Friday, August 1, 2014
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Verna Scolds Protesters As Casino Zoning Passes

Two zoning bills that open the door for a casino to be located in the Gallery at 11th and Market streets were approved in City Council this morning as 25 protesters waved signs and chanted "Shame on you." The group interrupted Council with their sessions, prompting one of Council President Anna Verna's sergeant at arms to threaten some with ejection. They also drew a rebuke from Verna.

Verna Scolds Protesters As Casino Zoning Passes

Demonstrators waving signs march from Chinatown to City Hall for a Nov. 1 public hearing on Foxwoods at the Gallery.
Demonstrators waving signs march from Chinatown to City Hall for a Nov. 1 public hearing on Foxwoods at the Gallery. APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer

Two zoning bills that open the door for a casino to be located in the Gallery at 11th and Market streets were approved in City Council this morning as 25 protesters waved signs and chanted "Shame on you."   The group interrupted the Council session, prompting one of Council President Anna Verna's sergeant at arms to threaten some with ejection.  They also drew a rebuke from Verna.

"The vote has been cast and your shouting like that is not going to change the vote," Verna said sternly after the first bill was approved. "Now I ask you please, we’re trying to conduct business and I’d appreciate it..." Her voice trailed off as the chants continued.  Verna again admonished the protesters for chanting after the second vote.  "I would like you to please stop it. You’re not going to be changing anybody’s mind by doing what you’re doing."

It has been two months since Foxwoods investors announced they are considering moving their casino project from a state-approved location on the Delaware riverfront in South Philly to the Gallery.  Foxwoods has not shown any plans for what a Center City casino might look like, drawing complaints from the protesters that the zoning legislation is moving too fast.  Foxwoods will need state approval for a move and approval from the City Planning Commission on a plan of development in order to open at the Gallery.

The protesters, many from nearby Chinatown, waved signs that said "Cradle of liberty, not corridor of casinos" and "Mr. Mayor and City Council, be leaders, not pushers."

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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