Mark Allen Hughes from Penn has an op/ed about the Street Administration’s NTI program in today’s Daily News (see story). Mr. Hughes says that “NTI was a pile of money, and its only strategic imperative was to be spent. Without a core strategy, NTI was little more than a story told by the [M]ayor about the effects of absentee landlords and boarded-up windows.” Mr. Hughes notes that - according to the fifth-year budget for NTI - the program will have incurred $300 million in new debt and have knocked down less than half of the collapsing houses in Philadelphia, not exactly stellar performance with regard to one of the program’s main goals. I remember being at a “kaffee klatch” (at Babette Joseph’s house) for Mayor Street when he was running for the office in the 1999 Democratic primary. Mr. Street discussed the NTI concept then and I was struck by how half-baked the idea sounded coming from somebody who’d been in City Council for nearly twenty years representing a largely blighted area. He didn’t seem to have an informed vision/plan for advancing a structured anti-blight program, just – as Mr. Hughes points out – a pile of money that needed to be spent and an election that needed to be won.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
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