Skip to comments.(Philadelphia Mayor) Street condemns official's remarks (anti-Semite)
Posted on 06/05/2003 6:26:57 AM PDT by End Times Sentinel
Mayor Street yesterday condemned a city official who complained that too many developers competing for city projects were Jewish, saying the remarks violated the mayor's standard of "respect and acceptance for all people."
Hanford Jones will keep his job as coordinator with the Minority Business Enterprise Council - he is protected by civil-service rules - albeit with tight restrictions on his duties, administration officials said.
"The administration stands for inclusion, not exclusion," Street said in a statement. "I want to make it unequivocally clear that I will not tolerate actions or statements that undermine our values of equality, respect and fairness."
Jones also issued his first public apology to city employees who attended the April 17 staff meeting where he made remarks about "Jewish architects and Jewish lawyers" that many listeners considered anti-Semitic. He has been reprimanded by the head of his department.
The controversy entered the mayor's campaign for reelection as Republican challenger Sam Katz went on talk-radio to say that Jones should be fired. City Council members also weighed in on the matter.
"My comments were not intended to offend any group," wrote Jones, a city employee since 1989 who makes $64,650 a year. "I want to ensure everyone that I am not a racist nor anti-Semitic."
In a brief, separate interview, Jones said that he did not believe he had uttered a slur in the meeting and that he was frustrated he did not get a chance to explain himself.
"How come I didn't get a right to be heard?" Jones said. He said he was the victim of a "kangaroo court."
"When they get a Hitler person, those Simon Wiesenthal people make sure [the accused Nazi war criminals] at least get a chance to talk to a lawyer," Jones said.
Furthermore, Jones said, the comments made in April referred to a development project on Cecil B. Moore Avenue that did not have any minority architects on board.
At the meeting in April, Jones was giving a presentation to workers from several city departments about boosting minority business opportunities, according to several people present.
Jones began attacking the city Commerce Department for not doing enough to get minority firms involved in development projects in Philadelphia, according to one person familiar with the meeting. He mentioned the Penn's Landing project and several others, including a private project in West Philadelphia, participants said.
Jones said that all of the "developer teams" were dominated by "Jewish architects and Jewish lawyers," according to notes taken by an attendee. Another source remembered a slightly different remark, quoting Jones as saying "all these teams are Jews - Jew lawyers and Jew architects."
Councilman David Cohen, who is Jewish, said the comment was "a classic case of anti-Semitism" regardless of the exact phrasing. He said he was concerned that it took nearly two months for the story to come out.
"Did anybody report it? Did anybody think it was wrong? Are they all complicit in their thinking? I can't accept that notion," Cohen said. "How can anybody trust the government that tolerates this kind of action?"
City Commerce Director James Cuorato, who was not at the April meeting but whose office hosted it, said he was deluged immediately with complaints after the meeting.
"Within a half hour, I started getting e-mails, and people were lined up outside my door to express outrage and demand an apology," Cuorato said yesterday. He referred the matter to Finance Director Janice Davis, who oversees the minority-business office.
Davis said she brought Jones in for a disciplinary talk, placed a formal reprimand in his personnel file, and wrote an April 25 note to meeting participants apologizing on Jones' behalf.
"He left my office in tears that day and stayed away from work for some time after," Davis said. "I said, 'You're the flag-waver for diversity - how could you?' " The remarks were motivated more by "stupidity" than "maliciousness," she said.
Davis said Jones was not fired because he had nothing negative in his personnel file before this incident in nearly 15 years on the job - and he also had good employee evaluations. She also said it would be difficult to make such a firing stick under civil-service protections.
Jones, whose job is to recruit minority companies and help them with project bids, can no longer represent the business council at meetings and must clear his actions with his direct supervisor, Davis said.
Both Jones and Councilman Angel L. Ortiz have intense passion in pushing for minority contracts. Ortiz said Jones' comments, however, weren't the way to accomplish their shared goal.
"When you begin using an ethnicity in a way that is phrased in the newspaper, it sounds very ugly," said Ortiz, who is Hispanic. "I do not believe that Jews are the individuals keeping minorities out of positions and contracts in this city. If anything, the Jewish community has historically been the ally of blacks and Latinos in their struggle for civil rights in this country."
Councilman Darrell L. Clarke, a close Street ally, said Jones should have the opportunity to explain himself.
"If he made any ethnic slurs at any race, I think it's inappropriate and should be dealt with in a manner in which his supervisor sees fit," Clarke said. "I've worked with Hanford over a number of years in his capacity and never heard him use anything remotely close to an ethnic slur."
Guns Before Butter.
And by "all people", Street really means black liberals.
Yikes!! This guy has to go.
BTW, I recently saw an excellent movie, "The Pianist," which is based on a true story detailing how the Nazis threw the Jews out of their homes, their business, put them in a walled ghetto, and then sent them to death camps. It was riveting, and this moron should be forced to see it.
"Mayor Street yesterday condemned a city official who complained that too many developers competing for city projects were black, saying the remarks violated the mayor's standard of "respect and acceptance for all people." Chuck Jones will keep his job as coordinator with the Jewish Business Enterprise Council - he is protected by civil-service rules - albeit with tight restrictions on his duties, administration officials said. "The administration stands for inclusion, not exclusion," Street said in a statement. "I want to make it unequivocally clear that I will not tolerate actions or statements that undermine our values of equality, respect and fairness, unless they involve Jew landlords..." Continues...
What double standard?
Guns Before Butter.
LOL. That what's it is going to come down to -- Bloomsberg vs. Dinkins.
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