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An Open Letter to the President-Elect from Philadelphia

November 18, 2008

Dear President-Elect Obama:

Congratulations on your historic win and upcoming term as President of the United States.  I am sure that you have a lot of things that you are looking forward to accomplish. 

As a Philadelphia resident, I have a list of a few things that I was hoping that you could add to your list.  A wish list, of sorts, for my city (a city that had all but one of its wards vote for you) to help it succeed and prosper.  They’re all doable.  I’m sure that with all the great talent with whom you plan to surround yourself (and quite honestly, Vice President-Elect Biden will have free time as Vice Presidents don’t really do anything), these things can be accomplished: 

·        Federal intervention to make Philadelphia streets safer – We have a big problem with violent crime.  The homicide rate is atrocious and, worse, there have been police officers that have fallen in the line of duty.  Traditional gun control methods and adding police officers haven’t made enough of a dent in the problems.  So, maybe some federal government help would do the trick.  Perhaps some federal agents to crack down on the illegal gun trade or to even just add manpower to helping patrol the streets.  That and maybe some funds to develop completely lightweight and protective bulletproof vest to protect all of Philadelphia’s finest. 

·        Building a casino within Philadelphia city limits, but not in any neighborhood – Here in this great city of ours, it’s tough to build any new landmark additions due to neighborhood opposition.  Heck, when the new sports stadiums were being proposed, there were residents in South Philadelphia who opposed their construction there even though the current stadium was already in the same complex.  The current plan is to place a casino in the middle of the city, but we’re not sure if it that decision is wise or fraught with peril.  If we don’t build it there, we have to build it somewhere else, which would bring on other neighborhood opposition.  So what about building it where there isn’t a current neighborhood – like say, as a floating casino off the Delaware River, near Spring Garden?  There’s highway and public transportation access, and there’s no real current neighborhood there, save for nightclubs.  All it would take is some governmental intervention in helping us annex enough land from Camden, New Jersey, and we can get it done. 

·        Improve the quality of the Philadelphia Public School System – The School District of Philadelphia is not in great shape.  It’s not even run by the city anymore, as the state took it over.  Low test scores and educational standards are prevalent.  Friends of mine who have children nearing public school age are moving out of the city because they do not want to send their children to city public schools and cannot afford private schools.  The No Child Left Behind Act was supposed to help, but it’s been vastly underfunded.  So, perhaps, some additional federal funds can increase educational standards.  Who knows, perhaps the current and future children of our city’s public school system can be smart enough to learn that professional football games end in ties if no one scores after an overtime period.

·        Require all storefront glass to be unbreakable and mandate that all cars have round tops that roll them back to their base if they are flipped – These wishes are for subsequent sports championship celebrations, so that there’s less looting and rioting damage.  You can probably wait on these changes for awhile.

So that’s all for now, Mr. President-Elect.  They are, I believe, modest wishes.  But together, we can make this great city even better.  Yes, we can. 


John E.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Not John E permalink
    November 22, 2008 12:42 am

    I didn’t realize that the Bar Association allowed this blog to be used for partisan purposes.

    What scares me the most about Obama is not him, but his supporters, the way that they deify him and believe he is the second coming. To me, he is like some Pied Piper of Hamelin, playing a wonderful (but empty) tune, leading people along. At best, Obama is a first term US Senator (who spent half of his term on the campaign trail) offering empty slogans to the masses.

  2. John E. permalink
    November 22, 2008 1:37 am

    Clearly, you missed the joke. I wonder what “partisan” purposes you could possibly mean considering that everything is related to Philadelphia problems that the city faces and is respectful, not reverential, towards a president-elect.

  3. March 24, 2011 1:32 am

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