Germantown Newspapers Inc.

Incorporating the Germantown Chronicle and The Northwest Independent

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  Feb. 19 Independent Voice.pdf 

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October 2, 2014, Independent Voice.pdf • Sept. 18 Independent Voice.pdf •  Sept. 4, 2014 Independent Voice.pdf  August 21 Independent Voice.pdf

Aug. 8, 2014 Independent Voice.pdf July 24 Independent Voice.pdf  July 10 Independent Voice.pdf   June 19 Independent Voice.pdf

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Next Issue: March 5, 2015


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Noteworthy Reads

To VisitPhilly: Recognize Germantown as a Neighborhood

If you go to this site..... You will see that Germantown is NOT an option as a neighborhood in Philadelphia. Yet, when you click on Mt. Airy here.... You'll see that most of the attractions they cite are actually in Germantown....Grumblethorpe, Awbury Arboretum, the Johnson House, Maxwell Mansion, Wyck, Cliveden..... That's a travesty!!! Please take a moment and let the visitphilly people (which used to be called the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Cultural something and is THE official tourism site for Philadelphia) know that Germantown needs to be recognized as the steward of all these sites.... Sign our petition. That's why I signed a petition to Will you sign this petition?

Go to Thanks!


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February 23, 2015

An Open Letter to Councilwoman Bass Regarding the Germantown YWCA

Councilwoman Cindy Bass

City Hall Room 594

Philadelphia, Pa. 19107

Dear Councilwoman Bass:

In 1988 I purchased a building at 5807 Germantown Avenue” At the time the original storefront had been divided into two storefronts. One was occupied by a bookie and the other side was empty. The upper floors, which had originally housed the family who operated the store, were vacant. I have now owned the building for 27 years. There are four residential units and one storefront. The facade was reconstructed to replica the original. All of the residential[ units are occupied by unsubsidized tenants. The storefront is a flower store that has been a tenant for nine years.

Read more ...

I am done... Ken Weinstein Responds to Open Letter

To those who care deeply about Germantown:

I am writing to respond to a letter to the editor that recently appeared in the so called, "Independent Voice" newspaper.  I am done serving as a punching bag by those who say they are committed to Germantown but offer no practical solutions to the blight and poverty that permeates our community.

Read More ...

Jim Foster Discusses Weinstein Response

“Blame the Victim” seems to be the concept in Developer Ken Weinstein’s open letter to those concerned about Germantown as he calls out another area developer and virtually shouts from the rooftops that time is of the essence, “don’t wait a minute longer” or the wrecking ball will change our fate.

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February 21, 2015

Racism Brings Federal Troops During World War II

August 1, 1944 was certainly among the darkest days in the history of the city that claims it is “The City of Brotherly Love”. For that day, less than two months after D-Day in World War II, the white union members of this city public transportation system went on a wildcat strike that at 4:00 p.m that shut down the entire transit system during the afternoon rush hour at a time when national gas rationing put almost everyone on public transit. The reason – the Philadelphia Transportation Company (PTC) had trained 8 black employees to run streetcars in Germantown.

At that time 48 trolley lines, 35 bus routes, the Broad Street Subway and the Frankford Elevated ground to halt as union members called in sick and blocked the exits from the carbarns.

Read more ...

February 19, 2015

65 years ago and the path to prosperity and debt

A November 1949 perspective on the then growing safety net concept of government in this country is worth some reflection.  Playing devil's advocate from both sides, I would like to point out that my personal perspective is that we definitely owe it to ourselves to learn from history. That concept has no place in the current administration, most of congress, and in most institutions of so called “higher learning” today.

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leberg Steals the Show in Jamie Wyeth Retrospective ….

by Sabina Clarke

A giant poster of Kleberg Jamie Wyeth’s beloved yellow Labrador retriever with a permanent black circle painted around his eye welcomes visitors to Jamie Wyeth .. A  Retrospective which opened at Brandywine Museum on January 19th and continues through April 5th 2015.

Of all the Wyeth’s Jamie is the most versatile, working in many mediums on a vast canvas. There is the influence of his father Andrew Wyeth  in his seascapes of  coastal Maine and Brandywine Valley and also the imagination and wild abandon of his grandfather, N.C. Wyeth the legendary and prolific illustrator of classic tales such as King Arthur and Robinson Crusoe.

