Anti-violence meeting in Grays Ferry has mayor seeking solutions

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A Philadelphia neighborhood is committing itself to stopping the violence. (WPVI)

A Philadelphia neighborhood is committing itself to stopping the violence.

Person after person told of losing loved ones to increasing violence in Grays Ferry during a meeting Monday night where police were not asked to attend.

The city's new mayor however was in attendance and seemed deeply moved by what he heard.

"The violence with these children and the deaths of these children makes me heartsick and I'm sorry for your losses, I truly am," Kenney said.

On Sunday night, two teens were critically wounded in a drive-by shooting at 31st and Tasker in a crime captured by surveillance cameras.

That is just the latest in a rash of shootings in recent weeks that Councilman Kenyata Johnson says is part of an ongoing turf war.

He is urging people to step in and try to intervene.

"Knowing that there's a war going on and everybody is sitting back not saying anything as opposed to at least trying to reach out and call somebody," Johnson said.

But in contrast to prior administrations whose immediate reaction is to beef up police patrols and see what more the cops can do, Mayor Kenney's solution is to raise and borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to renovate or refurbish every rec center, library, and park in the city and expand social programs.

He's also pushing for a soda tax to help pay for it.

"I need your help to get this done cause we're going to be fighting a big lobbying people who don't want us to raise the money, we're going to raise to fight back big soda because they don't want to give up their profits to put money back into our communities," Kenney said.

In the days and weeks to come, Mayor Kenney is expected to be speaking more about his proposals on raising new money to address violence and related social issues.

The big question: Will his strategy work?
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