Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Podcast: Will the new Council give you a say?

Until 2010, Philadelphia's City Council didn't permit any public comment at all in its main meetings. Then, the state Supreme Court stepped in and said it had to. So Council did — but without establishing very clear routines for how that public comment would work going forward.

Podcast: Will the new Council give you a say?

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Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks

Until 2010, Philadelphia's City Council didn't permit any public comment at all in its main meetings. Then, the state Supreme Court stepped in and said it had to. So Council did — but without establishing very clear routines for how that public comment would work going forward.

Last Thursday, Council met for the first time this session, and for the first time under the leadership of new President Darrell Clarke. What kind of signs did Clarke send about the role of the public in Council meetings? Will you be a valued participant in Council's deliberations, or just an annoyance who is tolerated because of the law?

On this week's It's Our Money podcast, we talk with Zack Stalberg, president of government watchdog Committee of Seventy, about public comment in Council.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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