'Philly Rising' team tours Point Breeze

PHILADELPHIA - January 4, 2011

Mayor Michael Nutter told residents Wednesday the "Philly Rising" effort has made progress, but more needs to be done.

Mayor Nutter, his top aides, his security team, and several local activists toured South Philadelphia's Point Breeze section Wednesday.

The focus was on the progress the Mayor's "Philly Rising" program has made in quality of life of residents in the area since it was created last spring.

A lot of alley ways have been cleaned up for example, but old bad habits die hard, as a discarded sofa completely closed off another alley along the route.

As Mayor Nutter enters his second term, he is highlighting key priorities including crime reduction, education and addressing poverty.

Point Breeze has been one of the prime target for "Philly Rising", mainly because of the urban troubles, but according to some activists there has been some progress.

"We don't have the druggies standing on the corner in certain areas," said Alice Schlockley.

The sound of gunfire is still a frequent occurrence in Point Breeze with much of the violence increasing the city's murder rate.

The mayor and his entourage only walked a few blocks before they were confronted by the bitter realities of life on the mean streets.

Two parents, who lost young adult sons to homicides by handgun in recent months, stepped up to tell the mayor that those murders remain unsolved.

Roger Whitaker's son was shot 51 times at the corner of 21st and Mifflin on August 3rd.

"It's just wicked," said Whitaker.

Michelle Burton's son what shot to death on November 14th.

"People out here are seeing stuff, but they are afraid to talk," said Burton. "I'm not afraid to talk, because that's my son."

"The reality is that whoever did this, the individual or individuals, are still running the streets," said Mayor Nutter.

The mayor says the battle will go on despite the city's budgetary restraints, and the poverty and joblessness which are by-products of a still fragile national economy.

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