Helen Gym Flaherty Apparently Thinks That Money Grows On Trees

And she wants to do everything she can to improve public safety except the most obvious: actually enforce the law!

As Robert Stacy McCain noted in “Chicago Votes for More Crime,” when the Windy City Democrats nominated police-hating Brandon Johnson to become their next Mayor, the bad things that happened under Mayor Lori Lightfoot would just get worse.

When Jazz Shaw refers to the city’s “carjacking epidemic,” it’s no exaggeration. As recently as 2014, Chicago had barely 300 carjackings a year. Last year, there were more than 1,600 carjackings in Chicago, to go along with 737 murders and 2,937 people wounded from gunfire.

In crime-ridden Philadelphia, you’d think that people would take notice of that, and some did. Philadelphia’s Working Families Party tweeted how happy they were that Mr Johnson won in Chicago, and wanted Philly to be next by voting for Helen Gym Flaherty.

Who are the Working Families Party? On their About page, they pretty much tell us that they are full socialist without saying that they are full socialist, but I will admit to being amused that the photo they used¹ as an illustration of who they are was of almost entirely young people, mostly Asian, in front of a Chinese restaurant in New York City, in the summer², all wearing silly face masks.

And so we come to Mrs Flaherty. The Philadelphia Inquirer, which, to their (slight) credit, endorsed Rebecca Rhynhart rather than the far-left Mrs Flaherty, had this on the Working Families’ favorite:

Philly mayoral candidate Helen Gym’s education plan includes a $10B ‘Green New Deal’ for schools

Gym said Thursday the city could borrow money to finance some capital costs and that she favors directing a higher share of property taxes to the School District.

by Anna Orso | Thursday, April 6, 2023 | 7;40 PM EDT

Philadelphia mayoral candidate Helen Gym on Thursday unveiled an education proposal that includes guaranteed jobs for teenagers, free SEPTA passes for all city students, and a $10 billion plan to modernize school buildings.

Gym, who stood with supporters outside Edward T. Steel Elementary School in Nicetown to make the announcement, called her public-education focused capital plan a “Green New Deal for Schools” and vowed to implement a 10-year facilities improvement plan. She also said she would add more librarians and counselors to schools, overhaul the high school selection process, and base school budgets on need, not enrollment levels.

Ahhh, yes, the Edward T Steel Elementary School. City Councilwoman Kendra Brooks, a Working Families Party member, tweeted:

I met @HelenGymPHL over a decade ago when my daughter’s school was going to be privatized. We were a few moms saying we want something greater. We DESERVE something better.

That’s what her education plan is about. That’s why I’m standing here today because since day one, she’s been fighting for communities like mine. And winning.

To this day, Edward T. Steel Elementary is a public school.

Why yes, it is. In the still public Steel Elementary, which is ranked 1,205th out of 1,607 Pennsylvania elementary schools, 1% of students scored at or above the proficient level for math, and 8% scored at or above that level for reading. Maybe keeping it public didn’t work all that well?

Another respondent had the charts. But perhaps having a campaign rally touting public education in front of a clearly failing public school wasn’t the brightest idea, unless Mrs Flaherty was assuming that the people who would be most likely to vote for her aren’t particularly bright themselves.

Her announcement was another sign that the former City Council member and longtime public-schools activist is running in part on her education background by proposing a laundry list of schools improvements that teachers and advocates have been urging for years. . . . .

The proposal didn’t include an overall price tag, but $10 billion in capital costs alone would represent an enormous expense. Under the current administration, the proposed capital investment for the entire city for the next six years is $13.2 billion.

My compliments to reporter Anna Orso for researching that and pointing it out. Where would the city get the money?

Gym said Thursday the city could borrow money to finance some capital costs and that she favors directing a higher share of property taxes to the School District, which currently receives 55% of local property tax revenue. Doing so would, in turn, decrease cash flow to the city’s coffers.

“The point is that we’re not going to get there if all we say is what we don’t have,” she said. “I know the city has to get down to business to do it, but it needs a plan, it needs a vision, and we need somebody who’s been relentless about fighting for this from day one.”

As we have previously noted, Philadelphia’s population has dropped by 2.28% between the April 2020 Census and the Census Bureau’s July 1, 2022 population guesstimate. More, 3.34% of the 36,539 souls lost during that time period, 1,222 people, were lost to murder! If Mrs Flaherty’s proposals were put into effect, the obvious result is that more better-off people would move out of the city due to the higher taxes which would necessarily be imposed to pay for all of her ideas, whether paid for by direct taxation or in the debt service she would impose. Philly’s poverty rate, 23.1%, is double the U.S average, while the city’s median income, $49,127, is just three-quarters of the national average. Mrs Flaherty’s plans, if they push out more of the higher earners, can only exacerbate that problem, and make paying for her plans even harder.

But her plans, along with those of the Working Families Party are pretty much in line with their complete lack of understanding of economics. Perhaps they believe that money can be created out of thin air, since that’s what our federal government seems to be doing, but Philly isn’t the federal government.

The city’s teachers union, one of Gym’s biggest backers, quickly endorsed the plan Thursday, with Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan saying in a statement that Gym’s plan also prioritizes safety — including through guaranteed after-school programs — and has “thoughtful and proactive measures to address a real crisis in our city.”

Well, of course the teachers’ union endorsed Mrs Flaherty! Government employees all, they, too, have no concept of economics, and they, too, seem to think that the public trough is ever-full and never-ending. It was the teachers in Kentucky which caused former Governor Matt Bevin to lose his re-election bid, because he tried to do something really radical like reform their pension system before it went broke.

But in reading Mrs Flaherty’s website Issues page, clicking on her “Safety in every neighborhood” section, I read that she would “Declare a State of Emergency on Gun Violence,” “Protect, Uplift, and Empower Philadelphia’s Young People,” have “Community-Driven Interventions and Effective Policing,” “Reduce Violence with Clean and Green Neighborhoods”, and “Provide Real Support for Victims of Violent Crime and their Families,” spending gobs of money in these things, but never once said anything about reducing the number of vacancies in the Philadelphia Police Department, the people who actually enforce the law, the people who do their best to get criminals off the streets. Mrs Flaherty strongly endorsed and campaigned with, George Soros-sponsored “restorative justice” District Attorney Larry Krasner, later saying, “I support reducing the prison population by 50% from 2019 levels. We must center transformative and restorative justice practices in Philadelphia.” She wants to do everything ti increase public safety other than getting criminals off the streets! The Philadelphia Tribune reported:

She also vowed to overhaul the Philadelphia Police Department, “so that they are more responsive and interactive with neighbors, so that we are dealing with young people, and helping and support young people, who are currently in the path of violence right now.”

So, nothing about more police officers, just ‘progressive’ reform. Yeah, that has worked so well other places.

In addition to reverse the slashing of hours at recreation centers and public libraries, she said she wants public schools to be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., referencing the high amount of gun violence involving students that happens before 6 p.m. Gym also pledged to remove 10,000 abandoned cars from city streets and sealing 50% of the city’s vacant lots.

So, spending more money, money that the Jim Kenney Administration couldn’t find. It’s not like Mayor Kenney wanted to close libraries and recreation centers; he just didn’t have the money to do otherwise. Of course, having the recreation centers open didn’t decrease violence, and the city could open only 50 of its 65 pools because they couldn’t find enough lifeguards.

Let’s face it: there are no good candidates for the Democratic nomination for Mayor of Philadelphia, but there are some who are worse than others, and Helen Gym Flaherty is the worst of the worst.
¹ – Also here, in case they delete it.
² – Or so I judge by their shorts, sandals, and crop tops.
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