Philadelphia has a chance to act like a big city.
Last week, a judge issued a preliminary injunction that gave the city back the embattled Convention Center – at least for now.
But the question is whether the board, headed by Mayor John Street, can put partisan pouting aside and make our debt-ridden city some money.
If history is an indicator, the answer is no.
Last year, with the center swirling in labor, management and funding disputes, state legislators shifted the board’s power to Harrisburg and Philadelphia’s surrounding counties.
To compete for tourist dollars, the Convention Center needs a $464 million expansion.
In the past, state lawmakers have been unwilling to fund the project until underlying labor and management problems were solved.
The biggest obstacle for the center has been labor strife — fights over which union hammers what nail.
That, along with price gouging, has damaged the city’s reputation and led to lost bookings.
The injunction blocked the state takeover and reinstated the old Convention Center board.
Now, Street has a second chance to bring tourists back to Philadelphia.
But does he deserve it?
“The people of Philadelphia should be saddened by this,” said Steve Miskin, spokesperson for House Majority Leader John Perzel, who engineered the takeover.
“For the moment, they’re going back to indecision, inability and inaction by the mayor to resolve the issues facing the Convention Center.”
Colossal failure is nothing new to Philadelphia.
The state already seized the city’s financially strapped, academically challenged school district, along with the Parking Authority and its cloud of ticket fixing.
Now, under state control, low-achieving students are catching up, and the number of illegal drivers is down.
State control could be the remedy for a Convention Center that chases away business.
Philadelphia, the place that loves you back, has somehow become the place that can’t get people back.
The city has the proven ability to repel businesses and tourists, along with their money.
Lying in its wake are isolated stadiums, a barren waterfront and scattered dirt piles where construction once thrived, along with empty hotel rooms and convention halls.
With its historical sites, restaurants, museums and arts culture, Philadelphia is a premiere city with plenty to offer.
But without a marketable Convention Center, doubt remains among businesses, tourists and residents over the city’s future, and rightfully so.
The Temple News editorial board members are:
* Mike Gainer, Editor in Chief
* Jeremy Smith, Managing Editor
* Brian White, News Editor
* Kia Gregory, Opinion Editor
Letters to the editor can be submitted via our Web site @ www.temple-news.com under the “submissions” link. They can also be dropped off at the Temple News office located in the Student Center, Room 315.