Old First brought 34 people to Mother Bethel for the Center City POWER Congregations Meeting with Councilman Squilla at Mother Bethel AME Church on Dec. 17. (We were the congregation who brought the most leaders!) 7 more people had planned to join us but couldn’t at the last minute.
That’s incredible turnout. It’s a sign to me that we care about this David vs. Goliath story of Chinatown vs 76DevCorp. Let’s not to “lose our roll”! Can we have some follow-up?
I have written directly to all those people, to invite them to these next steps. But even if you could not make it on Dec. 17, there’s still room at the table for you to join us going forward.
1) Council Squilla has provided (writing himself in response to our letter) his promised list of stakeholders he’s talking to:
“Chinatown organizations — Washington Square West — POWER — Midtown Village — East Market — Center City District — Jefferson — SEPTA — Convention Center — Reading Terminal — Marriott/Lowes Hotel — Unite Here — SEIU — Comcast — Amongst others.”
2) There is a follow-up meeting with Squilla on Wed. afternoon January 30.
~ To ask him who in this list of stakeholders is supporting the arena proposal.
~ To follow up on his promise to require 76DevCorp to commit to NO gov’t. funding for the project — state and fed as well as city.
~ To get some commitment on a process for responding to the study of this proposal when it comes out.
Would anyone like to join me and other city center leaders for that meeting?
3) In light of Squilla’s commitment 76DevCorp to do their project completely government funding free, now walked back as he say “I have no control over the state and feds,” the Ex. Dir. of Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance (API PA), Mohan Seshadri believes we need to know where our state reps. stand on this project.
Are we willing to undertake 2 research meetings — with State Rep. Mary Louise Louise Isaacson and State Senator Nikil Savaal. We need just a few folks — 3 or 4 — to do these 2 meetings; will you help?
4) POWER’s first statewide Assembly happens in Norriton, PA on Monday, Feb. 19 (Presidents’ Day). We will be joined by Rep. Matt Bradford, majority leader of the PA House; Representative Pete Schweyer, chair of the House Education Committee; Senator Jason Dawkins, chair of the Senate’s Labor and Industry Committee… all who will be present to do business with POWER over campaign proposals, but who also who need to see “Save Chinatown” signs. Who wants to come with me?
5) I’d like us to meet after worship on Sunday, Feb. 11 — to get organized for the work ahead. A few months ago, I assumed the new 76ers arena was a done deal, but I’m not so sure anymore. Let’s throw our weight into this and help win this fight, for the difference it makes for our Chinatown neighbors, for us, for our city, and for the fight for responsible development in Philly going forward…
At that meeting, our agenda will be tight and quick:
A. Why this fight against the arena on Market matters to you?
B. Evaluation of the meeting(s) with Squilla: what’d we learn; what went well; what do we need to do better?
C. Are we willing to undertake the research meetings with Isaacson and Saval?
D. Who can come with me Fab. 19?
I will be talking to you all before then, but don’t wait on me — let me know if you can come on Feb. 11 after worship…