In a city overrun by environmental problems, the elected class won't admit that it is
|Feb 26||Public post|
by Charles Ellison | @ellisonreport
Philly, old and distressed city that it is, clearly has its share of problems. Candidates in the upcoming 2019 elections are certain to serve up an obligatory, templated conversation on those problems as we approach the May primaries, particularly on the classic ones: Crime. Taxes. Schools. Jobs. Gentrification will feature prominently because angry town halls will give them no choice.
But one issue candidates will dangerously miss is the state of Philly’s environment.
Part of the problem is the disconnect created between most Philadelphians’ perceptions of the environment and the reality of how alarming that issue is for the city. Clearly, Philadelphia is a living, breathing environmental disaster that not only exacerbates chronic disease, economic distress and bad quality-of-life in the city, but routinely kills residents through worsening air and water quality.
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Voters, however, never impress on incumbents and candidates that it’s an urgent issue—therefore leading to general complacency from the city’s elected class. When the Pew Charitable Trusts Philadelphia Research Initiative last polled residents about the issues most important to them, the environment didn’t even register. At most, discussing “green” is simply a checked off talking point on a list of many for the campaign trail. Or, it’s simply repeating “climate change” enough to keep advocates off their back. Rather than a debate, it’s been a relatively polite discussion designed for a specific demographic and class of Philadelphia resident.