Greens Respond to Nutter’s Second Inaugural Speech|
The Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP, http://www.gpop.org ) is not impressed with Mayor Michael Nutter’s second inaugural speech which was delivered at the Academy of Music on January 2, 2012.
“This speech was long on platitudes and short on plans,” said Chris Robinson, GPOP City Committee member from Ward 59 (Germantown). “I am still waiting for Nutter to fulfill the promises he made in his first inaugural four years ago.”
The economic situation in Philadelphia is really quite drastic. Twenty-seven percent of Philadelphia’s residents (more than one out of four) live below the poverty level, including one third of the city’s children. Philadelphia’s poverty rate has grown by four percent (an additional 63,941 people in poverty) since Nutter took office in 2008. This makes Philadelphia the poorest of the ten largest cities in the U.S.
Hunger has also increased during Nutter’s first term. As of October 2011, more than 464,000 Philadelphia residents rely on food stamps to put food their tables. More than 411,000 Philadelphia residents received help from a food pantry, a 30% increase from the year prior. Unemployment in Philadelphia now stands at eleven percent, the highest it has been since Nutter took office.
"Fortunately, Occupy Philly taught us a lesson last summer,” explained Vivek Ananthan, chair of the GPOP City Committee from Ward 5 (Northern Liberties). “The richest 1% are doing swell, but the other 99% are falling way behind. Taking inflation into account, the average working person has not received a raise since 1980, when Ronald Reagan became president.”
Nutter, or course, did not learn the lesson taught by Occupy Philly. “Our mayor does not understand that the citizens of Philadelphia are being terrorized by the richest one percent,” complained Carol McLean, the Green’s Membership Secretary who lives in Ward 59 (Germantown).”Those of us who work understand who is cutting our pay and who is cutting our benefits. Those of us who cannot find work know who is refusing to hire workers and who is exporting our jobs. It is very clear that Nutter is not on our side in the political/economic battle we face. Perhaps this is why Nutter proposed no solutions to the crises in our lives.”
Rather, Nutter’s inaugural tried to convince Philadelphians that things are the same as they were when he was a child in West Philadelphia. His speech offered no solutions to our predicament. Instead, he repeated over and over, “I won’t leave any of you behind.” This ignores the fact that we are all behind. Nutter limply suggested that we must restore “the values of community, togetherness, respect and pride.”
“Well, that is not enough,” charged Hugh Giordano, GPOP City Committee member from Ward 21 (Roxborough). “In today’s world, we must learn organization, agitation and resistance if we are to rebuild the society that has been wrecked by the rich one percent. That is why I joined the Green Party.”
As if to demonstrate his opposition to Occupy Philly, Nutter quoted from John Winthrop (1587-1649) a slave owner and one of the authoritarian founders of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Winthrop is known for saying “democracy is accounted the meanest and worst of all forms of government.” Winthrop has also been quoted by President Ronald Reagan and half-Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin.
The Green Party’s City Committee did agree with one thing which Nutter said, “We must be willing to have an honest conversation about the things that are holding us back and [to] ask ourselves, ‘What are we prepared to do about them, together?’”
In 2010, the Green Party issued a call for a national Green New Deal as a way to build a green economy and to end unemployment. The Green New Deal was endorsed by 62 Green Party candidates for office, including ten candidates for governor, nine for the U.S. Senate and seventeen for the U.S. House of Representatives [See, http://www.greenpapers.net/?p=164 ].
Faced with today’s crises, the Green Party’s City Committee holds that Philadelphia needs a Green New Deal to rejuvenate the city. It will take a lot of work to build a green, healthy economy for Philadelphia. That will mean a lot of jobs for everyone, at a living wage.
The Green Party’s City Committee says that “all people have a right to food, housing, medical care, jobs that pay a living wage, education, and support in times of hardship.” Therefore, a Green Mayor would reduce the size of Philadelphia’s bureaucracy and cut the pay of high-price administrators to fund social services for those who are in need.
A Green Mayor would end foreclosures, evictions and utility shutoffs. In 2010, the Green Party ran Cheri Honkala for Sheriff of Philadelphia on a platform calling for a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. Honkala said she would “keep people in their homes.”
A Green Mayor would rebuild Philadelphia’s infrastructure and schools, create and support public spaces, gardens and organic farms. A Green Mayor would use tax money – currently held by big banks and pension funds – to create worker-owned manufacturing cooperatives.
A Green Mayor would organize the rehabilitation of publicly-owned, vacant homes in order to provide jobs for the unemployed and homes for the homeless.A Green Mayor would provide jobs through energy audits of older homes, insulation of older properties (where required), installation of solar panels on public school roofs, and more. Labor required by Philadelphia’s Green New Deal would be done by worker-owned co-ops which would be employed by neighborhood consumer co-ops.
A Green Mayor of Philadelphia would pledge in his inaugural address, “We will focus on organizing the 99 percent. We will shine a light on the crimes of the rich one percent. We will give voice to those not heard. We will continue to build a stronger Philadelphia through a Green New Deal, which will feed, house, educate and employ all of our people. And we will not leave anyone behind.”
For more information about the Green Party of Philadelphia, please contact 215-243-7103 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
GREEN PARTY OF PHILADELPHIA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2012
Chris Robinson, 215-843-4256 and email@example.com