This came out on Monday but I didn’t get around to it because of the Eagles game:

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Today, the Save Chinatown Coalition filed appeals against eight city and state agencies that denied public record “right-to-know” requests about the proposed Philadelphia 76ers arena abutting Chinatown. The Coalition is represented by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School’s Advocacy for Racial and Civil (ARC) Justice Clinic. The public records requested would give insight into communications between elected officials and arena developers about the arena proposal, which the Philadelphia City Council is expected to consider in January. 


The right-to-know requests focused on undisclosed impacts of the proposed arena, including impact studies commissioned by the City and the developer’s own traffic study. The administrative appeals filed today state that the agencies improperly denied the majority of the Coalition’s valid requests for information. 

The CliffsNotes version of this story is that members of the opposition have been filing these right-to-know requests for a little more than a year.

They’ve asked for the release of communications related to the Sixers Arena project, which has been denied. Using the tweet below as an example, the opposition says that a member of the Civic Design Review Committee has been talking with Sixers reps:

Admittedly, I don’t know too much about RTK filings. That’s more of a hard news, Big J kind of thing. We tried to get dash cam video of a Union player’s DUI arrest via this type of request, which was denied by the state. There wasn’t much we could do from there, because we were a two-person blog and they were the state. The police had the video and PA just wouldn’t give it to us. So in this case, I don’t know what the city is obligated to release or not release, but the opposition looks to be asking for a huge email dump, basically anything related to any kind of arena communications going back more than a year now. This is an extension of a general theme in which they think the process has not been executed independently, and they’ve alleged that conflicts of interest exist, for example, the Sixers paying for the arena study, which should be released soon.

It’s something to keep an eye on. Ultimately, I’m not sure any of this matters, however, because there’s been recent momentum on the pro-arena side. The project is backed by union labor, which backed incoming mayor Cherelle Parker, and as we all know, the unions wield immense power in Philadelphia politics. The guy stuck in the middle is councilman Mark Squilla, who would start the official proceedings that get us to a “yes” or “no” on the project. He’s been on record saying both sides are lobbying the shit out of him.