Sunday, December 06, 2009

It's not paradise

What a difference in just two years.

The homicide rate is down almost 24 percent since 2007. Violent crime receded 10 percent this year.

Single-stream recycling saved $400,000 in landfill fees in September alone.

The number of homeless people is down 26 percent since last year, thanks to a new partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

The city's inspector general, with more resources, is rooting out corruption on an unprecedented scale.

Members of the city's criminal-justice system have reduced the prison population 11 percent in a huge reversal of past yearly increases.

Licenses and Inspections is processing building-permit applications within two days, and customer satisfaction at L&I counter service is soaring.

The city fleet is smaller by 400 vehicles.

Since last year, filled, full-time positions in city government were reduced 705 to a total of 22,625.

We're writing a new zoning code to replace our 46-year-old version.

And the 311 Call Center has handled almost a million calls in less than a year of operation.

It's just Philadelphia under Michael Nutter.

It certainly hasn't been all roses. These are tough economic times in Philly and not everyone is happy about the cuts that he had to make, but an 11% reduction in the prison population in the midst of a 26% drop in homicides is a pretty stunning achievement for a place bit hard by tough-on-crime sloganeers. It's impossible to read Nutter's op-ed in the Inquirer and not hurt over our failure in New Orleans to come together around these kinds of pragmatic reforms. Mayor Nutter broke a cycle of racially divisive municipal campaigns by putting together a working coalition and won election by the largest margin in Philadelphia history. It was a mandate.

And now, for the first time in a long time, Philly has a game plan.

It's an important reminder not just that our issues are not totally unique, but also that solutions are not so impossible to achieve.

Just need a leader with a little vision and big enough guts to put together a coalition for pragmatic progressive reforms similar to those listed in Mayor Nutter's retrospective.

Would anyone be left unsatisfied with a list of accomplishments like this from our Mayor in his or her second state of the city address?


Jeffrey said...

When do we get ours? I want one.

MAD said...

While I certainly agree that we desperately need new public executive leadership, I am proud of the citizen initiated and legally enforceable new zoning code and master plan being written; citizen initiated reform of the multiple assessor system; revamped and reformed levee boards; the reforms to the public school system; staffing and permanent funding of the inspector general's office; revamping of the formerly deplorable public housing; the establishment of a comprehensive system of neighborhood-based healthcare clinics; and other public improvements. We certainly have miles to go before we sleep, but we should all be proud of what our citizenry and responsible representatives have done in the past four years, all in the midst of the extraordinarily difficult recovery from the storm and a national recession. Kudos all around.

Jeffrey said...

Could Landrieu be our Nutter? What say ye?

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