After the Gaming Control Board made its decision to pick SugarHouse and Foxwoods, we vowed to give the public a say in the siting process. We launched No Way Without Our Say — a petition drive to get over 20,000 signatures. That many signatures would force a city council vote on creating a primary ballot question.
Citizens were asked to support a ballot referendum creating a 1,500-foot buffer between casinos and homes, places of worship, schools, and parks. The goal was to allow Philadelphians a chance to have their voices heard through a legal and open process.
More than 27,000 signatures were gathered in 21 days for the first citizen-initiated referendum in Philadelphia in over thirty years.
The result: Once on city council’s desk, they voted unanimously for the referendum (twice!). On May 15, 2007, the voters of Philadelphia would be given the first chance for direct democracy in this casino debacle.