Earlier this month, the FBI and IRS raided the offices and home of John Dougherty, business manager of IBEW Local 98. Johnny Doc, as he is called, is the most powerful union leader-cum-kingmaker in Philadelphia.
The FBI also raided the offices of Philadelphia Councilman Bobby Henon, IBEW Local 98’s former political director.
Henon earns a six-figure salary as a full-time councilman. But in a city that is notoriously “corrupt and contented,” that’s not enough. The Philadelphia City Council majority leader is still on Johnny Doc’s payroll. Henon was “the brain” behind the push for a new jail last year. I was part of the coalition that successfully pushed back.
That same District Attorney failed to report $160,050 in gifts, including a $45,000 roof repair on his home, and cash gifts of $1,500 and $10,000 from “friends.”
And now this: A developer, Toll Brothers, plans to erase the historic character of Jewelers Row.
The preservation community is fighting back. The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia is circulating a petition to stop the madness:
A suburban developer wants to demolish six buildings on Philadelphia's Jewelers Row in order to put up a new luxury apartment tower. Jewelers Row is America’s oldest diamond district and the 2nd largest in the nation. Its enduring charm comes from the intimate small scale shops and storefronts that have lined this brick-paved thoroughfare for 150 years. Gouging out these six buildings will forever alter Jewelers Row and ruin one of our city's most iconic destinations. Please help stop this outrageous and destructive land grab. Let’s help them find another place for their project.
You don’t have to be a preservationist to be concerned about the impact of development on Philly’s unique character. So please sign the petition to save Jewelers Row.