DA candidate criticizes efforts to remove Rizzo statue

Republican DA candidate Beth Grossman called efforts to remove the statue a “political sideshow.”

Statue controversy: Beth Grossman criticized City Councilwoman Helen Gym for starting a campaign to remove the Frank Rizzo statue. PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA

Beth Grossman, the Republican candidate for district attorney, criticized City Councilwoman Helen Gym for a tweet that started a campaign to remove the statue of former Philadelphia Mayor and Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo from the steps of the Municipal Services Building.

Grossman, a former assistant district attorney and chief of staff for the city Department of Licenses and Inspections, faces Democrat Larry Krasner.

“As a woman who has spent over two decades as a Philadelphia public servant, I feel compelled to voice my displeasure at Councilwoman Gym for fueling a political sideshow when she should be dedicating her time to addressing the life-and-death issues facing our city. While she may have you believe that tearing the Rizzo statue is the most important issue affecting the city now, it is not. This serves as a disturbing example of political opportunism in lieu of real leadership that Philadelphians deserve,” she said.

Grossman said the city should be more worried about the rising murder rate, convenience store robberies, political corruption and deaths from opioid abuse.

“Yet, with all this serious work to do, Helen Gym is using her salary, staff and municipal resources on her crusade to remove the statue of a former mayor whose term ended 37 years ago. More disturbingly, Gym is joined by my opponent, whom she has repeatedly endorsed, who continues to campaign for the position of Philadelphia’s chief law enforcement officer on the back of social movements that would best be served by his running for a legislative office. Philadelphia deserves politicians who don’t seek political capital by going after the legacy of predecessors,” she said.

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The Green Party of Philadelphia is calling for the removal of the Rizzo statue.

The local Green Party saluted the Philadelphia Coalition for Racial Economic and Legal Justice, which has long advocated for removal of the statue. On its website, the coalition said it seeks to “eliminate the system of white supremacy and police terror,” and features quotes from convicted cop-killers Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur (JoAnne Chesimard).

Chris Robinson, the Green Party’s membership secretary, said, “I lived through the Rizzo calamity and participated in the ‘Stop Rizzo’ movement to prevent him from changing the city Charter. Some now suggest moving his statue to a more appropriate place, and I believe that it would be appropriate to locate it in the courtyard of Eastern State Penitentiary.”

Jarrett Anderson, the party’s treasurer, said, “Rizzo’s statue should be moved to the bottom of the Schuylkill River.”

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The Republican City Committee will hold its 33rd annual Billy Meehan Clambake on Sunday, Aug. 27, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Cannstatter’s, 9130 Academy Road.

Guests will include state GOP chairman Val DiGiorgio and Bob Paduchik, co-chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Tickets cost $100. ••