less fortunate. What I also want is government that recognizes the socio-economic diversity of the City and endeavors to serve the broader public, making some attempt to see that needs (and to some extent wants) of every community are met.

Old guard liberals

Now there's a phrase drawn straight from Republican lexicon that's very likely to unite us all in campaigns to come. What exactly is an "old guard liberal"? Is that the same as a "bleeding heart liberal" or a "tax and spend" liberal, or a "cut and run" liberal? Just what about "old guard liberalism" should I be very, very careful to avoid associating myself with? Social security? Medicare? Medicaid? Civil rights laws? Environmental laws? Consumer protection? Who actually fought and accomplished those things? Are you, who is not an "old guard liberal," apparently, against those things?

Does it make me an "old guard liberal" because I think that reducing or eliminating poverty would help the rest of us? Is that something a "new guard liberal" would disagree with? Or whatever it is you would categorize yourself as?

I spent 20 years plus working with a great "old guard liberal" who everyone not on his shit list came to love, David Cohen. He would revel in the label "old guard liberal". And, I confess . . . you dragged it out of me . . . he was my hero. But I guess I was wrong about that, wasn't I Friedman. There's no way on Earth he would have agreed that as long as we pick up the trash, we can let somebody else deal with the problems of the poor. And then we can cut taxes, to boot.

As to the need to make the point that poverty hurts us all, it's not at all clear that everyone on this list agrees with that when push comes to shove; i.e., when it comes to prioritizing what it is that City government should do. See lots of posts above.

My Gift to YPP Readers

I will do everybody a public service and not engage in a lexicon war with Stan about what an "old guard liberal" is.

What a pity

I think you could have saved souls.

do young people call about poverty?

I have many times asked what it means to be a "progressive." What I have probably always meant--at least emotionally--was "does being progressive mean you are dedicated to the pursuit of economic justice?"

I think sadly the answer I heave heard is no.

That is why, in the City Paper, I said I wanted to call myself a "transformer." Reform to me means you fix a system that is broken, as opposed to reshaping the whole system. I think reform only benefits those who used to get something and now don't. Transformation means that people who have always been left out can create their own structure to achieve empowerment.

Mike made a point the other day which is that people like Saul Olinksy said you can't rely on bureaucracy or government for social justice. I don't disagree with that at all.

Supporting a Mayor in this race--or a council person or a sheriff or whatever--is not enough to change transform our city. However, there are clear differences between the candidates that will shape the path for organizers and everyday people who want to make change.

Back to the point: Jeff, you can call Stan an old-guard liberal if you want, but I think all you are doing is avoiding addressing what is really a core, moral issue: does government--which is really just an organization of people--have the obligation to use its power to lift everyone up? Or, are you cynical enough (like a lot of voters) that you'll be satisfied if, as Stan says, the trash gets picked up better?

I am not young

I'm closer to 40 than I hoped I'd be at this point in my life.

As to how passionate I could get about trash getting picked up efficiently and effectively, you'd be surprised, but you'd also probably be surprised at how much it costs and how much could be saved if it were done more effectively and how that money could be dedicated to other important needs.

But of course I believe that government has the obligation to lift everyone up. And of course I’m not that cynical that I think that if the trash gets picked up better, then all is good. But I could flip it around on you guys: are you that naïve that you think that a big infusion of cash to fund poverty abatement programs (that haven’t yet been determined) is a recipe for success? I think that we do have a fundamental disagreement about the role of government here, but it’s not so much that I disagree with your conceptualization of what government should be doing as I don’t agree with what you think it can do and control at the local level. Local governments don’t control the moon and the stars…they actually do a lot of boring things like pick up the trash, process what goes down the toilet, run schools, etc. Most of it is terribly unsexy. But in its entirety, this array of services is the foundation upon which all other things in the City can be built. Do this stuff right, and people move here and stay, business come and expand and employ people. That's what I think will lift us all up.

In respect to the original

In respect to the original post of this thread, it is relevant to determine the level of the government as well as how much power and resources it has available.

pile on

I just want to add that it's not about just poor folks either--since 1969, median wages for workers in the city of Philadelphia have been stagnant. That means that a lot of Philadelphians aren't earning or spending as much as they'd like to. So, more affordable housing, better health care, smarter economic development will benefit all of us--not to mention open and ethical government,a fairer tax structure and more. But aggressively targeting poverty is really going to transform our city.

aw Friedman

i think we just agreed!

Schwing!

:)

don’t get this Michael Nutter doesn’t care about poverty thread

I don’t get this "Michael Nutter doesn’t care about poverty" thread. I was stunned by Dan’s comment:

“Many people have the basic philosophy that Nutter is talking about- that the job of a Mayor is to efficiently provide services, period.”

I am quite sure all the mayoral candidates would like to eliminate poverty. I don’t think any of them just want to make the trains run on time.

The question for voters is who is most likely to create the economic conditions which will provide real opportunities for low-income citizens. Let’s see what Michael Nutter’s economic plan (which I believe will be released soon) has to offer Philadelphia’s low-income citizens.

It’s true Fattah talks about poverty more than other candidates, but there are different ways of framing the issue. Reducing poverty involves figuring out a way to frame the issue so as to build the political support necessary to deal with the problem. The citizens who are not poor (and who are more likely to vote than very poor people) have to be convinced that this is a worthy investment. Raider Adam made what I thought was very good point:

"We have all agreed that education is a HUGE aide in fighting poverty. So what is wrong with, instead of a new poverty targeted program, you invest in the school infrastructure? It is probably one of the best long term solutions to poverty, distinctly within the jurisdiction of the City and not going to get people to argue against it."

Also, reducing poverty demands an understanding of what can be done on each level of gov't. As several folks on this list have pointed out, there is not a whole lot of discretionary money in the local budget and much of the money used to directly combat poverty (TANF, foodstamps etc.) comes from the federal gov’t.

Dan took the following comment as evidence that reducing poverty was not a concern for Nutter:

"Democrats since FDR and LBJ have understood that it is wrong to ask orphans to build their own orphanages, and that it is just as wrong for cities to spend down their limited assets to provide limited help for the nation’s poor."

I read this as reflection of Nutter’s understanding of how government works and what is achievable on each level.

Supporting Michael Nutter for Mayor

The idea is both dumb and heartless

Singling out poverty as the job of other governments is first just plain dumb. Why should that be singled out? Does that mean we should pay for all of our other needs ourselves? Do we want to pay for SEPTA by ourselves? That's not a poverty program. Education is not just a poverty program. Should we pay for that ourselves? How about streets and highway repair. That's not a poverty program. Stadiums and convention centers; they're certainly not poverty programs. Jails, courts and police. Are they poverty programs? We get funding, or are supposed to, for all of these. We've often asked for more. What's the rationale for demanding funds for these programs if it's poverty programs that are really the responsibility of other governments?

The rationale should simply be that cities cannot support all of their needs, even for the most ordinary programs, out of their limited tax bases, especially when they send so much of it to those very governments that then turn around and stiff us. We shouldn't demand resources from other governments in a way that furthers the idea that we're fundamentally self-sufficient except for those freeloading poor folks. Or except for any particular need. We're not self-sufficient, and we're all -- poor folks and the rest of us -- going to go down with the ship unless we enlarge the pie.

We certainly want help from other governments for poverty programs. But to suggest that those programs are the special province of other governments begs the question of why should other governments pay for anything else. Do we have to come up with a convoluted argument for each separate thing for which we need help? Maybe that's the way we've been doing it, but it's left us holding a very big bag. What we need to do is figure out what we need to sustain a viable city, including sharply denting poverty along with caring for our other needs, figure out how much of it city taxpayers can reasonably afford to pay for, and then get our public officials to go out and demand the rest from the governments that have abandoned and abused us.

And Nutter's idea is also dumb because it sustains the idea that things that help the poor aren't vital for the rest of us. As if, in effect, taking care of poverty is in an odd way a luxury, something we can really dispense with until someone comes up with the dough. But dealing with poverty is vital to all of us, as has been said in this thread several times. We can't have a viable city, no matter how much we spend on whatever it is that people deem to be basic city services, if we continue to have a city a quarter of whose population is constantly on the brink of disaster.

And the idea that poverty can wait until someone else gives us the money is also heartless. Those other governments are not about to throw money at us just aimed at the poor for a very long time. So Nutter's statement essentially says to the poor: tough. We can just wash our hands and wait for the money we need to just show up. I know he didn't say that. He didn't say let them eat cake. But that's the ring that it has for me, especially from a candidate who just happens to be simultaneously promoting large tax cuts for big business and rich shareholders. I know all of it can be explained away on the theory that tax cuts for big business will help all of us in the long run. I've heard it all; I can't absolutely prove it's not true. But altogether his message just reeks of callous disregard for the quiet desperation of hundreds of thousands of Philadelphians.

Philosphies vs. policies

The basic idea that both ray and stan have articulated is that we need to spend more money on poverty programs not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it is good for the city: fewer poor people means, at a minimum, more taxe revenue and lowered expenditures in the future. We should, in effect, spend more to combat poverty now in order to spend less on the poor and other poverty-related issues in the future. If these policies work, we should implement them, not because they are warm hearted or rhetorically robust or a good election platform, but because they form a sound long-term economic plan. If they work, a brilliant bureaucrat like Nutter no less than a compassionate visionary like Fattah will want to implement them. If they work, by all means, we should monetize and capitalize and leverage away.

The question is, do they work? I don't know. It seems everyone is avoiding the specifics in this discussion. What exact programs do we mean when we speak of poverty reduction or abatement? Are we referring to using city money to make up for reduced federal welfare spending? Are we talking about day care, parent training, housing assistance, parole counseling, addiction services, public health, job creation? Are we talking about mitigating the effects of poverty or about something that is transformational? Can poverty be ended, rather than just managed? And can this be done by a city government?

To me, campaign promises and rhetorical appeals do not answer these important questions. The "instincts," "philosophies," world views, and life stories of particular politcal candidates do not answer them either. Serious research by serious policy groups about the efficacy of specific programs answer these questions. Can we get specific here? Undoubtedly, some programs work and some don't. We shouldn't go with those that are ineffective just because we believe in social justic, and we shouldn't avoid those that do work just because we're too myopic to realize poverty is a problem confronting the entire city. Everyone should be able to agree on working to implement programs that do have a strong track record. At least, everyone reading this blog should be able to agree on that. Speaking about this as if we're divided into two camps, those who care about the poor vs. those who care about trash collection (of all issues), serves absolutely no one, least of all the poor.

The question is, what are the specific programs we're talking about? "Poverty abatement" is not a policy proposal.

Fattah's plan to reduce poverty

Scroll on up and you can see the entire Opportunity Agenda which is the centerpiece of the Fattah plan to REDUCE poverty rates and also curtail generational poverty (poverty elimination is a tall order to fill, especially in a capitalist society). In addition, if you go to www.phillyforfattah.com and check out the policy page you will see countless ideas to reduce poverty and increase wages.

