Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

  • Good morning, everyone.

  • (Good morning.)

  • The hour has come. We have established a quorum. I'd ask all guests and visitors to please reside behind the rail. The members will take their seat. We'll start the process.

    This morning to give our invocation, the Chair recognizes Deacon Nikki Kleinberg of Arch Street United Methodist Church. She is here today as the guest of Councilman William Greenlee.

    I would ask all members and guests to please rise.

  • (Members and guests rise.)

  • Good morning, beloved people of Philadelphia.

  • (Good morning.)

  • Would you join me in a moment of symbolic unity and spiritual hope. Wiggle your toes and feel the ground beneath you that we all share. Throw your head lifted high with your unique vision for a better world as we enter into a time where we can make it happen.

  • (Deacon Kleinberg singing.)

  • As we turn inward, touch down and connect with that deep part of you that knows life longing for itself, and enter into this time with grace and with peace as together we seek the good of all.

    Amen.

  • Thank you so much.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you very much.

    The next order of business is the approval of the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, March 6th, 2014.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, March 6th, 2014 be approved.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, March 6th, 2014 stand approved.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and the Journal is approved.

    The next order of business is requests for leaves of absence, and the Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you. Good morning, Mr. President. There are no requests for leaves of absence on the part of the democrats.

  • Thank you. The Chair thanks the gentleman, and the Chair now recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of the republicans, there are no requests for leave of absence.

  • Thank you so much.

    At this time, I would like to dispense with the regular order of business and I want to thank everyone who has come down here today. You are always welcome to our Chambers to see your government in action. We hope that your stay here today is a pleasurable one, so much so that you come back again. Again, thank you for coming down to witness your government in action.

    At this time, I would like to recognize Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. As we all know, Monday is Saint Patrick's Day and Sunday is the Saint Patrick's Day Parade, I think the 244th, the oldest in the nation. And I love American-Irish culture and the American version of the Saint Patrick's Day celebration, but often the silly hats and the green beer and some of the acting up gets out of hand, and we're known for that more than anything else. But I've tried over the years to bring into the Council around this time a bit of Irish culture, true Irish culture, and we've had folks in here that danced and musical selections and we've had an Irish tenor. And today we are honored to have Clare O'Malley, who is a Dublin-born actor, a South Philly resident, lives on Passyunk Avenue in the hip part of South Philly. She's appeared at the Arden Theatre and many of the other theatres around Philadelphia, and she is going to grace us today with a wee bit of Irish song and some poetry, which the Irish are most known for. They're poets and they're writers.

    So we'd like to welcome her and ask her to go to the podium.

  • (Applause.)

  • Hello everybody. My name is Clare O'Malley. Thank you to Councilman Jim Kenney and Arden for having me here. It's a pleasure to be here to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day with you all, or as we say in Ireland, La Fheile Padraig.

    So as Jim said, I was actually born and raised in County Dublin, Ireland in a town called Booterstown, and I moved to America to study at the University of the Arts on Broad Street. And I'm currently an actor here and working at Philadelphia Theatre Company at the moment.

    So today I'm going to share with you two poems from the legendary W.B. Yeats and one of my personal favorite Irish songs called My Lagan Love.

    This first poem is called The Lake Isle of Innisfree.

    I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, and a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee; and live alone in the bee-loud glade.

    And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; there midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, and evening full of the linnet's wings.

    I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; while I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray, I hear it in the deep heart's core.

    And this next one is called When You Are Old.

    When you are old and gray and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire, take down this book, and slowly read, and dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep.

    How many loved your moments of glad grace, and loved your beauty with love false or true, but one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face.

    And bending down beside the glowing bars, murmur, a little sadly, how love fled and paced upon the mountains overhead and hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

    And this is My Lagan Love.

  • (Ms. O'Malley singing.)

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you very much. Very inspirational. I noticed when you referenced the when you're getting old, there were a number of people in the audience that were actually shaking their head. I think I nodded my head a couple of times myself.

    Before I call on our next presentation, I would just like to recognize our good friends from the Gas Company here today. I just want to say hello to you all.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you for your continued good work.

    At this time, I would like to recognize Councilman Bobby Henon, who will present a resolution honoring The Saint Patrick's Day Observance Association for their efforts in organizing the 244th Annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade. Would Mr. Robert Gessler and those accompanying him please join the Councilman at the podium.

    And we have Councilman Kenney, Councilwoman Tasco, Councilman O'Neill, and Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilwoman O'Tasco. I'm sorry. And Councilman O'Brien.

  • Cead mile failte roimh. One hundred thousand wishes and welcomes to you all.

    So today we are here to honor The Saint Patrick's Day Observance Committee, which I am a member of, for their hard work, more than mine, organizing the Saint Patrick's Day Parade and all the other events that they're organizing surrounding the Irish community throughout the year, and to acknowledge the Philadelphia Irish and Irish at heart for their passion and the Irish arts and culture throughout the year.

    I also want to thank BOMA, Jerry Sweeney, PECO, DRPA, all the Irish organizations and leaders that stand with me here today and our own City leaders, especially Parks and Recs, for making the City shine with green this weekend.

    I wish you all a happy and healthy Saint Patrick's Day weekend. I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead.

    Trina cheile a thogtar na caisleain. Together we will build castles.

    With that, today we are honoring The Saint Patrick's Day Observance Association for their efforts in organizing the 244th Annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade.

    Whereas

  • The first documented Saint Patrick's Day Parade in Philadelphia was held in 1771, five years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. This year's parade, taking place on March 16th, 2014, will mark over 240 continuous years of festivities; and

    Whereas, over the years, these celebrations have reflected the times with several themes emerging; religious, patriotism, honoring military service, the remembrance of the political struggles in Ireland and also the celebration of Irish culture; and

  • Whereas, the theme of the 2014 parade is Saint Patrick, Bless the Contributions of Irish Americans to Our Nation. Philadelphia has had a strong Irish presence since the founding of our city. The Irish were instrumental in the building of many of our churches, schools, libraries and other institutions that Philadelphians now consider some of our most cherished and historic treasures; and

  • Whereas, the Saint Patrick's Day Parade -- and please all within the sound of my voice, it's not Paddy and it's not Patty. It's Saint Patrick -- is a longstanding event of great civic pride. It has over 20,000 participants and more than 150 groups are a represented, including marching bands, dance groups, youth clubs and Irish associations, making it the largest annual parade in Philadelphia; and

    Whereas, the Grand Marshal of this year's event is Jim Murray, former general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles. Jim is the founder and driving force behind several charitable groups, including the Ronald McDonald House and The Eagles Fly for Leukemia;

  • And whereas, The Saint Patrick's Day Observance Association was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1952 and is charged with the monumental task of organizing and hosting the parade each year. The association is led by their President, Robert Gessler, 1st Vice President Chris Phillips, 2nd Vice President Mary Frances Fogg, Treasurer Harry Marnie, Secretary John Stevenson and Parade Director Michael Bradley; now therefore

  • Resolved, by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that we hereby honor and congratulate The Saint Patrick's Day Observance Association for their efforts in organizing the 244th Saint Patrick's Day Parade.

    Resolved further, that an engrossed copy of this resolution will be presented to the Board of Directors of The Saint Patrick's Day Observation Association, further evidencing the grateful appreciation and deep admiration of this legislative body.

    Congratulations.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Mr. Gessler for remarks.

  • Thank you, President Clarke. Thank you all the members of Council. Thank you, Bobby Henon, one of our Board members, for sponsoring this resolution, his staff for working so hard. Our liaison was Mary Frances Fogg, our 2nd Vice President.

    There's some other Board members here I also -- Billy Ivers, Joe Fox, Michael Driscoll, John Stevenson, Judge Bradley, Tommy Keenan, and Walt Garvin. If you can please recognize them as well.

  • (Applause.)

  • The parade doesn't happen without a lot of hard work from a lot of people, and we are blessed by the member groups that participate, that work all year long to present, no apologies, I think Philadelphia's best parade.

    We invite everyone down here to come down on Sunday, noon, on the Parkway, enjoy the parade. It's a great day for families. It's a great day for Irish. It's a great day for Philadelphia, plain and simple. So you're all welcome. Just thank you all. The only Irish I know is slan, which is thank you, but have a great day and Happy Saint Patrick's Day to everyone.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you so much.

