You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, as the old saying goes. Well, it appears you can make Philadelphia City Council members host a public comment session, but you can’t make them listen.
Check out this PlanPhilly video, wherein members of Philadelphia City Council begrudgingly allow citizens to testify, mostly about a proposed hotel with a large electric sign in Old City. The very setup of the podium, with council facing away from the speaker, says a lot. Few members seem to be paying attention. Two notable exceptions to this are Councilman Frank DiCicco, who actively engages in debate with one man, and Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who at the very least appears to be listening and taking notes. Some are clearly eating during the testimony. It’s not at all novel for a legislative body not to devote its full attention to the proceedings. However, it should be noted council actively fought against this public comment period, but the state Supreme Court told it to comply.