More Detail on Fattah's plans to reduce poverty

I will for the sake of ease, reprint what i wrote earlier above:

Fattah has a lot of good ideas to reduce poverty--including putting all of the proceeds of expired ten year tax abatements into the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, not to mention his entire workforce development plan which talks about focusing economic development monies on industries with growth potential.

And then of course there's the Opportunity agenda here which is specifically focused on using dollars from the lease of the airport to reduce generational poverty in Philadelphia. Here it is:

#1 Mayor Fattah will establish a Philadelphia Opportunity Foundation of civic, education and business leaders to oversee the entire implementation of Fattah's Opportunity Agenda. This volunteer foundation, headed by Mayor Fattah, will carefully oversee all program and spending components of this agenda, monitor its successes and look to improve the initiatives undertaken to maximize the opportunities offered to all Philadelphians.

# 2 Ensure that Every Child Has Access to Early Education. Every parent and community stakeholder should understand the importance of early childhood education. During the 2004-2005 school year, the percentage of children entering Philadelphia's public school kindergartens that received formal early child care and education fell to 66 percent from 70 percent the previous year. Four decades of social science research tells us that investing in the minds of children between the ages of three and five yields extraordinary returns to both our society and our economy. As Mayor, Chaka Fattah will create a network of early child care and education centers, available to all Philadelphians.

# 3 Focus on Literacy in Elementary School. An early grasp of literacy is the cornerstone of future academic achievement. To promote literacy in our city's elementary schools, Mayor Fattah will call on teacher trainers like the Children's Literacy Initiative and others to make sure all of our early elementary school teachers have the training to effectively teach literacy. He will also provide parents with basic training in literacy education through teacher training programs and the Free Library of Philadelphia. Finally, Fattah will look for new ways to provide reading materials to children, including through the Wireless Philadelphia Initiative, local cable television and new library outreach efforts.

# 4 Make Philadelphia a Leader in Math and Science Instruction. Philadelphia is blessed with a number of leading scientific companies and institutions including the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Philadelphia Zoo, the Morris Arboretum, University of the Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Rohm & Haas, Temple University and the math, science and medical programs at all of our region's first-class universities. Mayor Fattah will bring the expertise of these institutions into our city's math and science classrooms by asking representatives of these institutions to help develop the math and science curriculum for our city's schools. This will ensure that our math and science teachers have the necessary professional development to effectively implement this curriculum. Similarly, Fattah will attempt to bring all of our city's science classrooms to these institutions for hands-on learning. Finally, Fattah will expand the Educational Advancement Alliance's mobile learning lab program to provide every elementary and middle school student access to a hands-on learning experience in science.

# 5 Build Cutting-Edge Community and After School Centers. Project H.O.M.E.'s Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs is a state-of-the-art learning center, which is outfitted with cutting edge hardware and software systems, and which provides after school programs for area children and teens with evening GED and literacy classes for adults. The Center focuses on helping Philadelphians increase their educational and employment opportunities through comprehensive technology and literacy instruction. Mayor Fattah will expand this model and build 21st Century community and after-school centers in other regions of the city to provide support and valuable educational tools to our city's children, youth and families.

# 6 Make Every Classroom a Classroom of the Future. Philadelphia cannot afford to overhaul each of the city's 270 schools, but it can modernize every classroom for grades six through twelve, with Smart Boards, wireless internet connections and laptops for every child. In order to maximize the usefulness of this new technology, the Fattah Administration and the School District will design and implement a Smart classroom training course for all teachers, so that they will know how to effectively utilize this new technology. This effort will utilize various state funding sources as well as city dollars.

# 7 Expand Paid High School Internships. Mayor Fattah will work with the School District of Philadelphia, the Chamber of Commerce, labor groups and other area employers to increase the number of paid internships offered to students, including providing incentives to area businesses that provide internships. The Chamber's recent announcement that it will provide 1,000 paid internships is a great start on this effort, and more can be done. Internships can be a valuable tool for high school retention by providing an incentive that can bolster future employability.

# 8 Increase Apprenticeship Opportunities for High School Graduates. Chaka Fattah full supports the recent agreement between the Building and Construction Trades Council and the School Reform Commission to accept 250 to 425 high school graduates from the city's public schools over four years in exchange for participation in the city's $1.8 billion school construction plan. As Mayor, Fattah would use other government contracts to leverage apprenticeships and internships for the city's high school students and graduates.

# 9 Help Philadelphia High School Students Get a Jump on College. The Fattah Administration will call on the 83 institutions of higher education in the Philadelphia region to partner with the city's neighborhood high schools to create Early College High Schools. Early College High Schools provide high school students the opportunity to earn an Associate's degree or college credits. Under the program, earned college credits are paid for at public expense. Instruction is compressed into four or five years and emphasizes rigorous instruction, relevant curriculum and supportive relationships. Finally, Early College High Schools focus on serving students traditionally underrepresented in higher education and target first-generation, low-income, English language learner, and minority students. By offering the chance to get a jump on college, our city's comprehensive neighborhood schools will improve student retention and help students prepare for and experience advanced learning. The possibility of earning two years of college credit while still in high school will draw some of our strongest students back to neighborhood schools, reduce the financial burden of college and increase the chances that Philadelphia students complete their degrees.

# 10 Increase Access to College for All Philadelphians. Chaka Fattah is committed to fully endowing the Core Philly Program regardless of the outcome of the Mayoral election. This program offers all Philadelphia high school seniors - whether from the public, private, charter or parochial systems - a unique opportunity to attend select Pennsylvania colleges and universities through need-based, last-dollar scholarships up to $3,000. Currently, CORE Philly Scholarships help students pay for their first year of college. Once the first year has been fully endowed, Chaka Fattah will explore expanding this program to provide funding for the second year of college as well.

# 11 Create an Incentive Program to Institute a Culture of Excellence in Philadelphia. Mayor Fattah will work with the Opportunity Foundation to build a culture of excellence in Philadelphia by providing incentives for success. The aim will be to recognize and reinforce success and excellence at every educational level, for achievements large and small in order to change how our city thinks about education and opportunity. Incentives and rewards could range from certificates of recognition to scholarships and other awards which will help Philadelphians move beyond self-sufficiency and significantly increase their life chances.

# 12 Increase Adult Education. As Mayor, Chaka Fattah will work to implement a strategic plan to help Philadelphia adults with college credits complete their degrees. According to a study by Graduate! Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Economy League and the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board, 80,000 Philadelphia adults between the ages of 25 and 45 have earned college credits but have not finished their Bachelor's or Associate's degree. If 10,000 of these adults finished their degrees, city tax revenues could increase by $272.3 million over 30 years, social service expenditures would save $300 million over 30 years and increase Philadelphia's purchasing power by $1.05 billion. Chaka Fattah will work to expand outreach, establish a re-engagement center to provide individual academic, financial, career, and logistical counseling. Mayor Fattah will also work with area colleges and community colleges, to increase financial aid for returning students, bolster aid for students attending school less than half time, establish flexible class scheduling and providing need-based discounts on online courses. Finally, Fattah will provide incentives for employers that provide tuition aid and reimbursement or flexible workweek scheduling to allow time for course work.

# 13 Create a Senior Administration Official to Coordinate Workforce Development. Mayor Fattah would establish a senior administration official to manage, oversee and coordinate the city's workforce development efforts. This senior official will focus on coordinating training efforts in growth industries, working with vocational programs, colleges and universities. In addition, this staff member will work with these institutions to expand their workforce development course offerings, seek to partner area employers with high schools and work to increase funding for workforce development from state, federal and private sources. Another task of this senior staff member will be to identify promote and expand successful workforce development programs like those run by A.P. Orleans, TOP/WIN, 1199C, Physicians Billing Solutions Inc. and Sunoco. Finally, this staff member will oversee the creation of job clubs, organized by Councilmanic District, for those seeking work. These clubs will provide support and information to unemployed Philadelphians and help them identify employment and training opportunities through formal and informal information sessions.

# 14 Create a Workforce Development Action Committee. Mayor Fattah will invite major stakeholders to form a Workforce Development Action Committee to help develop frameworks for workforce development and provide advice to the Mayor as he formulates his policies. This group will include business representatives, including the various chambers of commerce, representatives from unions, major workforce development non-profits and representatives from area colleges and universities.

# 15 Create Mobile Opportunity Centers. Mayor Fattah will create mobile opportunity centers that will travel throughout our city's neighborhoods six days a week, to help connect citizens with the many opportunities in our city. These centers will be a one-stop information shop to find out about both public and private programs for all Philadelphians. The city offers many economic assistance programs, including help buying and repairing a home and providing job training. But these programs are not well known. Information will be available on youth and adult recreation programs, cultural outreach opportunities, volunteer and community service outlets, charity programs, city assistance programs for homeowners and small businesses.

# 16 Hold Financial and Consumer Empowerment Events. The Fattah Administration will provide adult education on personal finance proficiency and help Philadelphians get their fair share of state and federal benefits. The city will work with organizations like the Benefit Bank to simplify the process of applying for state and federal benefits, and give Philadelphians the tools they need to successfully file taxes and navigate other government and private bureaucracies. People do not take advantage of federal and state benefits worth billions each year because applying for state and federal benefits is time consuming, confusing and stigmatized. Billions in tax credits also go unclaimed out of lack of knowledge and fear of audit. The Benefit Bank removes helps all citizens claim the benefits and tax credits they are entitled to. Chaka Fattah believes there is an unmet need for financial empowerment education in Philadelphia, and will partner with federal agencies and non-profit organizations to expand provision in our city.

Did Nutter say poverty

Did Nutter say poverty programs were the only thing that the City needs help with? No.

My point is that listing those things

simply makes no sense. We need help to cover our expenses. Period. We should apply for funds for whatever purpose they're available, and then we should push for whatever else we need to cover the rest of our budget. And our budget should include whatever spending we need to make, and that has to include attacking the insidious problem of poverty that poisons our civic life. But attacking poverty is not answered by saying we deal with it, not a bunch of other things, only when we get bucks from somewhere else. Fighting poverty should be part and parcel of the comprehensive budget plan of the City.

Let me give a concrete example of what's happening in the campaigns because of how widespread this thinking is even beyond Nutter. Several of the candidates say we have to hire 500-1,000 more cops. Presumably we would do that from local money because funding cops doesn't represent poverty alleviation, but funding a normal city service. So for that we can spend money that we don't have, just as we would have to do on poverty alleviation (unless Fattah's airport plan works.)

But more police is actually a lousy choice to deal with the problem on the streets -- even if it's necessary and useful in the short run which I doubt. Because we all know that what's keeping the police busy is poverty. Yet on the theory that we can't pay to actually attack poverty, we are prepared to pay for something that won't really accomplish anything because we've arbitrarily concluded that it's right for us to spend our own dollars on. And because we know we have to do something. Even if it's the wrong thing. And even if everyone knows, we're busted, we don't have the money for it.

Actually the candidates are pushing all kinds of programs we don't have money for, including tax expenditures. None of them are going to save this city unless we reduce this albatross around our necks called poverty and yet that seems to be the one thing that none of the candidates -- except Fattah -- choose to target with City funds.

