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WHAT'S NEW IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
CCRA UED VICTORY! BUT NOW LET'S CHAMPION THE CITY'S ORPHANED AREAS
Our voice has been heard in the battle over Urban Experimental Displays (UED's) - the six-story 3-dimensional digital billboards enabled by Council Bill 140906. In the Fall, CCRA persuaded Council President Clarke to remove the southeast corner of 19th and Market as a possible UED location. And thanks to a vigorous neighborhood response to CCRA's call to action, and the eloquent testimony of CCRA's Pres. Jeff Braff and VP Chuck Goodwin, Councilman Johnson pulled the UED proposed for the Bellevue garage at Broad and Locust from the legislation. Read Daily News account here.
Even so, the revised Bill (delivered to us late last night and, as of 3:20 this afternoon, still not on City Council's website) still calls for UEDs at two "orphaned" community commons areas of the City - the Convention Center and Reading Terminal. It is ironic that these sites, used by all Philadelphians, have no representation via a Civic Association to express citizens' perspectives .because these venues are used by all Philadelphians, not just citizens of the City's residential neighborhoods represented by civic associations. In this City of Neighborhoods, it can happen that common areas located beyond neighborhood networks are without champions.
Furthermore, while the revised Bill reduces the maximum size of UEDs somewhat and might reduce their brightness, it contains two changes, easily lost among the document's 45 pages, that are rather troubling. First, the requirement for Planning Commission review and approval of the design and spatial relationships has been eliminated. Instead, the Commission is given an exclusively advisory role on design issues, while being charged with providing "technical assistance and input that are intended to facilitate development of the UED in promoting the UED's purpose and goals." Second, it eliminates the requirement of an agreement between the "Applicant" for a UED and a governmental entity for a financial contribution to that governmental entity "to be used exclusively for public improvements in the immediate vicinity of the UED" (e.g., sidewalk repairs; lighting; transit stations). Instead, the Bill now attaches "community benefit agreements," which call for payments from Catalyst Outdoor, the UED operator who has been pushing for this legislation, directly to certain non-profits, with no requirements as to the use of such funds. While difficult to conceive of because this legislation has been custom made for Catalyst Outdoor, independent of the carte blanche use of these funds (which some might characterize as a "payoff" in exchange for their support), should Catalyst Outdoor not be the successful Applicant, the Bill provides for no payments to any non-profits (or the City for that matter).
The revised Bill is scheduled for a vote this coming Thursday, March 26. If a UED is unacceptable in our backyard, it should be all the more unwelcome in the City's common areas: sites set aside for everyone's benefit. So having won the battles of 19th and Market and South Broad Street, CCRA is requesting again that its memberscontact Council. to express opposition to Bill 140696 . For a list of Council telephone numbers and emails hit this link. And if you can, come to Room 400 of City Hall on Thurs., March 26, at 10:00 am to testify. (It is suggested that you first call Councilman Squilla's office (215-686-3458) to get your name on the witness list.)
Come hear the Democratic candidates for the Second Councilmanic District, incumbent Kenyatta Johnson and challenger Ori Feibush in what promises to be an enlightening (and probably entertaining) debate that will be moderated by Philadelphia Magazine journalist and WHYY NewsWorks contributor Holly Otterbein. The candidates have been given aQuestionnaireand their responses have been posted on our website.
TOWN HALL WITH STATE REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN SIMS, TRINITY CENTER FOR URBAN LIFE, 2212 SPRUCE ST, WED, 3/25, 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Please join CCRA as we welcome Brian Sims for an informal town hall meeting. This is a great opportunity to hear the representative speak, ask some questions and meet with him in a small group environment. You can hear his insights on Harrisburg and make him aware of your concerns.
Brian was re-elected to his second two-year term in 2014. In 2012, he became first openly gay person elected to stare office in Pennsylvania. Previously, he had been staff counsel for policy and planning at the Philadelphia Bar Association and, before that, president of the board of directors of Equality Pennsylvania and chairman of Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia (GALLOP).
GET YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR CCRA'S APRIL 13 CELEBRATION OF CENTER CITY MONOPOLY PARTY AT FREEMAN'S AUCTION HOUSE, 1808 CHESTNUT STREET
Get out your monocle and top hat and join your friends and neighbors as CCRA salutes Joan and Dane Wells, the 2015 winners of the Lenora Berson Community Service Award. Enjoy Hor'doerves and Desserts compliments of DiBruno Bros and Wine Tastings poured by Moore Bros. while browsing through Freeman's 20th Century Design Show. Silent and live auction items will be available for every budget Click here to see current (and growing) list. Tickets start at $50 for under 35 and $75 for everyone else, and can be purchased on line by clicking here.
Sponsored by William Penn House, AQ Rittenhouse, AT&T, and Firstrust Bank.
CCRA MERCHANT MEMBERS DISCOUNT PROGRAM
Support our local merchants and save money too. These local merchants will provide a discount (described here) to any member who shows a current CCRA membership card (Di Bruno Bros. has its own CCRA card) and personal identification.
Uber - Limo service Uber provides $20 off a first ride, Good for new users only. Members use code CCRA14.
Philly Foodworks - Use the code "CCRA" when signing up for home delivery and receive a $20 discount on delivery charges.
NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS AND EVENTS
"REFLECTIONS " ART EXHIBIT BY JEAN PLOUGH, NOW THRU SAT, 4/4, TWENTY-TWO GALLERY, 236 S. 22ND ST.
"Untitled;" acrylic on canvas; 47 x 72 in.; by Jean Plough
Recent oil paintings by Philadelphia area abstract Impressionist artist Jean Plough at Twenty-Two Gallery.
PHILLY WINE WEEK, 3/22 - 3/29
The eight days total of Philadelphia Wine Week will see exciting wine events hosted by many of Philly's most acclaimed and beloved spots. Click here to check out your favorite.
SING-A-Long, Sun, 3/22, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m, William Penn House Community Room, 1919 Chestnut St.
Sing along with the man with 5000 songs! George Sinkler will lead audience members on keyboard with his fun-loving baritone and a repertoire from Broadway to pop standards to 1950s rock 'n roll to jazz. Good singer or not, join them! Cost: $5.00 per person Contact Jean Haskell. Register here.
KORESH DANCE COMPANY: AFTERSHOCK, Thurs, 3/26, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St. (at Lombard St.)
Koresh will be doing their world premiere of Aftershock!
FIRST BOOK SALE IN OVER 10 YEARS BY FRIENDS OF PCI LIBRARY, SAT 4/18, 11AM - 4PM, 1905 LOCUST ST.
For National Library Week, the Friends of the Philadelphia City Institute Library will be holding a giant used book, CD, and DVD sale in the library's downstairs meeting room. The Friends are asking for donations of used books on all subjects which are relatively recent and in excellent condition, as well as CDs and DVDs. Donations can be dropped off at the branch any time the library is open.
The event will also feature the sale of homemade baked goods, and all proceeds will be used for programs, materials, and equipment at the PCI branch.