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. TheWiz71

    I see the Klan has shown up in the commentators Ed Sr and Shamrock6. Please take your hatred and bigotry someplace else. It would be nice to have a somewhat grown-up and civil conversation on a comments board for once.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick from Minnesota

      And they accuse us of being lazy and unproductive...

      June 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shamrock6


      June 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Proud Wollverine

      @ Patrick – I noticed you weren't arguing .....

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

      Hey mistuh, whare my Obama money at???

      June 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ed

    I live in Phila. and I am an elder at Greater Church Of Phila. I have devoted my life to helping those in the grips of addction. I have not known the waste of goverment money till I stepped into this ministry. we need to crack down on those getting over on the system. I see mollions of dollars being wasted on what does not work. I do agree with drug testing welfare and SSI. The money that could be save and if these people whom I have a heart for did not get rewarded welfare for having a drug habit they would think twice about there continue use. STOP THE WASTE. Invest in our future.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tre Jankie

      So, you are in favor of drug testing crrporations and farmers who receive tax payer funded subsidies?

      June 10, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed Sr

      All of the churches have turned into banks hiding behind the cloak of Jesus...........have them foot the bill............

      June 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheWiz71

      @Ed Sr – I assume the "Sr" stands for "senior", must be old to have views like you. I suspect you and Shamrock6 are just a couple of trolls anyway, so I should stop feeding you. But, "banks hiding behind the cloak of Jesus", what does that even mean? BTW, society as a whole is only brought down economically by leaving people to sink or swim entirely on their own. And, once again BTW, I heard nothing but plain good American values being expressed in the video and in the article (politicians putting the people they represent first, the people taking responsibility for themselves, reforming the workings of government with an eye toward efficiency) – stuff that real conservatives can speak to and get behind. But, you and Shamrock6 were too busy getting your hate on as soon as you saw dark skin on your screen. As I tell children (and the most negative sense of the term would seem to apply to you despite the "Sr") "use your listening ears next time". Oh wait, racists don't know how to do that.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ian

    Jesus Ed, if you are going to try to be funny and racist, at least get with the new slang. You sould like a freaking idiot...........which is of course what you are.

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

      Whare ma Obama money at??

      June 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uruk-hai

      Thhabba dat, dub Ibban. Don'ba be mabben fun uh meba.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tre Jankie

    You are a racist piece of trash.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leroy

      Yo! whare my obama money at?

      June 10, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NotFunny

    Racist!...... Shamrock you have slang in your country too.

    Bye Mate!!!!!!

    June 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. George

    How about this – Kick the loser obama out! How has he made life better for any single person in this country???? He has done nothing but ruin the USA. Are you all in better shape now than 2+ years ago?? I bet not, how bad does it have to get in order for his supporters to realize he is a total loser!

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

      Since Obama's been president my income has doubled...if your complaining, your not doing enough for yourself.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      I've gotten a job paying 15% more during Obama's tenure. Also, I cannot be turned down for insurance because of my pre-existing condition. Also, my son will be able to get a better deal on his student loan under Obama. He has also cut taxes. George, you should try reading the news.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • glyder

      it doesn't matter what he does.he could kill thier babies and eat them in front of them.obama was a media creation from the start.the sheep will follow off the edge of the cliff.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      My income has increased, my tax returns have been the highest I've ever received, and the solar panels I purchased at an extremely low cost due to rebates and tax credits are producing 60% of my household consumption, my 16 y/o daughter is now able to stay on my insurance 'til she's 26. Yeah, I'd say I'm doing a HELLUVA lot better than under the previous administration.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Obama....Nobama...You people are lost, hopeless. BOTH PARTIES fck you daily. Bank cartel (IMF) owns CONgress, White House, the Fed and the Treasury. They even own your tiny pea brains. I know. Stay in the matrix. Left, right, left, right, left...

