Top 5 Live-WURD Tuesday July 28
1. Farewells to Bobbi Kristina Brown flood social media
Bobbi Christina Brown, the only child of the late Whitney Houston and ex-husband Bobby Brown, died Sunday at the age of 22.
Her death came nearly six months after she was found unresponsive and not breathing in the bathtub at her Roswell, Georgia, home on January 31. That incident occurred nearly three years to the day after her mother accidentally drowned in a bathtub in Beverly Hills.
Many of the online tributes linked her passing with that of her mother and focused on the pair being reunited in death.
There was an outpouring of sympathy for legendary singer Cissy Houston, who has now lost her daughter and granddaughter.
Fans also expressed concern for singer Bobby Brown, who had been steadfast in his hope that his daughter would recover.
2. Millions in NTI funds remain unspent
Fourteen years after then-Mayor John F. Street launched his signature effort to eliminate blight in Philadelphia, the city has yet to spend the last of the funds set aside for the legacy project.
About $38 million remains of the $296 million that was raised in 2001 through a bond sale. The money was intended to fund Street’s ambitious Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI).
Following then-Mayor Ed Rendell’s focus on sprucing up Center City and the Avenue of the Arts, Street wanted to have a lasting impact in the city’s neighborhoods, especially the blighted ones, by demolishing thousands of vacant buildings and acquiring properties for redevelopment.
The remaining NTI funds must be spent by March, according to the city’s outside counsel. That the Nutter administration is coming to an end in January only adds to the sense of urgency to successfully close out the program. Some of the NTI funds are being aimed at finishing projects started under Nutter’s watch. For instance, $638,000 is being used to remake City Hall’s north apron. And $1 million more is dedicated to refurbishing the Divine Lorraine Hotel.
3. Obama dives into GOP primary fight, slams Trump, Huckabee
At a joint press conference with Ethiopia’s prime minister, President Barack Obama was asked about comments made by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who accused the U.S. President of marching Israelis “to the door of the oven” with his nuclear deal with Iran.
“The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are I think part of just a general pattern that we’ve seen that is, would be, considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad,” Obama said.
Obama even mentioned Donald Trump, who has continued leading most presidential polls despite comments deriding Sen. John McCain’s war record.
“When you get rhetoric like this, maybe it gets attention and maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines,” Obama said of the comments. “But it’s not the kind of leadership that is needed for America right now.”
4. Acquitted narcotics cops sue city’s top brass for defamation
After winning back their freedom and their jobs, five former members of an elite Philadelphia narcotics squad – acquitted earlier this year on federal corruption charges – have sued the district attorney, the mayor and the city’s police commissioner.
The three city leaders unfairly maligned the officers leading to their firings and arrests, Officers Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts and John Speiser alleged in a defamation complaint filed in federal court.
By deciding in 2012 that his office would no longer accept cases stemming from their squad’s investigations, DA Seth Williams “started a gigantic, destructive avalanche of severe and permanent wrongs,” their lawyer Christopher Mannix wrote.
Representatives for the mayor, DA and police commissioner declined to comment Monday, but in response to an earlier version of the suit, lawyers for Williams described the officers’ claims as “baseless.”
In his complaint last week, Mannix described his clients as members of “the most accomplished and effective narcotics unit in the history of the Philadelphia Police Department.”
5. In Philadelphia, doing hard – and hot – time
City officials making a case for replacing the aging House of Correction list a litany of concerns: no sprinklers, no automatic locks, an archaic layout that creates security concerns. There is also the lack of air-conditioning.
It’s an issue increasingly worrying inmate advocates nationally, who say high temperatures can be life-threatening to a prison population that is aging and often on medications that raise sensitivity to heat.
“Everybody knows if you leave a child in a car on a hot day, there’s a serious risk of injury or death,” said David Fathi, director of the National Prison Project for the American Civil Liberties Union. “The same is true if you leave a person in a hot cell on a hot day.”
Of the six facilities that make up the city’s Northeast Philadelphia prison complex, two – the House of Correction and all but one wing at the Detention Center – lack central air.
The House of Correction, which re-opened in 1927, has been in the spotlight since the spring, when a city plan to buy land for a replacement stalled due to opposition on City Council.
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon