Having reduced the consumption (or at least the sale in the city) of tobacco and sugary (and many non-sugary) beverages through onerous taxes, Mayor Jim “Do Gooder” Kenney now has decided to increase the use of deadly drugs.
To paraphrase Yakov Smirnoff, “What a city!”
There is no question increased drug use will result from what was called a ”safe injection site,” until people — such as state Attorney General Josh Shapiro — pointed out there is no such thing as a “safe” way to shoot up street-bought drugs. The euphemism now is a “harm reduction site,” also inaccurate, because when you increase drug use, and this does, you do not reduce harm — you increase it.
Philadelphia launched the first-in-the-nation program in the metaphoric dead of night, with no notification to the South Philly community that it was coming their way, and blindfolding the two Council members affected most, Kenyatta Johnson (it’s in his district) and Mark Squilla (it is across the street from his district). They were made eunuchs.
Remember Mayor Jim Kenney promising a transparent administration? He meant transparent when he feels like it.
The announcement of the city-sponsored shooting gallery at Broad and McKean, the site of the former St. Agnes Hospital, and the way it was done, did something unusual — it split Council President Darrell Clarke off from Kenney, a usual ally. It was like a flea jumping off a dog’s back when Clarke said he opposes it at the announced location, which is a middle-class, working-class neighborhood — and any other Philly location.
The shooting gallery has opened a fissure within the ranks of the woke, and that is fun to watch.
Opposition to the site from state Sen. Larry Farnese was expected, but reluctance from South Philadelphia freshman state rep Elizabeth Fiedler, a hard-line progressive, came as a surprise. The site is a tar baby no one wants to touch. Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez said “no” when Kenney said a shooting gallery would be coming to her district. Even Super-prog Councilwoman Helen Gym complained the site intro was a hot mess.
I lived in South Philly for a decade, about a mile from the proposed shooting gallery, and can appreciate the usual political advice: “Don’t fuck with South Philly,” which once drove a mayor (Richardson Dilworth) out of the hood under a barrage of garbage because he wanted to install parking meters.
There is still parking in the middle of Broad Street.
Yes, South Philly is no longer dominated by the Guidos; a lot of millennials have arrived with their new way of thinking. But if even Fielder is backing away, that’s a bad sign for the geniuses trying to force the shooting gallery down South Philly’s throat. They are ready to go to the mattresses.
“South Philly is on fire,” says community activist Jody Della Barba, who is organizing a Monday march from Marconi Park to the shooting gallery.
That won’t be the end of it.