OUR OPINION: Amazing Skyline, Seething Streets

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office viewHaving been born and bred in a rowhome office since its inception, the editors of the Philadelphia and South Philadelphia Public Records now gaze out a wall of windows which gives the staff a view, as Tony West told Jim Tayoun, “to die for”.

Well, we didn’t die. But we still have to keep our eyes glued to the computers and only get a chance to see that view to die for when we are on the phone or the computers crash.

However, the view does tell us Philadelphia’s a growing city. We can count the cranes atop climbing buildings adding to new foci of the city skyline. There was a time when every Philadelphian knew the names of the city’s tallest buildings. Now – is there any one among us, excluding city planners, who can name any of the new skyscrapers, unless they are working in one of their offices or shops?

The city changes, sometimes for the better. But our brief glimpses of local television news makes us painfully aware there are still sections of this city where residents are suffering from a city in decline. They are rocked daily by senseless street shooting s— and though many of their causes are not revealed, the neighborhood often knows who did it, who got hit and maybe killed, and that drug turf warfare is on the increase.

So easy it is to get and sell popular illicit street drugs, the average resident in those neighborhoods has all but given up trying to get the law to intervene. Making that difficult is the fact there is an unquenchable demand that now exists on all levels of society for them. This has created an apathy among all levels of law enforcement to engage in the necessary war of eradication, a conflict which needs serious funding.

We still believe that among the many challenges facing this city, is its undermining of its vital neighborhoods by illicit drugs. We can build only so high, despite the best efforts of our developers, if life at street level is in decay.

This should be a top concern among our officialdom. But when was the last time there was a public effort to address this crisis?

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