The New Year is finally here. What is Philadelphia looking forward to? Read on to learn what some local leaders hope for the new year, remember from the last year, and muse on as possibilities for the city's future.
Q&A with Otis Bullock, executive director of Diversified Community Services in Point Breeze
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What is your greatest wish for 2018?
My greatest wish for 2018 is for every child to be properly educated and prepared to thrive as an adult, regardless of their zip code.
What do you hope will happen in 2018?
I hope to see the city of Philadelphia renew its commitment to comprehensively reducing the city’s poverty rate and reducing the homelessness epidemic in the city.
What are you planning to accomplish in 2018?
I hope to expand my own impact on reducing generational poverty and developing the next generation of leaders in the Philadelphia region.
Do you have any thoughts on 2017 and how it went?
2017 was full of ups and downs for our great city. We watched Mayor Kenney take bold steps to provide quality pre-K for more than 2,000 low-income children and take back local control of the Philadelphia School District. However, we also saw the murder rate rise about 22%. I would like to see a comprehensive plan to give our most vulnerable citizens hope for a better future.
What would you tell others moving into the new year?
Build upon your past successes, learn from your past failures, and use both to grow into a better person than you were before.
Other leaders' New Years' wishes:
SEPTA general manager Jeffrey Knueppel:
"Lots of new buses and locomotives under my Christmas tree will make 2018 better for our customers!"
Mayor Jim Kenney:
"I wish that we acknowledge that we are a diverse nation again, and not one that is run solely by rich, white men."
Departing City Controller Alan Butkovitz:
"My thought of 2017 is, to paraphrase Dierks Bentley, 'They knew what they were feeling, but what were they thinking?'"
New officials take office
Incoming Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner and controller Rebecca Rhynhart, along with recently elected judges, will be officially sworn in to office at an inauguration ceremony to be held at the Kimmel Center at 10 a.m. on Jan. 2.
Notable stats from 2017
-The ongoing opioid epidemic was responsible for a quarter more deaths in 2017 than in 2016: some 1,250 overdoses, at least 85 percent from opioids, with 70 of those occurring within the last 30 days.
-Philly saw the most homicides since 2012, the year the city first reached historic lows: at least 314 murders were reported in 2017 as of press-time. There were 329 in 2012.