Never Ever Take Your Eye off the USP!
Last week I wrote about the failed petition drive to get an amendment to the Philadelphia City Charter on the May 5 primary ballot. The premise: no casino could be built within 1,500 feet of any school, home, house of worship, playground, public pool, library, or civic center.
Needed were the valid, notarized signatures of 20,000 registered voters. Of the 27,254 signatures collected, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that fewer than 7,000 were valid.
No one bothered to get ahold of the voter registration list. Do-gooders went forth to round up signatures from anybody and everybody.
Put in direct marketing terms, it was the equivalent of sending a Harley-Davidson motorcycle promotion to nursing homes. You might sell a few to the young health care professionals but not much else.
The Proposition is on the Ballot Anyway
Last week, in an astonishing development, the City Council voted 17-0 to put the amendment on the ballot, thus setting up a deliciously nasty confrontation between the state and the city.
For starters, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has announced it will sue to keep the amendment off the ballot. Why in the world would members of a non-partisan board sue? Is one or more of the commissioners—or a commissioner’s family member—a secret investor? If so, are we not looking at conflict of interests?
The city solicitor has written a memo declaring that the City Council vote cannot be overturned and the proposition will go on the ballot, even though the state courts may nullify the vote after the election.
The next challenge is to get out the vote—persuade Philadelphia voters all over the city—that building casinos on the banks of the Delaware River will result in a catastrophe.
This is not a political challenge.
It is a direct marketing challenge.