Anti-casino petition given to Mayor Nutter

   A group of faith communities and other organizations from Chinatown and nearby neighborhoods went to the mayor’s office Wednesday morning to urge him to stop zoning that would allow a casino to operate at The Gallery at Market East.
  Outside Mayor Michael Nutter’s office, representatives from the participating groups made statements to the press about why they believe City Council should not pass the Commerical Entertainment District legislation that it is expected to vote on at Thursday’s meeting. Those groups included Arch Street United Methodist Church and network, Asian Americans United, Chinatown Committee Against the Casino, Chinese Christian Church and networks, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association, Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation and SCRUB – the Society Created to Reduce Urban Blight.
    Knowing the mayor was inside, the group waited in the hall for him to emerge from his office, said AAU Board Member Helen Gym. When he did, they handed him a petition with 23,514 signatures. The signatures, mostly collected by the Chinese Christian Church, came from residents who live both in the city and in the region, Gym said.
    The local groups also got backing Wednesday from the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development. The umbrella group of community development corporations sent a letter to Nutter urging him and City Council to “reconsider the choice of a casino located on Philadelphia Chinatown’s borders,” according to a press release.
   “This time, National CAPACD will join its member organizations in Philadelphia to support their cause, bringing with us over 100 member organizations from across the country to weigh in on this matter,” wrote Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director of the DC-based organization.
    National CAPACD’s listed reasons echo those given by local community members who oppose the casino. The organization said that Philadelphia’s Chinatown has “suffered from decades of development that failed to place the community’s interests first.” National CAPACD also said that casinos are “predatory” and “target vulnerable Asian and immigrant communities.”

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