    Before we have our next presentation, I would like to recognize Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I'd like to recognize 40 students from the Olney Charter High School's Pledge and Trojan program. They're here today to observe City Council. Their leader is a Shirley R. Outlaw, Senior Seminar Instructor, 12th Grade Trojan Sponsor.

    Similar to other ASPIRA schools, Olney Charter acknowledges students who show respect, leadership, and serious demeanor by providing those students with additional privileges and status in a program with three levels, Pledge, Trojan, and Executive.

    Let's welcome the best and the brightest of Olney Charter, which is in the 9th Councilmanic District.

  • (Applause.)

  • Welcome. Thank you so much for coming down today.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Sanchez, who will present a resolution on our behalf recognizing the partnership between the Salvation Army and Walmart to support a peer mentoring program in North Philadelphia. Would Major Robert Dixon and those accompanying him please join the Councilwoman at the podium.

    And we also have Councilman Bill Greenlee joining the Councilwoman.

  • Good morning. On behalf of Council President, Councilman Greenlee here joining me at the podium, it is my honor to recognize the Salvation Army. All of us know our dear Reverend Bonnie Camarda. I think she is the 18th member of Council some days, Council President.

  • And the Major and everyone that joins us this morning.

    A resolution recognizing and honoring the partnership between the Salvation Army and Walmart Foundation to support a peer mentoring program in North Philadelphia.

    Whereas, the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia's Peer Mentoring Program was established in 2013 with the support of the Walmart Foundation to help break the cycle of poverty, violence, and hunger in the City; and

    Whereas, that support allowed the Salvation Army to create a program based on previously successful models to provide far-reaching access for City residents in need of social services in several neighborhood community centers throughout North Philadelphia, and by offering these services in both English and Spanish in order to serve the Hispanic community; and

  • Whereas, the partnership between the Salvation Army and Walmart in Philadelphia has a long history, allowing the two to address important and critical issues by empowering those facing hardship and providing support in the move towards independence through counseling, training, and referrals; and

    Whereas, the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia is a faith-based, comprehensive human service organization whose programs help individuals, families and whole communities lead healthier, safer and more productive lives; and

    Whereas, since 1879, the Salvation Army has had a record of success stemming from its holistic approach to providing for the physical, emotional, economic, and spiritual needs of the individuals; and

    Whereas, the Salvation Army operates out of 16 community centers and residential facilities throughout the Philadelphia region, offering shelter, hot meals, counseling, developmental disabilities programs, early childhood development programs, recreational opportunities, music programs, after-school arts and educational programs, job training activities for older adults, spiritual development, and drug rehabilitation programs -- and other than that, they don't do anything -- and

  • Whereas, the Walmart Foundation is committed to improving the lives through its philanthropic efforts by addressing the needs of the communities it serves and making an impact in its core areas of giving such as Hunger Relief and Nutrition, Sustainability, Workforce Opportunity, and the Women's Economic Empowerment, including a $2 billion commitment through year 2015 to lead the fight against hunger in the United States; and

    Whereas, this month the Walmart Foundation has renewed its dedication to the Salvation Army's Peer Mentoring Program by generously donating $50,000 to the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia, bringing its contribution to this program to $150,000 and allowing the program to continue serving vulnerable individuals and encouraging healing and self-reliance; therefore, be it

    Resolved, by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, we hereby recognize and honor the partnership between the Salvation Army and Walmart to support the Peer Mentoring Program in North Philadelphia. We look forward to the positive impact this program will continue to have in the community it serves, and thank both the Salvation Army and the Walmart Foundation for their dedication to addressing this critical issue.

    Further resolved, that an engrossed copy will be given to the Salvation Army and the Walmart Foundation as a sincere expression of our appreciation of this legislative body. Introduced by Council President Darrell Clarke and myself.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • And the Chair recognizes Major Robert Dixon for remarks.

  • We are grateful for this opportunity to accept this honor. I want to thank the Councilwoman, also the City Council for all that you are doing to partner with the Salvation Army.

    Our theme is that we do the most good, and through Walmart and other partnerships that we have, we are able to do that on a daily basis.

    I just want to take this opportunity to introduce my team, if you will, who support me wholeheartedly in what we do in the City of Philadelphia. Of course, the Reverend Bonnie Camarda, who is really my right-hand person. And when you see her here, I send her, so that she will be aware of what's going on in the City. And, of course, Carol Walter, we thank you. And, of course, Walmart.

    And this is Sherita Mouvon, who is responsible for the Peer Mentor Program at 1340 Brown Street where she works with those women and children who need direction in their life and helps them to stand up.

    And, of course, Sandy Sheller. And this young woman here is the brain from all of this, because she knows people, and because we know her, we get to know people too. And so Sandy has really opened that door for us, and we do appreciate all you've done. Would you like to just say a word or two.

  • Well, I just am so appreciative that you're celebrating two great organizations today. And for me it's all about trying to make the world a better place and Philadelphia a better place and to be the voice for those that don't have a voice often. So thank Council and I thank everyone here for all of that.

    Thank you.

  • And then moving right on down the line, this is Susan Brotherton.

    Now, some of us have positions, but we also have people who make us look good. And so Susan makes me look good, because she's responsible for the social service ministries in Philadelphia. And so once we find out who we're partnering with and once we get everything together, I send her out to make sure it all works good. And so I want to just introduce Susan Brotherton, who is the Director of Philadelphia Social Service Ministries, and she does a lot of things to help us.

    Tell us just some of the things that we do to do the most good in the City.

  • We provide emergency housing for families who find themselves immediately homeless, to provide some transitional housing. We provide families with permanent supported housing where no matter what happens to them in their lives, we continue to support. We also have housing for seniors. And then located around the City we provide social services in groups to continue to support everyone in the community.

  • And, lastly, see Sherita thought I was going to forget about her, but I never forget.

    We don't want to just do program. We want to make sure the program that we do has an impact on the community where we are situated, and Sherita is a prime example of being not only a part of the program, but lifting herself up to become a leader in the program. And I just want Sherita to come and just share with you where she's been and where she is as a result of the program.

  • Hello, everyone. I am someone who has been to the bottom and, thank God, I'm here today. And my role as a peer mentor is to inspire and motivate and support people of our community that there is a future for you and it is yours for the taking. No matter about your past, what you've been through. It's where you're going, how you're going to get there, and I'm there with them all the way.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • And, again, let me say thank you for honoring the Salvation Army today. Thank you for that opportunity to shine on what we do.

    I just want to again thank City Council, Councilwoman Quinones, and also Walmart for helping us do the most good in the City of Philadelphia.

    Thank you and God bless you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you so much. Thank you for your great work.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you very much.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman David Oh. And we're going to do something a little out of order with respect to a moment of silence.

    Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you very much, Council President. I appreciate you taking me out of order. I have two privileged resolutions to introduce that will be introduced by the Minority Leader, Councilman Brian O'Neill, on my behalf, because I have to leave. But one of the resolutions is for Bill Guarnere, also known as "Wild Bill" Guarnere, who passed away this weekend, and I think most people know who he is. He's a Philadelphia icon. He was portrayed in the HBO hit series Band of Brothers. He's been beyond a World War II hero, also someone who has been very active and supportive of veterans here in Philadelphia and throughout the United States.

    And so I'd ask, Council President, if we could honor him with a moment of silence.

  • (Moment of silence.)

  • Thank you, Councilman. And leave shall be granted.

  • Thank you very much, Council President. And may I be recorded as voting aye on all bills and resolutions today.

  • Thank you very much.

  • Thank you.

    The next order of business is communications. The Chair requests that the Sergeant-of-Arms delivers the messages from the Mayor to the Chief Clerk.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, I am pleased to advise you that on March 12, 2014, I signed all of the bills that were passed by Council at its session on February 27, 2014, except Bill No. 130908; and

    I am transmitting for the consideration of your honorable body a resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the New Kensington-Fishtown Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 2455 Coral Street; and

    A resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the New Kensington-Fishtown Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 2012 through 18 Frankford Avenue; and

    A resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Point Breeze Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 1514 Ellsworth Street; and

    An ordinance amending Section 22-310 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP)," by revising and clarifying requirements relating to separation from employment; and

    An ordinance amending Title 22 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Public Employees Retirement Code," to expand the scope of "Plan '10" and "DC Plan" to cover additional employees, including employees represented by AFSCME District Council 47 and certain employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement, to change contribution rates, and to make technical amendments, all under certain terms and conditions.

