- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
Casinos and My Neighborhood
Dan and I grew up about 5 blocks from each other in Germantown. We both lived about a mile and a half away from the proposed Casino site in East Falls. And I want to point and make it clear that it is in East Falls, NOT Nicetown. This insisting otherwise is a little insulting, not for the simple fact that it’s a lie, but more so because it almost has this feeling of, well, hey, it’s a poor Black neighborhood, so who cares if they screw it up. I care, but I digress.
The history of East Falls is pretty interesting. It is where Grace Kelly was born and raised. It’s where Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner were going to get married. (I later found out that the press got wind of it, so they got married in Mt. Airy.) It’s where our Governor calls home and where Arlen Specter used to live, along with a myriad of Judges and other elected officials.
It also used to have a darker side. When I was growing up, Ridge and Midvale was a place that you did not want to be at night. It was a very dangerous and seedy area, with nuisance bars and the like. Now, it’s the opposite, a posh Yuppie enclave for all the people, who, I guess, just don’t feel like hanging out in Manayunk. Its history is the symbol of everything that’s great and everything that’s horrible about our city.
Henry and Roberts is an interesting location. It’s across the street from the now defunct MCP Hospital, which, one night in 1993, saved my father’s life. It’s also near the Tasty Cake factory, which, I’m assuming, will leave the city for good if the Casino comes. It makes you wonder what all those people who carp about the greatness of this when they talk about all the jobs that it will bring. Where were these people when the great community hospital which used to have one of the best Emergency Medicine residencies in the country decided to close its doors? What about all those jobs? Where will these people be when the people at the Tasty Cake factory lose their jobs? They will just complain about the hampered access to Butterscotch Crumpets.
Then, what will come of the neighborhoods? East Falls, and Germantown, where I grew up? First, the traffic will be horrendous. The local entrance to the Roosevelt Expressway and the surrounding streets will be jammed. There are some corners on Fox street that are dangerous intersections now. I can only imagine what they will be like with a casino a block away. Midvale Avenue, the commercial corridor in the area, will see an inordinate amount of traffic. I can only assume that the crime and the nuisance bars will come back, along with more drugs and prostitution. What’s that sound that I here? Oh yeah, it’s the sound of people’s home values plummeting.
I love this site, and the Philadelphia activist community. At the same time, I think that we lose perspective sometimes. I think that we become so interested in the fight that we forget what we are fighting for. As Howard Dean said, it’s the people stupid. It’s not about fighting the good fight or showing truth to power, or this bill or that bill. All that stuff is important, but in the wrong context, it’s basically masturbation.
What it is about is quality of life. I want a place where my parents can retire in peace without worrying about crime and dangerous drivers from all over the state. I want a nice place to raise my kids, if I decide to have them. I want to live in a neighborhood that has a sense of community and history with cultural and economic diversity.
The river is a nice place, and I want to make it a better place as much as everyone else does. One could argue that it’s more important to stop Casinos there than it is to stop them in my area, because it affects, “the city as a whole”. What I think that we should do is make this entire city a great place to live and work. If we start auctioning off our neighborhoods, then we will basically turn into a theme park with surrounding ghettos. We are, after all, Young Philly Politics and not Young Center City Politics.