Sunday, July 03, 2005

Live8 & Philly Poverty ...

The poverty rate in the City of Philadelphia, which is 45 percent African American, is about 20 percent. In some suburbs around Philly, poverty is 5-6 percent higher than that (take Chester for example, a complete swath of suburban decay). In some ways, the presence of the recent Live8 concert in plush "Center City" Philadelphia can be interpreted as casual ignorance of the serious issues of poverty in its own backyard, in places like North, South and West Philadelphia with high demographics of residents of "African" descent who struggle through an oppressive array of social, political and economic challenges.

Where is their Live 8?

While hosting a concert to help eradicate poverty, Philly's Mayor Street wrangles with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania over a $10 million match to $50 million being committed by Gov. Rendell for for Community Based Prevention funding. Yet, rather than accept responsibility for misplaced ignorance over Governor Rendell’s proposed $251 million for child welfare programs, the Street Administration avoids the required 20 percent city match by blaming the Commonwealth for budget malfeasance. The $10 million needed from Philly for critical neighborhood, youth and family programs, particularly for the poor and working, struggling class, seems like the tip of a fraction of a multi-billion dollar budget, especially when one considers the millions paying for police overtime, emergency preparedness, crowd-control and traffic plans during Live 8.