  • Thank you, Mr. Decker. Do you have any additional communications?

  • I have none, Mr. President.

  • Thank you very much.

    The next order of business is the introduction of bills and resolutions, and the Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one privileged resolution.

  • A privileged resolution honoring the rich life and loving memory of Jaci Adams: the longest serving member of the Philadelphia Police Liaison Committee; fierce, beloved and awarding winning leader within the Philadelphia LGBTQ communities; and passionate advocate for transgender and HIV/AIDS health initiatives.

  • And that resolution will be placed on today's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have no bills or resolutions today.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On your behalf, I offer two resolutions.

  • A privileged resolution honoring, recognizing, and celebrating the lifetime musical achievements of Benny Golson, for his contribution to the world of music through radio, television, and film.

  • That resolution will be on today's Final Passage Calendar.

  • And a non-privileged resolution authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to execute and deliver to the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, without consideration, deeds conveying conditional fee simple title to certain City-owned lots or pieces of ground with the buildings and improvements thereon, situate in the Sixteenth Ward of the City of Philadelphia.

  • That resolution will be on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have no bills or resolutions.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Mr. President, I have two resolutions.

  • A privileged resolution congratulating Donn Scott on his retirement from the financial services industry.

  • And that resolution will be on this week's Final Passage Calendar.

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing and acknowledging Delta Sigma Theta Sorority on the occasion of its Seventh Annual Philadelphia City Council Delta Day.

  • That resolution will also be placed on this week's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Council President, I have two bills, one resolution. I would like to speak on one of my bills, please.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 19-3900 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Tax Exemptions for Longtime Owner-Occupants of Residential Properties," by extending the time for which such exemptions are available, all under certain terms and conditions.

  • That bill will be placed in the appropriate committee.

    Councilman, you would like to speak on that particular bill?

  • Yes, sir, Council President. Thank you very much.

    Council President and colleagues, today I'm offering a bill that would amend the current Longtime Owner-Occupant tax relief program to extend this necessary relief and protect LOOP-approved homeowners. This bill is a direct response to a great deal of concern of constituents throughout the 2nd Councilmanic District. They are thankful to have been accepted into the LOOP program. However, they are concerned that after ten years, they may be forced to leave their property whether they want to or not.

    Under the current LOOP program, people who meet the qualifying criterias, meeting the income guidelines as well as living in their properties for ten years, are qualified to participate in the LOOP program. Under the amendment I am proposing today, it will replace the ten-year exemption with an exemption through the sale or transfer of the individual's properties. There are a number of reasons for this bill.

  • (Applause.)

  • Tax policy should not drastically alter the demographics of a neighborhood overnight. Under the current program, it is likely a mass flight from certain neighborhoods will occur as the people who receive LOOP leave when it ends. But tying LOOP to the sale or transfer of their home rather to some arbitrary date, it helps to prevent these longstanding community members from uprooting and leaving their neighborhoods.

    We do not want to force people into delinquency. If we're concerned about people's ability to pay a tax bill on a property value that has tripled, there is equal, if not greater, concern about their ability to do so when it could be five or six times higher in developing communities in ten years. We should not be pushing people who have been a member of their community for ten years or more away, whether it's today or within another ten years. Extending LOOP to the sale or transfer shows that we are looking to keep neighborhoods strong and protect long-term investments in our communities. We cannot disregard the neighbors who have helped an area grow. That is the idea behind LOOP. However, the arbitrary ten-year timeline only puts off their problem temporarily. By changing LOOP to continue the protection until the time of sale, transfer or lack of residency, it properly follows through on the originally intended goal.

    I'm hopeful that my colleagues will support this bill, and I want to thank you, Council President, for the opportunity to speak on this measure. Thank you very much.

  • (Applause.)

  • And a privileged resolution proclaiming March, 2014 as American Red Cross Month in the City of Philadelphia.

  • That resolution will be on today's Final Passage Calendar.

  • And a non-privileged resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Point Breeze Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 1514 Ellsworth Street.

  • That resolution will be on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have no bills or resolutions today.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Brien.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have no bills or resolutions today.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer no bills or resolutions today.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Good morning, Mr. President. I offer two resolutions, one to be held until next week.

  • A privileged resolution supporting the future of Solar Energy in the City of Philadelphia.

  • That resolution will be on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

  • And a non-privileged resolution supporting members of the Pennsylvania State Legislature's Women's Health Caucus and the Pennsylvania Agenda for Women's Health.

  • I guess that resolution will also be on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have one bill and one non-privileged resolution co-sponsored, I believe, by Councilman Wilson Goode and Blondell Reynolds Brown.

  • An ordinance establishing a no truck parking regulation on Midvale Avenue, between Conrad Street and a point 1,000 feet west thereof.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing the week of May 5, 2014 as Correctional Employees Week for the City of Philadelphia for these dedicated employees and their tireless work within the Philadelphia Prison System.

  • And that resolution will be on today's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one bill co-sponsored by all Councilmembers, and on behalf of Councilman David Oh, I offer two privileged resolutions.

  • An ordinance amending an ordinance (Bill No. 877), approved September 16, 1994, by amending an exhibit thereto, in order to increase the limit of the amount of funding any entity may receive in any fiscal year from the Philadelphia Activities Fund.

  • That ordinance will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing and congratulating the Philadelphia Museum of Art for its groundbreaking cultural exchange with the Republic of Korea to present to American audiences one of the finest exhibitions of Korean art, Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392 through 1910.

  • That resolution will be on today's Final Passage Calendar.

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing and honoring the life and service of William "Wild Bill" Guarnere.

  • That will be on today's Final Passage Calendar.

    And the Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer four non-privileged resolutions. One is a re-call resolution, which I would like to have heard today.

  • A non-privileged resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the New Kensington-Fishtown Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 2012 through 18 Frankford Avenue.

  • And that will be on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

  • And a non-privileged resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the New Kensington-Fishtown Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 2455 Coral Street.

  • That will be on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

  • And a non-privileged resolution also naming 3rd Street between Market Street and Girard Avenue to N3RD Street.

  • That will be on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

  • And a non-privileged resolution requesting the Mayor to return to Council Bill No. 130908, entitled "An ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Spruce Street, Juniper Street, Cypress Street, Watts Street, Pine Street and Broad Street," for the purpose of reconsideration by the Council of the vote by which said bill passed Council.

  • That will be on this week's Final Passage Calendar. Councilman, can I get a request for a suspension of the rules.

  • Can I get a suspension of the rules.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules be suspended to allow the vote on this particular resolution today.

    All in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and that resolution will be on today's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair now recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one privileged resolution.

  • A privileged resolution authorizing the joint public hearing by City Council's Committee on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and Committee on Global Opportunities and the Creative/Innovative Economy on the impact and feasibility of Philadelphia hosting major, international events, including party conventions, the Olympics and the Semiquincentennial celebration in 2026.

  • Thank you.

    Councilwoman, are you requesting a hearing or just the authorization of the resolution?

  • That will be on this week's Final Passage Calendar.

    That concludes our introduction of bills and resolutions. We will now move to our reports from committee, and the Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee for a report from the Committee on Law and Government.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The Committee on Law and Government reports one bill with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you, sir.

    Mr. Decker, would you please read that report.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, the Committee on Law and Government, to which was referred Bill No. 140001, entitled "An ordinance amending Chapter 10-800 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Safety,' by providing for ending the existing procedure of mandatory custodial arrests for the crime of Marijuana possession, and by requiring the reporting of the number of arrests and related information with respect to those arrested for Marijuana possession," respectfully reports it has considered and amended the same and returns the attached bill to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bill No. 140001.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended so as to allow reading this day of Bill No. 140001.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and that bill will be placed on our First Reading Calendar today.

    At this time, we will have consideration of the Calendar, and the next order of business is the consideration. I note that the bill just reported from committee with suspension of the rules has been deemed to have had

    a first reading. This bill will be

    placed on our Second and Final Passage

    Calendar at our next session of Council.