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Better Said Than Ed

We are told again and again that education will be THE issue of the 2015 mayoral campaign, but I would much rather hear candidates talk about something they can do something about.  Frankly, if education is what mayoral candidates are going to talk about, they might as well offer their Philadelphia weather platform.  Much as the joke goes about how people love to talk about the weather, but never do much about it, all of the candidates can talk all they want about education, but as mayor, they will have so very little to do to make change.

by Brett Mandel

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February 16, 2015

The Short, Factual Story of the Germantown YWCA

The series of superficial one-perspective accounts of the city’s pending arrangement for a development project at the former YWCA facility on Germantown Avenue near Rittenhouse Street needs to be retold with a large dose of factual background in order to balance what can only be described as repetitive low-information narratives.

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February 15, 2015

Reparations for Germantown

City owes historic community it pilfered.

An extensive and well researched history of Germantown written in 1907 made the following assessment of the diverse self-supporting community founded in 1683 that was one of the first in this nation:

“The settlement at Germantown was the first permanent American colony organized and established independent of governmental or commercial patronage and the freedom of thought and practice fostered by this untrammeled condition, combined with the exceptional freedom of its settlers from the dominion of established customs and ideals has given it a history that in many respects is unique.”

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February 9, 2015


The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has fallen so far economically and socially in the last 25 years that it is an oxymoron to use the term “Common wealth”, for the state that for years led the nation in industry and development, home of the largest corporate entity in the world at the turn of the 20th Century, is now scraping the bottom, and just about everyone is in denial. Worse, the political parties won’t face up to their challenges and the mainstream press won’t tell the story. Both major political parties are in full bore denial, but it’s time to examine what they are denying and hold them accountable.

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February 4, 2015

Reparations for Germantown NOW

For over 10 years I have been researching the insider details of how the intensely corrupt Philadelphia city government chose to use the second most significantly historic section of our major city for the purpose of creating blight and decay on an accelerated scale. It has become clear that this was done by lowering the quality of life and living standards in order to accelerate profits for the very few at the expense of the many.

Evidence that has been compiled sets forth a chain of events that continues to this day in the residual failed projects, amplified recently as the city tries to pave over one more time major fiscal theft from the people and duplicity in the process of politically engineered property theft. The duplicity that took place from about 1975 forward continues with back door development deals done with intentionally neglected and untaxed city property, wasted for years by failed agencies, and then given away to insiders with more public money attached that one can imagine.


January 22, 2015

How to Depreciate a Neighborhood

Making money on blight from the inside

What began in December as a hastily called community meeting on the East side in lower Germantown has gone viral in many ways, but may have opened a Pandora’s Box of prior manipulative political city chicanery and intentional neglect in the process.  I have long called these tactics the creating of blight by intent, and everyone who has any time in the neighborhood knows that neglect of properties that had city control over the last 20 plus years through the very entities that the city had financed, is where most of the blight is concentrated.

Read more ...

Property, Power and Politics

The Ugliest of All Philadelphia Stories

Can any process controlled by a corrupt government be more damaging to the faith of good citizens and the quality of life of communities than when elected and appointed officials misuse their power and the public’s money in the quest to control real estate, and convert it for the purpose of preventing a neighborhood from progressing, or worse, turning it blighted and keeping it there so public funds can be milked from it for decades, benefitting the few at the expense of the many?

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Councilwoman Bass Addresses Germantown YWCA Issue

A message from Councilwoman Cindy Bass.

Redeveloping Germantown by reducing the number of blighted properties and bringing a diverse number of housing and business opportunities for residents has always been my goal.

There are a number of organizations providing Senior Housing throughout the 8th district, and I am grateful for their dedication to our aging community. But, at this time, we must look to diversify our housing options and our commercial corridors. I look forward to having an open and honest dialogue about what will happen in this community in the weeks and months ahead.

Read more ...


An accelerated process has been started to decide what will happen to the long-neglected YWCA building on Germantown Avenue near Chelten and adjacent to Vernon Park.  A well-attended meeting last night at FUMCOG brought forth some information that has long been kept from the public, but much more needs to be learned before decisions are made.

Read more ...

January 8, 2015

The Not So Democratic Philadelphia Democratic Party

There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that young progressive Democrats are organizing. The Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus has the potential to become a real force in the Democratic Party and Joe Driscoll’s recent efforts to organize committeepeople is another potential game changer. He has begun with a Facebook group which he describes as:

This is a group for committee people of the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee. Members may invite elected or appointed Democratic committee people only. It's a forum for committee people throughout Philadelphia to communicate and share ideas.

Read more ...

