It is very rare for a public official to be regarded as a hero let alone a saint. With the height of the recession and the scrupulous events that paved its way to politicians fighting over the hunger of power, fame and wealth; Ed Rendell of Philadelphia proved that he is a force to be reckoned with. Sure, there have been several autobiographies written over the advantage of the famous.
But in this case, Buzz Bissinger, showcased not the glitz and the glamour of the politician but rather focusing on the urban world and how their leader, in the name of Mayor Rendell fought to save the sinking social and economic state of his jurisdiction (Bissinger, 1998).
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Philadelphia, as divided and as financially crippled in the face of the Western geographical affirm, reached a point where their means of living and the rising number of violence is headlined on the national paper. Urban policies have long been issues in the government, to what extent shall the feds need to lend their hand on a certain area? Pulitzer Prize winner Bissinger researched and found interesting contexts on the trials and tribulations that the city underwent.
Far more different than what those that hid in the buildings of the streets of New York or the tanning skins of those sitting pretty and well-financed in the beaches California. Mayor Rendell was a leader in his own right and a philanthropist by heart. He quotes David Cohen in the first chapter (Bissinger, 1998), “[h]ave I done the right thing here?”—precisely the question most of those who served before Rendell served his tenure in office.
First Term: The Meaningful Reforms
Mayor Rendell’s first term in office (1992-1996) can be coined in one term: challenge. Given the fact that he was to inherit an already failed economy, it was quite expected that he would either save the city or worsen the situation.
As any other cynical human being would produce, they already anticipated for the latter. Philadelphia had an annual budget of $200,000 which in the light is expected to help its constituents that equals to 1.6 million. In a place clothed with bankruptcy and corruption, it was a near-death situation. It was like the urban poor society of the West and the chances of rising from the behemoth of doom were 10:90.
So Ed Rendell looked for means to endow grant monies, reductions in federal layoffs and all other cost-cutting measures possible for his jurisdiction to survive.
He lamented over the loss of jobs and the drastic increase of violence in every major event that transcribed. He was to seek every help lent by those who are willing to shoulder their burden. But he also had a humanistic side of him; he despised those who wrote provoking articles about his administration. He knew too well he only wanted what was best for his fellowmen—so he fought for his dignity alongside.
The Characters’ Accounts
A recovery plan was at hand. Fifi Mazzcuza, famous for parenting the parentless, emphasized the dreadful reality of the place—drug dealings, theft, and all the other gang-related dilemmas that wrapped the city in its darkest. Linda Morrison for one has seen the painful reality of living in the suburbs—she witnessed in her naked eyes the bloodshed of those who are spiritually lost and in need of guidance. She has been assaulted by those whom she considered countrymen.
And lastly, Jim Mangan, a typical Philly who suffered the torture of financial constraint. He wasn’t alone, there were many who had the same story as he does. Finding a job in his time was like looking for a peck in a pile of sand, whilst the need to survive in the heavy rain that poured while they were painstakingly seeking. It was hard for them. And just when everything seemed to be hopeless, there was a spark of light. And their story continues.
Bissinger, B. (1998). A Prayer for the City. New York, NY: Vintage.
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