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The Truth About Philadelphia
"Hopes and Fears"

Glenn Holsten Lead-in:
There's an image I have in my head about a Circus Clown teetering high up on a single pole swaying side to side. I can almost feel the crowd hold its breath as they watch him swinging back and forth. Either he's gonna to fall or the pole is going to snap, or something's going to happen. Because it seems like he just can't keep going back and forth, back and forth, but he does. I don't know if I ever saw this in person, I'm not a big circus fan. I don't know if I dreamt it or saw it in a film, but this image repeatedly came to mind when I heard the thoughtful and moving responses to two questions in the Philadelphia questionnaire. What is your greatest hope for the city? And what is your greatest fear for the future of Philadelphia?

Yvonne :
The greatest fear? That nothing is gonna be improved, that' it's gonna be the same, because the generation we got now that's supposedly is taking over the streets is like, we're in deep trouble (LAUGH). And it better improve because I don't want to be around if it isn't. Okay, I have a bad feeling.

Deep down in my little Black Native American heart, I've got a bad feeling that when the time comes and these little ones are gonna get older, they're not gonna be very happy. You understand what I'm saying? Uh, excuse my French, the shit is gonna literally hit the fan. (LAUGH) Uh, well I'm, I'm, I'm trying to be nice about it. (LAUGH) I mean, I don't want to bleeped if at all possible. But I -- that's what I'm fearing. I fear deep, down inside that it is gonna literally hit the fan, and then it's gonna be too late.

That they change. That they change the future. That they fight, basically, like, nonviolently, hopefully. To have the neighborhood be normal. Normal: no guns fired, no gun shots, no drug dealers on the corner.Normal.

I'm not talking June Cleaver, I'm not talking "Leave it to Beaver." I'm just talking about a normal, quiet, every day neighborhood. Gun shots don't bother them. That's not normal. I feel sorry for the kids because they wouldn't know "normal." Hopefully in the future they will.

Benes :
My hope for this city is that we will begin to return jobs here. Not just tourists jobs, but real manufacturing jobs. We need to be, go back to being first again. And, and we need to redevelop our neighborhoods. We have housing in this city that's horrendous, I mean it's just vacant ho..., row after row of vacant houses. But we also have, uh, street grates and sidewalks full of people. Why can't we get them in there, why can't we mate the two together?

When you leave Center City the decay, the decay is unimaginable. And we can't seem to stop it. And we can, we can stop it. No one will ever be able to convince me that we can't stop it. We can stop it.

Carol :
Hope? My greatest hope is that we can turn this city around. This is a beautiful city. We've got a lot of lovely communities. I mean as much as I am amazed by the devastation here, I'm just that much amazed about how many beautiful neighborhoods there are still here in the African American community that nobody ever talks about, you never see on television, many more so than all the other ones.

So you got, you've got some real good solid communities even in neighborhoods that are run down. You've got some beautiful blocks which if you took, took the dead buildings and fixed them up, you know, it could be revitalized. So you got, you got the infrastructure, you got the homes, and then you got the culture here.

Kathy :
I think we have to bring back the neighborhoods. I think no matter what Rendell does down the, the Broad Street with the Avenue of the Arts. I think if we don't invest in the neighborhoods, we're lost.

Juanita :
When you can come up with money to build an amphitheater and you can't give a person a house, I have a problem with that. I have a real problem with that. Now you're talking about building a Disneyland theater. I don't need dizzy, I'm dizzy enough. I need money to help these children. I love Disney, don't get me wrong, but it's, it's everything has a right perspective and a time frame. Take care of the community that is needed. We don't have a supermarket, do you really think we care about Disney?

For right now, my fear when they cut welfare off, and what's gonna happen when they do cut welfare off, and what are the people gonna do. I think, myself, that crime will increase, because people are gonna be trying to do any and everything to just get money. Drugs will probably increase, because a lot of people are gonna go that easy route and go to easy money.

Brian :
My greatest fear is that we'll stop drawing the line between what's right and what's wrong.

My personal fear is that one day I'll be in the right place at the wrong time, or the wrong place at the right time, and, umm, that I will be, uh, the victim of, uh, some senseless, random violence. That, I mean, that's just crazy.

Fear paralyzes people. Think about it. When you were little, lying in your bed, you heard that noise. Did you move? You didn't, you didn't even want to breath, did you? Fear, uh, I don't want us to dwell on fear. And I think that those people who want gain power in a bad way, use fear as a weapon. And I don't want to be a part of that. So when you ask me what are, what's my worse fear for Philadelphia, I would say giving in to fear.

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