It simply makes no sense.

Stan - my bullshit-o-meter

Stan - my bulshit-o-meter broke after reading your last post. You've grossly misinterpreted what Nutter said, but I think you know that. His one, parsed comment doesn't mean all of the things you've said it does. But, as I've said before, you've got some kind of personal vendetta against the man.

Vendetta

Your one stop answer when you don't have anything else to say.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world

Because this is in part a political fight I have tried to stay out of it but my will power is weak. I don’t mean to take sides in an election but merely to express my dissatisfaction with an argument.

“Democrats since FDR and LBJ have understood that it is wrong to ask orphans to build their own orphanages, and that it is just as wrong for cities to spend down their limited assets to provide limited help for the nation’s poor.”

Each of you that promote this view can see everyday the effects of poverty on your community, the senseless violence, the homelessness, the despair. And faced with this reality you support the claim that these are not your problems but these are the nation’s problems. If you feel no responsibility what makes you think residents of Montgomery County, or Paris Idaho are going to feel any more responsibility?

It is fair to question a lack of specifics or a poorly designed plan but the view being expressed isn’t just that the idea is poorly executed it is that doing more than you are doing now is outside the scope of your own government.

I revere FDR and LBJ despite their flaws and sometimes their failures because in the face of great suffering they endeavored to do something about it. I think in one of those books over at the Wharton School (not saying they read them over there) that’s called leadership.

Franklin Roosevelt

“My fellow countrymen. When four years ago we met to inaugurate a President, the Republic, single-minded in anxiety, stood in spirit here. We dedicated ourselves to the fulfillment of a vision—to speed the time when there would be for all the people that security and peace essential to the pursuit of happiness. We of the Republic pledged ourselves to drive from the temple of our ancient faith those who had profaned it; to end by action, tireless and unafraid, the stagnation and despair of that day. We did those first things first.

Our covenant with ourselves did not stop there. Instinctively we recognized a deeper need—the need to find through government the instrument of our united purpose to solve for the individual the ever-rising problems of a complex civilization. Repeated attempts at their solution without the aid of government had left us baffled and bewildered. For, without that aid, we had been unable to create those moral controls over the services of science which are necessary to make science a useful servant instead of a ruthless master of mankind. To do this we knew that we must find practical controls over blind economic forces and blindly selfish men.

We of the Republic sensed the truth that democratic government has innate capacity to protect its people against disasters once considered inevitable, to solve problems once considered unsolvable. We would not admit that we could not find a way to master economic epidemics just as, after centuries of fatalistic suffering, we had found a way to master epidemics of disease. We refused to leave the problems of our common welfare to be solved by the winds of chance and the hurricanes of disaster…
But here is the challenge to our democracy: In this nation I see tens of millions of its citizens—a substantial part of its whole population—who at this very moment are denied the greater part of what the very lowest standards of today call the necessities of life.

I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day.

I see millions whose daily lives in city and on farm continue under conditions labeled indecent by a so-called polite society half a century ago.

I see millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot of their children.

I see millions lacking the means to buy the products of farm and factory and by their poverty denying work and productiveness to many other millions.

I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.

But it is not in despair that I paint you that picture. I paint it for you in hope—because the nation, seeing and understanding the injustice in it, proposes to paint it out. We are determined to make every American citizen the subject of his country’s interest and concern; and we will never regard any faithful law-abiding group within our borders as superfluous. The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

Lyndon Johnson

“Our administration is going to be a Government of compassion, compassion for the one-fifth of our people who are ill fed, compassion for the one-fifth of our people who are ill clothed, compassion and concern for the onefifth of our people who are ill housed. Thirty years ago in the State of Georgia, Franklin Roosevelt said one-third of our people are ill clad and ill fed and ill housed, and we must do something about it.

In 30 years we have moved that 30 percent down to 20 percent. In the next 10 years we are going to move that 20 percent down to 10 percent. And we are going to keep on and keep on and keep on, in our war on poverty, until we drive poverty into the face of the earth and it no longer exists in our beloved America.

For any American outside the pale of the Constitution, full participation in our society can no longer be denied to men because of their race or their religion or the region in which they live. The Constitution of the United States applies to every American, of every race, of every religion, of every region in this beloved country. If it doesn't apply to every race, to every region, to every religion, it applies to no one.

If Franklin Roosevelt were standing on this square today, he would say that America must go forward with compassion and justice for all, or it cannot go forward at all. We are going forward with a war on poverty. We are going forward to protect your rights and the rights of every American. We are going forward to create new jobs for the jobless, and new homes for the homeless, and new hope for the hopeless.

We must not for a moment lose this momentum or this conviction, for while profits are up, and income is up, and capital gains are up, our convictions must never go down.

So I have come here today to ask for your heart and your hand, to ask you to join us in a similar cause. Help us to build a better land. Help us to build a greater society. Help us to open wide the doors of opportunity and invite all to come in, for when we have done this, it will one day be said of America that she was a burning and shining light in man's journey on earth.”

I again think that is

I again think that is putting words in his mouth. He didn't say it wasn't the city's problem. He said You don't sell off an airport or turnpike as the solution to fighting poverty and that you need to federal aid for to effectively combat the issue.

Which is true. As pointed out, rich Montgomery County doesn't have a poverty issue to worry about, but the State and Fed can use their tax money to help the areas that have serious poverty problems. Philly doesn't have the overwhelming wealth to fund 25% poverty rate.

You need revenue of other municipalities redistributed to the needy areas.

If I were a rich man in Montgomery County

Indeed the number of people in Philadelphia County living below poverty in 2004 was 7 times higher than number in Montgomery County. But in Montgomery County there were 44,256 people living in poverty. There is no doubt that just like certain “rich” Philadelphians “rich” Montgomery county figures both their and your poverty problem is somebody else’s problem.

Demanding more regionalism is good! Using the lack of regionalism as an excuse for not doing more than you are now doing to grapple with poverty is not good. Or as Mahatma Gandhi put it, “you must be the change you wish to see in the world”.

Tackling poverty on a regional basis

Price, I think your points are dead-on. Regionalism is key, and pitting the city vs. suburbs is rarely useful in acheiving long-term policy goals. Additionally, your point that people use regionalism, or a host of other excuses, not to deal with poverty is well taken. Instead of debating who should pay, and what level of government is most appropriate to deal with the intractable problems of poverty, we need to start tackling the problem person by person, regardless of whether they are a city resident or suburban resident. That's why for the last two years Congressman Fattah has helped secure discounted heating oil for 25,000 low-income people in the 5 county Philadelphia area. It's of note that Nutter has actually criticized Fattah for this program, noting that the oil comes from Venezuala.

In a global economy, regionalism is not something you can be for or against: all successful economies are regionally-based and there is no doubt that under a Fattah Administration, our regional economy will grow stronger. Why? Because lifting tens of thousands of Philadlephians out of poverty will produce more qualified job applicants, boosting our region's competitiveness.

David Wade

Do you have a link for this?:

It's of note that Nutter has actually criticized Fattah for this program, noting that the oil comes from Venezuala.

No problem

It came from this article in the City Paper:

Nutter spent a good amount of time discussing why the current mayor's ego is destroying the city - the word "narcissist" came up, with emphasis - and how the press owes it to Philadelphians to investigate the smoke-and-mirrors resume of current front-runner Chaka Fattah, who, Nutter says, while boasting of bringing low-cost heating oil to Philly, fails to mention that he got it from Hugo Chavez.

Thanks, now I remember

that I did see that comment of Nutter before.

Hmmm.

Well, Venezuela is an issue

Well, Venezuela is an issue to many people.

Yeah, well

no doubt. But for me, getting heating oil at a lower cost from Venezuala - to help those who can't afford heat - is pretty much a no-brainer.

And once again, I see a comment of Nutter which could support a conclusion that despite his support from "progressives," his policies are more oriented towards the needs of the middle and upper classes than those of the poor. I'm not saying that I know that to be the case, nor am I saying that there are simple dichotomies between who benefits from various policies - but I am saying that there have been a series of statements that don't exactly dispell my suspicions. And that would be one of them.

That said, the quote could also mean that he is simply criticizing a lack of transparency on the part of Fattah, and not the act of getting the oil from Chavez in and of itself (in which case David's reading would be inaccurate).

The point is that the people

The point is that the people in the surrounding counties are being taxed by state and feds that can then dictate where to spend money and can allot budgets from the less poor areas to the more poor areas.

And I would add to what Price just said

that as long as we encourage people in Montgomery County, and everywhere else, to think that poverty is not their problem unless they're currently poor, we're never getting out of the hole that we're in. Nutter's distortion of Roosevelt and Johnson wonderfully feeds the notion that poverty is someone else's problem, the exact opposite of what their message actually was.

Ok, but in defense of Nutter

Stan: slow your roll! Far too much is being made out of what Nutter said. There's a much more essential question here, and it's been asked a million times above:

No matter where the money comes from, do you (and i mean "you" as in all of you readers) understand and care about how poverty and wage loss have hurt our city?

Chaka Fattah has a very clear plan to not only boost educational achievement but also make housing more affordable (not just to buy, but to maintain) and to increase access to health care and to make our air cleaner to breathe and to create sustainable and smart economic development and even a plan to make business taxes fairer. He has brought all of that table. But, at the center is his belief is poverty reduction and an end to generational poverty--by sending more kids to college and to graduate school--is the most important thing we can do to make Philadelphia sustainable.

Nutter is right that the state and feds have to help too--but as Stan says the city has a lot of flexibility in how it spends its own tax revenue too. However, if Nutter will be truly aggressive about ending poverty as a means to sustainability, I don't really care if he starts by leveraging state and federal dollars.

The real questions for Nutter and all of the other candidates (for Council too) is how much political will is there to fund policy that educates and empowers a huge swath of our city to lift them out of poverty?

I think folks, including some candidates (notice the plural there, Nutter is not the only person in the mayor's race besides Fattah), may have more of an interest in keeping people impoverished to feed the beast that is our service-economy than to support what Fattah is suggesting.

And Karen, before you start, I am NOT saying that Nutter is one of them per se, but that is the question that I think this thread was meant to get at more than a debate about federal vs.local dollars.

Yes and no, Ray

Yes, I agree strongly that Nutter is not the only candidate who seems willing to soft-pedal the need for a direct, immediate attack on poverty. Yes, I also agree that there's nothing wrong per se with leveraging state and federal funds to fight poverty. On the contrary, and as I said earlier, we need to aggressively go after every single dollar that we can get to dig ourselves out of the hole we're in. But, no it's not unfair to point out that Nutter said what Nutter said about the issue and how wrongheaded the statement is. And it's also important to point out its wrongheadedness because I think it reflects much wider thinking, even if other candidates haven't expressed it so bluntly.

I will further concede, though, that the larger issue is which candidate gets it, as opposed to which candidate might get it the least. On who gets it the least, I think it's actually close to a tie, since, as I said, Nutter's statement probably reflects the thinking of all the others, except Fattah. I haven't heard any of the others speak to the need we all have, every single one of us, to rid ourselves of the poverty plague. And if one of them wins, I fear, deeper into our hole will we dig.

