Philadelphia business owner and recovered addict Frank Rodriguez argues the city’s drug and homeless problems are ‘encouraged’ by local politicians.
After sharing his first-hand experiences on Philadelphia’s drug-stricken streets, one local business owner and recovering addict has criticized city officials for causing the crisis.
“I blame the city officials 100%. It’s allowed to go down there. This is done right in front of the law enforcement,” Frank Rodriguez said on “Varney & Co.” Monday. “It’s allowed to go down, it’s tolerated, if not encouraged, in that area. You can come to Kensington and break all the rules that you want.”
Taking Fox News Digital on a recent tour of the Philadelphia suburb, Rodriguez showed the “in-your-face horrors” plaguing the neighborhood: people sleeping on business doorsteps, using the bathroom there as well as illicit substances.
“What I see is chaos,” Rodriguez told host Stuart Varney. “I see businesses having to set up sprinkler systems that are set up on a remote where they can hit a button, and it’ll spray water if there’s people laying down on the sidewalks.”
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“There’s numerous times where you’ll see human feces, people using the bathroom right in front of their doorsteps,” he continued. “And a lot of them are going through withdrawals, they’re literally laying in their own vomit, in their own feces.”
Homeless people are seen on streets of the Kensington neighborhood on July 06, 2023. as homelessness and drug addiction hit Philadelphia. Many openly inject opioids into their hands, arms and necks. (Getty Images)
As storefronts put in place so-called “booby traps,” Kensington has also gained international attention for its excessive public drug use and has become a focal point for high crime and poverty in the City of Brotherly Love. The neighborhood had among the worst violent and drug crime rates citywide over a 30-day period ending Aug. 14, according to data compiled by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
In addition, Kensington’s violent crime rate was around 30% higher than the rest of the city from 2012 to 2016, while the area’s average income per capita was half the average citywide salary, according to a Drexel University study published in October 2019. The area also had more complaints about graffiti removal, illegal dumping, vacant houses and dangerous buildings than the city at large.
Rodriguez called out local officials’ hypocrisy, arguing if you walk four or five blocks in any direction away from the Kensington neighborhood, police seem to care a lot more about illegal activity.
In Kensington’s open-air drug market, some businesses struggle to entice prospective customers as drug users loiter or pass out on their front stoops.
“I’m a business owner myself, and I couldn’t imagine my customers that want to support my business having to bring their children or themselves through this type of chaos just to support my business,” he said.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, the Philadelphia mayor’s office said it shares the concerns voiced by residents and businesses about the health and safety challenges presented by the Kensington neighborhood while clarifying that law enforcement has a dedicated headquarters there. The spokesperson also encouraged people to call 311 or use an online submission form to report concerns, and noted the city has just concluded a 30-day encampment resolution process.
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Identifying as a recovering addict, Rodriguez expressed his hopes that others dealing with the personal struggle can one day share a comeback story such as his.
“My wife found me in the bathroom basically dead, and I just realized, man, I almost absolutely caused the biggest pain and heartbreak to my family and loved ones. And it would have been all my fault, nobody else to blame,” he reflected. “And I realized I wanted more for myself. I wanted more for my children.”
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Fox News’ Megan Myers and Jon Michael Raasch contributed to this report.
Playboy model Jenna Jameson, 49, DENIES taking drugs to slim down after recovering from mystery illness: ‘Back to keto so the weight is falling off’
Jenna Jameson is slim again.
And the 49-year-old Playboy model shared on her Instagram account that she did not use drugs to shed the pounds.
‘A lot of people are addressing my weight loss. I’m just minding my health,’ the blonde star shared. The nude model was in a purple bikini when she made her comments.
‘I am back to keto. It makes me feel the best, and I’m doing a little bit of intermittent fasting, so the weight is falling off.’
For most of 2022 the star suffered from a mystery illness that limited her mobility and required her to use a walker.
But she seems to be much better now and is off any kind of medication, she shared on her Insta Stories Monday.
Thing: Jenna Jameson is slim again. And the 49-year-old Playboy model shared on her Instagram account that she did not use drugs to shed the pounds
Mostly diet: ‘A lot of people are addressing my weight loss. I’m just minding my health,’ the blonde star shared
New look: The nude model was in a purple bikini top when she made her comments
She was initially incorrectly diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome in January 2022.
And the rest of the year her health was up and down but she is walking better these days.
‘I mean, I’m not walking perfectly but at least I’m up on my feet,’ she wrote via Instagram at the time.
‘How cool is that? Feeling a lot better.’
Her diet history is famous. In 2018 she lost 80lbs by going on a Keto diet. But then she gained 20lbs back in 2019 when she went off the diet a bit.
