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. Whatever1

    Hmmm... Almost sounds like this city will vote for whomever gives them a handout... I wonder why that is? Weird.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      Generalizing an entire city based on 3 interviews?

      June 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed Sr

      Because it is strictly Obama country..........if you get what I mean...............look at the painted picture in the background..............looks like Black Panther headquarters...........

      June 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      Putting money into education is not a hand-out. At least in the way you are trying to turn it. One of the fundamental functions of the state is for eduction .... not eternal war (defense yes)! Many of the working poor have 80 to 100 hour work weeks.... and even doing that they will not have an opportunity. You do not invest in eduction and people .... you will have a country of violence, poverty, and pain. Basically a place where people will have nothing but hate for anyone wealthier than them.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • cboy

      Some of the best education system spend less per student than the U.S. does AND they are learning calculus in Freshman year of High School (Sweden comes to mind). The more you spend on an education system doesn't mean BETTER education.

      We need to be smarter at how we spend on Education, you can spend tens thousands of dollars into a car, doesn't make it a BMW.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheWiz71

      and @Ed Sr and Ruffnutt too – there is nothing either in the video or in the article where people are making demands for the government to simply come in and do everything while they sit back and just take, which is what you are accusing these people of doing. One of the interviewees actually said that people have to work with government and for themselves too, which surely is a statement any proper conservative (and not one of those weird TEA Party types) ought to be able to agree with. And, increasing funding for education (and improving the education system) especially for minorities and other traditionally marginalized groups just makes sense, even on strictly economic terms, in the long run. So, stop putting words and sentiments into other peoples' mouths and minds.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • ConcernedCitizen

      I have found this to be true again and again. I stop by a local nursing home from time to time and chat with residents, many of whom have told me they are against socialism and programs like socialized medicine. The people I talk to arerecipients of socialized medicine (some are quite poor and the goverment pays everything – others receive only some assistance through medicare) and are benefiting from that part of our mixed economy (being both capitalist and socialist) that is socialist. I am happy to live in a country that has both elements – but I am concerned that so many people say they are against social programs and yet benefit from them. Its not just folks in a nursing homes of course. I have a friends who grew very poor in families that received welfare payments who now successful but no longer see the value of the social programs that helped make them who they are today.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clwyd

      At least they won't be voting for whoever puts a gun in their hand and sends them off to another war that has nothing to do with Freedom!

      June 10, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leroy

      Whare my Obama money at??

      June 10, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leroy

      Whare it at?? My Obama money, mistuh???

      June 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |

    i want my free taxpayer money...

    June 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      Actually most people just want fair treatment and that includes equal opportunity.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick from Minnesota

      We Democrats are at least willing to pay for these programs whereas Republicans claim a 0.1% increase in taxes is tyranny and un-American.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clwyd

      Patrick, No the republicans, under Ryan's "Path to Rui" want to drop the tax rate for the rich from 35% to 25%. In actually the rich pay on average 17% with their loopholes as compared to most of us who pay 27% without a loophole!

      June 10, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe

    They need to do something about the funny smell in the city, and I'm not talking about the cheesesteaks.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed Sr

      What you smell is pomade and chittlin's brotha...............

      June 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      Maybe they can also do something about the collective ignorance of you and Ed here. Its quite possible it only smells when you are there, and you know what they say about foxes and holes.........wait, you probably don't. Knowledge like that passed by you many years ago. But if you dislike Philly that much, dont come to the city ever. And if you do, let me know when you will be here, I would love to have this conversation in person.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shamrock6

      Uh oh...watch out. Internet tough guy. Where do you want to meet in Philly boy? Huh? Huh? Dass what I thought – sucka.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      Im at about 9th and Sansom right now. So you tell me.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shamrock6

      I'm at 11th and Walnut punk. What do you think about that?

      June 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Ed Sr, Shamrock6, Ian – get a life! And Foursquares for checkins!

      June 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. betterdays

    January 20, 2009: A new day in America! Oops, looks a lot like the old one, except worse.

    Right on.

    That's ok, I still love Phila. They sure know how to vote themselves into a hole, though.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • First Sergeant

      You just lost credibility.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. knowledge2power

    It's funny how people who post comments on these stories always talk about their tax dollars, and this and that, when they have no clue where those few tax dollars are going and are taking advantage of the many social programs they claim to be so much against. Hypocrisy is an unchained characteristic of the ill informed.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      When did eduction become a so called "social program" ... new speak has hit CNN again. I think education is a fundamental function of government.......... I pay taxes to better everyone which indeed..................includes me.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Proud Wollverine

    Those who do not pay any federal taxes should not be allowed to vote – they have no skins in the game.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      Oh yes ... pay the overall tax rate of 40 % on wages that in my city buys you a park bench!

      June 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick from Minnesota

      Like the CEOs of 2/3 of Americas corporations? That would be great! Then we could finally get those bought politicians out of Washington!

      June 10, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • drqns

      We all pay taxes....Just because one may get a refund in April does NOT mean that person doesn't pay taxes.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      But that would exclude corporations! No way!

      June 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DJ

    The slogan and pictures in the backgroud look errily.....Russian/revolutionary.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Hey is that you Sarah?

      June 10, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. iwatchu

    based on the state they/'we' are in....they need to pull a George Costanza....what ever their instinct tells them to do, or whatever it is they 'think' they should do.

    Do/vote the EXACT opposite.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sam99999

    I don't think it's any mystery who inner city Philly will vote for, no matter how bad things may be at the time.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Charlie

    I want to applaud Ms. Baylis on her initiative and encourage her to pursue her dreams to fruition. We need more people like her.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leroy

      Mistuh, whare my obama money at??

      June 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. knowledge2power

    It doesn't matter who the president is or who holds a congressional seat. Whoever controls the money controls the country. We turned over the rights to the United States to the banks a long time ago. You can thank Woodrow Wilson and Nelson Aldridge for that for that piece of crap act we call the Federal Reserve Act. The bankers and foreign investors who own the Fed continue to get rich while our stupid government continues to try and shore up the walls of our economy.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Amen brother! The only post on the entire freakin site that makes sense!

      June 10, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TheWiz71

    Shut it, racist.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ed Sr

    Sit yo' b....a...in yo' Caddylac and boogie outta town

    June 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ed Sr

    Want to cause a recession in Philadelphia..............easy............tie a watermelon to your back bumper and just drive around town.............recession is guaranteed............

    June 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tre Jankie

      Die a slow, painful death you racist piece of trash.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shamrock6

      Yeah man...you bein' all ray-siss.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      that doesnt even make any sense you idiot. How does that cause recession? Oh, you dont know what that means do you? Im sorry, I usually dont make fun on slow people.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed Sr is dumb

      Dumbest comment of the day

      June 10, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uruk-hai

      tee hee

      June 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JROK in Philly

    This article and video dont mean anything. These people in the video sound like they are just repeating whatever they heard on TV. They have no idea what is needed.


    June 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
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