Candidate Blogging: Nelson Diaz on Encouraging Philadelphians to use Public Transit

Last week we sent The 5th Square 2015 Candidate Questionnaire to all candidates for City Council and Mayor. In that questionnaire we gave the option for candidates to reach out directly to voters via our blog. 9 different topics were offered. Below please find Nelson Diaz's response to Topic 3. For the list of other topics offered and the entirety of Diaz's responses to our Candidate Questionnaire, please see the link to the PDF at the bottom of this post. Please Note: posting of Candidate Questionnaire responses does not constitute a 5th Square endorsement. Candidate endorsements will be released at a later date. Continue reading

The 5th Square Candidate Questionnaire Has Been Released and is Due by May 1st

The 5th Square's main mission as an organization is to bring about safer, cleaner streets, well-maintained parks, more and better transportation choices, and smarter land use as means to a more livable Philadelphia. As a means to achieve these policy goals, we will be supporting political candidates for city and state office who share our values and sign on to our platform. Our city has made a lot of progress during the Nutter administration, but we need to elect many more smart, progressive, urban leaders to public office to achieve our full potential. Continue reading

Zoning & Parking: How Obsession With Convenient Parking Financially Undermines Our Schools & Our City

A prime corner at 9th & Wharton sits as an open lot. Around it, reminders of Philadelphia's past lingers. On the walls of buildings flanking the site, a faded Frankie Avalon and Chubby Checker loom. 60 years ago when these two were popular, a church once stood here. For the last 30 years it's only been some grass, a poorly constructed wooden bulkhead and some posts nailed in the ground. Continue reading

Stand Up For Transporation: A Challenge to All City Council & Mayoral Candidates

Transportation choice and quality are something that effect us every day as Philadelphians. Though nearly all of us walk throughout the city, there are a number of other choices we can make as consumers and citizens. Some of us chose to bike, while others take some form of SEPTA, be it regional rail, trolley or bus. And still many of us continue to drive in our private cars. Car ownership is expensive, costing on average at least $10,000 per year between car payments, insurance and fuel. Yet our elected officials here in Philadelphia, already some of the most handsomely paid in the nation, get an added perk. Despite the perennial budget crises affecting the city, you and I as citizens of Philadelphia, are paying for their cars. Continue reading

Mark Squilla fakes neighborhood support for 3D billboards

For the past several months, District 1 Councilman Mark Squilla has been waging a lonely campaign to help his friends in the billboard industry undercut Philadelphia's digital billboard regulations. Continue reading

Plastic Bags, Our Perennial Trash Problem and How We Find Revenue to Fix It

For many Philadelphians, street trash is a relentless problem. While our suburban counterparts mow their lawn on a Saturday morning, Philadelphians spend their time sweeping discarded bottles, cheetos, and plastic bags outside their homes. Even after dedicated residents clean up their blocks, we still contend with unkept littered blocks and storm drains and riverbanks that remain perennially trash strewn. It is time to recognize that our piecemeal, ad-hoc cleanup efforts have not and will not get us to the clean and thriving city that Philadelphians deserve. Continue reading

How Our Platform Benefits Low-Income Neighborhoods

On Friday, we took a close look at Governing’s “Gentrification in America” report as well as Citified’s “Insane Surge in Philadelphia Gentrification” response. We discovered the numbers and conclusions don’t stand up to scrutiny and then argued that the greater problem in Philadelphia is the condition of many of the city's low-income neighborhoods, where poverty is increasing and population is decreasing. Today we discuss how our platform can help lead to stabilization and even economic growth in the city's low-income areas. Continue reading

Crunching The Numbers: A Closer Look At Gentrification & Displacement in Philadelphia

On Tuesday, Philadelphia Magazine’s Citified ran a piece titled “Insane Surge in Philadelphia Gentrification.” Since its inception at the beginning of this year, Citified has done a great job of covering important issues in the city, but this particular piece misses an opportunity to discuss some very serious and ongoing problems in Philadelphia. Continue reading

Happy Presidents Day? Don't You Mean Happy Bicycle Day?

The common refrain about American culture is that we are wedded to our cars. Much of the culture we associate with America is post-war culture born of mass suburbanization beginning in the Eisenhower administration of the early 1950s. Car manufacturers used their clout with our elected officials to transform streets once the public domain of commerce and leisure, to traffic conduits alone. Terms like jaywalking were born of a necessity for car companies to sell their vision of personal independence at the expense of our public space. Continue reading

A Unifying Platform For Labor & Business

Earlier today, we discussed how our platform serves the interests of every Philadelphian. The power of our platform lies in its ability to bridge the divides that Philadelphians often focus on, divides which too often distract both sides away from what should be achievable, shared goals. Continue reading