Is there a will to reduce poverty or not?

For the sake of maintaining some kind of focus (for the 3 or 4 people still reading this), I will just repeat what i said above:

The real questions for Nutter and all of the other candidates (for Council too) is how much political will is there to fund policy that educates and empowers a huge swath of our city to lift them out of poverty?

I think folks, including some candidates (notice the plural there, Nutter is not the only person in the mayor's race besides Fattah), may have more of an interest in keeping people impoverished to feed the beast that is our service-economy than to support what Fattah is suggesting.

And Karen, before you start, I am NOT saying that Nutter is one of them per se, but that is the question that I think this thread was meant to get at more than a debate about federal vs.local dollars.

I think a lot of the

I think a lot of the solution is not necessarily creating new programs, but how we spend the money.

As a quick example, I think how they are currently doing public housing is bad. You build complete blocks of new housing that are 100% low income. So, culturally the poor keep learning from the poor and that doesn't help break out cyclical patterns.

You need to build blocks with market rate homes that have a percentage of subsidized with it. You need to mix the groups, not divide them by blocks.

does poverty matter to voters?

this is the second comment today in which you you refer to a mysterious "they."

who is building housing in blocks? much of what PHA has done over the past five years is mixed income.

This form of rhetoric is not useful.

There's one thing that lifts people out of poverty and that's education. Education leads to high-wage jobs,not just living on mixed-income blocks. Your notion of cultural poverty is kind of offensive.

Meanwhile, there's a question on the table that needs to be addressed. I'll repeat it again:

The real questions for Nutter and all of the other candidates (for Council too) is how much political will is there to fund policy that educates and empowers a huge swath of our city to lift them out of poverty?

I think folks, including some candidates (notice the plural there, Nutter is not the only person in the mayor's race besides Fattah), may have more of an interest in keeping people impoverished to feed the beast that is our service-economy than to support what Fattah is suggesting.

And Karen, before you start, I am NOT saying that Nutter is one of them per se, but that is the question that I think this thread was meant to get at more than a debate about federal vs.local dollars.

Who has the interest?

I think folks, including some candidates (notice the plural there, Nutter is not the only person in the mayor's race besides Fattah), may have more of an interest in keeping people impoverished to feed the beast that is our service-economy than to support what Fattah is suggesting.

I don't see how this argument applies to Nutter (and don't see how impoverishment benefits a service economy). I've heard this argument before directed at Democrats in general. The idea is that anti-poverty programs don't eliminate poverty, but create people dependent on the programs and loyal Democratic voters. Nutter's base is not the demographic that benefits from anti-poverty programs. Who will benefit from impoverished voters in this and future elections? It's not Nutter.

----
I support Michael Nutter for Mayor.

Look Before You Lift (A Long One)

With all due respect, Ray, lifting people out of poverty—a Herculean labor—is most certainly NOT a question of political will. If it were, John Street's administration would be more of a success, since—say what you will about the mayor—he INTENDS good for poor people. His failures are not failures of will, but failures of programs, like NTI, to achieve the noble goals they were intended to achieve.

Street didn't intend to lose jobs or create the atmosphere for an epidemic of murder…but that's what he did, unintentionally. In pursuing well-intentioned but ineffective programs, he's ignored many good tasks a mayor actually can perform to alleviate poverty. And his stated good intentions for impoverished neighborhoods have not made up for the fact that his administration has NOT effectively helped impoverished neighborhoods.

And Chaka Fattah's "Opportunity Agenda"—what led to Michael Nutter's "The-Emperor-has-no-clothes" statement—has the makings of a big, fat, failed program a la John Street.

Call it Fattah's NTI.

Now, I've generally avoided criticizing Fattah here ('cause I like him), except once to note that the 18 unfunded initiatives in his Housing Proposal seemed a bit excessive. Now those 18 unfunded initiatives are as 18 drops in an over-reachers ocean where I'm afraid Icarus/Fattah would have us plunge, as his bloated, bloated wings—intended to lift masses out of poverty—just won't fly.

Simply put, we can't pay for what he's proposing, and even if we could, it wouldn't yield the (albeit noble) results he intends.

Leasing the airport to fund a war on poverty that would prove toothless is just inadequate and incredibly short-sighted. Johnson & Johnson should sue for slander if somebody calls it a Band-Aid.

He starts, like the 1970's Liberal he is, by creating 181 new school district bureaucrats with the vague goal of "increasing collaboration between public and private providers of services for children, youth and families" whose "responsibilities…will be determined by the (I note: yet-to-be-created) Opportunity Foundation, through the work of (yet-to-be-determined) pilot programs." And who oversees it all? Another new bureaucrat, the "Special Inspector General for All Children and Families Services." Poverty alleviated yet?

Pie in the sky promises? You tell me. Why create one or two new early childhood centers, when you can "create a network of early child care and education centers" Sounds like this initiative alone might overtax the purported airport revenue…but wait! There's more! Why modernize a few classrooms in each school, when you can (according to Chaka) "modernize every classroom for grades six through twelve, with Smart Boards, wireless internet connections and laptops for every child." Laptops for every child in grades six through twelve! Move to Philly, your kid gets a free computer! Which kid? EVERY kid! Cool!

More, more, more is the theme here. Honickman Learning Center is a cool high tech learning lab with lots of expensive computers and programs, so why not make MORE of them? Don't build, staff and maintain just one--build a bunch of "21st Century community and after-school centers in other regions of the city"? Airport funds are like oil to the Macabees!

Can those apparently not-yet-spent-out airport revenues also pay for adult-learners heading back to school? Depends on how you read "Mayor Fattah will also work with area colleges and community colleges (plural: not just ours!), to increase financial aid for returning students, bolster aid for students attending school less than half time…and provide need-based discounts on online courses." Sounds like free college money to me! What about those CorePhilly scholarships? Doubled!

And let's not forget that "academic re-engagement center to provide individual academic, financial, career, and logistical counseling" (Only one! Boo!) and, to oversee your moving from school to work, you get…you guessed it…a New Bureaucrat! "A Senior Administration Official to Coordinate Workforce Development." She's going to be PRETTY BUSY. She "will focus on coordinating training efforts in growth industries, working with vocational programs, colleges and universities," AND "work…to expand their workforce development course offerings, seek to partner area employers with high schools and work to increase funding for workforce development from state, federal and private sources." Sounds like too much for one person? She's just getting started! "Another task of this senior staff member will be to identify promote and expand successful workforce development programs" run by industry. Out of breath? Not our new bureaucrat! She's still going to "oversee the creation of job clubs for those seeking work, organized by Councilmanic District (not just one, TEN!)…(that) will provide support and information to unemployed Philadelphians and help them identify employment and training opportunities through formal and informal information sessions." Who's going to staff those offices and teach those sessions? It doesn't say, so I guess she will.

Whew! There's more stuff we can't afford or that won't work, but I'll spare you. Are there good ideas buried in there? Sure. Would they get lost in the rush to do/fund too much? Definitely. Would all this distract Fattah as NTI has distracted Street?

You know, of all people, Karl Marx helped popularized the phrase, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions" in Das Capital. (I think he got it from Samuel Johnson). Seems all too appropriate here.

Look, there are people—usually those looking at poverty from the outside—who are satisfied if a politician has his heart in the right place, if he pitches forcefully programs at least designed to alleviate poverty, whether they work or not. And then there are those who really believe what Lou Agre wrote, that the best anti-poverty program is a job—these are often people for whom poverty is more of a reality—and for those people, pretty words and ineffectual unfunded or unfund-able initiatives are just not enough. For those people, attracting more livable-wage jobs, making jobs easier to find if you've been incarcerated, making schools better and better-prepared for today's job market, really creating more affordable housing are, in fact, the best ways a Philadelphia mayor can alleviate poverty.

If you think Chaka Fattah will be more effective at actually achieving those things, fine, push his button May 15. If you think as I do, that Michael Nutter will zero in on the tasks a mayor really can perform to alleviate poverty, and ACTUALLY GET THEM DONE, vote for him.

But please quit the hysterical bullshit about whether Michael really cares about poor people, or if he "just wants to provide services," or another post in the series "Look-look-this-half-sentence-proves-Michael-Nutter's-the-Devil-just-as-I-predicted-in-ancient-BPT-prophecy."

His far-more-realistic programs answered these hysterical suggestions long ago.

Shit, in all those weeks away from the site, I think I forgot how to be concise!

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that...you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!” -Mario Savio

That about sums it up

Well put, Sam.

I support Michael Nutter for Mayor

Sam,thanks for this critique of Fattah’s anti-poverty initiative

Sam,

Thanks for this critique of Fattah’s anti-poverty initiative. You have done a great job pulling together many of the points on this thread and have called attention to what was one of the major criticisms of Johnson’s woefully under funded War on Poverty in the 60’s. So much of that money went to job creation for middle class service providers.

From Sam’s post on Fattah’s plan:

"And who oversees it all? Another new bureaucrat, the "Special Inspector General for All Children and Families Services." Poverty alleviated yet?"

"And let's not forget that "academic re-engagement center to provide individual academic, financial, career, and logistical counseling" (Only one! Boo!) and, to oversee your moving from school to work, you get…you guessed it…a New Bureaucrat! "A Senior Administration Official to Coordinate Workforce Development."

Given that resources are finite (that airport funding can go just so far), funds for antipoverty programs must be focused first and foremost on job creation for poor folks—-not for administrators of anti-poverty programs.

Given the history of cronyism in this town, there’s always the danger that a lot of the money for anti-poverty initiatives would wind up in the pockets of politically well-connected middle class bureaucrats and service providers.

I agree with Lou, that the best antipoverty program is a job.

Supporting Michael Nutter for Mayor

the best antipoverty program is a job?

Karen

I went to the National Organization of Women website and I found a petiton demanding pay equity for women workers. I though these two portions of the petition were particularly interesting:

WHEREAS in the US, the richest, most powerful nation on earth, women's average pay has dropped from 76% in 1992 to 73% of men's wages, 62.6% for Black women, 53.1% for Latina women; and
-------------
WHEREAS closing the wage gap between women and men cannot be achieved without revaluing the responsibilities and skills women use in their work compared to what men use in theirs;

WHEREAS underpaying women is a massive subsidy to employers that is both sexist and racist

Implicit in these points is an understanding that "a job" alone is not enough to reduce or address poverty unless that job pays decent wages. The best-paying jobs in our ecoonomy are those that require undergraduate or graduate degrees.

Therefore, I am surprised to hear you saying that you think the best antipoverty program is a job. Remember TANF? That worked real well...oh and I think NOW opposed that too...

Ray, you are right. The best anti-poverty program is a job with

Ray, you are right. The best anti-poverty program is a job with a living wage. And until we de-couple a basic human right such as health care from employment we are talking about a job with benefits.

