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August 13, 2015

Petition opposes O'Malley's fundraiser at Point Breeze Pop-Up Beer Garden

Location for Democratic hopeful's event lambasted as symbol of gentrification

Martin O'Malley, the former governor of Maryland and current Democratic presidential candidate, is coming to Philadelphia next month, and an online petition is circulating to stop that from happening. 

O'Malley's campaign is coming to the recently reopened (after being closed, then reopened, and then closed again) Point Breeze Pop-Up Beer Garden. From the event's Facebook page

Come have a drink with Governor Martin O'Malley- candidate for President. While Governor of Maryland, Martin was always a progressive champion, passing marriage equality, gun safety legislation and the DREAM Act. He is the frontman in an Irish rock band and is hoping to bring a new generation of leadership to the White House -- and he needs your help to do it.
The event is set for Sept. 10, and some activists are working to convince O'Malley not to hold the event there. A Change.org petition has been launched that criticizes the garden as the "de-facto symbol of gentrification" in the South Philadelphia neighborhood and says O'Malley ought to pick another location. Per the petition: 
We're asking you to reconsider having your fundraiser at this particular location. It will only hurt your campaign and your image with already marginalized communities in Philadelphia and across the country.  There are many many other locations in Philadelphia that are more centrally located and don't carry the stigma of an neighborhood at war with itself.    

The controversy surrounding the garden has swelled, with some opining that the fear of gentrification is the cause while other developments in the neighborhood have been recent points of contention.

As for O'Malley, he continues to be a long shot to capture the Democratic nomination. The latest poll aggregation from Real Clear Politics has him with just 1.6 percent of the vote, far behind front-runner Hillary Clinton, progressive challenger Bernie Sanders and still undeclared Vice President Joe Biden. 

The petition currently has 17 signatures with a goal of 100.