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Philly Councilwoman Shelves Sidewalk Bill After Public Outcry

by Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia city councilwoman Jannie Blackwell has hastily shelved a bill she introduced at the last council session, after an online petition and a flood of constituent calls opposing it.

The bill would have required the local district council person to write a letter of support before anything could be placed on a sidewalk-- from cafe tables to planters.

That alarmed the political action group Fifth Square, which lobbies for better public space and land use.

Co-chair Jake Liefer notes each district council person has 160,000 residents, any one of whom might want to set out a flower pot.

"I could not imagine the scope and headache that following this onerous law would cause," Liefer said.

Fifth Square launched an online petition that garnered more than a thousand signatures in a few hours.

Blackwell says she didn't mean for the bill to be so sweeping.

She was really reacting to the installation of bike racks that displaced some sidewalk vendors in her district. But she says she got the message and put the bill on hold.

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