Tell ya what –
South Philly moms are not to be trifled with. I mean that as a compliment. If you square off against one, you’re going to get your ass handed to you.
That was apparent with the fiasco that unfolded this week, when a federal judge approved the installation of the country’s first safe injection site right here in town, which resulted in neighborhood residents going absolutely bonkers on former governor Ed Rendell, who sits on the board of the nonprofit group that would be running the place.
48 hours later, those plans have been scrapped entirely, due to overwhelming negative feedback.
The controversial injection site to be operated by non-profit Safehouse was scheduled to open next week at Constitution Health Plaza at Broad and McKean streets.
However, a spokesperson with the Constitution Health Plaza says they are canceling the lease.
“We have made the decision to cancel plans to locate a supervised injection site at Constitution Health Plaza,” said Anthony Campisi, a spokesman for Constitution Health Plaza.
According to Mayor Jim Kenney, who is a supporter of safe injection sites, says Safehouse voluntarily delayed its opening so it could focus on meeting with the community, but the building owner alerted the City that he was no longer interested in moving forward with the lease.
I don’t want to wade into this too much, or offer a personal opinion, but I think it’s worth pointing out that a large chunk of the opposition was not specifically directed towards the concept of the site itself, it was more about the fact that the community was not consulted beforehand. It was the idea that they snuck this in without taking neighborhood opinions into consideration, similar to Starbucks, for example, building new location on the corner without going through City Council, or a zoning meeting, or anything where people had a chance to chime in.
Yes, a lot of people were also against the idea of the site itself, which allows illicit drug use in a controlled environment, with the goal of helping users overcome their addiction, but there were really two separate arguments being presented by folks who came out in opposition.
Anyway, I think the lesson we’ve learned here is that South Philadelphia moms are not to be messed with. Here’s the video from the other day that set this whole thing in motion (it went totally viral and is now up to 745,000 views) –
— Miguel Martinez-Valle (@MiguelMValle) February 26, 2020