The Philadelphia City Council unanimously censured Mayor Nutter over his misuse of power to use regulatory decrees of the Parks and Rec Dept. and the Health Dept. to make serving of the poor and homeless outdoors illegal. They pointed out that there were no funds available for the enforcement of these new regulations, much less to make up for the services that would be lost due to their enforcement. Add that on top of an anticipated $43 million cut in state funding for social services next year, they said it looks like Mr. Nutter must be taking crazy pills. Since the decrees were contested, the depts. had to hold more public hearings.
Instead of backing down, the mayor doubled down in his defiance against the people of the city and is making a mockery of democracy. Parks & Rec. scheduled their hearing with ten days notice. It was scheduled for May 2 at 7pm. At 10am on April 25, they changed the hearing time to 6pm that evening, in the hopes that no one would show up. This was a deliberate attempt to subvert democracy. Nutter should be impeached and run out of town on a rail! Shame on him!
In spite of this shady tactic, about 50 citizens showed up. All were opposed to the proposed regulation. About half spoke,including Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and a couple of lawyers, who pointed out the unconstitutionality and illegality, gross stupidity, and general injustice of this regulation. It was called a hearing. I wonder if anyone was truly listening.
The charter is such that the mayor, if he is bullheaded and obtuse enough, can go ahead and enact and try to enforce these regulations without city council’s approval. However, the budget process is about to start. Council may want assurances from the mayor that these regs. will disappear for good, if he is to get certain things he may desire in the budget.
The regulations had better disappear or they will hurt the city financially, not just in added enforcement costs. There will be services lost. With that, there will either be added service costs or added human costs in the forms of theft, illness or starvation. The disorder and tension this mess is bringing is not a friendly climate for tourism and entertainment and there is talk of a boycott of Philadelphia if it persists on a course of violating a basic human right of being able to share food with one’s neighbor.
This, in the “City of Brotherly Love!”