"People's Sheriff" Cheri Honkala to ride through Kensington on horseback, promoting end to foreclosures and concert on 9/14

Contact: Jason Bosch

Green Party Candidate focuses on "Protecting the Hood" & "Keeping Families in Their Homes"

Green Party candidate Cheri Honkala running for Sheriff of Philadelphia will be riding a horse through her neighborhood of Kensington on Monday August 29 at 11am. The campaign will be playing songs from Artists supporting her including political hip hop group Rebel Diaz, Yeye Organic Pop and more to promote the Cheri for Sheriff Party / Fund-raiser scheduled for September 14 at the Palladium. The candidate will be giving a press conference and taking questions from the press at the end of her ride.

Philadelphia Sheriff candidate Cheri Honkala

Riding a Horse through Kensington

From Kensington & Allegheny (riding on Allegheny) to the Palladim (229 W. Allegheny Avenue)

Monday August 29, 2011 at 11am

For more information about the Cheri Honkala for Sheriff of Philadelphia campaign, please visit

Yeye Organic Pop: Vota por Cheri

Living in "Hamsterdam"

Some of you may know I work in the office of City Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez. The Seventh Councilmanic District starts a few blocks above Girard Avenue and slices up along the west side of Frankford and then Kensington Avenue, neatly avoiding any meaningful concentration of wealth or gentrification (Northern Liberties, Temple, Fishtown). If you think there is something fancy that might be in the district, like a beer garden or coffee shop or condoized factory, it turns out to be on the other side of the line. Instead the district sweeps in the remnants of our industrial corridors and the poor, vibrant but brutalized communities who were left living in that tiny two-story factory housing after successive waves of flight.

I work on housing and land issues, with a subspeciality in the variety of ways deeds are forged or otherwise stolen, and those stolen houses sold, mostly to unsuspecting unsophisticated Spanish-speaking victims who just want somewhere affordable to live. I try to figure out how to keep a slumlord's 400+ properties in foreclosure from being turned over to speculators or abandonment. I field calls from people trying to legitimately buy vacant lots, for side yards to keep the dealers out, or because they're the dealers and want to control the block. The names on those deeds are often Jewish people who left sixty years ago and then died. Nothing's ever probated, and there's no way to legally get almost any of those lots to people who can secure and care for them.

There are a lot of vacant properties in Kensington - the aerial view on Google maps is a beautiful deep green - and the work involved in trying to navigate the broken city systems that deal with those properties, and to push policy reforms to unbreak those systems, it's endless (my boyfriend can tell you he has to fight to get me to stop thinking about lots so I can fall asleep). All that's another news story.

This post is about Philadelphia Weekly's new list of the 'top ten' drug corners in Philadelphia. The last list, in 2007, had corners that were scattered around the city. 2011's are all compounded in the same tiny wasted stretch of Kensington where you find all those lots I dream about: "from Lehigh to the south to Westmoreland, roughly a half-mile stretch, and from Kensington Avenue to N. Fifth Street, a distance just less than a mile." It's a blunt tool, picking ten drug corners based mostly on arrest frequency, but it captures something bigger and truer: I know all these blocks, and the 10 corners featured are surrounded by 10 and 10 and 10 more of the same. "No area of the city came close to Kensington and Fairhill in terms of the density and brazenness of the drug selling."

This is Hamsterdam.

But what does it mean to have a de facto Hamsterdam in Kensington when people, families, senior citizens, all still live there?

Vern Anastasio, Democratic candidate for the 1st City Council District, to Open Port Richmond Satellite Office

***Media Advisory***

(Philadelphia, PA)- This Friday, May 6, Vern Anastasio, Democratic candidate for the 1st City Council District, will be joined by local activists and members of the community for the grand opening of his Port Richmond office.

The neighborhoods of Port Richmond, Fishtown, and Kensington have not had proper representation in City Council for many years. Anastasio has pledged to open several satellite offices throughout the district if elected to City Council.

As Philadelphia’s next 1st City Council District Councilman, Vern Anastasio will ensure that every neighborhood is represented and every resident has a voice in City Hall.

Who: Vern Anastasio, Democratic Candidate for the 1st City Council District
What: Grand Opening of Port Richmond Office
When: Friday, May 6th
Where: 2700 E. Allegheny Ave, Philadelphia, PA
(Allegheny Ave & Edgemont St)

For Immediate Release: May 4, 2011
Contact: Chris Shores, (267) 793-0557

Political Art: Shadow World by David Kessler

Shadow World opening, 4/14 flyer

Shadow World is a project by David Kessler to document the lives of real people living under the El Train in Kensington, a neighborhood in North Philadelphia. He gives people a chance to give a first person account of their lives. It's political work, giving a voice to people that aren't heard from as much.

I thought Jennifer had written about this guy at some point, but I couldn't find it. Anyway, a lot of times, political types have a hard time with political art. What's the message? Where's the demand? Artists are taking on a different project than we are, though. They are moving consciousness and perspective and causing unusual juxtapositions that shake up our comfortable realities. Kessler's video work is pretty simple, but that's because his subject is so rich that he doesn't need to dress it up.

As you can see, there is an opening tomorrow night at The International House, 3701 Chestnut St, 6PM - 8PM. As long as the weather is bike-able, I'll be there. Maybe I'll see some other Philadelphians I know there, too? Let me know if you plan to go.

Cross-posted at ThisTooWillPass

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