Karen

Supporting Michael Nutter for Mayor

What this is really about

is whether you're going to create living wage jobs without focusing on what people need to qualify for them in a focused, central way, as opposed to hoping that they come about as a side effect of shoveling money to big corporations. And that's the fault line between Democrats who follow in the FDR tradition and those whose economic policies are not really much different than those of Reagan Republicans. And there is only one real FDR Democrat in the race, and that's Fattah. Personally I'm not ready to give up on the notion that targeted government programs can work. Social security and medicare were targeted programs to end poverty among the aged. I don't claim that their success proves that every government program will necessarily achieve its goals. But citing programs that failed doesn't prove anything either other than that those programs failed.

Here are some programs that were sold as incidentally likely to create all kinds of economic opportunity for poor people in Philadelphia: the Convention Center, two stadia, and 10 years of tax cuts. These programs did create nice bonanzas for rich people, along with a few bucks for the middle class. They also created mountains of debt. For the poor, nada. Oh, yes, there have been a lot of low wage service jobs that have been so beneficial that we still have a 25% poverty rate. Based on that performance, I'm happy to experiment with a little throwback to FDR.

You're right Sam, voters get to chose.

What do you get when you vote for Fattah? You get a Mayor who will spend a lot of time focused on ending generational poverty.

I was raised by two parents who were both first-generation college students. My mom went to Temple, couldn't afford it after one year, went to Gloucester County Community and worked at my grandfather's diner until she could afford to pay for Glassboro State (now Rowan). My dad got a free ride to LaSalle because his brother was a Christian Brother.

My mom and then my dad went back to school to get graduate degrees after their third child was born (I was first if you couldn't already tell) and got Master's degrees from Temple. My mom then went on to get an EdD at Temple too.

Every single advantage and privilege I have ever had comes from my parents and the wages they have earned as professionals.

Me and both of my sisters went to college because our parents told us we had to from an early age. My parents worked very hard to get through college, and there was never a question that their children, like me, would ever go to college.

I am very lucky.

The 80% of Philadelphia children who live in households who do not have parents who have earned a college degree are not.

Most of the people who do not have college degrees and most of the people (the 1/3) who live below 200% of the poverty line and the 25% of the people who are UNDER the poverty line HAVE a job of some kind. There is cohort that is not active in the workforce at all, but lots have jobs.

If the best straetgey to ending poverty was just a job, we'd be all set.

But the fact is that a job--any job--is not how you end poverty. You need to provide good jobs--with good wages and benefits--and there is a lot you can do to create more jobs that achieve this and that do not require college degrees---but there are far more good jobs available to people who do have degrees.

So, is implementing good-intentioned policy a challenge? Sure. And if Fattah is elected Mayor, he'll need a lot of help.

But with Fattah, you know you are electing a Mayor who wants to send A LOT of kids on the path to and into the doors of colleges. He wants to send as many of those kids' parents to college to finish degrees--a program that PA Economy League started talking about a year ago. Parents who get college degrees create kids who have college degrees.

People with degrees get good jobs and good jobs are the best anti-poverty strategy.

Reducing poverty will do far more than any thing else to make our city sustainable.

That's what Fattah's about and on May 15th, Fattah is the one I will vote for.

No Baiting Zone

Serious question about the college scholarships; if the City takes a bigger role in this realm, how do we make sure that our investment gives us a return? That is, if we help kids go to colleges outside the City or even the state, that's fantastic for them, but as a City we'll have lost them and our investment, no? Maybe I'm missing something.

Hope Scholarships

Almost every state that has added a lottery or permitted gambling in the last 10 to 15 years (time frame not exact) has provided a free college education to ANY child with a B average (no matter the school they come from) at a state school they can get into. State schools have become better and bigger. They are adding schools. More kids end up in college. If children or their parents or guardians see college after graduation from high school, kids will stay in school. It's not complicated. Those states in 20 years will destroy us when competing for jobs in a knowledge based economy. We need to step up to this responsibility: To give our neediest citizens and this City and State a long term chance--we must educate our children and keep them here.

If you are a grandmother in central Pennsylvania, would you rather have your property taxes reduced by $250 dollars a year or permit your grandchildren to go to college for free. Instead of leading we end up pandering--it elects people short term but does not address the long term problems. It is time for new leadership in this City.

The question/statement from Friedman is correct--the City can't act alone. However, there are some good first steps. We need teachers, why not loan money if children will become teachers and pay it back.

Long term, it would not matter if the state paid for college whether or not the students stay (if we fix our City Services and tax structure too they might). If we can end the generational poverty discussed then these children will be productive and not a cost--here or elsewhere. Let's set reach goals and think big, not small.

Taking the bait

It's a good question. Not all that hard to figure out a solution to though. Attaching strings to scholarship money is good. We also know from the KIP study that Philadelphia natives who attend college here stay here in greater numbers that Boston natives who go to school there. I think it's a 55% or so retention rate.

Then of course, if we follow Fattah's lead and emphasize specialized education in math and science at the high school and college level, we'll create skilled workers ready for our region's growing healthcare and pharmaceutical industry.

I think the last numbers I

I think the last numbers I saw were 60% natives, 25% non-native.

--------------------------------------------------
Staff member of Longacre for 5th Council District.

Strings?

Have any of Fattah's scholarship programs ever had strings attached to them with respect to where the recipient remains post graduation?

The strings

Here's the criteria CORE Philly scholarship recipients have to meet:

CORE Philly Scholarships

CORE Philly offers scholarships of up to $3,000 to high school seniors to help pay first-year college expenses (including living expenses and books). The exact amount of your CORE Philly Scholarship will be determined by your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as calculated through the completion of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

To be eligible to apply in 2007, you must be:

* A 2007 graduate of a School District of Philadelphia public, charter, archdiocese, or private high school.
* A resident of the City of Philadelphia. An applicant attending a parochial or private school must show proof of residency in Philadelphia along with one parent or legal guardian (what you need to show).
* Planning to pursue an Associate's or Bachelor's degree at a participating college or university (see a list of these).
* Once you are clear you have met the above criteria click here to begin the CORE Philly application.

That’s it. There’s no GPA requirement, no required classes, and no mandatory extracurricular activities. Click here to find out how to apply.

Now CORE has no obligation to give scholarships out other than than the fact that it is the right thing to do.

However, armed with the stats from the KIP partnership, sending kids to local schools who are from here means a lot of those who make it through to graduation will stay here.

And which tasks would those be, Sam?

...Michael Nutter will zero in on the tasks a mayor really can perform to alleviate poverty,...

Your argument above would have a lot more impact with me if it were supported with something concrete. You say that "pretty words and ineffectual unfunded or unfund-able initiatives are just not enough." Well, I agree. But I would also say that stated intentions and concrete proposals - while not in themselves sufficient -- are better than simply attacking programs that didn't live up to their hype.

So how, exactly, is Nutter going to create all those jobs? Tax cuts? Attacking Street is not a platform (although judging from a Nutter commercial I saw tonight, he seems to think that it is the way to get elected).

You said above: "...Street didn't intend to lose jobs or create the atmosphere for an epidemic of murder…but that's what he did,..."

That seems to me like hyperbole. The failure of Street's initiatives did not create poverty, unemployment, or violence - they only failed to effectively mitigate against them. Poverty, unemployment, and violence are, unfortunately, problems in quite a few cities where Street was never mayor. You do a good job of critiqing Fattah's proposals - can you do as good a job at explaining how Nutter will do something better?

Actually Safe Streets probably raised the murder rate

as i explained in my blog at http://www.stier.net/blog/2006/07/28/120/

Forcing drug dealers to move from their usual locations probably forced them into other areas and put them into conflict with drug dealers there. Turf wars and murder were the result.

A very speculative determination of cause and effect

Violence and murder are up in many cities around the country. Linking a rise in this City to one specific policy seems to me to be very simplistic.

I think NTI could have been

I think NTI could have been a powerfully good program. At its heart, the concept was smart, a mixture of a market analysis with some intelligent Keynesian economics - leveraging public money in neighborhoods on the cusp of going up or down, which would then let market forces help out, as well.

The problem was that its basic implementation, from the get go, ran into the buzzsaw of Philly political realities. But, I don't think it has 'distracted' Street. Distracted him from what? You think because of NTI he has not dealt effectively with the murder rate, or because of NTI Ron White ran wild in City Hall? That seems a little odd to me.

It is an ongoing program, that could have been a wonderful signature to his administration, and now will not be. Regardless of what you think about Fattah, does that mean you think we should forget about thinking big and boldly in Philly? Not me. When I go to other cities, and see bold, ambitious programs, I think that it is a shame that we always think so small here.

I agree. I don't think NTI

I agree. I don't think NTI was a distraction and caused those events you mentioned. I think those events are a corollary of why NTI hasn't worked.

I also agree Philly needs to think big, but with grounded feet. At some point the mayor or council needed to step up and say "as it is, this program is not giving us the ROI intended. Let's rework it".

Philly seems to have a black hole of big ideas. When things don't work out (and all of them won't), they don't cut them loose They let them sit and wallow.
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Staff member of Longacre for 5th Council District.

Political Reality 101

Mayors, like other managers, need to choose their projects carefully. The larger the project, the more the cost in time, attention, money and political capital.

There are only so many battles a mayor can wage in a four-year term.

Choose the wrong project, or even choose the right project but approach it in a way that's likely to fail, and a mayor wastes all of the above AND the opportunity to have accomplished SOMETHING ELSE in those precious years.

NTI had noble goals that very, very few people, at least that I talked to or read, ever thought had a chance in Hell of getting done. End result: a lot of holes in the ground, and yes a lot of time, mayoral attention, money, and political capital spent that could have been spent doing other good things like overhauling the zoning code, fixing L&I, and yes working to solve ongoing crises in Education and Crime.

Yes, I hold John Street ultimately accountable for these crises. And yes, a lot of his time and attention and have been spent fiddling with NTI while Rome burned.

The problem with NTI is it was the mayor's largest project and it failed to improve the city in a meaningful way.

The problem with Fattah's Opportunity Agenda is that it would likely fail too.

It is too huge to manage (just like NTI), too costly (WAY more than he let's on--I didn't make up the fact that he pledges a laptop for every student grades 6 through 12), is predicated on a deal that could sink it immediately and that could end up losing the city money and political capital, would take too much time to implement and, since he is really selling it as the centerpiece of his campaign, would apparently take up much of HIS attention and political capital.

And it is a ridiculously ill-chosen, inadequate way for a Philadelphi mayor to reduce poverty. (Somebody correct me if I'm wrong: Fattah proposes spending 175 million new fantasy dollars on Education and didn't even propose reducing class size?)

A mayor is only as good as what he or she gets done. This is how Fattah is defining what he thinks most needs to be done, can be done and will get done.

Lease the airport to pay for a bunch non-teacher School District employees and outside-the-classroom programs, and computers, computers, computers.

Fattah is simply defining himself as a lousy manager.

And, amid a murder epidemic and ongoing decades-long Education and Job crises, Philadelphia cannot afford another well-meaning lousy manager.

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that...you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

Thanks Professor

For those who do not know him, Sam has been involved as a volunteer and as a staff for various campaigns over the years but he is a full-time academic which i guess explains the "politics 01" title of his post.