While Jenna – who has four-year-old daughter Batel Lu with her partner Lior Bitton – admitted her recovery was ‘messy’ and ‘not fun’, she likes ‘a good challenge’.
She said: ‘I am fighting, I am kicking a**, I am taking names and soon I will be back up on my feet unaided, and life will be back to normal.
‘I mean, as normal as I can be.’
In June she revealed she married girlfriend Jessi Lawless on May 23 in a Las Vegas ceremony.
Before and after: ‘I am back to keto. It makes me feel the best, and I’m doing a little bit of intermittent fasting, so the weight is falling off,’ the star explained
Her metamorphosis: For most of 2022 the star suffered from a mystery illness that limited her mobility and required her to use a walker. But she seems to be much better now and is off any kind of medication, she shared on her Insta Stories Monday
A pinup: This summer she has been posting bikini photos to Instagram
The star and Jessi, 40, said their I do’s at the Little Church of the West in Las Vegas, People reported.
‘I found the person that I truly should have always been with,’ Jenna told the outlet.
Jenna revealed that chapel was also the same one her parents tied the knot in when they wed.
She walked down the aisle to the song Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash with Jessi’s dad – since Jenna’s father passed away.
Previously: Jameson posted this snap of herself using a walker back in March
Almost 20 years ago: The model seen in 2006 during VH1 Big in ’06 at Sony Studios in Culver City, California
Jenna sported a white mini dress with a veil and pink platform heels, rocking pink dyed hair, and Jessi donned a black suit, per the outlet.
They used a Johnny Cash impersonator instead of an Elvis Presley one, and rented a neon green Lamborghini for the day.
She is also planning on legally changing her last name to Jessi’s, she said, adding that they will have a bigger wedding in the future.
‘I try and go over in my mind why I ever dated or married men, and it’s selfish and bad to say, but I think my driving force were children. And now that I’ve really found myself, I’m just accepting of everything that I feel inside and don’t shove everything done,’ she said to People.
The latest: Jameson married girlfriend Jessi Lawless on May 23 in a Las Vegas ceremony
Jenna and Jessi first met via TikTok. Jenna had found Jessi’s TikTok page and started commenting on her posts because she had a crush on her.
‘I was like, “Who is this Jenna Can’t Lose?” [Jenna’s TikTok handle]. ‘It’s Jenna f*****g Jameson. Oh my God,’ Jessi recalled to the outlet.
‘I was crushing on Jessi for a long time because she’s quite large on TikTok and I love TikTok. I just scroll at night when I’m trying to calm down, and I just loved her perspective on things, I related to it,’ Jenna explained.
Adding: ‘So I just started mass commenting her trying to get her attention, and it seemed to have worked.’
Jessi has over 1.5 million followers on TikTok; on her website, she describes herself as a barber, former platform artist for Oster Professional and an entrepreneur. However, Jessi had a girlfriend at the time and didn’t pursue Jenna, due to her ‘moral compass.’ After Jessi’s relationship with her girlfriend ended, she responded to Jenna’s comments. They began dating in January 2023.
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The duo had fun getting lost in the music together. But drugs were common in the festival scene, and Michael already struggled with an addiction to smoking oxycontin when they met.
Juliana eventually consumed harder drugs with Michael, including heroin and fentanyl, and the two spent several years drifting between family members’ houses in San José and Santa Rosa, and many nights in and out of jail for drug use and shoplifting. They talked about getting help and quitting drugs, but it still felt too far off, and too expensive, so they delayed.
“The three things we always made sure we had were a car, a hotel and drugs, always,” Juliana said.
During the pandemic, they stayed in hotels in San Francisco. But their lives suddenly changed one day in 2021.
Juliana felt an extremely sharp pain in her abdomen and checked into the hospital. There, she discovered that she not only was pregnant, but was in labor and about to give birth.
“She wasn’t active in my stomach, and I didn’t have morning sickness. I didn’t really have the regular pregnancy signs,” said Juliana, referring to her baby girl.
Michael was equally shocked.Juliana and Michael play blocks with their daughter Paloma at their home in San Francisco on Aug. 29, 2023. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
“If we had known that we were having a baby, I would have been too scared to be a father. I wasn’t ready. But it just happened all of the sudden. They let me in and said, congratulations, you have a daughter. I felt a connection immediately, her smile, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I have a daughter.’”
Child protective services and Family Treatment Court quickly approached them, helping create a plan for how they would re-establish their lives together and welcome home their baby.
Juliana and Michael entered treatment and joined groups to help them in their recovery. That included living at Hamilton Families, a transitional housing program where they stayed while starting their recovery journey.