Another Parkway Encampment “Deadline” Passes Amid Complaints of Public Sex and Drug Use
Plus: $25,000 reward in hit-and-run of bicyclist. And how Trump could win Pennsylvania. Again.
A roundup of news from the Philadelphia area.
Parkway Encampment Outlives Yet Another Deadline, and One Local Mom Isn’t Very Happy About That
It’s been more than 24 hours since the latest “deadline” set by the city for the Parkway encampment. The city told the residents of the Parkway encampment that they had to leave the site by 9 a.m. on Wednesday. Their third deadline. But the encampment remained on Thursday morning, although some of its residents had left.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney was visibly frustrated during a Wednesday afternoon virtual press conference. He and other city officials said they had hit a wall with organizers. Kenney described the situation as “unacceptable” and declined to say what the next steps are. (It sure seems like he has no clue what to do.)
Kenney added that organizers had set up barricades, refusing to allow social workers and members of the clergy into the encampment. He said that organizers and activists screamed and cursed at some of those clergy members. One member of the clergy appeared at the press conference and decried the “agitators.”
I asked Kenney why not just let the encampment remain. After all, we saw what the Philadelphia Police Department did in June when people occupied an area the police didn’t want them to be in. Namely, the tear-gassing on I-676. And the Parkway encampment isn’t exactly a hotbed of crime. While people are shooting each other all over the rest of the city, there hasn’t been a shooting in or near the Parkway encampment.
Kenney responded by saying that the Parkway encampment is on public land. (I’m pretty sure most of the people shooting each other are also doing so on public land, but I digress). And he referred to the health issues, as he has time and time again. Basically, some residents of the Parkway encampment have been relieving themselves in the area. He also referred to the drug use at the Parkway encampment as a reason why we can’t let it be.
Residents of the neighborhood have also raised their concerns about the encampment. Some recognize the severe circumstances the city’s homeless are in, necessitating the encampment. But the locals are also frustrated by the “trash, needles, nudity, and human waste,” according to the Inquirer.
One local mom, who asked to remain nameless, saw my interaction with the mayor during the press conference. She took exception to my characterization of the Parkway encampment — and to my suggestion that the city stop issuing these silly deadlines that do nothing but escalate the situation.
“As someone who lives two blocks away from the camp and has to walk past it almost daily, let me assure you there has been a definite uptick in crime in the area,” she wrote in an email, mentioning a stabbing that had been reported in June and some other incidents. “In the past week alone one resident of the camp followed me for blocks threatening to hit me (for walking by). Another threatened my six-year-old (apparently because he thought he was with the CIA.)”
“I won’t even get into the ‘minor’ crimes of graffiti, public defecation, public exposure/sex acts, etc. which are now a constant activity in what had been a quiet residential area,” she continued. “This is just what I, a working mom passing by on her way to Target, have witnessed… They are quickly degrading not just the quality of life here but they pose a very real risk to public health and safety.”
I asked her if she reported any crimes to the police and, if so, what police response was. The woman claims that she flagged down bike cops when her son was being threatened but the police did nothing. She also says she’s called the police over multiple incidents in the past two months but the police didn’t show, as far as she knows.
$25,000 Reward Offered In Hit-and-Run of Bicyclist
It has been nearly two months since 32-year-old William Lindsay was struck by a car and killed while he was riding his bike in Strawberry Mansion. And on Wednesday, Lindsay’s family announced a $25,000 reward in the case, with $20,000 coming from the city and $5,000 from the Fraternal Order of Police.
Police released the following video which they say shows the Camaro that struck Lindsay:
Investigators are asking anyone with information to call 215-686-TIPS or the accident investigation division at 215-685-3180 or 215-685-3181.
Can Trump Win Pennsylvania Again?
All of us remember that moment in November of 2016 when press outlets reported that Donald Trump had won Pennsylvania. And that pretty much wrapped up his stunning defeat of Hillary Clinton.
Surely, four years later, Pennsylvania will go the other way, right? I mean, Joe Biden is a Scranton guy, as he loves to remind us over and over (and over) again. And I’m pretty sure nobody actually thinks they are better off now than they were four years ago, to invoke that famous Ronald Reagan line.
Well, if you think Biden has a lock on Pennsylvania this time around, you might wanna read Michael Sokolove’s latest op-ed in the New York Times. It’s definitely food for thought. Hard-to-swallow food for thought. But food for thought nonetheless.
And Briefly Noted…
- Candy Conundrum: What do we do about Halloween this year?
- Resistance Is Futile: AG Shapiro investigating “intimidating” election robocalls.
- By the Numbers: Half of Pa. schools don’t have even one teacher of color.
- Isn’t It Ironic?: To combat Philly gun violence, we need to dismantle the Office of Violence Prevention.