Scenic Philadelphia Scores Stunning Victory with Help of JustLaws
Philadelphia, January 31, 2013:
At today's City Council session JustLaws’ client Scenic Philadelphia scored a stunning victory against legislation to permit a monster digital wall wrap on the Electric Factory building at 7th and Callowhill.
Mayor Nutter vetoed this bill for a second time last week because a giant wall wrap at this location violates federal law, putting all of Philadelphia's share of federal highway funds in jeopardy. The giant digital wall wrap also constitutes a massive eyesore and threatens to distract drivers traveling at highway speeds on I-95 and the Vine Street expressway.
Conventional wisdom said Council would override the Mayor's veto because the bill passed in December with a veto-proof 16 to 1 margin and members of Council did not believe that passage of the bill would really trigger a catastrophic cut off the City's federal highway funds.
Conventional wisdom also predicted a victory by Goliath over the future king David.
Scenic Philadelphia, with the help of JustLaws, developed the winning strategy to sustain the Mayor's veto - persuade members of Council that the threat to cut off federal funding was credible and imminent. At their urging, the Federal Highway Administration issued a strongly worded letter on January 22nd clarifying the financial penalties facing the city if the Mayor’s veto were to be overturned.
With incontrovertible evidence of a clear and present threat of a federal cut off of funding to Philadelphia if the law went into effect, the bill's sponsor decided to throw in the towel and not seek a vote to override the veto. Today was the last day for Council to challenge the Mayor's veto, so the failure of Council to act today means the Mayor's veto is sustained.
Mary Tracy, Scenic Philadelphia’s Executive Director, credited JustLaws with this victory: “We don’t think we could have accomplished this victory without the help of JustLaws. JustLaws helped us navigate the inner workings of City Council and formulate a winning strategy.”