June 10th, 2011
11:02 AM ET

Philadelphia residents speak out on politics, budget cuts, jobs

Editor's note: As part of its Listening Tour, CNN is reaching out to voters to hear what's on their mind as the 2012 presidential campaign season kicks off. GOP hopefuls begin to ramp up the race Monday, when they debate the issues in New Hampshire. It all happens June 13 on CNN, CNN.com/Live and our mobile apps.

Philadelphia is the nation's fifth-largest city, and just like most other places in the United States, it's struggling with budget cuts, layoffs and crime.

As the 2012 election nears, Philly residents say their top concerns include political nepotism, joblessness and a struggling public education system:

"With government, it's like you keep moving up, and you stay and you stay with your old ideas that don't make sense, and they don't work," said Ainé Ardron-Doley, 34, a Philadelphia marketing manager.

iReport: What's the top issue on your mind?

Through their grass-roots revitalization efforts, Ainé and her sister Emaleigh persuaded Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter to move up the demolition of dilapidated houses in their neighborhood that have been abandoned for nearly 20 years.

"It's the politician's job to work for us, but it's also the citizens' job to work for ourselves and with government," said Emaleigh, 27, a public relations and marketing manager.

Philadelphia resident Leroi Simmons, an associate pastor at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, wants elected officials to make good on their campaign promises and work diligently to assist the working poor.

"What would satisfy me would be folks who are who they say they are," he says. "We have a lot of folks who are poor folks, who really need help, who really could use the political strength that we worked hard 20 or 30 years ago to build."

Ebony Baylis, 21, is flexing her grass-roots muscle as a member of Youth United for Change, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of public education.

"Instead of cutting education and putting money into the police force and to military, they need to take the money from there and put in into out schools," she said. "Knowledge is power. We need knowledge. And without it, what are we gonna do?"

soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. hundredthhummingbird

    This thread is a perfect example of the basic problem in America. We all fight among ourselves, while the rich are squirrling away the money. European countries all get together and effect change and subsequently have a much higher standard of living than we do. We are in the dark ages. The rich are not hijacking us, we are giving it to them.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • AbsurdVanity

      You typed the words right off my keyboard. You puppets continuing to fight amongst yourselves are being robbed. Then you wonder why the rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poorer...

      June 10, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • kid

      Europa as a lower of living, better check your facts Bucky

      June 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AbsurdVanity

    My goodness... after reading these comments I see why most people believe Americans are idiots. You guys are really racist, ignorant and egregious.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hundredthhummingbird

    Reaganomics has come full circle. Support your local rich guy. Wait for the trickle down. Be sure to have patience.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. happy2Bnappy

    Re-elect Obma and he will fix everything. He got Bin ladden right so give the brother another term and you will more jobs and everybody will be happy.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. happy2Bnappy

    The right wing will bring the country down with all the hate and tea party movement. Please re elect Obama he is doing a great job. The private sector will have to spend eventually to grow and they will have to hire people.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sunny

    It all started when Clinton and Bush signed the DEFICIT trade agreements.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Otto

    The ignorance of a few makes the reminder look just as foolish. Take Leroy for instance, his stupidity seems to be inbred into his ignorant mind. If anyone thought because Obama is a half black Mutt; he would be giving away money to anyone, they would be very foolish. I being a Mutt also would not give a penney to anyone who does not qualify or work for it. Get real! Mutts are not stupid.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Philly has a 40% high school graduation rate and only 10% will go on to graduate a 4 or 2 year college.
      Ignorant is Philly middle name...well along with Murder.
      Killadelphia...These ignorant children are the products of the Arlene Ackerman school system...

      June 13, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MM

    OK, knowledge = power
    And power = work / time
    So knowledge = work / time
    And everybody knows that time is money
    So, knowledge = work / $
    Solving for $ we get $ = work / knowledge.
    Therefore, all knowledge and no work is worthless, zero, na-da.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. clarkshark

    The problem is that we think in duality. Right, Wrong. Left, Right. Democrat, Republican. Winner, Loser. The fact is that both parties are the SAME. They are the mega-rich getting richer. They divided our support through "important" social issues. If the Democrats are Pro_______ , then I'm voting Republican. If the Republicans are Anti_________, then I'm voting Democrat. We are too caught up in a two party system to even think that there is another choice. Sometimes I think were scared to vote for a third party candidate because we think that we are just throwing away our vote. We don't like to lose. The special interest groups out there are too rich to keep your candidate from making the right choice. Do yourself a favor, don't listen to what the candidates say, but instead see how they voted in their previous positions.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob

    Philadelphia is sooooo crooked the leaders can shake your hand through a maze. Any integrity in Philly politics died with Thatcher Longstreth.

    June 10, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bob

    When a mayor's nickname is "Fast Eddie" (Rendell) and another mayor says that pay-to-play is just how it is in Philly (John Street) and the current mayor was tutored by both of them, what kind of change can you expect? The IBEW picks up the phone, it gets what it wants. Other citizens, not so much. Everyone who tries to change anything in Philly for the better runs into the Democratic/ Union machine politics brick wall.

    June 10, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Don't forget Mayor street also stated that the brother's and sister's run this city...but I still don't know if he was talking about people of African descent or his actual brother's and sister's and friends...who did run the parts of the city Street gave them...

      June 13, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dan

    The majority of Philadelphia is a welfare city. People have more kids to get more money...more kid's that they don't care about and get ignored at home. They also get ignored by a failing school system. They leave school and try to find a job, but businesses will not come to Philadelphia because of taxes and unions. That's why we will be back on top as the murder capital of the US.

    June 13, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
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