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KENYATTA: It’s Quitting Time for Mayor Jim Kenney

As a lifelong Philadelphia resident, I know being mayor is hard.

In a city as big and diverse as Philadelphia, which is grappling with a gun violence crisis that hasn’t abated, a chronically underfunded school district, a dumping and trash nightmare, and staggering levels of deep poverty underpin it all. These issues make the job even more challenging. You will get no argument from me there.

But at this moment, this city and its 1.6 million residents deserve a mayor who hasn’t given up. We need a mayor who wants to lead and believes in this city’s future–not one counting his days until the clock tolls on his administration.

The worst-kept secret in politics is that Jim Kenney is tired of being mayor. At a recent presser following the shocking July 4th Parkway shooting, he said the quiet part out loud. “…I’ll be happy when I’m not mayor, so I can enjoy stuff.”

As I watched him and heard those remarks, I thought, “Why wait?” Mayor Jim Kenney should resign — now.

The city is reeling from yet another shooting – this time of two police officers, followed by a massive stampede after the shots rang out. The last thing we need is a Ben Simmons attitude in City Hall.

I say this with no personal animosity. I know behind that painted scowl, Jim Kenney is a good man. However, this city needs a real leader now, and we can’t afford to wait until the next election in sixteen months.

Philadelphia has some massive challenges. But to paraphrase a former president: there is nothing wrong with this city that can’t be fixed by what’s right with it.

For every tragic murder, an activist or an organization tries to stop the cycle of violence and help grieving families. For every pile of trash illegally dumped, there are folks like Terry Haigler and block captains hosting clean-ups and demanding change. For every school that must close early because there is no breathable air cool enough and free enough from lead, asbestos, and mold, there is a host of student leaders, parents, and “friends of” civic groups trying to make an impact.

We need a mayor who feels our pain but believes in our possibilities.  Because without that leadership, people are killed, children struggle and families give up on the city and move away.

Philadelphia is the city of big ideas–huge, history-shaping ideas. The experiment in democracy was debated, and our republic was born here at Independence Hall. We are home to our nation’s first hospital, university, zoo, public library, art museum, and volunteer fire company, among other achievements. We need a mayor who reminds us of those facts, who lifts us up with hope and encouragement. We need a mayor that inspires us to unleash our possibilities.

We need a mayor who wants the damn job.

For the sake of our city and our people, Jim Kenney should clock out and let someone who cares finish his term. In 2023, the people of Philadelphia must find the leader we need from a field of candidates that will be as diverse and talented as our city.

Dear Future Mayor — we need you.

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