Kudos to John StreetI am not one to pull punches when I disagree with someone, as should be pretty self-evident for most of our readers. That said, when a politican does something that deserves credit, I try and note that too.
In that vein, I just want to say congratulations to Mayor Street for the 4th of July weekend. First, Live 8 went off without a hitch. (Unless, you, like me, think Rob Thomas, Josh Groban and Keith Urban are big hitches. But that ain't Mayor Street's fault.) The City, and all City workers, did one hell of a job getting the Parkway ready, keeping the peace, and cleaning up when it was done.
And, while I doubt that the City truly broke even on the event, I think it was certainly worth it. First of all, it was simply a big showcase for a City that can use a little publicity to our friends around the Country and around the world. But, more fundamentally, it was worth it because Philly played host to an event, that trying or not, probabaly did more to raise awareness about Africa than anything else this side of Blackhawk Down. Having Will Smith, with an audience of millions, snapping his fingers every three seconds to symbolize a child dying from poverty, is an unmeasurable good, and I am proud that Philly hosted it. Could it have done better? Yeah. Hyde Park, all singing along to U2, and Paul McCartney seemed to "get it" more. But, strictly in terms of the city itself, I am happy with our contribution.
Secondly, a few lines from this article, which was pretty useless, caught my eye:
The gala and concert's goal was $2 million - $1 million guaranteed to John's AIDS foundation, and $1 million to stay locally for AIDS education.So, again, forgetting the party, the parade and fireworks, etc, Mayor Street turned July 4th into one huge benefit for AIDS charities.
Tickets for the ball cost from $500 to $2,500.
About 600 guests ate pasta, poached salmon, turkey breast and grilled vegetables, and drank from an open bar. Singer Rufus Wainwright warmed up for John, who stood with tennis great Billie Jean King and acknowledged Mayor Street, Segal and Fumo. "This is an incredible step for a city to go through," John said. The city in effect turned over its annual July Fourth Parkway festivities to an AIDS benefit.
Cheers, Mr. Mayor.