Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Daily News Covers SCRUB legislation

First on Young Philly Politics and then in the Daily News:
Yesterday, Cohen unveiled legislation that would amend Act 193 and give all Philadelphia taxpayers the "standing" or right to appeal an offensive decision by the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Prior to Act 193, any person aggrieved or any taxpayer could appeal a zoning board decision. The new law is pretty straightforward: only an aggrieved person who can show that he is "detrimentally harmed" can appeal the decision.

Flanked by leaders from community groups from all over the city, Cohen said the law was slipped into an unrelated bill at the last second by friends of the billboard industry.

In a statement, Cohen said the law was a "cynical attempt to take away the right of citizens to have meaningful say in neighborhood zoning decisions."

Cohen and his 22 Democratic co-sponsors face an uphill battle in a Republican-controlled legislature. A spokeswoman for House Speaker John Perzel, R-Philadelphia, said the speaker had not yet seen Cohen's bill and could not comment.

"I assume there will be quite a bit of dialogue with Republican legislators in the city and the suburbs," Cohen said. "I'm hoping that people will see that zoning isn't a partisan issue. It affects all communities. It makes no sense to take a tool away from community groups who are trying to protect the quality of their neighborhoods."
I'm glad to see this issue move from Young Philly Politics into the mainstream media. Rep. Mark Cohen has been active on a number of important issues lately, from the minimum wage to this anti-billboard legislation. He was also the only elected official to show up at the recent Neighborhood Networks conference.

1 Comments:

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Rep. Mark B. Cohen said...

Thank you for your kind words and positive publicity for my efforts to improve both Philadelphia zoning laws and the living conditions of low wage workers.

Ultimately, elected officials represent the public and that duty can transcend everything else. But public mobilization is necessary given the current political situation of Republican and conservative Democratic dominance.

But speaking out, you show that you exist, you care, and you have reasonable expectations from your political and governmental leaders.

 

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