Incorporating the The Germantown Chronicle & The Northwest Independent

6661 Germantown Ave • Philadelphia, PA 19119 • 215-438-4000 • germantownnewspapers.com

 
 

The Three Legs of Honest Government


If we are ever to have again honest government in Philadelphia, those who claim they want it will have to realize what is contained here is valid and they will have to distance themselves from the current system and dismember it.

 

Jim Foster


THE THREE LEGS OF HONEST GOVERNMENT


To their credit a few local journalists did some hand-wringing after the so-called mayoral election regarding the complete absence of the democratic process in how political control is organized in Philadelphia through a few power players that are obvious and a few more, not so obvious.  Sadly, the key elements that are supposed to make elections honest, transparent, public and competitive have been dismantled here and just about every citizen knows it.   The worst part of the story is that far too many of those who are part of the majority party, minority party, the oversight agencies, and the legal system that is supposed to protect us from a gangster government, benefit from some aspect of political corruption that has given us the most expensive major city government in the nation; one that runs the most oppressive municipal tax system, and has manipulated ownership of the greatest proportion of city owned land and its potential tax income.  All of this is blatantly done for the benefit of contributors, patronage and the insiders while the low hanging fruit that could easily start a political revolution never makes it to the public through the local media, print or otherwise.


Honest government in a free society can only be accomplished and maintained if all three supporting legs of the level playing field are in place and consistently active.  Anything less than full participation and commitment from the majority party, minority party and the press and media using all outlets sets the stage for manipulation and exclusion.  The degradation and eventual elimination of two of the three as properly functioning entities here in Philadelphia have left us with the worst possible outcome - - a top down political machine devoid of the democratic process and beholden to outside money and crony capitalists who buy outcomes while they disenfranchise an ever-increasing number of our citizens.


Left to their own devices, a political entity will take all it can from the citizens and redistribute it to buy votes from often duped idealistic dreamers, but mostly laundered and distributed to their friends and insiders, particularly once we, as a society, give them the power to so easily tax us without justification in so many ways.  Only the threat of an opposition party who wants to replace them at the next election, in combination with an investigative press that can’t be controlled, keeps the citizen informed of intent and the elected official honest - - or something close to that status.   It’s not that a majority party can’t deliver honest government over a period of time, but without a dedicated opposition effort with recognizable faces constantly challenging, the power majority will take from its own citizens every time.  If the press lets them do it, and in our case, helps them do it by omission or commission, it just happens faster.  In Philadelphia we have the worst of both worlds.


This country is rapidly moving to the point where the majority of its citizens do not trust the federal government and polls repeatedly tell us that they are seeing career politicians as self-absorbed and their parties as lifetime protection rackets.  Surprise outcomes have been putting fresh faces in power at the local and state level, and the shaping up of the presidential campaigns have produced two very unexpected candidates, one in each party.  Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are both unrehearsed maverick candidates that no one saw gaining the popularity they have against more seasoned and recognizable candidates.


Philadelphia is a microcosm of the self-financing and self-protection first program on the federal level and has been a political masquerade for many years, as have others like Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, etc., where one party runs everything including law enforcement systems that themselves can be corrupt from policing the streets all the way through the courts.    

            

Take a minute to reflect on the last year or so in this city.  Traffic Court itself is completely closed down and many of its judges sent to jail for accepting bribes.  Several State Reps and one State Senator resign as corruption investigations tell more tales of bribes and misuse of office.  The Ethics board has fined many serving elected officials and judges, sometimes the same ones repeatedly, yet no one sees reason to remove them at election time.  Our longest serving U.S. Congressman is on trial for laundering federal dollars he approved as his friends and associates move money back to his purposes through fraudulent nonprofits.   His son is on trial at the same time, charged with similar crimes.  Yet, no major summation or intense reporting on the details of this city sewer of corruption is coming from a local media network that only covers sensational events and crafts phony images for one of the most corrupt political machines since Tammany Hall.


All of this is in play and there is no real outrage when the union owned Democratic Party creates and dog a pony show called the mayoral election with the help of lame Republicans, big city, out of state and suburban money, and the continually cooperative media carrying its water.


Jim Foster

The Independent Voice

editor@germantownnewspapers.com

215-438-5171