Kenney slams Chick-fil-a, but he's happy to let city cash their check

Cathy
Cathy
Posted: July 27, 2012

When it comes to Chick-fil-A, it looks like Philadelphia will continue to cash-the-check.

City Councilman Jim Kenney joined the ranks of politicians from Boston and Chicago this week in lashing out against the fast-food chain after its president, Dan Cathy, spoke out against same-sex marriage.

In Boston the mayor declared there is "no place for discrimination" as Chick-fil-A looked to open its first restaurant there, and in Chicago an alderman vowed to block efforts to open a second restaurant. But here, Kenney says he has no interest in banning locations.

Chick-fil-A has seven restaurants in Philadelphia, including one that signed a lease in Concourse B of Philadelphia International Airport in March 2005.

In other words: Philadelphia is a Chick-fil-A landlord.

That lease expired on March 31. The restaurant is now on a month-to-month lease, airport spokesman Mark Pesce said, until a new agreement is signed.

The space rents for a minimum of $165,000 per year, plus a percentage of Chick-fil-A's gross sales — insert your own fast food joke here — if profits reach a certain negotiated amount.

Kenney, like the pols in Boston and Chicago, drew a lot of attention — some supportive, some venomous — for releasing his letter to Cathy on Wednesday.

"So please — take a hike and take your intolerance with you," Kenney wrote. "There is no place for this type of hate in our great City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection."

Kenney went on to say that he will introduce a resolution "condemning you and your company for this expression of intolerance and hate" at the next City Council meeting.

That meeting, by the way, is Sept. 13, because Council is now on summer recess.

Cathy made his comments to the Baptist Press, which is published by the Southern Baptist Convention.

His thoughts on religion and marriage would not come as much of a surprise to anyone who took a close look at Chick-fil-A's website.

The privately held, 45-year-old company, which has 1,615 restaurants and sales in 2011 of $4.1 billion, states that its "corporate purpose" is "to glorify God by being a faithful steward to all that is entrusted to us."

Oh, and their restaurants are closed on Sunday.

City Commission at odds over voter-ID law

It has been weeks since the Philadelphia City Commission has held a public meeting.

We can't wait until they get back together again. They could sell tickets.

A cold war is brewing between Chairwoman Stephanie Singer and Commissioner Al Schmidt, the lone Republican on the board. Both are new to the board and were expected to be partners in reform when elected.

The beef broke out into open hostilities briefly last week when Schmidt released a report on voter irregularities that Singer dismissed as a stunt for the media and proof that the state's new voter-ID law was not needed.

Singer last month used her opposition to that legislation, currently being challenged in state Commonwealth Court, to raise money for her campaign coffers.

"This year, I've taken on Pennsylvania's conservatives over their new Voter Photo ID law," Singer emailed to supporters. "It's unnecessary, undemocratic and unfair."

Rob Gleason, chairman of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania, used Schmidt's report to seek political contributions. Gleason, as WHYY's Dave Davies later pointed out, falsely claimed that the report showed "hundreds of cases of voter fraud" during the last primary election.

Singer, who was unavailable for comment Thursday, filed a "friend of the court" legal brief on July 16 in support of the lawsuit to overturn the voter-ID law.

We hear that that came after the Commission voted 2-0 during a June 27 executive session to oppose jointly supporting the brief. Schmidt and Commissioner Anthony Clark, the other Democrat on the three-member board, were the two no votes. Singer abstained.

And we've learned that Singer asked the city Law Department earlier this year if the City Commission could challenge the law.

In an 11-page April 2 legal opinion obtained by Clout, a deputy city solicitor noted three times that the City Commission would have little chance of winning a legal challenge to the legislation.

Quotable:

"This is not your father's Republican Party. This is a different breed of cat."

— Vice President Joe Biden, addressing the International Association of Fire Fighters at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Wednesday.

Contact Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or email him at brennac@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisBrennanDN and read his blog, PhillyClout.com.

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