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 Councilmembers to please take their seats and ask the guests and visitors to please retire behind the rail. Thank you very much.

    To give our invocation this morning, the Chair recognizes the Reverend David Friel, Pastor of St. Anselm's Roman Catholic Church. He is here today as the guest of Councilman O'Neill.

    Before I ask all guests and visitors to please rise, Pastor, I got to believe you are the youngest pastor we have ever had in here today. I've heard that your wisdom and your spirituality far surpasses some people who are much older than you. So we really appreciate you coming down today.

    I'd ask all guests and visitors to please rise.

  • (Members and guests rise.)

  • Let us pray.

    Almighty God, we approach you as servants, servants of your will and servants of one another. Make us united in our work so we can effectively accomplish the good that you have established for us to do.

    Grant us humility to recognize your will and sufficient courage to submit ourselves to it. Help us to hear your commandment to protect and provide for the hungry and the homeless. Keep us mindful of those in prison and those who suffer from physical or social maladies. In all things, give us a heart that demonstrates true love.

    In serving this great city, may we serve her citizens, and in serving our brothers and sisters, may we serve you.

    Heavenly Father, look down on this assembly and bless us. Let your face shine on us. Be gracious to us. Look upon us kindly, and give us your peace.

    In the glory of your name, we pray.

    Amen.

  • Thank you so much, Pastor, for those inspiring words.

    Council shall be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you so much.

    The next order of business is the approval of the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, February 7th, 2013.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, February 7th, 2013 be approved.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, February 7th, 2013 be approved.

    All in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The Journal is approved.

    The next order of business is requests for leaves of absence.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of the majority, there are no requests for leaves of absence today.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of the republicans, a leave of absence is requested for Councilman Dennis O'Brien.

  • Thank you, sir. Leave shall be granted.

    At this time, I'd like to dispense with the regular order of business to welcome and thank all of the guests and visitors who have come down today. We hope your stay is a pleasurable one. We hope you enjoy yourself so much that you please come back again. So, again, thank you. We look forward to your continued interest in this Council. Thank you so much.

    At this time, I'd like to recognize Councilwoman Blackwell, who will present a resolution recognizing the family of Nelson Mandela Myers and Nai'lla Robinson. Would Imam Asim Abdu-Rashid and Nelson Mandela Myers and those accompanying them please join the Councilwoman at the podium.

    And joining the Councilwoman is Councilman Jones and Councilman Johnson, and we also have a guest and visitor, Superintendent Chitwood, from our neighboring township, and one of our great leaders from the House of Representatives, Ron Waters, our good friend. Thank you.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Today we have two resolutions that we will read, one after the other.

    Thank you, everyone. Our first honor, City Council, City of Philadelphia citation recognizing the family of Nai'lla Robinson.

    The Council of the City of Philadelphia respectfully recognizes the family of Nai'lla Robinson for their courage while enduring the hardship that befell her during this time.

    The Council also recognizes the State House and the State Senate's efforts in investigating the potential misuse of religion to commit crimes, particularly in the case of Nai'lla Robinson, who was abducted from her Bryant School classroom.

  • Whereas, the Pennsylvania State Police issued an Amber Child Abduction Alert for the Pennsylvania Police Department, Philadelphia County on Monday, January 14th, 2013 when 5 year old Nai'lla Robinson was found missing from Bryant School when her day care provider arrived to pick her up;

    The State Police's Amber Alert for Nai'lla stated that Nai'lla was taken from Bryant Elementary School at 8:50 a.m. by a woman wearing a traditional Muslim burqa naqib, which is a face cover, and black gloves; and

  • Whereas, Nai'lla had been dropped off for her kindergarten only five minutes earlier by her mother;

    Surveillance footage shows the girl walking through hallways with the unknown woman, who has not been found;

    We recognize the potential misuse of religion in this particular circumstance; and

    Whereas, many African American leaders from Philadelphia partnered to offer a cash award finding Nai'lla that surpassed $105,000;

    This extraordinary response from citizens of Philadelphia began when two dozen African American men combined their resources to offer $10,000;

    This brought the total reward to $30,000 when Mayor Michael Nutter and the Fraternal Order of Police also offered $10,000; and

    Whereas, these partners came from...

  • And whereas, these partners came from all sectors of Philadelphia including the clergy, community organizers, education, law, business and elected officials;

    Nai'lla's abduction resulted in an outpouring of support and prayers from the public, including celebrities such as NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and former Xscape singer Tameka Harris; and

    Whereas, a man named Nelson Mandela Myers walking down the street on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 around 4:40 a.m. heard cries from help and found Nai'lla Robinson underneath a jungle gym clad only in a t-shirt;

    She was taken to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where she was evaluated for hypothermia and reunited with her mother;

  • Therefore, by virtue of this citation, the Council of the City of Philadelphia does hereby respectfully recognize the family of Nai'lla Robinson for their courage while enduring hardship that has befallen Nai'lla during this time.