The Other Mt. Airy in 19119

Scoop U.S.A. Co-Sponsored East Mt. Airy Neighbors(EMAN) / West Mt. Airy Neighbors(WMAN) Community Meeting, on December 3, 2014, regarding the “up-tick” of Crime in East Mount Airy/West Mount Airy Sections of Northwest Philadelphia

I attend this type of meeting, at least, twice a year given by these two City Government Sanctioned Civic Organizations. The usual speakers are in attendance at this meetings which begins with the recognition of the, “Movers and Shakers,” of Northwest Philadelphia. After which, it is noted by the meetings Moderator cheerfully that, “we live in beautiful Mt. Airy, one of the best, as well as, diversified neighborhoods in all of Philadelphia”. Then the Moderator for the evening introduces the present Executive Officers of EMAN, WMAN, MUSA, MBD, the 14th District Police Captain and our community’s Elected Officials.

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Troubled Governance: Neglect at Every Level

National Neglect

Underscored with intensity in Paris on January 7th is how the long standing process of rationalizing the effect of international terrorism, religious or otherwise, has become the practice du jour of nations; ourselves included.

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The Negligence Quotient

Some full disclosure for our readers.  This April the newspaper and interactive web pages we publish and provide will celebrate its 6th year of operation serving Northwest Philadelphia and others.  Our focus in this city is those who have an above average interest in a perspective that makes it perfectly clear that the citizens are tolerating a substandard government here and in the state of Pennsylvania as well.

Read more ...

Supreme Court Clarifies Danger of Council Inaction on PGW

By Matt Wolfe

The state Supreme Court recently came down with an unsurprising ruling that the Municipal Tort Claims Act is constitutional. This is the statute that states that most municipalities are only liable for $500,000.00 for any negligent act. I worked with this statute often when I served as a Deputy Attorney General.

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December 18, 2014

Nutter Nonsense

On December 4, 2014,  the people of Philadelphia were treated to a prominently published commentary in the editorial pages of the Philadelphia Inquirer entitled “Benchmarks for Mayoral Candidates.”

This self-promoting puff piece by our currently serving Mayor Michael Nutter is a sophomoric, romantic, but largely falsified remembrance of what our lame duck mayor may have wished he had accomplished, but it is Nutter Nonsense.

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Two Priests…. and a Missing Parishioner

by Sabina Clarke

The disappearance of Westchester University senior Shane Montgomery, a member of St. John the Baptist Church in Manayunk, has shaken and confounded the FBI, the Fifth District Police, the Northwest Detectives, the Police Marine Unit, the Police Canine Unit, and the Aviation Unit –all agencies assigned to the case.

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Major Germantown Developments Generate Community Resistance

Two Germantown development projects, one under development and one proposed, have generated community push-back that runs to our City Council Office and is illustrative of the lack of confidence concerned neighbors have with process in their community. A major rehab of a multi-story former commercial facility on the 5300 block of Germantown Avenue was first believed to be a development of market rate apartments and a coffee shop, but now is caught up in controversy with how a special exception category in our recently revised zoning code allowed it to be converted and developed outside of the zoning and variance process with no prior public disclosure of intent or purpose.

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Political and Judicial Arrogance on Center Stage

Egos and Invincibility rule.

There has only been one serious political reform movement in the City of Philadelphia in the last 150 years and that only came about after some intense investigations, grand juries, indictments, convictions and suicides by four city leaders.  Although that process was begun in the later 1930s, it was postponed during World War 2, and resumed thereafter.  After many convictions and press reporting the election of 1950 was the only significant one time game changer in the city long characterized as “Corrupt but Contented”.

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Representative Rosita Youngblood:

Representing the People, Not the Party

Since 1994 Rosita Youngblood has represented Pennsylvania’s 198th Legislative District that has been configured so that it contained parts of Nicetown, Germantown, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill, Modified and reconfigured through the years, there has been no shortage of controversy here for those who know what has transpired below the surface.

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Councilwoman Bass Opens District Office with Expanded Focus

A recent meeting with Councilwoman Cindy Bass focused on three primary directions she has implemented recently.  They include new staffing, a new district office, and prioritizing community concerns.

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A Message to All Elected Officials

For those of you who participate in the governmental structure of the City of Philadelphia and the party process that reportedly represents 88% of the registered voters, this should be a moment where one makes a serious assessment on where they stand, and where they want to stand, as we wind our way toward another primary election, that we all know is in effect the general election.

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Property on Collum Street, adjacent to the Wister SEPTA Station, has been left to decay for many years. This is another example of how L&I refuses to deal with neglected Germantown properties. The code violations here for an unused property are significant. The city should seal and secure these properties immediately.

Property at Wakefield and Garfield is owned by Dwight Evans CDC OARC. License & Inspections has refused to respond. The sidewalks are impassable. Open, unfenced lot offers significant hazards. City needs to take action now.