    As there are no additional

    bills on the First Reading Calendar, the

    Chair now recognizes Councilman Jones for

    the purpose of calling up bills and

    resolutions on the Final Passage Calendar.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the rules of Council be suspended to permit the use of a Consent Agenda to consider the following resolutions on the Final Passage Calendar: Resolutions No. 140110, 140150, 140156, 140157, 140158, 140160, 140151, 140152, 140153, 140154, 140155, and 140162.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended to permit the use of a Consent Agenda to consider the resolutions just read by Councilman Jones.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it and the motion carries, and we will consider the Resolution Consent Agenda shortly.

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman Jones for the purpose of calling up bills and resolutions on the regular Second and Final Passage Calendar.

  • Thank you again, Mr. President. In addition to the resolutions being considered on the Consent Agenda, the following resolutions and bills are being called up for Second Reading and Final Passage Calendar today: Nos. 140161, 130161, 130901, 130902, 140054, 140003, 140010, 140017, 140079, 140002, 140100, and all other bills and resolutions are being held.

  • Thank you very much, Councilman.

    Before considering these bills and resolutions on the Final Passage Calendar, we will have public comment. Public comment will go as follows:

    If you are interested in testifying on a bill or resolution, it must be on the Final Passage Calendar. We ask that you sign up at the table to my left, if you have not already done so.

    Your public comment will be restricted to three minutes, because we want to make sure that everybody has an opportunity. You will go to the podium in the middle of the Council Chambers. There's a device on that podium. When the light turns green, it is your time to speak. When it turns yellow, you have 30 seconds to conclude your remarks, and when it turns red, we ask that you please conclude your remarks and adhere to the guidelines that have been established.

    I want to thank you very much for your cooperation, and at this time, I ask Mr. Decker to please read the name of the first individual who is interested in testifying today.

  • (No response.)

  • Ann Dixon, commenting on 140079.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • I know that our city desperately needs money for public schools, libraries and other things. Selling PGW would bring in a bundle. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that PGW workers will be offered employment by UIL Holding Corporation and total employment would not fall below 1,350 people for three years. Residential rates will also be locked in for three years. There will be the, quote, capacity to transform PGW into a larger player in a regional energy network increasingly interconnected to production from the booming Marcellus Shale gas formation. This is from March 4th Inquirer.

    Well, this sounds great. Why don't we sell PGW? Because selling is a dangerous short-term fix. Our utilities provide a steady revenue stream to the City that we need to keep. Private companies are in the business of making money and getting the most profit with the fewest amount of workers. Of course rates will increase after being locked in for three years.

    California's electric industry was de-regulated the beginning of this century. Prices were supposed to be cheaper, but instead they soared. There was also a power shortage, quote, a shortage that has proved highly profitable to power companies and raised suspicions of market manipulation, end quote. That's from Paul Krugman's article in The Times, The New York Times.

    Even if the windfall from the sale goes toward something worthwhile like public school funding, where will future funding come from? We will soon be back facing the same funding crisis.

    International Energy Agency Chief Maria van der Hoeven reported in the Christian Science Monitor at the end of February that the U.S.'s shale gas and oil boom will be over in ten years. Ten years in the history of Philadelphia is the blink of an eye. Why would we want to organize around something that will only last that long?

    City Council has passed numerous resolutions protecting City residents from the dangers of fracking. Most recently, the City has vowed to join other groups in a lawsuit if our Delaware River Watershed is fracked. This is where we get our drinking water that would become polluted if fracking happens there.

    After doing this great work, it makes no sense for the City to turn around and support fracking-related infrastructure and activities. Nationwide, at least 5,098 individuals or families have been harmed by fracking. Many have severe illnesses and hardships. We should not be doing anything to perpetuate this dangerous business.

    You can find that list of 5,098 and growing if you Google "List of the Harmed."

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • I just want to say before we call the next name, for the record there is not a bill or a resolution that references the sale of PGW on the Final Passage Calendar. The bill that the individuals have indicated that they want to testify on is a transfer ordinance for the existing company. It has no relationship. But because there are only four people, we're going to give a little latitude today. But I just want for the record, there is actually nothing to testify as it relates to the transfer. But we only have three more, and I'm hoping this doesn't create an onslaught of people to testify on that bill that's not on the Final Passage Calendar. So we're going to give a little latitude today.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    And there probably won't be a bill or resolution in the foreseeable future, for some time.

  • (Applause.)

  • And let me clarify to the press, because I know they will interpret to say that there will never be a conversation or a public hearing. I said as the clapping began for "the foreseeable future." That means that we haven't even received a bill yet. So there's a process. I just want to make sure. People say, Councilman Clarke said he's never going to introduce the bill.

    All right. Thank you. Thank you.

    Mr. Decker, please call the next name.

  • Rabbi Mordechar Liebling, commenting on 140079.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • I'd like to thank the Council for your latitude this morning. I know that the bill is addressing a transfer of funds from PGW to the Water Department, and it's exactly that kind of thing that we need to maintain. PGW has been a longtime source of revenue for the City. It is kind of foolish to sell a long-term source of revenue for short-term gains.

  • (Applause.)

  • I come this morning as a member of the clergy, because we understand that the purpose of government is to protect the poor and the weak. That's always been the purpose of government. People come together to form governments to make sure that the strong cannot oppress the weak. Hopefully that's the function of religion as well.

    Now, here if we sell PGW to a powerful corporation, we are going to give up the protection of the weak and give power to the strong. And we know that if we sell this public utility, the rates will rise. They are only buying this to make money. If they couldn't make money, they wouldn't buy it, right?

    The only way --

  • (Applause.)

  • The only way they're going to make money is by raising rates. Okay? That means we're going to be transferring money out of the pockets of poor and working Philadelphians to a rich corporation that's headquartered in Connecticut. Now, why would we take money out of Philadelphia and send it out of state to people who already have a lot of money? It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me.

  • (Applause.)

  • So it seems that City Council needs to do its duty and protect the people of Philadelphia from another rapacious corporation that's trying to take our money.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Lisa Hastings, commenting on 140079.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Ms. Hastings, if you could, at a minimum, figure out a way to segue into the PGW conversation. I liked the way the Rabbi did it. He talked about the transfer and the Water Department. So at a minimum, you can at least talk about that part of it at the beginning of your speech.

  • Thank you for your latitude. And also we are talking about -- this looks very, very broad -- about the transfer of assets, transfers of appropriations and assets. So I think that it really is reasonable to talk about the huge transfer of the assets of PGW to a private entity.

    One thing that bothers me a lot is the possible, and hopefully we won't have the sale, of PGW shows that some Philadelphia officials are willing to turn the City into a business entity that's separate from its citizens and their collective interests.

    The decisions are based on short-term financial gain for the separate City entity. The City is not a stock in its collection of citizens and their assets, and I urge the City Council to continue to represent the short-term and long-term public interest of the Philadelphia citizens and to reject the sale of PGW. The arguments why we should trade a valuable asset and give away public control for a one-time payment are simply Wall Street talking points, not the truth.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Jihad Ali, commenting on 130901 and 130902.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning, President Clarke and the other honorable members of City Council. I'm Jihad Ali. I'm here to talk about Bill 130901 and 130902. My particular concern is about diversity.

    I support this bill, but I'm here really to tell you a story. Now, this Council when the issue of diversity comes up, every one of you, the Councilmembers, have always been supporters of diversity. I don't want to signal you all out, other than to say you all have supported this issue. There's always been good leadership. We use that often to talk about this issue in this Council about diversity. There's always good leadership here.

    But I wanted to tell you a story that really underlines that example. This week there was a hearing. It must have been a follow-up hearing where they brought in the executives to speak before Public Property with Councilman Bobby Henon, and that was right here in the people's chambers. And they brought in about maybe ten executives from the organization that's going to buy the parking garage. I believe it was InterPark. And during the course of the questioning, it just so happened it was advertised, but I was the only citizen who came and sat right along this bench.

    The executives all sat around and they talked about the points of the purchase. And then it was a question and answer period where the distinguished Chairman, Mr. Henon, acknowledged my question. And Councilman Greenlee knew what I was going to say, and he talked about Economic Opportunity Plans. And through the good leadership of this Council, they already had two plans.