    The City Council also recognizes the State House and State Senate's efforts in investigating the potential misuse of religion to commit crimes, particularly in the case of little Robinson, who was abducted from her Bryant School classroom.

    We in this Council sincerely offer our strength and endurance during this time of need.

    Sponsored by Council Lady Jannie Blackwell and supported by all members of the Philadelphia City Council.

  • (Applause.)

  • At this time, the Chair recognizes the Imam Asim Abdu-Rashid.

    IMAM ABDU-RASHID: On behalf of the family, I would like to thank everybody for their love and prayers. We really believe that it was through prayer that Nai'lla was returned to us alive. So we want to thank everybody for that.

    We want to thank Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell for this resolution introducing this law that would bring about some stability to the fact that people would dress up in any religious garb and portray people of religion and then commit crimes against the public. So we want to thank everybody for that.

    God bless.

  • (Applause.)

  • Our second resolution, recognizing Mr. Nelson Mandela Myers for his acts of kindness and community involvement.

    Whereas, on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013, at approximately 4:40 a.m., Nelson Mandela Myers was walking on 69th Street and discovered a child under the sliding board in the playground clothed only in a wet oversized t-shirt crying for help; and

  • Whereas, the child found crying was identified as five-year-old Nai'lla Robinson, who was under the Pennsylvania State Amber Abduction Alert after being taken from the Bryant Elementary School classroom by an unidentified woman on Monday, January 15th, 2013; and

    Whereas, with arms outstretched, Nelson scooped up the little girl up in his arms, wrapped her in his arms and immediately called 911; and

  • Whereas, Nai'lla was immediately transported to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where she was evaluated, treated and reunited with her mother; and

    Whereas, Nelson Mandela Myers responded quickly with the utmost care and concern for the little girl he discovered shivering and frightened that Tuesday morning; and

  • Whereas, as a direct result of Nelson Mandela Myers' involvement, five-year-old Nai'lla Robinson is alive and safe again; and

    Whereas, the recognition of "Good Samaritans" should not go unnoticed; and

  • Whereas, through your actions, we know you recognize the intrinsic equality, dignity and worth of every person; and

    Whereas, Nai'lla's abduction resulted in an outpouring of support and prayers from the entire Philadelphia community, including celebrities homegrown such as NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and former Xscape singer Tameka Harris; therefore

  • Resolved, that the City Council of Philadelphia, hereby recognizes Mr. Nelson Mandela Myers for his acts of kindness and community involvement.

    Further resolved, that an engrossed copy of this resolution be presented to Mr. Nelson Mandela Myers as evidence of the sincere sentiments and respect of this legislative body. And we're proud that this was agreed to by each and every member of City Council.

  • (Applause.)

  • Before we call on Mr. Myers for remarks, Chief Chitwood and State Representative Myers would like to say a couple of words -- I'm sorry; Waters. I'm sorry. I don't know where that came from.

  • This is the first person I called when I heard about it, my friend, Chief Chitwood, Superintendent Chitwood.

  • Thank you. You know, in my years of policing, you meet a lot of people, good, bad, indifferent, and I've had the opportunity to get to know Mr. Myers and his family, a gentle, decent, kind human being that got involved. He didn't walk the other way. He didn't ignore what he heard. At first he thought it was a kitten, and he stopped. He had his earphones on. He stopped and he went over, and he saw the child. And when I talked to him that day and he started telling me the story about how he reached out and grabbed the baby and held her close and wrapped her, I mean, I had a tear. I had a tear in my eye listening him tell that story and then talk about his children.

    So I want to thank him and I want to thank Council and I want to thank the entire community for coming together today to recognize this issue and certainly the law enforcement community who gets involved.

    So thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Let me acknowledge some of our police officers with whom we work daily and who are here, and they're standing in the back, but certainly there's our Captain in the 18th, there's our Police Community Relations Officer -- would you like to say something -- and we want to thank them. We call them each and every day on various issues, and they're always here for us. We thank them for being here as well.

    Representative Waters.

  • Thank you, Council President, and thank you, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, for this resolution and the support you have given to this cause. I'm sure I speak for the family when I say that we all appreciate what's going on here in Council today, what's been going on in the law enforcement community.

