Sunday, November 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Something to chew on

Something to chew on.

Something to chew on

Lutheran pastor Violet Little
Lutheran pastor Violet Little

Regarding my column today about Pastor Violet Little's monthly church service and coffee hour for the homeless and others on the Ben Franklin Parkway, below is the full statement from City Hall spokesman Mark McDonald regarding the ban on Parkway feeding. The judge referenced by McDonald is Hon. William Yohn Jr., who's overseeing the federal lawsuit filed June 4 on behalf of Little and other religious leaders who say the ban is a violation of their First Amendment rights to to free speech and freedom of religious expression.

From McDonald:

"Upon the judge's suggestion, the City agreed to maintain the status quo and simply continue what we've been doing. We are encouraging groups to use the City Hall apron for food distribution and many groups are availing themselves of the space and having access to water, trash pick up, porto-potties, security and homeless outreach staff. We are encouraging groups to secure health permits and how to get them and to use the apron and not to use park property. We continue to educate food distribution groups about our long-term goal of expanding indoor dining. We were not and are not issuing fines."

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
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