Philly ROC had just opened our office this May, when an Advisory Board Member (Nadia Hewka?) alerted me to some comments that Councilman Kenney had mad about tip theft on KYW.
I have done a lot of work in City Hall but I had never had the chance to work with Councilman Kenney. I asked around in my network and didn’t turn up any leads. So, I “cold called” his office and spoke to one of his secretary’s.
Here is a tip for folks that want to try to move legislation in City Hall: most of the people that work for your City Council representatives know little about policy.
You see most of the people that work for your elected leaders are there to provide constituent services. They help people navigate bureaucracies. They fill pot holes. They are not political people and don’t know where to send you when you want to get legislation passed.
It took a couple of calls, but eventually we were connected with Sarah Sachdev.
Sarah is a very enjoyable person to work with. She has a great I for detail.
We had one or two conversations on the phone that help us understand each others interest and then Sarah sent us a draft of the bill.
We had one in person meeting to go over the details. It was voted on in the same form that the Councilman drafted it.
We also advocated in favor of the Paid Sick Leave bill during that meeting.
I don’t know if we can take credit for it, but the Councilman did change his vote from “no” to “yes” for final passage. Nice!
After a meeting with Councilman Kenney, we were ready to start building support to get this bill out of the Rules Committee.
Weekly Press- http://goo.gl/VbTr3
After it got out of the Rules Committee, it was on to the vote. These articles and columns were all published within days of the vote.
Daily News- http://goo.gl/wQcjV
(One bit of side commentary- Ronnie Polaneczky hints that #OccupyPhilly is responsible for some feces that was smeared on the wall of the City Hall concourse. I saw the photo of this floating around on twitter the day before her column. It is ridiculous to assume that the defacing of the transit terminal was caused by Occupy Philly. I saw a guy masturbating at the Juniper Trolley stop, I can’t blame that on the Mayor, right?)
One thing that I noticed in the press reports is that it looks like the National Restaurant Association (NRA) was there fighting the legislation early, dropped off toward the end and the slack was picked up by Stephen Starr.
The NRA’s stalking horse?
Though he never spoke publicly about it.
The Inquirer stated that the Mayor supported the legislation. That is my understanding too. Meanwhile, Grub Hub (nice stock photo of a gavel, guys), states that Starr claims that the Mayor “and all of city council” oppose the legislation.
I wonder where he gets his information from?
Councilman Brian O’Neill voted “no” and Coucilman Green voted “no.”
I have a lot of respect for Councilman Green. He did let me know that he planned on voting against the bill before the vote took place. I couldn’t understand his reasoning.
Later, when he spoke against the bill (I was gone, putting the finishing touches on the press release announcing the victory) I heard that he still didn’t make much sense.
Anyway, I have seen him go to the mat before for stuff he believes in. I don’t think his heart was in it. I think that he was throwing a bone to a constituent who opposed the bill, still knowing that it was going to pass.
Councilman Kenney rebutted him with saying, “It’s wage theft, plain and simple.”
We won a nice won for the little guys.