      June 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Blaming the President for what is occurring now is like giving credit to Bush for what Clinton did to the blue dress. 8 years in office and all he did was get us in two wars, expanded our national debt and create the largest govermental department in our history.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kindasorta

      @ glyder, BAAAAA off the cliff and into the cool waters of a job! Thanks Mr. President. last fall I got a job.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • hundredthhummingbird

      It's over. The new world order is in place. We are now living under a plutocracy, run by an oligarchy of the rich. It is called fascism.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      You. Are. A. Dunce. I like how you said he "ruined" everything but i would wager you have no freaking clue what you are talking about. Name something that was perfect before, and Obama "ruined" it. What a cop out. get some new material, GEORGE.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • dR00

      @Bazz...your income has doubled and so has the debt and so your dollar worth less...you're not thinking enough.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • hundredthhummingbird

      Like that great statesman and philosopher Rodney King once said, ' can't we all just get along? '

      June 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam49

      Regardless of the political party of our president, it is childish to blame our president for our financial situation. It is just like blaming your parents, teachers etc etc for not accomplishing your goals and dreams, and even spending like there is no tomorrow and then complaining about your debts. Furthermore, people from all over the world, who barely speak our language, come to our universities to study, not party, and become doctors, engineers, etc in their countries. If they can do it, we as citizens should do even better.This is not China, your future is in your hands.

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

      I will say and I dare say this country is in much better shape than it was two years. It was going down the cesspool hole so fast, that must Americans, even Goldmine Sacks would be out of business today. Unless you are one of those Red Necks who blame the hardship and very slow recovery on one person. Sine you are "it" you have a pickup truck and can buy and sell at flee markets, that should get you a few bucks (not deer).

      June 10, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. LALAW

    Yep, leave it to clowns like Ed Sr. and Shamrockhead to make their ignorant comments from the safety of their computers as opposed to making their true feelings known in the face of those they try to insult. Cowards!!!

    June 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. LALAW

    Hey Shamrock, what part of the city are you in, if you are in Philly? Be a man and meet me so we can have this discussion face-to-face. You can even bring your b-yatch Ed with you and it will not be a problem. Of course, you will reply with more ignorant, cave-dweller drool as opposed to saying anything that makes sense. Bring your laptops with you so I can show you where they belong!

    June 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shamrock6

      No problem punk. I'm from Kensington.....dass right. I'm a Kenzo. You don't want none of this.

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

      Another foursquare fan boy? Wanna check in?

      June 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • LALAW

      Puhleeze guy! I've dealt with the likes of your kind before. Dangle a packet of heroin in your face and you'll be on your knees for me in nothing flat! Figures you would be from Kensington, and you should not try to represent for the rest of your poor white trash brethren.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ByTheWayImWhite

    some of you "people" are so ignorant. you think that obama is completely to blame for our current problems. As though him being elected was some lightswitch that was flipped and suddenly everything went to heII.... maybe we should recognize that some of the rich, white men before him set him and every future president up for failure. but. no. that would make too much SENSE. White people suck just as much as black people.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheWiz71

      To echo your point – every POTUS from Gerald Ford onwards can be blamed for the current economic situation BUT the current one. Yes, even Carter and Clinton. Sorry, but blaming Obama for this economy is like blaming the janitor for the mess he's called in to clean up in the frat house, after the rich kids have left the building.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      True, but only to a degree.

      + Still in two wars and going for a third.
      + No bankers in jail.
      + Guantanamo is still open.
      + Immigration reform? lol

      So where's the change?

      June 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |

    Love it!!!! More of this needs to be done and sent to Washington.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. LALAW

    That makes it easy, tough guy! Now all I have to do is look for the guy covered in track marks and missing all of his teeth.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    I'm afraid Ebony sounds a bit foolish, talking about cutting police funding when you're in a city with as much crime as Philadelphia is foolish indeed. Additionally, you could give that money to the schools, but without police to try to control the most extreme violence in the schools, you could do little to teach anyone in the public schools.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dave From Philly

    The biggest issue facing the City is DROP. It is the retirement package that city employees get when the retire. Our elected officials found a loop-hole and many have/had enrolled in DROP. This pass week they decided to continue the program against the wishes of the city's residences. Worst thing about DROP is some have retired received their DROP payments and then went back to work in the same job the next day.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sickofthis

    Sick all the fighting. What the f%%K

    June 10, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • L

      So am I!!! so stressful.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ken

    From what I can see from the posts on here this election is about race. Obama was left with Bushes destruction and four years is not nearly enough to undo the damage.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • sickofthis

      Actually, for me, race is not a factor. Middle class America whether White/Black/Hispanic or other various nationalities are suffering from economics that are outside of our control. Controlled by the bureaucrats of the wealthy in power, whether corporations or government! Blame who you want, but middle class citizens run a country by their spending power! If middle class suffers so do the corporations and bureaucrats that are making large amounts of money and decisions ( lol ) all for the good of the American family and stock options! CEO’s need to learn that America and any other nation wanting to grow their economy, and business, are dependent on the citizens with the economics and available money to buy their products.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
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