Today I attended - and presented at - the Planning Commission meeting
about the proposed 1500-foot American Commerce Center building in
Center City. I won't go into the details of the actual arguments that
were made for and against, but I did want to comment on the stark
generation gap that the public meeting brought to light. I was
disheartened to see how little respect was extended between youngsters
and oldsters. Many youngsters painted the oldsters as provincial and
out of touch, and many oldsters responded with hisses and scoffs.

One of the great things about Philadelphia is how flavorful it is. We
are not homogenous in our socio-economics, our ethnic experiences, our
professions, or the number of years we've spent on this earth. And
while that can lead to conflict and misunderstanding and sometimes
even violence, it can also lead to a richer city life as people learn
from and interact with others who are different from them. But if we
feel threatened, or insecure, or mistrustful, it is easy to entrench
in our positions instead of mixing it up a little. Let's hope that
the general hopefulness that our city is in the midst of allows more
people to let go of their hardened stances, listen to others for a
change, and at the very least show some respect.

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