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. stoney

    Hey Bazz, please tell me what kind of work you are in. You fail to mention that in your post.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. The Last Federalist

    What about the part where Obama and much of the Democratic party are socialists? What about when Obama stated in his address to Egypt that the U.S. is a muslim nation? What about the part where Nancy and Hilary have outwardly stated that U.S. citizens can't take care of themselves and that is why they are needed in a position of power? What about the plans the Democratic party has in place to disarm the populace, imposing more gun control laws?

    I would not trade in the few improvements he made over the moral dubiousness he and the other democrats represent. Social medicine? it's a joke. It works in a nation like Canada who has waaay less of a population, but in a nation such as ares it stretches the already overbloated government spending taking more and more money from the population through over taxation. Yes some people made more money, but now the middle class is being edged out of existance by higher taxation on everything. Really? Sin tax on tanning salons? We are trying to get money from places never considered instead of stopping our debt by BALANCING A BUDGET! I remember learning these concepts in middle school and high school, and I do it today and look! I have no debt!!!!! Wow!

    Do I think repbulicans are the answer? Not necessarily. It is time for a new political party. I vote Federalist.

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

      seems you already voted crack

      June 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dR00

    @ Tony Amen.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Peter

    Who cares what one of the nations largest groups of Welfare receivers thinks about anything. Philli has become a slum because of them.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Leroy

    Whare my Obama money at?

    June 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dan

    Many of you talk about how you are receiving more benefits and higher income and tax returns under Obama than you ever have before. THAT IS THE REASON OUR ECONOMY IS FAILING. Democrats want to give, give, give without making cuts. People deserve economic prosperity, but not at the cost of a failed economy. Social Security will soon disappear if ObamaCare is not repealed. We simply cannot afford all the handouts that Democrats feel so good doling out. Don't worry though, until the number of educated voters surpass the number of idiots that vote for Democrats, Democrats will continue to be re-elected and our economy will eventually fail. STOP LIVING BEYOND YOUR MEANS, OBAMA!

    June 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Leroy

    I say, whare my Obama money at??

    June 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uruk-hai

      Yeah, why i gotta pay my rent, yo?

      June 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • changomango

      Why the heck would any "news" organization go into a crime infested, disease ridden, uneducated, corrupt, ignorant, cesspool city like Philly and their flunky population anything? Most Philly citizens are so misinformed that they can't even speak English correctly.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Leroy

    Whare ma Obama money at???

    June 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Leroy

    Whare it at?? Ma Obama money??

    June 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sickofthis

    Middle class America whether White/Black/Hispanic/other various nationalities are suffering from economics that are outside of our control. Middle class citizens run a country by their spending power! If middle class suffers so do the CEO's, eventually.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. the_dude

    yo obama where be my free money be at??? you promises you was gunna pay ma note.

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

      You must be a redneck, because your imterpretation of the way black people talk is way-off.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. pitdownman

    The are new and different ideas out there but the media and the people in power ignore. Like the Universal Annuity System.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. randel

    CNN is full of sheet people who always try to make something out of miniority. The whole dirty thing is the slave owners. Get information from them let us know waht they say and think. CNN is generally stinks(full of racist like Blitzer, stainhaouse, schwartz, etc....)

    June 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TheWiz71

    Oh, and hey, Shamrock6 – you only got anywhere because you have the "luck of the Irish" (that is, Irish can only achieve anything because they get lucky – that's where the term came from). So, be careful not to get picked up by a Paddy wagon (you know they named it that because the police were joking that all they ever have time and space to pick up are drunk Irishmen). There, how's that feel for size?

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

      Yo! whare my obama money at??

      June 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • NRPJIM

      From another Irish guy...You know what you can kiss.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheWiz71

      @NRP JIM – my point is not to offend. My point is to demonstrate to the racist Shamrock6 that your own people have been the targets of racism. So, instead of spewing hate we should be standing up against it. It was also a pretty weak (admittedly) attempt at drilling some empathy into that bigoted skull of his.

      June 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. palintwit

    Sarah Palin is a filthy, stinking, steaming pile of trailer trash.

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