Pushing drugs a political botch for Kenney

The underperforming, so-called soda tax was the signature achievement of Jim Kenney’s first term as mayor. He won the political fight, even though the tax remains wildly unpopular with many Philadelphians.

Mayor Jim Kenney doubles down. (Photo: UPI)

Perhaps even more unpopular is a so-called “safe injection site,” which was to be the political jewel in the crown of his second term. When the Surprise! injection site was driven out of South Philly on Wednesday, hopes tanked for placing the drug den elsewhere.

Severely humiliated were South Philly City Councilmen Kenyatta Johnson and Mark Squilla who were kept in the dark by the Safehouse pro-drug team. They were red-faced when the announcement was made that the not-safe shooting gallery was opening in Kenyatta’s district, and right across Broad Street from Squilla’s district. They were politically castrated. Even Safehouse board member Ed Rendell conceded the way the opening was handled was a hot mess, but Kenney stubbornly restated his support, even as storm flags flapped in the wind. 

Kenyatta now opposes the Not-Safehouse shooting gallery in any Philadelphia neighborhood. Councilman David Oh has drafted a bill prohibiting an injection site in any neighborhood that doesn’t want it. Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez says not in her Kensington neighborhood and would be the worst kind of hypocrite if she were OK with it going in someone else’s district.

As I reported earlier, City Council President Darrell Clarke — who may have been asleep for the past two years — suddenly announced he’s against shooting galleries in any Philadelphia neighborhood. He is joined by Council Majority Leader Cherrelle Parker.

As leaders, Clarke and Parker control votes and now that the shooting gallery has been exposed for the idiocy it is, I can’t see how any of the 10 District Council members would dare green-light it for their communities. The seven At-Large Council members would be at less risk, as they don’t represent specific communities, but there is peril nonetheless. Most Philadelphians don’t want the Not-Safehouse anywhere near their house.

This presents what seems to be an unbreakable political barricade for Kenney. 

But, you know, you don’t want to underestimate the ability of Council to act against the interests of Philadelphians. It has done so many times.

So our eyes turn to Harrisburg, where state Senators Anthony Hardy Williams and Tina Tartaglione have introduced a bill to ban the shooting galleries anywhere in the Commonwealth. They are scheduled to have a news conference Monday. 

Both are Philadelphia Democrats and would probably attract support from our state Democrats,  but, you know, Republicans control both the state house and the senate. 

Is there any question the GOP opposes the “not safe injection sites”? I expect a state-wide ban will quickly pass, handing a major, and deserved, political failure to an arrogant Mayor Kenney.

16 thoughts on “Pushing drugs a political botch for Kenney”

  1. I remember we had this discussion a couple of years ago and my stance was as yours you don’t condone crime by encouraging it. But the most overlooked aspect was exactly what is happening in Toronto where they paint a picture of how spotless the inside of the free drug den is but outside addicts meet and use it as a hookup for further drug use and make it a trash bin for the neighbors. In Philadelphia, they tried the Frankford area and found also great opposition. What they fail to recognize is what happens in the surrounding neighborhood including as crime increases, more needles for kids to be tempted to play with and having mummies passing through begging for money. I think a part of the soda tax could be used for a bloodmobile type unit to offer available facilities for rehab instead of instant free highs.

    1. They do offer treatment vans. Penn medicine has a van at broad and mckean. It gets u started on a road to recovery. They help with everything, insurance, doctors, meds. But one thing that people forget is that the addict has to want to do treatment or nothing will work.

    Everyone who follows Stu’s blog knows that he consistently stands for the people of Philadelphia. Stu, therefore, is against crooked, useless politicians that repeatedly take care of the chosen few.
    To me it’s obvious. The problem, as always, is divide and conquer. The masses have no united voice, so they are not heard. The pols keep the people divided by placing obstacles in their way when trying to improve their lives. Obstacles such as higher taxes for less service. When was the last time a street was cleaned ? How about these numerous “street dumps”! Why do they exist ? I had complained my whole time as a city employee for council to “enforce the laws” on these dumpers. Cameras would solve many a problem. ( only one voice )
    That was some of the problems. Some of the “fix” is to organize and unite the people in a neighborhood. Start with one problem, one solution. One voice works wonders. Couple a neighborhood with the next section up and down and you really have a voice. Can it be done ? With a lot of effort from a few knowledgeable people for starters. It’s called a grass roots’ movement.

