Under cover of... holiday flurry?
When Harrisburg lawmakers voted the other day to scrap a key right enjoyed by Philadelphia citizens, they did so in virtual secrecy - amid the usual, confused flurry of end-of-session lawmaking.In their defense, it was an amendment sneaked into an otherwise reasonable bill about controlling illegal dumping. However, Rendell signed it, leaving it to court challenges to determine whether homeowners have a right to have input into zoning and related decisions.
Without notice or debate, lawmakers from both political parties voted to toss out a long-standing tradition of citizen involvement in land-use decisions affecting neighborhoods and the city as whole. The tradition had provided leverage, for example, to community groups opposed to unsightly billboards.
Hallwatch has a summary of who knew what before they voted, as well as exhortations to contact your legislator, here.