We’re heading to the Phillies game tonight, and I think it won’t rain. There had been some worry earlier. There had also been some worry that about 3,000 city employees would be laid off tomorrow and that half the city’s services, including the Court system, would begin to shut down. The tug-of-war between this city and the rest of our Commonwealth culminated today in the passage of a Senate resolution that will allow us to raise sales tax (woopty-freakin-do) and defer/restructure pension obligations for city workers (uh-oh).
So we’ll be able to get the ballgame in tonight and the city will wake up tomorrow and feel great about (hopefully the fifth Phillies victory in a row and) the fact that we’ve avoided the doomsday scenario of Plan ‘C’, but the allowances that have come from Harrisburg today do not solve the problem. Too many city residents fail to grasp this reality.
We have done nothing more than put off paying a big bill. Invariably, that bill will be even bigger next time, and I fear we will, once again, kick the can down the road. This is a recipe for disaster. We came close to feeling some of those effects this week, but the fact that Plan “C” was not implemented means we can continue to go to Phillies games, watch reality and vampire TV and pretend that nothing is wrong.
The Committee of Seventy is trying to help us get our heads out of the mud, but people don’t want to hear this message. A lot of residents don’t understand the issues. The newspapers will only touch on these matters in the most tangential fashion because they are on the auction block. This fall it will be Eagles football 24/7 in this town and no one will bother to spend a moment thinking about what this town could have looked like. Even today, on the brink of disaster, the Daily News lead with a story about the impossibly cute Monforto family, instead of the impending doom of our town.
In the coming weeks we will see if people in this city care about where they live. We will see if politicians can step away from their own greedy tendencies, we will see if city unions can find a way to normalize their demands for retirement that would put them on footing with the rest of humanity, and we will see if the residents can stop paying attention to Michael Vick for just long enough to show some small measure of concern for their fellow citizens. If not, we are all doomed.