Verna breaks tradition for late colleague

Not one to break the sacred tradition of Councilmanic prerogative -- in which other Council members defer to their colleagues on any issue in that members’ own district -- Council President Anna C. Verna last week nevertheless voted against her fellow South Philadelphian and close ally, Frank DiCicco, on a controversial sign bill.

The bill would allow up to 10,000 square feet of wall-wrap advertising on a building at Seventh and Willow Streets, in DiCicco’s district.

Councilman David Cohen.

Why such heresy?

In a classic farewell gesture, Verna said her vote was a salute to the late Councilman David Cohen, with whom she served for 26 years before his death in 2005.

The proliferation of billboards was among the many causes Cohen was almost rabid about.

“That was one of his biggest gripes in life,” said Verna, who also noted that there was substantial public opposition. “So I figured, this would be a vote for David Cohen.”

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