Sam, I won't get in a pissing match with you, but I don't think Fattah's plans are ridiculous nor do I think they are unmanageable. When I stack your criticisms up against the entirety of what Fattah has proposed, I think your analysis comes up short.

Raising wages and reducing poverty will be the # 1 project that Fattah manages. He'll provide quality services in the process, but as DeWitt points out in a a post on his blog today:

In an article by Bob Fernandez, the Inquirer discusses a report released by the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board titled "A Tale of Two Cities." It's pretty grim. Depressingly, one in four Philadelphia residents are high school dropouts and over 60% of all African-American men are without a job. "According to the report, if Philadelphia could improve the education level of its residents to match the education level throughout Pennsylvania, the city would add 32,000 workers. This would lower unemployment and fatten the city's wage base by $1.8 billion a year, the report says." At 4.26%, that's $76.5 million per year of annual tax revenue.

That's what Fattah is about. A policy paper on the campaign trail is not the same as a policy implemented by the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia. If your criticism of individual points have merit, there's no doubt they'll be addressed before any real money or time is spent, but fundamentally a vote for Fattah is a vote for a short and long-term investment in the skills of our city's workers that will generate more wage tax revenue and create more opportunity for all.

Dan says to you above:

Regardless of what you think about Fattah, does that mean you think we should forget about thinking big and boldly in Philly? Not me. When I go to other cities, and see bold, ambitious programs, I think that it is a shame that we always think so small here.

Do you disagree?

If your criticism is of Fattah's specific idea, that would be one thing, but you seem to criticize the fact the he is proposing anything at all other than baseline improvement in city services. That strikes me as pretty defeatist, and for a guy i loves and is of Philadelphia as much as i am, it makes me sad to you cede your dreams to your hopelessness.

Think Big, Think Smart, Think New

I actually omitted some lines earlier that say:

YES, think big and boldly! So DON'T squander your time, money, and political capital on creating a lot of new 70's-style bureaucracy and educational technology that will outlive its usefulness before you can implement it!

You can't bury I-95, create a new waterfront, create a 311 system, meaningfully change our police department, create a newer better public transit system, and most of all, create new liveable wage jobs, a REAL new infrastructure--the big, bold things I want--if you're trying to build and maintain a monstrosity like the one blueprinted in Fattah's Opportunity Agenda.

70's-style bureaucracy is certainly big, but it ain't bold.

I'd trade all of Fattah's Education bells and whistles for a pledge to reduce class size. That's Point #2 in Michael's Education Plan, after expanding Early Childhood Education.

That's thinking not only big, but smart. That's applying lessons learned from the past, so that you don't repeat the mistakes of the past.

I want a mayor who can actually DELIVER big projects, like 311, like better police and public transit, like building a new economic infrastructure.

I want a mayor who will not be already overextended when Penn Praxis delivers a new vision for the waterfront. I want a mayor whose City Hall will have earned trust from other branches of government, so we can pursue huge projects like burying I-95 or dredging the Delaware (if it's environmentally sound).

I also want something big, bold, and new that Fattah seems less interested in: Real Reform, a city democracy less tied to the old Party Machine and Big Money.

What seems sad to me are Fattah supporters who reject the possibility of this historical moment, of the unique chance for real reform that 2007 offers us.

When Chaka spoke at P4C Meetup last week, I thought he sounded like someone out of touch with both the economic Reality and the real, wonderful Possibility of Philadelphia in 2007.

The song that kept running through my head was almost thirty years old: Elvis Costello's "A Man Out of Time".

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that...you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"

A Man of His Time

What's frustrating about this thread is that Sam is pitting two people against each other who he generally likes--Sam has told me how he worked hard to elect Chaka to Congress in past elections and thinks he is a good guy.

Of course that doesn't mean Sam will support Fattah in this race, but using a neo-con/DLC frame to describe Fattah as being a 1970's bleeding-heart is bizarre to me.

For instance, Fattah has said pretty aggressively said in print and in person that increasing funding for the School District--equal to the level of funding suburban districts get--is the way he plans to reduce class size.

But that’s not the real debate…

If we were Seattle, where 65% + of working age adults had college degrees, I'd be happy for our municipal government to focus its time exclusively on burying I-95 or whatever.

We're not that city.

No, we're Philadelphia--we have a 25% poverty rate, we have less than 20% of working age adults with college degrees and high rate of murder. We also have the lowest rents and housing costs on the East Coast. We have beautiful unique neighborhoods, some growing industries and good restaurants and bars. And we have really cool, really weird, really opinionated people.

We're an incredibly unique Eastern city--without the draw of NYC or the small scale of Boston--qualities that allowed those two cities to reinvent themselves as 21st century cities.

And we're not Baltimore or Newark or Detroit either--cities that are pretty much doomed.

Philadelphia has a real ability to meet the challenges we're facing and deal with them or we could totally fall apart.

And therein lie the REAL debate. Sam says that these are the most important things:

bury I-95, create a new waterfront, create a 311 system, meaningfully change our police department, create a newer better public transit system, and most of all, create new liveable wage jobs

I am not sure what meaningful change in our police department means, I believe 311 is done deal since Kenney and other Council folks are on it--and it's not that hard to do. Changes to public transit will only occur if Philadelphians get more control of the SEPTA board and if Rendell get us more money (two things Fattah has pledged to act aggressively on) and burying 95 will require massive, massive federal monies.

I know that everyone votes for their self-interest, but frankly some self-interests are more important than others.

I understand Sam’s list of priorities but I am more concerned with a different list:

-addressing the growing gap between the rich and the poor in Philadlephia

-creating more affordable housing—not just for the very poor but for people like me (and even Sam) who don’t own homes

-getting more Philadelphians college degrees

I think there are a lot of good jobs in this city--especially in pharamceuticals and helathcare--but I think these jobs are filled by people who come from outside the area to work because out city government does not produce enough high-skilled workers, woth college degress, to fill them.

I also think a good Mayor will be able to do and deliver a lot. Sam thinks that only a few things are going to be possible. If Sam is right, then I would ask, what few things should we focus on?

Lifting kids out of poverty and reducing generational poverty so we create a long-term, sustainable wage tax base or should we bury 95?

I've checked out Nutter's plans. Smart? Not!

Sorry, emptying the treasury by giving across the board tax cuts to big and small business, profitable and unprofitable alike may be bold, but it's certainly not smart. Not when you're creating all manner of new spending and bureaucracies like the ones that are all over Nutter's website. I don't know why you went to Fattah's website for ambitious sounding but empty ideas. You can go right to your own candidate's site. How about this promise: "creating an Office of Business Services, with a Business Service Representative assigned to every business." That's right every business that wants help. Can you beat that for bureaucracy run amok? Just what are they going to do for all these small mom and pop stores? Their taxes? Check inventory? Their business plan? See if they’re naughty or nice? Sweep the sidewalk? I’m definitely ready to open shop.

Then there's his rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic plan. To solve the problem of insufficient minority contracting in the city he has the novel idea to create another cabinet position. Straight out of the playbook of his hero, John Street, who created them left and right. So here's the idea, straight out of the plan Nutter released today: "Replace the City’s Minority Business Enterprise office with an Economic Development Cabinet." Oops, I misspoke. He wouldn't add to the existing Cabinet, he wants to add a whole new cabinet. Presto! That solves that problem. And before you know it there may well be enough cabinets to furnish a whole new City Hall.

And Nutter doesn’t want to just add offices and throw money at programs, old and new alike. (I have compiled a list of two dozen examples from his website that if provoked I will spread out on the record later.) But he also wants to give encouragement. Yes indeed, everyone should feel a new day is coming because Michael, who on the one hand thinks we need to cut tax burdens on business, will be encouraging them to voluntarily spend more by providing "tuition reimbursement to their workers." Now, there's a hard-headed approach. Why didn't anyone else think about funding job training by just asking nicely for the funding from the bosses?

Let’s see what else we’ve got by way of new, bold programming that’s wildly different from the tired, worn out ideas of the stupid old Democrats. How about, oh this makes my mouth water, the “Philadelphia Compact for Youth Success.” An immediate raise for whoever came up with that. With a name like that, what could be bad? Why, it’s got success right there in the title! And how will he achieve success for the Youth? Well by using the obvious – yet not thought of by the other candidates -- approach of once more asking the nice businesses to ante up out of their pockets – this time for more summer internships.

Here’s one more great new idea from Michael’s economic development plan that is definitely not from the old-fashioned Democratic playbook, though I must confess I don’t find it quite as impressive as the others: “I will establish a focused neighborhood development entity to oversee neighborhood economic development and neighborhood corridors.“ Why am I not as impressed by this you might ask? Well, because this "entity" cries out for a Mad Ave. tested title that it should have been tagged with. Maybe I can help: how about “Agency to Push Around Papers, Return Phone Calls Now and Then, and all the While Look Around Desperately for Something to do not Already Being Done.”

And so it goes with the glass house from which your candidate and his supporters cast stones at the old bureaucratic approach of Fattah.

Reshuffle the chairs, beg for money with one hand, give money away with the other. How could one fail to be impressed with such an inspired new approach.

Small business in the City

As someone who owned a small business in the City, a business service representative assigned to my business sounds great. The myriad of taxes, licenses and other traps you can fall into is stupefying. That is why when I see a candidate that was late on his taxes, if he did business in the City I can sympathize. I had a payroll service that screwed up my payroll taxes.

If you ask people trying to start a restaurant in the City they will tell you horror stories. A live human being in City Hall would go a long way to making it easier to operate in the City.

What is so mysterious about

What is so mysterious about "they"? It was explicitly referencing affordable housing programs.

And I am completely basing it off of what I see. I live in Sharswood. The City worked with Michaels development (private) and eminent domained about 3 square blocks for them. The whole set of housing is low income rental houses. They have two such rental complexes. They are about to do a third stage the same way for subsidized home ownership. They are creating blocks of it. No mixed income.

On North College Avenue PHA built a stretch of houses from the corner of west college for a couple blocks.

So, there are several instances of building blocks of low income housing over the last couple years.

And you may find cultural poverty offensive, but a lot of the issues are exactly that. I will give you another example.

I was speaking with a SWEEP officer at the monthly police district public meetings. She was speaking about what they do for illegal dumping and how they look through trash to find the perpetrator. I asked her why it is such an issue since obviously there is regular weekly trash pick up. She said when ever she goes to fine someone, she first gives them a warning and sits down with them for half an hour ad speak with them. Overwhelmingly the reason is that they don't know. They don't know it is unsanitary. They don't know the health issues and they don't know it is wrong.

So yes, some things are culturally being passed down.

Here is another example.

I had someone blasting music at midnight on a tuesday night. He was sitting on his steps with his CD player cranked all the way up and having a beer. I went out and asked him to turn the radio down. He said "this is north Philly. If you want quite, you go move to the burbs." I eventually did get through to him, but I periodically have such noise issues around. To the point where it is two blocks away and it sounds like the band is in my house.