    But I wanted -- it was just apparent a question for me to ask. It must have been ten white men and three white women of the upper management. So I had to ask the question, can you tell me about diversity on your upper level of management in this corporation. The Chairman, he seemed to be shocked. He said, That's a technical question. And to the credit of Bobby Henon, Councilman Greenlee, and Councilman Oh, they didn't say a word. They let that hang out there for three seconds, which probably to him was an eternity, and then they allowed me to ask a second question. Well, Mr. Chairman, let me make it plain. How many black men, black women, Latino men, Latino women, Asian men, Asian women do you have on the upper levels of your corporation. So, once again, they didn't say a word. And as a citizen, that's important, because they didn't diminish my question. They allowed me to ask the question, and they gave me my respect as a citizen. And that's all we want.

    So I salute you. I salute Bobby Henon, Councilman Greenlee, Councilman Oh, and all of you for that issue of diversity for giving me the respect as a citizen to address my concerns.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Coryn Wolk, commenting on 140079.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning, and, again, we seek segue testimony. Thank you.

  • Thank you for the opportunity to speak. My name is Coryn Wolk and I'm with Protecting Our Waters of Philadelphia.

    Like our Water Department, a public PGW provides a steady reliable transfer of funds to our city's needs. In PGW's case, it's $18 million a year.

    Mayor Nutter and the proponents of this deal are bragging about the $1.86 billion in the terms of the deal, but these companies aren't stupid. If the entity you're bargaining with gives you everything you want and more, you're probably overlooking something major. And that, among other things, is LNG exports. This has been talked about and hinted at in some of the press coverage, but the City hasn't come out and said that this was a major motivation for the deal.

    However, PGW currently owns LNG facilities along the waterfront, and former Pennsylvania DEP Secretary Michael Krancer has said that this deal would allow Philadelphia to become the new Houston.

    LNG exports mean more fracking in Western Pennsylvania and elsewhere for natural gas, meaning more air and water pollution and methane escaping to contribute to climate change, more pipelines costing the State and the City when we can't even maintain the infrastructure that we already have.

    We already know that this deal will cut good jobs and aid to the City's most vulnerable citizens. We know that it will allow UIL to raise prices at will after 2017. LNG exports guarantee higher gas prices for Philadelphians and people across the country.

    Mayor Nutter says that he wants Philadelphia to become the greenest city in America. More fracking and fossil fuel exports and emulating Houston is moving in the opposite direction. Let's move forward, not backward. Let's keep PGW public.

  • (Applause.)

  • Daisy Cruz, commenting on 140110.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning, members of City Council. I thank you for this opportunity for letting me read my short statement here. My name is Daisy Cruz and I'm the Director of the Mid-Atlantic District of SEIU 32BJ.

    32BJ is supportive of expanding the Living Wage and Benefits Review Committee. We think that this is an important step, along with enforcing current laws on the 21st century wages and benefits towards alleviating poverty in our neighborhoods. The City should not be in the business of subsidizing poverty wage jobs or employers who do business with the City of Philadelphia.

    Although the airport receives significant taxpayer support, nearly 2,000 low-wage workers at the airport are not benefiting from the existing minimum wage standard due to the City's interpretation that the law does not apply to subcontractors.

    We appreciate that City Council has given Philadelphia voters a chance this May to apply the City's minimum wage law to those who need it the most. The minimum wage ballot initiative, along with expanding the Living Wage and Benefits Review Committee, are important steps towards lifting thousands of service workers out of poverty.

    We would like to thank Council and their leadership in this fight and look forward to continued partnership to lift more Philadelphians out of poverty.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Bishop Dwayne Royster.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning, Mr. President, members of Council. I'm Bishop Dwayne Royster, Executive Director of POWER, an interfaith movement here in the City of Philadelphia, and the Senior Pastor of the Living Water United Church of Christ over in the Oxford Circle section of Philadelphia.

    I stand today with my friend and colleague Daisy Cruz to urge the passing of Bill No. 140110, the extending of the Living Wage and Benefit Review Committee. I believe that it's an important time in the life of the City of Philadelphia that we begin to look seriously at the low wages that many of our workers are paid in this city who work full time and continue to live in the depths of poverty. We must begin to push back against low-wage work. We must begin to work -- we must work very diligently to prevent poverty from continuing in the City as it pushes towards 30 percent.

    We believe out of our faith traditions of POWER, of our 40 congregations, our 40,000 members of Christian, Muslim, Jewish tradition and non-theist traditions across the City that it is imperative that we not just have a trickle down, but we have a lifting up, and part of the way we do that is to make sure that our employers across the City are paying wages that are commensurate with the jobs that people have, that they have the benefits that are necessary for them to be able to live appropriately, and that it gives an opportunity for our city to thrive in every neighborhood, not just a select few.

    So we thank Council for all the work that they are doing to push against poverty in the City, and we look forward to being a part of that process to continue that with you as we make Philadelphia the great city that we know it can be.

    Thank you very much.

  • (Applause.)

  • Jill Stokes, commenting on 140079.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning. Like our Water Department, PGW represents an essential transfer of $18 million every year to the City. We've seen that privatization of a municipally owned entity almost always accompanies an increase in sales. When they sold their water utility in West Chester and Media, rates doubled for consumers, and in Bristol, Pennsylvania, they tripled.

    The sale stipulates that rates cannot increase for three years, but after that, we know exactly what UIL is going to do. They're going to want a return on their investment, and they wouldn't be paying so much if they knew they couldn't make it back.

    On top of that, we'll have to pay more. Philadelphians are going to lose a crucial voice if the entity is sold. We'll be giving up the ability to determine what the infrastructure looks like in our own city, but we will have to deal with the decisions made by UIL Holding Corp. Please vote against the sale.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • There are no other speakers on the public comment list, Mr. President.

  • Thank you very much, Mr. Decker. That concludes our public comment.

    At this time, we will move to our Calendar, and I would ask Mr. Decker to read the titles of all the resolutions on the Consent Agenda. After each title is read, any member may object to the inclusion of the resolution on the Consent Agenda. Upon such an objection and without debate, the resolution will be immediately removed from the Consent Agenda Calendar and placed on today's regular Final Passage Calendar.

    Mr. Decker will now the read titles of the resolutions on the Consent Agenda.

  • Resolution No. 140110, entitled "A resolution amending Resolution No. 110807 (adopted November 17, 2011), which provided for the appointment of a five person Living Wage and Benefits Review Committee pursuant to Section 17-1311 of The Philadelphia Code, by specifying two additional organizations authorized to make appointments to the Committee"; and

    Resolution No. 140150, entitled "A resolution honoring and recognizing Pastor Brian Jenkins, Founder and Executive Director of Chosen 300 Ministries, for his courage, drive, and commitment to fighting homelessness and poverty in the City of Philadelphia"; and

    Resolution No. 140156, entitled "A resolution honoring The Saint Patrick's Day Observance Association for their efforts in organizing the 244th Annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade"; and

    Resolution No. 140157, entitled "A resolution recognizing and honoring the partnership between the Salvation Army and Walmart to support a peer mentoring program in North Philadelphia"; and

    Resolution No. 140158, entitled "A resolution recognizing and supporting women and girls throughout the world on the occasion of International Women's Day on Saturday, March 8, 2014"; and

    Resolution No. 140160, entitled "A resolution proclaiming March 16, 2014 as Quiara Alegia Hudes Day" in Philadelphia for her awarding winning contributions to the world of arts, literature and theatre"; and

    Resolution No. 140151, entitled "A resolution calling on the City Council of Philadelphia to recognize and support President Barack Obama's execution of a Presidential Memorandum creating and expanding ladders of opportunity for boys and young men of color which established the My Brother's Keeper Initiative"; and

    Resolution No. 140152, entitled "A resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the West Philadelphia Redevelopment Area, identified by house number and street address as 5436 Malcolm Street"; and

    Resolution 140153, entitled "A resolution authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to execute and deliver to the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, without consideration, deeds conveying conditional fee simple title to certain City-owned lots or pieces of ground with the buildings and improvements thereon, situate in the Sixtieth Ward of the City of Philadelphia"; and

    Resolution No. 140154, entitled "A resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Model Cities Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 1627 through 31 West Montgomery Avenue"; and

    Resolution No. 140155, entitled "A resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Cecil B. Moore Avenue Urban Renewal Area, identified by house numbers and street addresses as 1725 through 27 Cecil B. Moore Avenue and 1735 Cecil B. Moore Avenue"; and

    Resolution No. 140162, entitled "A resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the New Kensington-Fishtown Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 2103 Abigail Street.

