Thursday afternoon, the Centre City Development Corp. sent out a press release to remind the public that it was going to be seeking input on how it should go about selecting a successor to former President Nancy Graham, whose changing story about her relationship with a couple of downtown developers has thrown into question a bevy of plans for the future of the city’s urban core.

It reminded me that a reader had forwarded me an e-mail Jennifer LeSar, a member of CCDC’s board, had sent to friends of the agency. LeSar is in charge of the effort to replace Graham. In her message, she reminded her associates that there were a couple of public hearings in coming days.

And she had a few suggestions about how she’d like things to go.

This snippet, in particular, made me chuckle:

Having your general concurrence that we have been trending in the right direction, and that may (sic) of Nancy’s traits (excluding failure to disclose conflicts) continue to be valued would be useful.

Yes, let’s exclude those traits shall we? LeSar’s saying, in other words, CCDC was “trending” well, and they need someone like Graham, only who doesn’t have trouble with that whole telling-the-truth thing, to keep that trending going.

LeSar is tired of the other trend emerging.

We need some balance to the nay sayers that think CCDC should be shut down and that the board members are all corrupt!

One thing about the naysayers who want to shut down CCDC: They didn’t like the direction in which the agency was “trending” before. Hard to see how finding the same type of leader as Graham (minus, well, you know) will “balance” that.

CCDC leaders, if they want to save the agency, need to dramatically recast it. To pretend that the criticisms only stem from the scandal is short-sighted. The scandal may have brought the criticism of the agency to a tipping point. But it was growing. Downtown’s condo towers are built. What it lacks are schools, fire stations, parks and infrastructure — aside from Little Italy, it lacks community. If CCDC wants to survive it will have to recast its effort as one solely focused on those issues. But then, naysayers will rightly wonder why you need a separate agency to do that at all.

And they’ll have a good point.

I called LeSar to get some perspective and haven’t yet heard back.


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