That is getting culturally passed down.

I could go into a dozen examples of how teenagers don't even know littering is wrong. It is being passed down.

So yes, it is education, but some things are taught through society and human interaction and not just school. Just because you find something offensive does not make it untrue.

I live in the badlands (or as one neighbor calls it "the west end of hell") everyday. I'm on the front lines. I may be speaking about how to work on poverty, but I am putting my money where my mouth is and doing it as well.

this is the second comment

this is the second comment today in which you you refer to a mysterious "they."

who is building housing in blocks? much of what PHA has done over the past five years is mixed income.

This form of rhetoric is not useful.

And I don't know where you get off with that. If you wanted examples, all you had to do was ask to supply examples for my argument. Have I not gone that route with you and the Fattah stuff? Have I not been rather unemotional about it and openly asked for more specifics on certain items to show the conversation is open and give you ample opportunity to divulge information that I am looking for to form a correct judgment?

Sometimes you need to retract your claws, Ray. ;)

Poverty

Some politician, I forget who, once said, that the best anti-poverty program is a job. This does not mean any job, but a good paying job with benefits. John Edwards said that one of the ways to reduce poverty in America is to make it easier to join a Union. All the educational programs in the world do not help unless there are jobs to go to. In the job training field it is considered much better to create the jobs first. Once there are jobs training will then happen.
That is why port dredging is so important. This is the one area in the City that there is real potential for job growth. These are good paying jobs that provide enough income to raise a family.

Dredging

Dredging equals family sustaining jobs. As I have said elsewhere this morning, good paying jobs with benefits are the only things that can save this City. Unions recognize this.

And for the record I whole

And for the record I whole heatedly agree that dealing with poverty issues has a net benefit to all of Philly.

We just have disagreement on areas of procedure and policy.

Which Economic Development Strategy for Philadelphia?

I don’t know how fighting poverty can’t be a central task of government in our city. Lately in my speeches, I have been pointing out to my audiences that the three problems we talk so much about—crime, economic development, and education—are really one problem. And the name of that problem is injustice. High crimes rates, a lack of jobs, and poor educational attainment are more likely to be found in the same neighborhoods. And they have to be fought as one.

But while these problems are more likely found in certain neighborhoods not others, they affect the whole city. The lack of skilled workers undermines economic growth for everyone because it keeps many leading edge businesses from locating in the city. Even if we don’t all go to bed hearing gun shots—and far more people do in Mt. Airy than you might think—much of the city suffers from the direct effects of crime, theft, and we all suffer from the indirect effects, high insurance costs, population decline, and the economic consequences when businesses are scared to move here. And when unemployment rates reach depression era rates in some neighborhoods, we all suffer because unemployment wastes the talents of our citizens and diminishes our buying power.

The question, however, is what to do about the injustice of crime, lack of jobs, and low educational attainment.

I appreciate Chaka Fattah’s willingness to run on this issue. And, while I’m not endorsing anyone for Mayor, I think that commitment is certainly of the things I want any Mayor to have. But I’m not sure I agree with his single minded focus on education as a solution.

Focusing on improving education strikes me as a mid-twentieth century liberal way of looking at the triple problem of crime, lack of jobs, and low educational attainment. Back then, social scientists and activists talked about changing the world by improving human capital, that is, by giving people more skills.

The problem with that perspective is it is too individualistic. Whether kids can take advantage of a good education or not depends a lot on the community in which they grow up. It is hard to take education seriously when you see no prospects of it leading to a job. And just improving skills of the work force doesn’t necessarily bring jobs to a city, especially since, labor economists have shown in recent years, most jobs skills are in fact learned on the job not in school.

While we have to address crime, jobs, and education all at once, I think spending more money on education is less important than bringing jobs to a community. And, as I have argued here and on my blog we can best bring jobs not or only through individualist means like tax cuts but through public investments in commercial corridors and facilities like the ports and in the public services that make Philadelphia a good place to live and work. (Those jobs will also be better if they are unionized.) I do think tax restructuring will help with some leading edge businesses. But it won’t revive our commercial corridors, where the cost of doing business is already low. And we have to bring more retail businesses to the city—and expand the port—if we want to employ all those people who do not have even a high school degree.

Michael Nutter has talked a good deal about improving city services as a economic development strategy and I think he is right at about that. And he should point out more often that improving city services is a way of reducing poverty if part of that effort leads to a reduction in the inequality with which city services are now distributed. However Michael has also focused more than I would on tax cutting as an economic development too.

As I said, I’m not endorsing anyone for mayor. But the one Mayoral candidate who has focused the most on the kind of community based economic development strategies I’ve talked about here is Dwight Evans, who has used those strategies to revive West Oak Lane. We are using the same strategies in Mt. Airy, where we have brought about 48 businesses and 200 jobs to Germantown Avenue in the last 4 years.

Fattah Plan to Create Jobs

I find it kind of funny that a life-long academic is unsure about education's role in upping wages. I've wittnessed a re-birth on my local commerical corridor that I have dreamed about since I was 14, yet I don't see it creating more than 40 or 50 medium wage jobs (without benefits) tops for people who live on or near Baltimore Avenue.

Fattah is closest to the economic development vision I have been talking about for over 3 years since I first met folks at the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, the founding of One Philadelphia (which I was actually at before you Marc) and throughout the history of this blog.

That said, I wanted to paste some info from the policy center of the Fattah website about jobs and economic development:

Chaka Fattah has set forth his Opportunity Agenda, focusing on improving education for our city's youth and breaking cycles of poverty in which too many are caught. However, the life chances of adults -- many of whom are parents and grandparents -- must also be improved to truly change our city. The policy below, in conjunction with Fattah's Opportunity Agenda, will give adults in our city the tools they need to succeed in the knowledge economy. Acknowledging the disproportionate numbers of unemployed and underemployed in minority groups, the Fattah Administrationâ??s efforts will focus on those communities most in need.

In his Fiscal Plan, Fattah laid out plans to streamline taxes, including replacing the Business Privilege Tax with a simple Net Profits Charge and continuing to reduce the wage tax. In an effort to attract new businesses to our city, Fattah has laid out a plan to allow established businesses relocating to Philadelphia to pay the business taxes of their former jurisdiction for the first five years that they are in Philadelphia. He has also called for new support mechanisms for small business development in order to improve our competitiveness and create jobs. However, without a well-trained workforce, Philadelphia will not be able to live up to its economic potential. The Fattah plan for jobs, in conjunction with the other facets of his platform, will ensure that that potential is fulfilled.

EXPAND CONTINUING EDUCATION

Increase Adult Education. As a major part of his Opportunity Agenda, Chaka Fattah will work to implement a strategy to help Philadelphia adults who have some college credits complete their degrees. According to a study by Graduate! Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Economy League and the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board, 80,000 Philadelphia adults between the ages of 25 and 45 have earned some college credits but have not finished their Bachelorâ??s or Associateâ??s degree. If just 10,000 of these adults finished their degrees -- and were paid according to their qualifications -- city tax revenues could increase by $272.3 million over 30 years, social service expenditures would be reduced by $300 million over 30 years and Philadelphiaâ??s purchasing power would be increased by $1.05 billion. We cannot afford not to educate our workforce. The Fattah Administration will work with employers, unions and area colleges to increase financial aid for returning students, bolster aid for students attending school less than half time, establish flexible class scheduling and provide need-based discounts on online courses. The Fattah Administration will also provide incentives for employers that provide tuition aid and reimbursement or flexible workweek scheduling to allow time for course work. Finally, Fattah will work with unions to develop their continuing education offerings. There are a number of outstanding programs on which to model future programs. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workersâ?? Applied Studies Program offers members of the unionâ??s Apprenticeship Training Program a chance to earn college credits from the Community College of Philadelphia while they are training to become electricians. Another example is Health Care Workers 1199Câ??s Training and Upgrading Fund which offers tuition reimbursement, scholarships and stipends and courses at Breslin Learning Center to help workers acquire new skills, better jobs and higher wages.

Create a Re-Enrollment Center for Philadelphians Returning to Education. For workers who wish to complete their college studies, the Fattah Administration will create a re-enrollment center to assist adult learners in recovering transcripts, navigating their student loan options, and tailoring their future studies towards their career goals. This center will mount an aggressive outreach campaign and provide individual academic, financial, career, and logistical counseling to returning students.

Fully Fund Philadelphia's Share to Community College of Philadelphia. Currently, Philadelphia spends $22.4 million on The Community College of Philadelphia (CCP), which is almost $15 million short of its expected 33 percent contribution under a cost-sharing arrangement between the city, the state and the students. Chaka Fattah will increase the cityâ??s contribution to CCP over the course of four years to fully fund the College by the end of his first term, providing CCP with the fiscal stability it needs to fulfill its mission.

Make an Active Investment in the CCPâ??s 'Gateway to College' Program. The Fattah Administration will draw up an investment plan with the Community College of Philadelphia to provide additional public and private funding to the Gateway to College program. Gateway to College is a scholarship program that gives 16-20 year olds who left high school before graduation the opportunity to earn their diplomas while also studying for college credits. 40 students were enrolled in the first class in September 2006, and 60 more began classes in January. The Fattah Administration will make a significant investment so that CCP can commit to more ambitious targets for student retention and graduation rates.

Create a Revolving Loan Pool to Help City Employees Complete College. Chaka Fattah believes that helping city workers finish their education is a valuable investment in the life of our community, and will create a revolving loan to finance workers' ambitions of completing their unfinished studies. City workers are among the 80,000 Philadelphians between 25 and 45 years of age identified by Graduate Philadelphia as having some college credits, but lacking an Associates or Bachelors degree. The Fattah Administration will make sure the city helps expand the knowledge base of Philadelphia by giving its employees the financial tools to finish their education.

Create an Adult Literacy Office to Connect Remedial Readers with Literacy Organizations. A root cause of joblessness in Philadelphia is the fact that motivated, hardworking candidates for work often fail to meet employers' literacy requirements. The Fattah Administration will create a well-publicized city office dedicated to connecting adults to opportunities for improving their literacy. The most conservative estimate of adults needing intensive remedial literacy help is 138,000, but there are only 21,000 student placements available per year. Placements are scattered throughout the city and outreach is uncoordinated and insufficient. The Fattah Administrationâ??s Literacy Office will create a clearinghouse for all literacy information and services, connecting motivated students to educators and helping literacy organizations serve their populations more effectively. The Mayorâ??s Commission on Literacy, which was established in 1983, has been instrumental in improving the quantity and quality of adult literacy learning sites, but a more expansive approach must be taken. Fattah will also work with employers and unions to help identify those 'near-misses' in the hiring process: good candidates for employment who would have been offered work were it not for their literacy barrier. With candidates' permission, the Fattah Administration will help employers refer these individuals to the Literacy Office. This office will look at providing literacy training options online and on public access television. The Literacy Office will also reach out to the faith community, asking them to expand their tutoring efforts.