  • Thank you, Mr. Decker.

    And the Chair now recognizes Councilman Jones for a motion to adopt each of the resolutions on the Resolution Consent Agenda.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move for the adoption of each of the resolutions on the Resolution Consent Agenda.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that each of the resolutions on the Resolution Consent Agenda be adopted.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and all the resolutions on the Consent Agenda have been adopted.

    We will now move to our regular Final Passage Calendar, and Mr. Decker, can you please read the title of 130161.

    Mr. Decker, let's go back and let's do 140161.

  • A resolution also naming 3rd Street between Market and Poplar Streets to "N3RD Street."

  • And the Chair recognizes -- Mr. Decker, let's come back to that. Let's move on to 130161.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 19-1800 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "School Tax Authorization" to provide for the rate and computation of realty use and occupancy tax; and adding a new Chapter 19-3900 to The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Realty Use and Occupancy Tax," to provide for a City realty use and occupancy tax.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Sanchez.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that Bill No. 130161 be placed on the Suspension Calendar.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded that Bill No. 130161 be placed on the Suspension Calendar.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Bill No. 130161 is placed on the Suspension Calendar.

    And, Mr. Decker, 130901.

  • An ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to execute and enter into a Declaration of Rights, Easements, Covenants and Restrictions to govern the relationship among (1) that certain parcel of land, together with the improvements thereon, commonly known as JFK Plaza, located at 15th and Arch Streets, and (2) that certain parcel of land, together with the improvements located thereon, commonly known as Love Park Parking Garage, located generally between JFK Plaza at 15th and Arch Streets, and (3) certain parcels of land around and beneath Love Park Parking Garage.

  • This bill has been read on two separate days. The question is shall the bill pass finally.

    Mr. Decker, please call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilman Oh is voting aye.

    Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • (No response.)

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 15; the nays are zero. A majority of members present voting in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    Mr. Decker, 130902.

  • An ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to execute and deliver a deed conveying fee simple title to a certain parcel of land, together with the improvements located thereon, commonly known as Love Park Parking Garage, located generally beneath JFK Plaza at 15th and Arch Streets; together with certain rights and obligations of the owner of the Love Park Parking Garage unit under a certain Declaration of Rights, Easements, Covenants and Restrictions.

  • This bill has been read on two separate days. The question is shall the bill pass finally.

    Mr. Decker, please call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilman Oh is voting aye.

    Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 16; the nays are zero. A majority of members present voting in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    And the Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I apologize for being out. Can I please be recorded as voting aye on previous resolutions and bills. Thank you.

  • Let the record reflect that Councilman Squilla is voting aye on 130901, and that vote is 16-0. Thank you.

    Mr. Decker, 140054.

  • An ordinance amending Title 20 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Officers and Employees," including Chapter 20-600 ("Standards of Conduct and Ethics"), by prohibiting certain gifts.

  • And the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco for purposes of an amendment.

  • Mr. President, on your behalf, I offer an amendment for Bill 140054, and it has been circulated to members of Council.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded that Bill No. 140054 be amended.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Bill 140054 has been amended and will be placed on our Second and Final Reading Passage Calendar at our next session of Council.

    Mr. Decker, 140003.

  • An ordinance authorizing the revision of lines and grades on a portion of City Plan No. 307 by striking from the City Plan and vacating Croskey Street from its terminus north of Cherry Street to a point approximately five feet southwardly therefrom.

  • This bill has been read on two separate days. The question is shall the bill pass finally.

    Mr. Decker, call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilman Oh is voting aye.

    Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 16; the nays are zero. A majority of members present voting in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    Mr. Decker, 140010.

  • An ordinance amending Section 9-213 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Farmers' Markets" to remove the requirement that operators of farmers' markets obtain a license from the Department of Licenses and Inspections, to provide for registration by market operators with the Department of Public Health, and to adjust various requirements for the operation of farmers' markets.

  • This bill has been read on two separate days. The question is shall the bill pass finally.

    Mr. Decker, please call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilman Oh is voting aye.

    Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 16; the nays are zero. A majority of members present voting in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    140017.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 20-304 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Compensation for Members of Boards, Commissions, Committees and Councils," by repealing Bill No. 100212, thereby returning the compensation for members of the Board of Revision of Taxes to the level existing prior to the passage of that bill.

  • This bill has been read on two separate days. The question is shall the bill pass finally.

    Mr. Decker, call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilman Oh is voting aye.

    Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 16; the nays are zero. A majority of members present voting in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    Mr. Decker, 140079.

  • An ordinance authorizing transfers in appropriations for Fiscal Year 2014 from the General Fund, certain or all City offices, departments, boards and commissions, the Water Fund, the Department of Revenue and the Grants Revenue Fund, the Director of Finance - Provision for Other Grants to the General Fund, certain or all City offices, departments, boards and commissions, the Water Fund, the Department of Revenue and the Grants Revenue Fund, the Department of Parks and Recreation.

  • This bill has been read on two separate days. The question is shall the bill pass finally.

    Mr. Decker, call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilman Oh is voting aye.

    Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 16; the nays are zero. A majority of members present voting in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    Mr. Decker, 140002.

  • An ordinance authorizing the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development to purchase approximately Two and Seven-Tenths acres of land situate at 5210 Lindbergh Boulevard.

  • This bill has been read on two separate days. The question is shall the bill pass finally.

    Mr. Decker, call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilman Oh is voting aye.

    Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 16; the nays are zero. A majority of members present voting in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    Mr. Decker, 140100.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 17-1300 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Philadelphia 21st Century Minimum Wage and Benefits Standard," by further providing with respect to the membership of the Living Wage and Benefits Review Committee.

  • This bill has been read on two separate days. The question is shall the bill pass finally.

    Mr. Decker, call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilman Oh is voting aye.

    Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 16; the nays are zero. A majority of members present voting in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    Thank you. We're going to go back to 140161.

  • Resolution also naming 3rd Street between Market and Poplar Streets to "N3RD Street."

  • And the Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Oh, this is the withdraw one. I'm sorry. I'd like to withdraw the bill -- I make a motion to withdraw.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that Resolution 140161 be withdrawn.

    All in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Resolution 140161 has been withdrawn.

    Mr. Decker, do you have any additional resolutions.

  • A resolution honoring the rich life and loving memory of Jaci Adams: the longest serving member of the Philadelphia Police Liaison Committee; fierce, beloved and award winning leader within the LGBTQ communities; and passionate advocate for transgender and HIV/AIDS health initiatives, introduced by Councilman Kenney.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of myself and Councilman Squilla, I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and that resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution honoring, recognizing, and celebrating the lifetime musical achievements of Benny Golson, for his contributions to the world of music through radio, television, and film, introduced by Councilman Greenlee on behalf of Council President Clarke.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and that resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution congratulating Donn Scott on his retirement from the financial services industry, introduced by Councilwoman Tasco.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and that resolution is adopted.

    Councilwoman Brown, your light is on. Did you need to be recognized?

  • Not at this hour, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    Please proceed, Mr. Decker.

  • And a resolution recognizing and acknowledging Delta Sigma Theta Sorority on the occasion of its Seventh Annual Philadelphia City Council Delta Day, introduced by Councilwoman Tasco.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and that resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution proclaiming March, 2014 as American Red Cross Month in the City of Philadelphia, introduced by Councilman Johnson.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and that resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution recognizing the week of May 5, 2014 as Correctional Employees Week for the City of Philadelphia for these dedicated employees and their tireless work within the Philadelphia Prison System, introduced by Councilman Jones.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move for its adoption.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and that resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution recognizing and congratulating the Philadelphia Museum of Art for its groundbreaking cultural exchange with the Republic of Korea to present to American audiences one of the finest exhibitions of Korean art, Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392 through 1910, introduced by Councilman O'Neill on behalf of Councilman Oh.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and that resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution recognizing and honoring the life and service of William "Wild Bill" Guarnere, introduced by Councilman O'Neill on behalf of Councilman Oh.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and that resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution requesting the Mayor to return to Council Bill No. 130908, entitled "An ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Spruce Street, Juniper Street, Cypress Street, Watts Street, Pine Street and Broad Street," for the purpose of reconsideration by the Council of the vote by which said bill passed Council, introduced by Councilman Squilla.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the rules of Council be suspended to permit consideration of special business at this time.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Councilman, just move the adoption of the resolution and then special business we'll do the actual vote on --

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and that resolution is approved.