  3. If the mayor wants a ‘safe’ place to have druggies shoot up, I can think of no better place than the courtyard at City Hall.

    1. Yo, Cousin Vinny, that’s the best deal I’ve heard to date regarding this debacle! Spot on! (I know you’re not really my cousin. I was reminded of the name from both the movie and the previous article regarding South Philly).

  4. Kenney has repeatedly done whatever he wants for the city..it’s time stood up against this creep..apparently he doesn’t know that DRUGS ARE ILLEGAL!!

  5. Stephanie’s suggestion is the most compassionate, reasonable and sensible, except for the one caveat she mentioned. And it’s, I assume, available now. If it was in the paper, I missed it. How could the “Un-Safehouse” advocates or our Mayor and council reps. miss it? Aren’t they the purveyors of compassion, the “Do-gooders?”
    Where is their heart when it’s needed? I ask this rhetorically.
    The real answer is their heart is in their pocket! The easy thing to do by our city “leaders” is to spend our money, to disrupt the great neighborhoods of our city and go to bed at night guilt free. The hard things to do for their ilk is to support Stephanie’s suggestion.

    In the words of our former VP ‘Regular Joe’ Joe Biden “Come on guys!?”

    Staying with Stu’s subject matter. Mr Mayor, being a democrat in a sanctuary city, is consistently trying to schmooze the residents. Or, more plainly, bend over, here it comes again ! This latest charade is “to help our ailing brothers and sisters”. No, not really. Somehow, somebody is gonna make a lot of money off of this idea.
    As to Stephanie’s suggestion. Every single person that I have known who does ( or did ) drugs, will tell you that the only real fix is to go away and dry out. Those that are casual users, are strong minded individuals. They either quit drugs or they go deeper into the habit.
    In Stu’s earlier blog, he suggested playing hard ball with the addicts. Two choices only. Get clean or go to jail and then you’ll get clean. Then with a lot of help, you start a life. Makes sense to me. This method works with booze and to some extent, smoking and other bad habits.
    Moving right along. Mr. Kenny has tried to raise money from the soda tax. Not so good. He’s trying his hand at “sanctuary city” and all that it entails. Also a costly error. No sense in raising property tax. People will stop paying their taxes, for lack of funds, and the city will have a ton of property liens. A real shot in the dark would be turning this poverty city completely around. Take our Presidents’ initiative. Run the city like a business. Bring in ratables, which means jobs, which means more income all the way around.

      1. When are the people of this city going to stop voting in the status quo? There’s no accountability in this city. Kenney wants to hire more city workers. If you anywhere for public services all you see are people sitting doing nothing. We see city workers sitting in their trucks sleeping. Raised our property taxes not being sure if they did it correctly. Enough is enough.

  7. Do I think drastic step must be taken in order to attack this opiate catastrophe, yes! I feel that if “safe-house” & the “ good-mayor” (since we’re doing opposite names) were serious they would of tried to put it in Kensington in a less populated area. But if the put it in Kensington and the National media showed up to cover the story, the story would then become Kensington. This was such a dumb and the correctly selected adjective Arrogant move by a Mayor who tries to act like a Monarch. And trying to place the blame on the nonprofit just shows his character.

  8. When I lived down South for a time, life was easy sittin’ inside. I’d watch the grass grow through a closed porch window, ’cause them freakin’ bugs ate me alive. Dang No-see-um’s!

    Now that I’m back to my roots
    I’m remembering the reason I moved. Ifin’ it weren’t for a new blog with insightful dialogue, I’d go back that’s fer sure, ifin’ I could.

    Thanks all y’all
    Mr Tom

    1. It doesn’t come across (cadence- wise) the way I intended on this medium.
      I Botched it.
      My intention was “I like very much Stu’s Blog, always learning something new!”

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