Philly named No. 9 most segregated urban area in the U.S.

According to a slideshow article on that analyzed 2010 Census data, the level of segregation between blacks and whites in Philadelphia  is declining at slower rate than it did in the 1990s.

University of Pennsylvania historian Thomas Sugrue credits Philly’s No. 9 status partially due to hegemony.

“The patterns of housing segregation in metropolitan Philadelphia are the legacy of discriminatory public policies and real-estate practices that played out for most of the 20th century,” Sugrue said in the article. “Though discrimination is now illegal, those patterns of segregation were so deeply entrenched that many people came to see them as ‘natural.'”

Why do you think segregation is so prevalent in Philly?

And the Yorktown debacle continues

Today, the Philadelphia Daily News posted an article about a Q-and-A session hosted by Commissioner Fran Burns of the Department of Licenses & Inspections, which garnered about 50 residents of the Yorktown section of North Philadelphia to discuss an on-going conflict – Temple students disrupting the historically middle-class neighborhood.

The residents’ complaints aren’t new, and as the article suggests, they don’t seem to be going away.

Earlier this semester, Willie J. DeShields, president of the Yorktown Community Organization, told The Temple News that when students rent properties, sometimes owners do not properly maintain the upkeep of the homes if they are not residents.

The North Central Philadelphia Community Special District Controls prohibits private investors from renting homes to students in Yorktown and Jefferson Manor unless the owner is a resident of the home as well. In recent years, the rule led to eviction notices for many student residents, but no one was actually evicted.

To read more about The Temple News’ on-going coverage of the Yorktown conflict, click here.

Reminder: Don’t forget Yorktown meeting on April 1st!

This is a friendly reminder from your TTN staff. There is a meeting concerning Yorktown on April 1st. The meeting is at 1515 Arch St. and will be held at noon in room 18002.

Be there to see how the future of North Philadelphia’s most fought-over neighborhood will turn out.

P.S. In case you still wanted to go to the Lady Gaga concert on the same day, it’s been sold out for weeks. Sorry.

Stop killing the environment (or you’ll get charged)

                                                                                                                          Ashley Nguyen/TTN

The bag boy at the end of the register who miserably asks, “Paper or plastic?” may be spared uttering the extra two words, “or plastic.”

The New York Times reported today that cities across the country are trying to curtail plastic bag use by charging its users.  Seattle is working on a 20-cent fee, while New York City is opting to push through a 5-cent charge through the State Legislature.

And Philadelphia may be following suit.

On Feb. 6, Councilmen Jim Kenney and Frank DiCicco revived their initiative to ban the use of plastic grocery bags.

According to a KYW report, DiCicco offered an alternative: charge 25-cents per bag.

Senior English major Scott Yorko didn’t support the idea of banning plastic bags altogether.

“Other than reuse [plastic bags] for my lunch and dirty, smelly clothes, I use them to clean up dog shit,” Yorko said.  “If there was a shortage of plastic bags in the city, there’d by dog shit everywhere.”

The proposed plan by the councilmen allows “compostable plastic bags.”

“I would say as long as the customer is aware, it would be okay,” said senior journalism major Gina Ryder, who was holding a styrofoam cup as she spoke.  Kenney and DiCicco are also hoping to curb the use of styrofoam in the city. Ryder added that she would prefer to bring her own bags anyway.

Whole Foods Markets in Texas, where the company is based, do not provide plastic bags for their customers, but still provide the alternative of recyclable paper bags.  The Whole Foods on South Street offers a 5-cent per bag discount that a customer brings in.

Yorko also mentioned that when he was visiting a Whole Foods in New York over the weekend, they asked him if he wanted a bag.  When he replied no, they gave him a 10-cent discount on his purchase.

Is charging for plastic out of line or just environmentally friendly?

Vacant lots: not bought for $1 (and they’re costing Temple)

The Temple News, by obtaining copies of the deeds to the three vacant lots owned by Temple, has learned that the lots were not bought for $1, as stated in a previous Broad & Cecil post.

Contrary to what the Board of Revision of Taxes Web site states, 1434 W. Diamond Street was bought for $3,750. 1436 W. Diamond St. was bought for $850.

Stephen Zook TTN

1434, 1436 W. Diamond St. (Stephen Zook TTN)

Also, Temple is still paying taxes on all three properties, which is costing the university hundreds of dollars – only a drop in the bucket compared to the multi-million dollar operating budget Temple runs, but still noteworthy.

Why is Temple spending money on these properties when they sit vacant? How long will it continue to spend money on properties that could be sold? Continue reading

Temple owns vacant lots surrounding Main Campus

The Temple News has learned that several lots in the vicinity of Main Campus are owned by the university. Three properties have been identified: 2334 N. Park Avenue (pictured below) and 1434 and 1436 Diamond Street.

A view of the Temple-owned lot from North Park Avenue.

A view of the Temple-owned lot from North Park Avenue.

The three lots were bought between February of 1970 and September of 1972. They may have been gifted to the university by the city, as city property records indicate they were bought for $1 each. A symbolic sale price of $1 is sometimes used when a property exchanges hands, but the property is given to the new owner by the old for no cost.

Assistant Vice-President of University Communications Ray Betzner said he was unaware of the properties or why Temple might have bought or been given them.

Peter J. Liacouras, former president of Temple, was unaware of the specific properties, but said Temple had bought several locations around what was at that time Main Campus, including the land on which a Buick dealership sat. That land is now the site of the Liacouras Center. Liacouras became president in 1983.

His predecessor, Marvin Wachman, who was president from 1973, passed away in late 2007. Stay tuned for more information on this little-known fact.