  • And a resolution authorizing the joint public hearing by the City Council Committee on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and the Committee on Global Opportunities and the Creative/Innovative Economy on the impact and feasibility of Philadelphia hosting major, international events, including party conventions, the Olympics and the Semiquincentennial celebration in 2026, introduced by Councilwoman Bass.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and that resolution is adopted.

  • There are no other resolutions on the Final Passage Calendar, Mr. President.

  • Thank you very much, Mr. Decker.

    We will now move towards special business, and the Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla for a motion regarding special business.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the rules of Council be suspended to permit consideration of special business at this time.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended to permit consideration of special business at this time.

    All in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it and the motion passes.

    Mr. Decker, please read the letter from the Mayor.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, I am returning herewith, as requested by your resolution adopted March 13, 2014, Bill No. 130908, entitled "An ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Spruce Street, Juniper Street, Cypress Street, Watts Street, Pine Street and Broad Street, by amending Chapter 14-500 of the Zoning Code entitled 'Overlay Zoning', by amending Chapter 14-700 of the Zoning Code entitled 'Development Standards', and by amending Chapter 14-800 of the Zoning Code entitled 'Parking and Loading', all under certain terms and conditions," for the purpose of reconsideration by the Council of the vote by which said bill passed Council.

  • Thank you.

    And the Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla for a motion that Council reconsider the vote by which Bill No. 130908 was passed.

  • So moved, Mr. President.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • All in favor please signify by saying aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and the majority of all members having voted in the affirmative, the motion carries and the vote by which Bill No. 130908 was passed has been reconsidered.

    The Chair now again recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer an amendment to Bill No. 130908. A copy of the amendment has been circulated to all members of Council. I move for the adoption of this amendment.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the amendment to Bill No. 130908 be adopted.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it and the amendment is approved, and Bill No. 130908 has been amended and it will be placed on our Final Passage Calendar for our next session of Council.

    This concludes our special business.

    Are there any speeches on the part of the minority?

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Brien.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. At this time, I will offer remarks about the immigration services bill I introduced last week.

    Philadelphia has a rich immigration history, and our immigrant community continues to thrive today. Many people in Philadelphia require assistance with immigration matters, and they place a tremendous amount of trust in immigration assistance service providers. These providers have a duty and responsibility to properly and legally serve their clients.

    The work of immigration assistance providers can literally affect every facet of their client's life. The ability to live and work within the United States and to establish and maintain stable families and business relationships of many people with immigrant matters hinges on the work of such providers.

    Given the size of Philadelphia's immigrant community, immigration assistance service providers have a significant impact on the social, cultural, and economic life of the City. Currently in Philadelphia we have no regulation of the practice of immigration assistance services. I believe this leaves people who require assistance with immigration matters vulnerable to exploitation, fraud, financial ruin, family upheaval due to the unscrupulous business practices of some of these providers.

    And make no mistake, those knowingly and intentionally preying upon and deceiving our immigrant population are committing a fraud. People who require assistance with immigration matters deserve to know the exact scope of work to be performed by a service provider. There needs to be built in assurances that they are getting proper assistance and have some recourse should they be wronged by an assistance provider, because the consequences can be steep and life-altering.

    Last week, I introduced a bill that will create licensing standards for those providing immigration services. The intent of my legislation is to give immigrants and persons who require assistance with immigration matters clarity about how immigration services should be handled from an ethical, fair, and honest business practices and preserve public confidence.

    Earlier this week, the Public Safety Committee held a hearing on this issue, which is also commonly referred to as notario fraud. At our hearing we had several courageous and brave victims testify about the devastating impact of this fraud. We also had a variety of stakeholders, including the Federal Trade Commission, the District Attorney's Office, and the Police Department, testify and amplify how this fraud is perpetrated upon victims and present solutions to stop it.

    I believe the thoughtful and appropriate legislation I introduced presents an opportunity to stop the exploitation and the fraud in our immigrant community. This legislation is a step in the right direction, and I look forward to the ensuing dialogue and the effort to find good solutions.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Any speeches on behalf of the majority?

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. First I'd like to say thank you to Councilman Jim Kenney for a taste of the Irish culture today. She was a talented young woman.

    Secondly, I'd like to remind members that immediately following City Council, there will be a legislative luncheon hosted by former Mayor Reverend W. Wilson Goode and the executive leadership at the Big Brothers Big Sisters, Marcus Allen. So we invite members to join us next door and to hear about the new, exciting things that are happening there at Big Brothers Big Sisters.

    Lastly my remarks, today I want to seize the moment to share what I view as amazing news. On February 25th of this year, federal health authorities reported a 43 percent drop in obesity rates among children ages two to five. This represents the first broad decrease in this epidemic since the publication of the 2004 National Institutes of Health comprehensive report on obesity wherein it stated that obesity among young people of color was at a crisis.

    According to the Center for Disease Control, about 8 percent of our young people were obese in 2012. That figure is down from 14 percent in 2004. When young people are overweight or obese, the fact is that they are five times as likely to be overweight or obese as adults.

    According to the lead researcher, quote, This is the first time we have seen any indication of any significant decrease in any age group.

    This data is even more exciting when coupled with a 2013 report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation wherein it stated Philadelphia reported a significant reduction in the rate of obesity amongst school children, particularly among teens and young people of color. Rates of obesity for children K through 12 decreased by 4.7 percent.

    So kudos to Dr. Donald Schwarz and our Health Department for their concentration in this area. I keenly remember sitting in this Chamber during the Street Administration when Philadelphia was named, and I quote, not by us but by others, "the fattest city in America," end quote. As elected officials, some of us did complain and others of us got to work. My office worked with The Food Trust and called for hearings on what we now know as food deserts. It was Representative Dwight Evans' vision as the then Chair of the House Appropriation Committee that led to new financing methods for supermarkets in certain neighborhoods, attracting grocers like Jeff Brown of Brown's Shop Rite. Together, Representative Evans and Jeff Brown have literally changed the landscape of many of our neighborhoods, creating jobs, offering fresh food at an affordable cost, and teaching a new generation of Philadelphians how to shop and eat healthier.

    In 2004, City Council passed a resolution introduced by my office to ban all sodas and sugar-sweetened drinks from the public school vending machines. We met with Coca-Cola and others. We worked with then Chairman James Nevels and SRC member Sandra Dungee Glenn, who saw the smartness in that resolution. They later decided to remove sodas from schools K through 8.

    The SRC then acted to take deep fryers out of Philadelphia schools and make the switch to 1 percent skim milk. And then later Paul Vallas and his Chief of Staff, Natalie Paquin, now CEO of Girl Scouts, led the charge to expand organized sports to middle school grades and thus expanded sports programs in high schools, proving the point without funding for athletics programs, we continue to rob our students of many, many valuable healthy benefits.

    And then later in 2010, my office introduced the menu labeling legislation, which took us two years to get done, seeking nine votes, but at the end of the day, we got 12 votes, and as a result, we're now teaching a new generation of parents and young people that knowledge is power and life really is all about choices, including nutritional choices. We may not always pick the healthiest choice, but menu labeling gives us the power to make healthier choices.

    So I thank my colleagues who supported me, and I thank those who came later and said, Blondell, that was not such a bad idea.

    We must also salute what I call corporate citizens like McDonald's, who saw the need, listened to parents, and have added healthier food options to their menu. In 2004, McDonald's began offering apples as a Happy Meal option. In 2012, McDonald's began including apples in all future Happy Meals. So now we will have a new generation of young people that know that a Happy Meal can include tasteful fresh fruit.

    And how can we have a conversation about winning the war on childhood obesity without mentioning First Lady Michelle Obama? Her program, Let's Move, is changing how young people and adults view food, fitness, and healthy living, and she's achieving great results, as was reported two weeks ago around the country. Her mission has created an entirely new dialogue between parents and children, and the results from Let's Move we'll see years to come.

