Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Reform? Is that you?

Today's Daily News editorial expresses hope that the BRT's most recent stand will prove to be its last, and gives props to the mayor for proposing to dissolve a second dysfunctional independent agency. It also makes this important psychological/political point:

Reform? Is that you?

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer

Today's Daily News editorial expresses hope that the BRT's most recent stand will prove to be its last, and gives props to the mayor for proposing to dissolve a second dysfunctional independent agency. It also makes this important psychological/political point:

For too long, we've grown to accept the outrageous dysfunction of some parts of city government as somehow amusing or entertaining.

That cynicism is understandable but dangerous because it gives implicit approval for bad behavior.

We hadn't really thought of it that way, but yes, the belief that nothing will ever change in Philadelphia probably does enable the status quo.

Entire editorial after the jump...

On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court refused to hear a suit that the Board of Revision of Taxes filed to fight the mayor's attempt to dissolve the beleaguered agency.

We are daring to hope this slams the door on further attempts by the BRT to thwart its own demise.

It has been cockroach-like in its will to survive: A few weeks ago, the agency rescinded on an agreement it had made for the Nutter administration to continue day-to-day control of the agency.

We shouldn't be surprised that the BRT has thumbed its nose at the mayor's attempts to fix it. After all, by creating a culture of corruption and cronyism, the BRT has thumbed its nose for years at taxpayers.

On May 18, voters get a chance for payback when they'll be able to vote on a ballot measure to abolish the BRT. If there was ever a strong argument for democracy and the need for full citizen participation, this is it.

While the court's move is cause for celebration and hope, we have an even bigger hope: that the tide in the city is turning, and that things that are broken will actually get fixed within a reasonable time frame. For too long, we've grown to accept the outrageous dysfunction of some parts of city government as somehow amusing or entertaining.

That cynicism is understandable but dangerous because it gives implicit approval for bad behavior.

We have similar hope in another move by the mayor - to abolish the Clerk of Quarter Sessions office, which has distinguished itself by such sloppy record-keeping and lack of competent management that the city has effectively forfeited $1 billion in bail money. Director Vivian Miller resigned under pressure a few weeks ago, and the Nutter administration has told Council it is drafting legislation for Council to vote on that would abolish the office. These moves give strong credence to Mayor Nutter's reform platform. We hope they also create momentum for further reform. No more tolerating the broken.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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