Friday, December 09, 2005


So, I'm listening to the news radio the other day and they run a story about how the City of Philadelphia is implementing programs for the homeless, with the goal of halving the homeless population in 2 years, and eliminating it in 5 years by offering a line of services to people: Not just food and shelter, but medical, dental and mental health services, counseling, even haircuts...

And I'm thinking "Fantastic!"

Then, they cut to the audio clip of some city administrator describing the effort debuting that evening, he's excited, obviously proud to be a part of it - and he says "we're just waiting to help people, all they gotta do is show up tonight under the MSB!"

And that was it. Nobody bothers to clarify what "the MSB" is - not the guy being interviewed, not the reporter, not the news anchor.

Now I've lived in Philly over 20 years and I've never heard of "the MSB", or the em-ess-bee, or anything like that. I'm trying to figure out "Market Street Broad something?" Is it an address, a statue, a fountain, an intersection? I had to poke around in Google to figure it out.

Turns out that MSB is city worker slang for Municipal Services Building.

OK, I can understand if you're so familiar with the place that you just use the acronym on the job, but hello! when you're promoting it in the media, don't be lazy, SAY: "Municipal Services Building"! Otherwise people won't know what the hell you're talking about!

People are so informal nowadays that if somebody grunts "uh", they expect you to know what it means... come on! Not in Government! Not on the radio!

City of Philadelphia spokespeople need to use official names, especially when talking to the media - otherwise they're just amateurs in a big league game, and it makes our city government sound like a bunch of insiders (hey, isn't that sort of a problem right now?)

Anyway, not to diminish the program, because I'm really glad to hear about it - The Municipal Services Building is located at 1401 JFK Boulevard in Philadelphia PA 19102... Caddy corner, northwest of City Hall.