Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Everybody Could Win If...

The Free Library of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, like Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, and one hundred other cities in the United States, is close to being broke. Our mayor, through no fault of his own, will not be able to balance the city's budget and with the looks of things in the United States right now, not much help will be coming from the federal government anytime soon. In all fairness, how many institutions can they bail out?

In order to balance part of the city's budget, our mayor has proposed the closing of several non-regional libraries and firehouses. Take a guess where these libraries and firehouses are and who gets affected by this the most? According to the mayor and his staff, the city will save so many millions of dollars by doing this.

As of this writing, a judge has blocked the mayor from closing the libraries but, the firehouses might not be as lucky. If I recall, this is the second time in my lifetime that something like this has been proposed. It wasn't very popular the first time it was proposed either. You may save the city's budget but, piss off a lot of its citizens in the meanwhile. When the city cuts services like this, it causes a lot of people to get fed up and move away... and you still lose your tax base, which after all, pays for the city to run. However, there is a feasible solution to this mess. Do you wanna know what it is? Glad you asked and here it is... a win win situation.

You know that I'm a die-hard Philadelphia sports fanatic, right? It has come to my attention that the Philadelphia Eagles, Sixers, Phillies, and Flyers all owe the city of Philadelphia, upwards to millions of dollars in unpaid back taxes and other fees. The Eagles have been in court, arguing that they should be given more time to pay and should not have to pay the entire amount that the city says it owes. Here is a thought... Instead of paying the city all of the money, how about each team "adopt a library and a firehouse slated to be closed and provide the finances needed to keep the mayor from having to close them. This works as a great public relations tool for the team (i.e. "The Sixers have adopted the Parkside branch of the Free Library"), it saves the library, acts as a boon to the community, and cuts down a part of the team's debt. Everybody comes out smelling like a rose and everybody wins!

There is a local activist who has been screaming, blogging, and e-mailing anyone who will listen for years that the city ought to make these teams accountable to the community in other ways than just having an athlete visit a sick child in the hospital and taking a couple of photos with them but, no one in the last administration or the present one wanted to demand anything from the sports franchises. The Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers all have brand new state of the art playing fields and stadiums that I can only afford to actually go to once a season. They make plenty of money. My cable bill alone can attest to it. The same organization that owns my cable company, also owns the Sixers and Flyers. Are you all starting to get my drift here?

What I am proposing can be done. Everybody involved could win if somebody in City Hall would really think outside the box and make this happen. It's called corporate sponsorship. It's done everyday. In the streets, it's called "calling in your markers." Because, if you dance to the music, sooner or later, you got to pay the piper. Ask yo mama!

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

How Civic Minded of you!

James Perkins said...

Keith this is a great idea, one that's been kicked around for some time now.

Simon Bastion said...

A wonderful idea, but it has been my experience that Big urban areas hate to do anything that will anger big sports teams and their parent organizations..Don't look for this to happen.

Tate2 said...

You bring up great points, but I don't see this happening.

Jazzy said...

A noble idea good brother, but those teams,like everything else in corporate Amerika operate on a
purely self motivated basis.Aint gonna happen.

Swaggie said...

"Adopt a Library", "Adopt a Fire station." I think that's a wonderful idea. I think if presented the right way it could work.

Halo said...

I think what you have is a great idea Keith and a practical one too!

Vanessa said...

Good Idea, Not the first time I've heard it though.

Lisa said...

Another good post Keith!

Grover Tha Playboy said...

Corporate Sponsorship is a great concept ,but it comes with it's problems. With sponsorship comes control issues. Anytime somebody is puttin they money up,they want a say in how the show is run.

Toni said...

Hi Keith, Great post, good ideas,but unlikely to be put into action here in Philly. Nice try though.

Angie B. said...

Hi Keith, I think what you have is a good idea. It doesn't just have to be sports teams...Banks and other corporations that do business with the city can also
participate in saving these libraries.

Sunflower said...

Great Post Keith. Like someone said, this is not the first time this idea has been presented to city hall. No one is interested.
You know we make everything hard for ourselves here.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you guys ask Barack Obama
for help?-lololol.

Arlene said...

Keith, I agree wholeheartedly and would add the names of Philly superstars to those who could sponsor a library or recreational facility. Why isn't there a Will Smith branch or a Bill Cosby branch of the library? I remember my brother talking about Patti LaBelle sitting on the steps singing outside her apartment in West Philly on South 58th Street. Why isn't the Blanche Nixon Branch not the LaBelle Branch? Kevin Bacon is a Philadelphian as well as Terrence Howard. Can't they contribute to keeping the libraries open? The Flyers have taken responsibilty for the Skatehouses. Where are the Eagles and Phillies? Don't they know a lot about recreation and have alot of equipment already paid for by taxpayers as a result of our sponsoring their stadiums? Every Sunday Donavan McNabb talks about going out on the field "having fun" for the big money we pay for the price of admission to the Linc. Can't they give something back? Plus pay their debts!!
Nutter is all wrong on this "cut" services business. When he ran for mayor we believed him to be a man of fairness, not the same old mess we've had in Philly. Now we know he's just another politician with an agenda to keep the wealthy and affluent in their place and others with no place at all. I hope you have had your fire extinguisher serviced and don't need help from an engine company that is 3 miles away. It's no joke;fire is a living, breathing MONSTER. Practice fire drills. Don't expect your realestate and city wage taxes to provide water to put out the fire in your home. That money is being set aside so more Council members can retire for ONE day and pick up the DROP money. The City Council members need more administrative assistants making $92,000 a year for 25 hours of work each week for the 40 weeks they work each year. Librabies will close but the former mayor, John Street got 1/2 million dollar retirement payout and several thousand a month in pension. Take another politician at his word? HA!Watch out Barack. We'll be on you soon.

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

Sounds like a good idea. Have you ever thought of started a petition and taking it down to city hall?

Opinionated Diva said...

I think it's a damn shame that those teams are dragging their asses to pay that money...they know they have it.

I also think it's a shame that the city has to make such a hard choice. Do you take the libraries and their programs or do you put lives in jeopardy and take away fire houses? That's really a hard choice, but I Love LOVE LOVE your recommendation.

You need to write up a serious proposal and shoot that off to your mayor and congressman.

ZACK said...

Who said something about Chicago being almost broke ? WE ARE BROKE! :)

That's crazy when you have close the one place that could help solve the problem at hand.

Great post!

Beautifully.Conjured.Up said...

Keith for mayor!!! *hand clap*

Blu Jewel said...

it's important that establishments such as public libraries remain open as they serve the public in many ways and provide resources to those who need access to tools and resources they can't afford at home.

i hope your help will make a difference.

love to live; live to love!

Mizrepresent said...

We have been having a similar problem in the ATL, several firehouses as well as community centers and public parks have been closed and there is word that the city is in trouble...someone, a radio deejay brought the idea of corporate sponsorship to the mayor in an interview...so Keith, once again, you are on point. Things can change if we not only think outside the box, but sometimes act outside of it! Well done!

Keisha "Kitten" Isaacs said...

Hey Brother!

Happy New Year!!! Good stuff as usual....

CurvyGurl said...

This is happening in most major cities. I like the adoption idea. If it weren't for the community supporting the teams they wouldn't even exist. I think this idea should be proposed as a solution. The teams would most likely get a tax break anyway. Go Keith!

Rich Fitzgerald said...

So, you did send this in as a letter to the editor to all the local papers, right?

Get more people talking and who knows what will happen, don't listen to the naysayers, they always say something can't be done.

Kofi Bofah said...

Every city is getting slammed by the falling property values that affect property tax receipts.




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