Support Ex-Offenders Seeking Jobs Upon Re-Entry. In order to rejoin society, ex-offenders must have access to jobs. But many ex-offenders lack the skills and networking relationships necessary to gain sound, well-paying employment following their release from incarceration. The Fattah Administration will work with the Ex-Offenders Association, the Comprehensive Center for Fathers, Men United, the faith-community and others to work with ex-offenders to give them the skills training they need to find employment in careers that can lead to economic self-sufficiency. In particular, the Fattah Administration will work with these groups to create a program, modeled on YouthBuild U.S.A. that allows ex-offenders to work toward achieving educational goals while working to rebuild local communities and gaining job skills. This program will give ex-offenders employment in basic construction on affordable housing in Philadelphia while and helping them gain the skills they need for stable employment.

ESTABLISH NEW STRUCTURES TO ENHANCE COORDINATION IN WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Designate a Senior Administration Official to Coordinate Workforce Development. Mayor Fattah would designate a senior administration official, on loan from the corporate sector with extensive experience in human resources and workforce development, to manage, oversee and coordinate the cityâ??s workforce development efforts. This senior official will focus on coordinating training efforts in growth industries, working with colleges and universities to expand their workforce development course offerings, looking to partner area employers with high schools and working to increase funding for workforce development from state, federal and private sources. This individual will lead city efforts to promote continuing education and workforce development resources like PA CareerLink Philadelphia and others. This official will work collaboratively with the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board (PWIB) and the Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation (PWDC), state organizations and programs, unions, the business and educational communities and organizations like Philadelphia OIC to serve as a coordinator across these and other entities involved with workforce development to ensure that workforce development is targeting the right industries in Philadelphia. The Mayor will convene regular meetings of a Workforce Development Roundtable, comprised of representatives from these different communities to plan for business and job growth with the purpose of creating pipelines of workforce development.

EXPAND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT IN TARGETED INDUSTRIES

Expand Access to Apprenticeships in the Building Trades. Building trades provide good-paying jobs without requiring a college degree, but recent studies have shown that minorities and women encounter extensive barriers to entering apprenticeship programs, costing minority communities billions on lost wages. Historically, graduates of the largely minority School District of Philadelphia are underrepresented in the local construction trades. The recent partnership established between the School District of Philadelphia and the Building and Construction Trades Council to provide apprenticeship opportunities for Philadelphia public school graduates is an innovative way to expand opportunities in the trades for more Philadelphia public school graduates. In Chicago, local unions have partnered with Community Colleges of Chicago to offer dual apprenticeship/degree programs in particularly trades as well as apprenticeship prep and skills training courses. As Mayor, Chaka Fattah will work with the Community College of Philadelphia and the building trade unions to create these dual apprenticeship/degree programs to enhance minority access to building trade apprenticeships.

Build Industry Partnerships to Foster Workforce Development. The Fattah Administration will focus its workforce development efforts on building strategic industry partnerships between employers and workers in targeted, growing industries in the City of Philadelphia and throughout the region. These partnerships will design and deliver training, in conjunction with educational institutions, in targeted industries -- based on extensive labor market research -- that will ultimately create not just more jobs, but high-wage jobs to grow Philadelphia's middle class.

Increase Training Programs for Chemical Workers. One example of strategic workforce development is in the chemical industry. Research shows that Philadelphia has an advantage in the chemical industry. In order to build on this advantage, Mayor Fattah will work to expand training in the chemical industry, so that Philadelphia can produce the skilled workers necessary to meet the demands of this industry. Sunoco has successfully partnered with Philadelphia Academies and the School District of Philadelphia to create the Academy of Process Technology at Bok Technical High School. This program produces graduates ready to enter the field of chemical processing. The Fattah Administration will work with other area chemical companies to form similar partnerships with both high schools and the Community College of Philadelphia to provide access to this training to students and workers across Philadelphia.

Build Simulated Training Environments for Growth Industries. Too often, young people lack the workplace experience necessary to gain employment. Working with leading workforce development organizations, the city will build simulated training spaces in which these organizations can conduct training courses. These simulations will target growth industries and build lifelike environments to get job applicants comfortable and trained in their surroundings. Mayor Fattah will work with the private sector to secure funding for simulated casinos, pharmacies, banks and other workplaces used by private and non-profit workforce development entities to give job applicants hands-on experience.

Support Workforce Development Programs with a Proven Track-Record of Success. The Fattah Administration will focus workforce development resources on programs with a proven track-record of success like the Tradeswomen of Purpose/Women in Non-Traditional Work Inc., which trains women in construction and other trades not traditionally performed by women. The group has been recognized as a leader in the field and won a variety of awards for its work in promoting workplace diversity. Chaka Fattah will continue to support the outstanding training provided by A.P. Orleans in the fields of construction and culinary arts, and to work with others in the field of job training, like Physicians Billing Solutions Inc., which train and place enrollees in the health care billing field, to prepare workers for jobs in growing industries. Finally, Chaka Fattah will support the training efforts of the Metropolitan Career Center, which has helped more than 11,000 adults and young people gain the skills and vocational training they need to attain economic self-sufficiency, offering programs in health care, pharmacy work, office assistance, and computer technology.

PROVIDE NEW TAX INCENTIVES FOR JOB CREATION

Create an EDGE Tax Credit to Lure Job-Creating Business to Philadelphia. Building on the work of Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr., the Fattah Administration will create an expanded tax credit designed to bring firms back to the city of Philadelphia. The Economic Development for a Growing Economy credit (EDGE) will allow companies creating five or more full-time Philadelphia jobs to receive a Business Privilege Tax (BPT) rebate equal to the wage taxes of those new employees. The non- refundable credits can be used against any part of the BPT to be paid over a period of 10 years. To qualify for the Philadelphia EDGE, large firms (100 or more employees) will have to make a minimum investment of at least $5 million in capital improvements and create a minimum of 25 new full time jobs in Philadelphia. Firms with 100 or fewer employees must make a capital investment of at least $1 million and create at least 5 new full time jobs. To be eligible, the firm's new jobs must be based in an expansion of an existing operation or in a new location. EDGE credits have been hailed as a success in Indianapolis, Charlotte and Chicago. These credits have helped Chicago become the top metropolitan destination in the country for new and expanded corporate facilities, and pushed the creation of 103,700 net new jobs in Illinois between 2003 and 2006.

PROVIDE NEW RESOURCES FOR THOSE SEEKING WORK

Create Job Clubs for Those Looking for Work. The Fattah Administration will encourage the creation of neighborhood job clubs, organized by Councilmanic District, for those looking for work. These clubs will provide support and information to unemployed Philadelphians and help them learn about employment and training opportunities through word of mouth and formal information sessions. They will also provide a ready job pool for Philadelphia employers. Job clubs will also be equipped with a hotline for local businesses to call when they have positions open, and will maximize job-seekersâ?? word-of-mouth contact networks.

Create a Web-Based System to Link Young People with Philadelphia Careers. Chaka Fattah will create an information clearinghouse to advise young people who start their careers in Philadelphia, modeled after New Jersey's NJNextstop.org, the Garden State's exemplary career education site. Philadelphia offers an enormous range of careers for workers at all educational levels. However, young people and their teachers and counselors lack a clear source for accurate, accessible information about Philadelphia opportunities and the job skills needed to take advantage of them.

HELP COMMUTERS GET TO WORK

Grow Our Inter-City Commuters. As mentioned in his transportation plan, Chaka Fattah will work to provide a tax credit to Philadelphia residents who use Amtrak to commute to work in other cities. Each day, thousands of Philadelphians take Amtrak to work in New York, Wilmington, Washington and other East Coast cities. In 2006, an average 510 monthly passes were purchased between New York and Philadelphia. However, recent fare hikes have caused some commuters to find other routes to work, to change jobs or to move out of Philadelphia. Fattah believes that these rate hikes are unnecessary. Fattah will provide a tax credit to these residents to help them defray their transportation costs.

Expand Philadelphia Residentsâ?? Access to Suburban Jobs. As mentioned in Chaka Fattahâ??s small business agenda, the Fattah Administration will expand the Philadelphia Unemployment Projectâ??s Commuter Options Program, and other programs such as the reverse-commute services program provided by the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition. These programs will serve 2,000 workers by the end of Fattahâ??s first term in office. The Philadelphia Unemployment Project program helps low-income inner-city residents travel to suburban jobs. In 2006, the program operated 20 vanpools servicing 100 individuals. The cost is shared among employers, riders, and the Philadelphia Unemployment Project to make transportation much more affordable. It is a collaborative effort that Chaka Fattah will encourage and expand upon as Mayor.

I'm not unsure

And I find it funny that someone who portrays himself as being on the left side of the debate about ending poverty endorses individualist nostrums from 60s liberals, nostrums that leftists were critcizing then and have been trying to move beyond since.

Education clearly is correlated with higher pay. But, first, the reason is not so much that education provdies skills but that it is a sorting mechanisms businesses use to determine who gets the best jobs, that is the positions that provide on the job training in capital intensive businesses.

And if that is the case, then giving more and more people college educations is not ultimately going to raise the income of the people with education. It is, instead, going to lower the premium to having a college education. We see that happening already as college educated people are doing jobs that only took a high school degree twenty years ago and the real income of those with just a college degree has been holding steady or dropping for years.

So we need to be thinking about more radical restructuring of our economy if we want income equality. We need to create jobs where people live, not just prepare people for jobs that don't exist. Local governments, CDCs, coops, and other such agencies can do much to bring this about. (See Gar Alperovitz' two recent books for many ideas about community or place based economic strategies to do this.)

Second, even if education were critical to raising the income of people, how do you get them to take advantage of the education available to them??

The schools in Philly are not good. But one reason they are not good is that a significant proportion of kids and their parents don't take education seriously. That's what I hear from parents every day.

And kids and parents who are highly motivated can take advantage of our bad schools and go to college. Some do all the time

So the question is why more don't.

And the answer has something to do with the fact that there it is hard for many poor people to see the connection between education and jobs. And it also has something to do with a lower class culture that devalues education.

In other words, poverty is not primarily a problem of individuals. It is a problem of communities. And it is going to take strategies that take communities seriously to over come poverty. And that good thing about that is that strategies that improve communities help not just poor and working class people but middle class people as well. That is important because the strategies of 60s liberals required redistributive policies that took money from rich individuals and gave it to poor individuals either directly or indirectly. As I have suggested, those strategies didn't work well and they also run up against the problem that there clearly is a limit to how much redistribution one city can do with out killing its economy. (Michael is right about that and it is, by the way, something widely accepted among lefist ecnonomists.) But economic development strategies tha tax people to improve communities are politically much easier to accomplish as well as more effective.

Chaka's plans to make it easier for people to go college are wonderful. And some of the programs you mention above, that help people find jobs, are great, too.

But they are not sufficient.

We discovered a few years ago that Mt. Airy has 600 million of buying power. Only a small fraction is spent in Mt. Airy and not much more in Philly. Much of it goes to Cheltenham and King of Prussia. We have got to keep that buying power in the city. And doing so will create thousands of jobs, one commercial corridor at a time. (And we are not just talking about retail but about small medical and law firms, etc.)

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