Earlier this month, a post popped up on the City Planning Commission‘s newish blog, Planeto. It was about a proposed City Council bill that would tweak the city’s new zoning code. It was passionate, informed and hilariously snarky.
Shortly after, someone edited it and took out a little of the snark, as reported by PPIIN developer Casey Thomas. Then the post got taken down. You can read the original and edited version here, thanks to Thomas.
So what’s up? And why should you care?
On the zoning side of things, The Daily News has a story that gives plenty of context to the blogger’s rant: “The city spent four years and nearly $2 million to adjust the rules that govern development in Philadelphia,” the Daily News reported. Now, City Council wants to pass a bill that will change the zoning code only two months after the new code went into effect.
But perhaps more interestingly, this little incident raises a question about public discourse and the city’s role in that.
City Council President Darrell Clarke, for one, wasn’t pleased with the angry blog post.
“…allegedly, someone who happens to be a staffer whose name has not been attributed to the blog makes a statement,” Clarke told the Daily News. “It kind of makes it difficult to respond to.” [We addressed the issue of the anonymity of the blog in our earlier story.]
We championed the City Planning Commission’s new blog because it brought personality to the stodgy city agency and informed residents about zoning matters. The staffers writing the blog are the ones who know these issues best. But is the City Planning Commission blog the right platform for this kind of discourse? And we always shudder when something informative is published and then removed, though we don’t yet know what kind of political heat came back for it. We do know that this type of discussion and debate is important. Tell us what you think in the comments.