A Port Richmond Puerto Rican

By Christopher Wink | Feb. 16, 2008

Mike came to me.

The platform at City Hall station doesn’t afford much room to maneuver.

Before I knew his name, I knew he was Puerto Rican and friendly, with a bag of CDs and dirt under fingernails that needed attention by anyone’s standards.

After we formally introduced ourselves, he let me on in a secret.

“I just tell people I’m Puerto Rican, man,” Mike told me in the privacy of a crowded car on the Broad Street Line. “So, I don’t get jumped. I’m as white as you.”

And that laugh. The giggle of the deranged.

Continue reading A Port Richmond Puerto Rican

Dianne Reed: A woman of fiscal mind watches our youth

Interview and article prepared for the Philadelphia Business Journal, as filed yesterday, without edits, to run in next Friday’s edition. In 2003, a Bucks County counselor told Dianne E. Reed something she foundstartling.reed-dianne-e.jpg“She told me, ‘these kids are getting angrier,” Reed said.Five years later and fresh off a three year bid as budget director under former Mayor John F. Street, Reed wants to do something about it.In late January, she became the executive director of the Corporate Alliance for Drug Education, a 21-year-old nonprofit based in Old City that focuses on school-based behavioral prevention initiatives.The group trains and dispatches prevention specialists to work in select schools as ‘import teachers,’ speaking to students, as young as kindergarten, about drug refusal strategies and conflict resolution, among other things.“We’re helping kids accept and develop coping skills,” she said.She is eager to leverage her sizable experience to enact change in Philadelphia. Before her role as budget director, Reed spent almost a decade leading the Pennsylvania Economy League. Before that, she worked in the Philadelphia offices of KPMG for eight years.“I have the big picture,” she said. “I have seen how high levels of government implement prevention methods.”At its peak, CADE had 18 specialists working in schools. Now the group is down to nine. Reed hopes to increase that total again and spread throughout the region.State Representative Dwight Evans (D-Phila) last week secured a $50,000 grant so the organization could place specialists in schools in the neighborhoods of Cobbs Creek and Point Breeze for the remainder of the school year.She wants to more actively pursue corporate activity in CADE.On April 10, CADE is hosting a fundraiser and awards ceremony in conjunction with the Franklin Institute’s Star Wars exhibit. The night will include a reception, silent and live auctions, a buffet and an awards presentation.It’s an event to raise money so Reed and CADE can help the kids.

New Opera makes East Coast debut in Philly


After debuting his first full-length Opera in Detroit, David DiChiera, the father of Michigan Opera scene, has brought “Cyrano” to the Opera Company of Philadelphia until tomorrow.

It is a modern form of “Cyrano de Bergerac,” Edmond Rostand’s famed 19th-century play of unrequited love.

DiChiera, 72, is old enough to begin his Opera-writing career, but he has been trained and involved in the art all his life.

(Photo: David DiChiera, in Philadelphia before Wednesday’s performance of “Cyrano,” the 72-year-old’s first full-length opera. By Jim Graham For The Washington Post, from an article referenced in this post)

First place Keystone Press Award


The winners of the Keystone Press Awards for 2007 were announced recently, both professional, academic and collegiate levels. The prizes are awarded by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

I will be sharing first place in the personality profile category with Tyson McCloud for a feature we wrote for The Temple News on a Temple University alumni who found and lost love in World War II. There are 16 categories in the collegiate level, and nine staff members of The Temple News were recognized in seven different categories. Last year’s award winners.

(Above photograph depicts me with a 2006 Keystone Press Award for a first place standing from news coverage covering a SEPTA strike in 2005. I shared that finish with others.)

Look, another list that criticizes Philadelphia


Well, if there’s anything that media has figured out in this age of failure, it is that lists sell. Particularly lists stacking and ordering cities, something everyone takes pride in, even as people continue to leave them. So it is no surprise that Forbes magazine recently came out with a list ordering cities by a ‘misery’ code.To come to their conclusions Forbes made all sorts of quasi-scientific sounding scales and used all sorts of measures. Yeah.Philadelphia is in the top five, top place went to Detroit.To see the list, complete with the numbers Forbes came up with, check after the jump. Continue reading Look, another list that criticizes Philadelphia

April waits for May

By Christopher Wink | June 15, 2007

She was named after the fourth month. Not for when she was born, but of a time of warmth and beginnings for her parents who thought both had now since died. Interestingly, it was her name’s temporal successor – a month that, among other things, signaled the annual return from school of the boy she loved – that was always her favorite. It is in this way that April was always waiting for May.

She was young and he was everything to her. He was strange and, anyone would say, had no business being everything to anyone, most certainly not to her. Perhaps there is irresponsibility in truth. Of course there is. There is nothing less interested in hurt feelings. But truth hadn’t the power to stop what youth can feel for slightly older youth. So, he remained what she wanted most of all.

Time rode on swift wings.

Continue reading April waits for May

The diary of a mad, black, super delegate

carol-campbell.jpgAmericans. Who the hell knows what a super delegate is? Even if you do, you don’t really. Primary season can be about as labyrinthine as.. well, as every other element to the broken, patchwork voting system that elects leaders in the most powerful country in the world.

Thing is, they could end up being awfully important, if Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continue to run tightly through to this summer’s Democratic Convention – which almost all are concluding they will. See, if the primary season doesn’t choose a presumptive candidate, then the Party’s 796 super delegates decide for them, as was displayed in an interesting report by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Larry Eichel. No surprise, Philadelphia’s representatives in this game are voices of the city’s Democratic machine, notably Carol Ann Campbell, the city party’s secretary, former councilwoman, and resident caricature.

Campbell has said she isn’t saying who she supports yet, as the Inquirer’s Heard in the Halls blog reported. Another noted machine rep who is a super delegate is Ron Donatucci, a Temple University alumus and trustee, the city’s register of wills and has also served as the city commitee’s secretary. The city’s other superdelegates are senior elected officials, like U.S. Reps. Chaka Fattah, Bob Brady and Allyson Schwartz, Sen. Casey and Gov. Rendell. (Photo courtesy of City Paper, from an article that is referenced in this post)

Like someone thought she was. Special: excerpt

She grew up in Kensington Irish Catholic, like so many subjects of stories like this. Too many kids. Too tiny a house, standing side by side with others that fell ill with the same afflictions.

When she was young, she was like a Philly soft pretzel, she told me. Skinny and narrow and twisted and salty. She smiled at that.

She got her braces off 34 days before her 19th birthday. She met a boy 59 days before she graduated from Archbishop Ryan. He would go home with her, the 50 to the 3, 67 days before she chose for him.

This is an excerpt. To read the rest of this piece and other writing of mine, go here.