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Philly City Councilwoman's Double Speak On "Gun Violence"

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It seems the new hotness for staunchly Democratic areas is to consider declaring a state of emergency for gun violence. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did it for the state. Don’t expect it to accomplish much, but it’ll sure make folks in New York City feel better.

In Philadelphia, a lot of people want the mayor to do the same, it seems.

To his credit, Mayor Jim Kennedy seems resistant to the idea. This is less than welcome news for some, though.

Speaking near the site of the recent shooting of a 1-year-old in West Philadelphia, City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier said Thursday that she no longer wanted to debate whether Mayor Jim Kenney should declare a state of emergency over gun violence.

“All this week we’ve been hearing about how the mayor doesn’t want to declare gun violence an emergency. You know what? Fine. Fine. Call it whatever you want,” Gauthier, who first called on Kenney to issue the declaration 10 months ago, said at a news conference at 51st Street and Haverford Avenue. “All I care is that you do more.”

Frustration over the Kenney administration’s response to the crisis has mounted in recent weeks as shootings and homicides continue at a record pace. At Thursday’s event, organized by Gauthier and City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, nine elected officials, some of whom rarely speak combatively about fellow officeholders, took Kenney to task for what they described as a lack of urgency.

“The Kenney administration all but said they think they are doing all that they can,” Rhynhart said. “I can’t accept that. The people of our city cannot accept that.”

This is amusing coming from Gauthier.

While Gauthier is talking about how the mayor needs to do more, it wasn’t that long ago she was part of a movement that many believe directly led to the surge in violent crime in the first place.

That’s right. Gauthier was all about defunding the police.

With Philadelphia politics lurching to the left in recent years, and City Council now more racially diverse than ever before, supporters of the protests that followed George Floyd’s death are hoping the city will follow the lead of Camden and Minneapolis in attempting to disband or defund the police department.

“For some people, it’s a scary conversation, but I want to stress that we need to be bold about how we change and how we restructure policing, and what we replace policing with,” Councilmember Jamie Gauthier said. “I am inspired by Minneapolis, and I hope that our city, too, takes a hold of this moment and can be on the right side of history.”

So she wanted to defund or disband the Philadelphia Police Department, but now she’s upset that the mayor isn’t taking extraordinary steps to address the violent crime, most of which would require the police?

To be fair to Gauthier, she also voted to approve the police budget last year, which some suggested made it clear the police were never getting defunded. But even then, she tried to hedge.

“Institutional racism doesn’t get eradicated by one city budget,” Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, who voted in favor of last year’s budget, told the press in June 2020. “Achieving true racial justice in our city is going to require difficult conversations and intensive policy change.” Both Brooks and Gauthier voted aye on this year’s disappointing budget, with Councilmember Oh the lone dissenter this time.

Again, she’s hitting the right talking points, even if she voted for the department’s budget.

The thing is, Gauthier isn’t alone on this. A lot of people backed defunding the police, then started screaming about so-called gun violence. They don’t get that you can’t enforce laws without the police and if those men and women are hamstrung trying to enforce those laws, it’s just not going to happen like it should.

She contributed to the gun violence on the streets of Philadelphia, yet she’s got the nerve to demand the mayor take an extraordinary step to try and combat it?

I want to be surprised by this, but I can’t. Not in this day and age.

Jan 17, 2022 5:30 PM ET