Casino-Free challenges Nutter on Nov. 1 council hearing

Casino-Free Philadelphia Friday sent a letter to Mayor Michael Nutter asking that he either postpone a Nov. 1 public hearing on casino-related legislation or attend the hearing himself.

The hearing, before City Council’s Committee on Rules, pertains to two bills introduced last week by Councilman Frank DiCicco. One would create a new Commercial Entertainment District zoning classification under which a casino could operate in the Market East corridor. The other would map a CED to The Gallery at Market East, Foxwoods Casino’s proposed location.

The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. in Council Chambers. City officials said they chose the Saturday date so that work and other weekday obligations would not interfere.

That, said DiCicco spokesman Brian Abernathy, is why there will be no date change.

“The date is firm,” he wrote in an email. “We requested the Saturday hearing specifically to allow for greater public participation.”

Casino-Free’s letter says that particular Saturday isn’t so convenient – it’s the last get-out-the-vote weekend before the presidential election, and it’s also the day after Halloween.

Many Casino-Free members received an email from Nutter urging them to “phone bank” for Barack Obama that day, the letter states.  “Like you, we want to participate in the presidential campaigns and we also might want to spend a morning at home with our kids after a night of trick-or-treating.  But we can’t, because you are not allowing us. 

“Therefore, we would like you to do one of two things: (1) call publicly for a postponement of the hearing scheduled for Saturday, November 1st; or, (2) attend the entire hearing in person.”

The letter also says Nutter should attend the hearing because he campaigned, in part, on the casino issue.

No word yet from the Nutter camp on what the Mayor will or won’t do.

Posted by Kellie Patrick Gates. Contact her at

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