Sure. Accused pederast Jerry Sandusky contributed plenty of headlines in 2011, but State College is a three-and-a-half-hour drive from these parts. And we’ve got plenty of our own creeps, miscreants, and, well, just people we don’t like very much to go around. Here, in absolutely no particular order, the people who contributed the most to Philly’s bad PR over the last year.
1. John Bolaris
The associate-degreed weatherman would have been appropriate fodder for a worst of list prior to last week’s suspension, and we’re still a little foggy on why he bothered to come back after his five-year Storm of the Century exile in the first place. We really don’t care about the weather or his lack of credibility in reporting it. We just think that he’s a real, well, a real prick.
And no, John, we’re not jealous of your success with the ladies. If being a player means getting taken for tens of thousands of dollars while you lie slobbering in some corner and then losing your cushy television gig because you don’t know how to handle a reporter who’s interviewing you about the incident, then by all means: Play on, player. Just do it in Toledo. We’re sure Nicole Cashman will refund your Arrow Swim Club membership.
2. Jane or John Doe, aka the person who put Baby Noel in a box
If and when they find you, your public defender will hold a press conference and tell the city how difficult your life has been, how you are a victim, how you are a product of a broken system. And they’ll probably be right about all of that.
But you put a newborn baby in a box, and that box almost wound up in the dump of a city with Safe Haven laws. “I don’t want to judge anyone,” the guy who rescued Baby Noel told the press. “I’m just glad that the baby is alive.” So are we. But we’ve got no problem being the judge and jury here.
3. Penny Chapman, Angel Lecourt, Karon Patterson, Raheem Patterson, Keith Bellamy, and Lawrence Rahyle
Don’t recognize the names? These six upstanding citizens face well over 100 combined charges relating to this terrifying June 18th shooting of a SEPTA bus filled with innocent bystanders—including an 80-year-old grandmother—making Philadelphia seem more like Mogadishu than the birthplace of American democracy. Trials are expected in 2012.
4. Linda Ann Weston
Just when people had mostly forgotten about Gary Heidnik and his basement of brutality, this peach had to come along and ruin everything. Prosecutors say that she locked people in a subterranean dungeon and did nasty things to them, like hit them with a hammer.
Assuming Weston gets convicted, let’s see if we can keep her locked up a little longer than the last time she was in prison, when she served four years for murder in the 1980s after she locked a man in a closet … and hit him with a hammer.
5. Kermit Gosnell
If Josef Mengele were alive today, we imagine he’d want to compare notes with this West Philly abortion “provider.” The only good side to Mumia Abu-Jamal getting life in prison is that they made room for this fella on Death Row.
6. Mumia Abu-Jamal
Speak of the devil. Literally. We’re a little pissed at District Attorney Seth Williams for backing down from the fight. People shouldn’t think that you can shoot a cop in Philadelphia and, after sitting on death row for 30 years and milking the system and the taxpayers for all that they’re worth, wind up at a medium-security prison closer to your friends and family. No matter what Ed Asner has to say about it.
But, Seth, if you can score convictions and lengthy sentences for numbers 2 through 5, we’ll call it even.
7. Andy Reid, Jeff Lurie, and Vince Young
Why no Michael Vick? Well, we’re pretty much over the whole dog thing, and the fact is that Vick basically kept his head down and worked his butt off this season. But the team is a train wreck, and that blame falls squarely on Reid and Lurie.
As for Vince Young, in addition to being paid something like $5 million this year to
back up Vick do absolutely nothing, he’s also responsible for this. Some dream team, bozo.
8. Fabio Granato and Vittorio Assaf, Serafina owners
This one deserves a limerick.
These guys think that their restaurant is heaven,
And the bar’s always packed, quarter to seven,
But the lasagna’s grotesque,
We couldn’t wait to get our check,
At the worst restaurant of two thousand eleven.
9. Bill Conlin
I know it was just a week ago that I was writing provocative (some would say idiotic) headlines like “Bill Conlin Is Innocent.” But let me be very clear: If what they’re saying is true, Conlin deserves to be stripped of every award, honor and accolade that has been bestowed upon him. And after that? Let us turn to 1994 for a little inspiration.
10. Arlene Ackerman
There’s a reason her name anagrams perfectly to “mere anal canker.” Really. Try it.