On Monday we put out the call that Harrisburg should back off pending legislation that would give the state, not the city, oversight over the slot-parlors or there was gonna be trouble right here in River City. Big trouble. Lynn-Swann-elected-governor trouble. And yesterday, Harrisburg blinked. It’s like if we write it, it comes true! In all seriousness, this is a great victory for the people of Philadelphia. If only they knew it:
Neighbors of Philadelphia’s five proposed slot-machine parlors scored an unexpected political victory yesterday when Pennsylvania Senate leaders dropped efforts to override the city’s zoning laws when it comes to casinos.
As the Senate was jousting with the House over changes to the state’s 2004 law authorizing slot-machine gambling, State Sen. Vincent Fumo (D., Phila.), said he would give up his insistence that the state Gaming Control Board rather than the city rule the development of Philadelphia’s two slots parlors.
Fumo said he had been concerned that a not-in-my-backyard mentality would lead to the abuse of local zoning laws to block the casinos.
“But because of strong community opposition, I am willing to try local control,” Fumo said in a statement late yesterday. A spokesman for the majority Senate Republicans said GOP senators would likely support Fumo’s position.
The neighborhood groups behind that opposition let out a collective, but cautious, cheer.
“If he does that, we won,” said Marc Stier, a Mount Airy resident and member of the citywide activist group Neighborhood Networks. “I think we have convinced people that this is an issue of the city’s control over its own destiny and that the future of the riverfront is something we should care about.”