Sixers' Arena Proposal Gets a Boost with Cherelle Parker's Mayoral Win
Cherelle Parker won the Democratic Primary for Philadelphia mayor on Tuesday night, surely becoming the first woman to hold the position. All she has to do is steamroll David Oh in November, which is a formality at this point, since Philly has not had a Republican mayor since Dwight Eisenhower was president (edit – I’m wrong, it was Harry Truman).
Rebecca Rhynhart finished second and Helen Gym, who once jumped into the Crossing Broad comments section, came in third.
What’s interesting is that Parker just sort of floated along in this race. She didn’t build some huge social media following or have national politicians in town to support her. From our admittedly-not-exactly-dialed-in perspective, it looks like she kept things steady, went tougher on crime than the other candidates, and absolutely cleaned up with the black vote. It’s further proof that Twitter is not a real place and that the ideas circulated on there are not popular in the larger public realm.
A friend DM’d me this:
“All the white people fought with each other like cats and dogs on Twitter while the black community just minded their own business and voted for the black woman most outspoken against crime… I can live with it.”
Pretty much. Ultimately, Parker was the only black candidate in what experts considered the top-five, and cleaned up in that department:
The racial breakdown in tonight's results is… pretty stark.
Majority-Black (and majority-Latino) precincts pretty united; whiter precincts really splitting their vote. pic.twitter.com/x7IXA0oDdr
— Aseem Shukla (@ashukla89) May 17, 2023
Right, so the question that our readers probably give a shit about pertains to the Sixers proposed arena on Market Street. What’s Cherelle Parker’s stance?
She was one of the waffler candidates on the campaign trail, but this is what she said when asked about it at a KYW News Radio forum (audio via David Malandra) –
“I will have a mayor’s community council in every council district. And there will be no development, particularly large scale, in any region where the people who live there don’t have a voice. With that being said, any proposal that has the potential to have a large economic impact in our city, we have to hear it out. And you can’t, the mayor can’t give a kneejerk ‘no’ reaction without getting all of the facts. Philadelphia, don’t just listen to what people say, watch what they do.”
It matches up with what she said about the Sixers’ Penn’s Landing proposal back in 2020, when she was on City Council:
“It’s inconceivable to me that anyone would fail to consider a potential plan that could possibly create good union jobs for people who have been left out of the economic equation.”
Beyond those two quotes, Parker has strong union connections. Prominent Philly labor leader Ryan Boyer endorses the arena project and threw his support behind Parker, which was uber-important in helping to get her elected. He was at her victory party on Tuesday night and wrote this about the arena in a recent op-ed for the Tribune:
The arena has the potential to change the economic landscape of Philadelphia. By revitalizing the Market East area, a section of the city that has languished, largely vacant and underutilized for decades, the $1.3 billion 76 Place project will generate almost 10,000 union construction jobs and 1,000 permanent positions. The project will stimulate the local and regional economy and provide benefits that will be felt in every corner of our city.
Tuesday night’s result was a positive one for the Sixers and the pro-arena portion of the fan base and community. There are still a lot of hurdles to clear, but if Rhynhart or Gym had won, this thing might be dead in the water.