THE ELECTION’S over, our man is in, it’s time to spend all that money.
You know, the cash Ed Rendell is going to siphon from those tax-paying saps in western Pennsylvania. If I’ve heard the Mike Fisher ads correctly, once Rendell’s set up in the governor’s office, he’ll immediately begin forwarding checks to area code 215.
Yesterday afternoon, I headed out to Center City bars for a quick check on how locals intended to cash in. What do they want Gov. Rendell to do for Philadelphia?
I already had my list:
1. Buy us a Major League Baseball team.
2. Shoot down that damn Zoo balloon.
3. Repave my street. (OK, they just did it last month, but I noticed a tiny crack near my driveway. Not like it’s my money, right? ) Around town, I figured elbow-benders would be lining up for the Harrisburg hand-outs.
Four-day work weeks . . . free valet parking on South Broad Street . . . draft beer hydrants . . . Barcaloungers on the D Bus . . . guaranteed winning lottery tickets . . . hell, three-day work weeks.
Instead, I got a lot of goody-goody stuff. You know, responsible civic-minded ideas.
Barbara Small, 46, of Germantown, was cooling off after work with a Miller Lite at McGillin’s on Drury Street. She wasn’t looking for freebies.
“Just make sure Social Security keeps going for the elderly,” she said as the Ramones played on the juke.
“And decent schools for the children. And keep the streets clean. Get rid of the abandoned cars and the drug houses. “
At McGlinchey’s, on 15th Street, it was more of the same mawkish virtues. George Deas, 47, of South Philadelphia, is unemployed. You figure he’s got his ticket punched, now that Rendell’s in office. A no-show job? A new Cadillac? Free cable TV?
“Get more businesses to stay in the state and rebuild the tax base in the city,” said Deas, holding a mug of Rolling Rock. “I need a job. I want to work. “
For pure, unmitigated benevolence, the worst of these tavern pundits had to be Scott Reese, 32, who I interrupted in the middle of a pint of Boddington’s at Moriarty’s, on Walnut Street.
“You know,” said Reese, “the rest of the state is like the Midwest once you get past Lancaster – it’s not exactly cosmopolitan out there. “
“I say Rendell oughta try improving the rest of the state. “
Wait a minute, wait a minute – send the money to Pittsburgh?
Look, those of you who weren’t around the last time a Philly guy ran things, let me tell you, it was sweet. Milt Shapp paved Lancaster Avenue in gold and we all got secret tax refunds.
Get your priorities in order, Philadelphia. We’ve finally got our man in Harrisburg.