    Just as a generation of 1980s babies grew up with Nancy Reagan's Just Say No, Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign is having the same effect. Some might call this a cultural flash point that moves far beyond the walls of the White House. Michelle Obama is making the notion of healthier eating and exercise the expectation and not the exception to the rule. So now I imagine eight years from now when we look to see the impact the Let's Move will have on future generations, including young people who fill these seats.

    The point, progress has been achieved, albeit incremental, through the work of many stakeholders over this last decade, and I'm energized by the fact that when we do sort of stick to our guns on issues that matter, we can make a difference, if not for us, for the little people that are coming behind us.

    So there's a lot more work to be done in this area, and so I say stay tuned as we continue the mission of working to build healthier children and young people, Mr. President.

    I thank you very, very much.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Thank you, Mr. President.

  • It's Johnson, sir, Mr. Majority Leader.

    Thank you, Council President. In January, specifically on January the 26th, the Washington, DC-based Violence Policy Center released a study that listed the City of Philadelphia -- that listed the State of Pennsylvania ranking fourth as it relates to homicides amongst African Americans, specifically African American young men. And there's a quiet understanding in the African American community that when the weather breaks, people don't know how to act, and that we have seen on the television over the past several days, we have seen an increase in gun violence throughout the City of Philadelphia.

    To date, there have been 52 homicides. Fifty-two of those homicides were by handguns, which means 94 percent of the gun violence taking place in the City of Philadelphia -- 94 percent of the violence taking place in the City of Philadelphia are by firearms.

    And so I just want to always make sure that as we go about addressing the various issues in the City of Philadelphia, we also pay attention to the issue of African American black-on-black youth gun violence. And so in the spirit of Falaka Fattah who during her movement No Gang War in '64 -- '74 and produced young leaders such as my Majority Leader, Councilman Curtis Jones, I will always remain on the issue of addressing the issue of youth gun violence amongst African American young men.

    We do have a neighborhood task force on youth gun violence that I implemented, kicking the year off and -- kicking this year off in January. We have had several meetings with community members. This evening we will be having a youth think tank spearheaded primarily by young people to talk about what they believe are the issues and concerns and how they can address the issue of youth gun violence and us as adults can be supportive of them. This event will take place at Vare Rec Center from 6 o'clock, and we encourage individuals who are hearing this announcement to come out to participate. And I think collectively as a Council body and as a city and our individual districts as well as the members who are at-large members continue to step up and play a role as we try to save our young people from killing one another.

    Thank you, Council President.

  • Thank you, Councilman Johnson. Thank you for your continued good work on this very crucial issue.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to announce that this evening from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. there will be a town meeting sponsored by my State Representative, Cherelle Parker, at Saint Peter's Lutheran Church at 74th and Briar Road. There will be representatives from various City and State agencies to provide information to those who attend. We welcome all.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • The other J.

    I rise today to not talk about my own work, but I want to talk about one of my colleague's work, and I was glad that he didn't talk about it. I want to rise to talk about Councilman Johnson's hearings on CSX yesterday. And sometimes as a Councilperson you really wish you could forget what you learned, because you don't sleep well at night because of what you now know and that burden of knowledge.

    Yesterday I sat very long hours with Councilman Greenlee and other Councilpeople as we learned about some of the dangers that every day as we sleep ride through our communities, through our city and we don't know much about it.

    Unfortunately, the buck stopped in Councilman Johnson's district when a train derailment happened. But the good news is that Councilman Johnson jumped right on it and called the giants of the industry to task and made them come all the way from, I think, Florida to come and address some of the safety concerns. And what we learned was, Mr. President, that there are at least 25 nasty chemicals that ride through our cities and our neighborhoods every day and night that we don't know much about, that our administrators of the Streets Department really don't know when they're there, when they leave.

    We found out that we have different definitions of "dangerous." There's one definition of dangerous that if a train can go through our community and not spill a drop, okay, it's not dangerous. But if a chunk of concrete or a piece of metal falls on the streets below, oh, well, that's your problem. And we have different definitions of "dangerous" when it comes to that.

    We found out that we have different definitions of "training." They boasted that they have trained our first responders on how to deal with these kinds of potential catastrophes, but when we dug down into the issue -- thank you, Councilman Johnson, again -- we discovered that all they were going to train our first responders on was how not to open their boxcars. Not how to deal with the spills of what comes out of them. We don't have to look far but to Jersey to see how that kind of apathy can cause a community a catastrophe.

    Councilman Johnson over and over and over again yesterday said, We just ducked a bullet, averted a catastrophe, but we're going to learn from it and do better and do better.

    And so I just want to say a good piece of work, Councilman, and thank you for allowing us to be a part of it.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    I want to say, Councilman Johnson actually called me late last night, and I was a little concerned that the hearing, because they were really getting into all aspects of the issue, that he would actually impede our ability to have the Council session today. That's how late he was here. But he called me last night, told me, We're done, we're okay for Thursday.

    But I, like Councilman Jones, want to say thank you so much, because I know throughout all of our districts, we have this continuing challenge with respect to potential for hazardous effects. So thank you and continue the good work, sir.

    I'd like to recognize Councilwoman Bass.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I do want to -- I was in the hearing yesterday for part of it and I did hear some of the questions that were asked, and I have to say I was shocked and surprised as well and very much troubled by the information that we received yesterday, because it really did show that there's a huge gaping hole and no one, it seemed, was willing to step up and fill that hole in terms of responsibility for what happens if you're walking under a bridge and something falls down on you or the spikes that Councilman Jones brought that came from a railroad track that they just assumed some kids had thrown overboard but -- had thrown over the bridge, but as if that was the only way that they could have gotten there, even though there was a lot of debris and issues with the bridge itself.

    So I too want to congratulate my colleague on his fantastic work for yesterday.

    But I actually wanted to mention an event that we'll be hosting this evening, myself and Council President Clarke. We'll be having a Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment information event this evening in partnership with Temple University Health. It's going to be held this evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Student Faculty Center for Temple University, 3340 North Broad Street. That's Broad and Ontario. And we want folks to come out, find out what information is available to help you become enrolled, what Obamacare means to you, and how we can be helpful to you.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    And the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I too want to congratulate Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and add that I know you and I share many of -- not their active tracks, but their inactive tracks, and what those inactive tracks have created in terms of blight and dangerous situations in my district. The 1st Congressional District, which is one of the poorest, we have over 200 people living in a dormant CSX track. It is a situation that many do not want to recognize, because then they have to deal with it.

    I know DA Seth Williams and others have joined me. We've gone down there, and we see children and families who have made this place their home. And as we talk about this in their active tracks, we also have to hold them responsible for their inactive tracks and whether we end up in the long term filling them or what we do is important, because we spend quite a bit of our City resources cleaning, constantly cleaning, these tracks. And while they have in some cases put some fencing around it, one of the recent murders in the City of Philadelphia was in one of these tracks where there were body parts that were found, and it's a quite dangerous situation.

    So I'm glad you brought this up. It is a very complex issue, and want to remind you that those dormant tracks that may never be used again continue to be areas of blight and crime in neighborhoods in North Philadelphia.

    So thank you.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Yesterday not only did we learn that that track, thanks to Councilman Kenyatta Johnson's leadership, is not treated, we had -- I want to thank members of the community in addition who came out, people from South Philly, Southwest Philly, various groups who talked about the fact that for nearly 20 years, no one had cleaned under the bridge, had cleaned the bridge that children walk across. They didn't shovel snow, that nothing happens, you know. It seemed to me to be a 22nd and Market Street about to happen.

    So it's unbelievable that in this day and time we can live with these horrendous conditions right under our noses. So, again, I commend the leadership and all the community people who came and testified and certainly, along with everyone else here, pledge my commitment to make a difference.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    And the Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Council President and colleagues, I just want to say for the record that Councilman Jones and myself came to an agreement that we recess the hearing so we can continue addressing this issue, and yesterday was only the beginning.

    Thank you very much.

  • Thank you, sir.

    And that concludes the remarks, and with that, I call on Councilwoman Brown for a motion to adjourn.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that City Council stand adjourned until Thursday, March 20th, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, March 20th, 2014, 10:00 a.m.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Council shall stand adjourned.

    Thank you all very much.

    (Stated Meeting adjourned at 12:35 p.m.)