The Temple News takes issue with the lack of transparency regarding the details of the NCNID.
As The Temple News has covered the proposed North Central Neighborhood Improvement District, we have questioned its proponents’ lack of transparency. The process has left the public and students with a lot of questions, and as Sean Carlin reports in “Waivering support for NID,” p.1, community members aren’t alone in their dissent.
The NCNID aims to benefit the area with increased lighting, safety patrols and cleanliness. Lifelong residents of the area have repeatedly rejected the bill since its proposal at meetings because they were excluded in talks about changes for their community and a lack of community representation. Temple is set to give an annual financial contribution to the district, but the amount they will contribute has still not been released.
Now, trustee and former executive vice president James White has spoken out against the bill at a city council hearing. White’s complaints include the supposed improvement of security, which is allotted $75,000 of the district’s $450,000 initial budget. White questioned where the security would come from, and who would supplement the Philadelphia Police Department, adding that he would be opposed to privatizing security. White is also concerned that the relationship between Temple and the community has been damaged as a result of the NCNID.
Although White is not speaking on behalf of Temple, it is clear that not everyone is on board.
Additionally, Vivian VanStory, one of the most outspoken residents against the improvement district and president and founder of the Community Land Trust Corporation, has said that William Bergman, vice president and chief of staff at Temple, is a board member of her organization, and that her organization does not support the NCNID.
Ray Betzner, assistant vice president of university communications said that Bergman is not part of the board. The Temple News was not permitted to speak directly with Bergman, something we take issue with.
Regardless of Bergman’s stance, the entire debate highlights the same issue that concerned The Temple News weeks ago: There is a problem with communication and transparency when it comes to the NCNID.