    We're trying to find out who the perpetrators of this crime is. And as the resolution indicates, on the State House I'm working with the legal team right now to find out what can we do legally to add punishment on to someone who commits a crime dressed in religious attire to go out there and do Satan's work.

    So we want to -- we know that there's an Amber Alert, but we might need to do a Nai'lla Alert to make sure that we have in law a punishment for people impersonating, like they have a law for impersonating a law enforcement officer, well religious garb is sacred to the people of that faith. So we believe that they should be punished. So I'm working on that in Harrisburg.

    But I just want to thank Councilwoman Blackwell and all the Councilmembers who are here today and who have supported this effort. We're going to get this done, and also in the Senate, because it does have to pass through two chambers in order for it to go to the Governor's desk for his signature.

    Thank you so much.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you. And I now would like to ask Mr. Myers to please say a couple of words.

  • I would just like to say thank you and really appreciate what you guys did. And like as that day, I just wanted to say, you know, I'm just doing what a good man is supposed to do.

    That's it, and thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson, who will present a resolution recognizing CeaseFirePA. Would Shira Goodman and those accompanying her please join the Councilman at the podium.

    And joining Councilman Johnson we have Councilwoman Bass and Councilman Jones and Councilwoman Brown and Councilman Squilla and Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you, Mr. President.

  • On December 12th of 2012, less than two weeks before Christmas, as a city, as a state, as a country, we all watched the news in horror as a gunman killed 26 people, 20 first graders and six educators, inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in a matter of minutes.

    A little over a month later, on January the 29th, thugs fired into a crowd of young people taking cover from rain in a Chicago park and killed Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old honor student and majorette who had performed during an inaugural event for President Obama just eight days before.

    In the City of Philadelphia, in 2012, there were more than a thousand shootings and more than 300 murders as a result of the senseless acts of gun violence that not only plagues the City of Philadelphia but also in cities throughout America.

    Gun violence is a major problem here in this city and across America, and that's why today I want to honor an organization that stands on the front line in addressing the issue of gun violence, not only from a public policy standpoint focusing on legislation such as the report of lost and stolen guns, closing the Florida Loophole, but even from a grassroots perspective, joining with community leaders and going to court and making sure our judges do not give out lenient sentences to those who do not have our community's or our city's best interest at heart. And so today I thank my colleagues for joining me in recognizing CeaseFirePA.

    And the citation reads: Honoring, recognizing, commending CeaseFirePA for its extraordinary service and dedication to reducing gun violence by educating and mobilizing people across Pennsylvania.

    Whereas, CeaseFirePA is a coalition of nearly 50,000 Pennsylvanians, including citizens, public officials, faith leaders, and police, united in their stand against gun violence; and

  • Whereas, CeaseFire was founded in 2002 and has established itself as a primary gun violence prevention network and a vocal presence in the public policy discussions about public safety and violence prevention in communities across Pennsylvania; and

  • Whereas, CeaseFirePA's mission is to minimize gun violence by educating citizens of Pennsylvania to take action in favor of commonsense reforms to protect communities and to crack down on individuals who traffic guns illegally; and

  • Whereas, in 2008, CeaseFirePA worked with state legislators to achieve the first vote on a gun violence issue in more than 10 years, which jump-started the issue in Pennsylvania; and

    Whereas, in 2009 and 2010, CeaseFirePA developed a credible voice and established local footholds with municipal action and committees across Pennsylvania; and

  • Whereas, CeaseFirePA believes that in order to reserve the perception that illegal gun possession is not a serious offense, judges need to begin treating it as gravely as they would a violent act; and

  • Whereas, CeaseFire Pennsylvania's strong advocacy and firm belief that gun violence is preventable, not inevitable, will continue to be a driving force for change throughout the Commonwealth; now therefore

  • Resolved, by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that we hereby honor, recognize, and commend CeaseFirePA for its extraordinary service and dedication to reducing gun violence by educating and mobilizing people across Pennsylvania.

    Further resolved, that an engrossed copy of this resolution be presented to CeaseFirePA as evidence of the sincere sentiments of this legislative body.

    And at this time, I would like to present this citation to CeaseFire Pennsylvania. Thank you for your hard work.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Ms. Goodman for remarks.

  • Thank you, President Clarke, and thank you to Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and all the Councilmembers for this terrific honor today.

    Philadelphia has been our great partner in fighting gun violence, taking the lead in the state leading 49 other towns and municipalities in declaring that we want the power to protect our people by passing lost and stolen requirements. And we will continue to fight for you to be able to enforce that or to get a statewide requirement that requires citizens all across the state to report if their guns are lost or stolen. We will continue to work with you to bring citizens into our court to make clear to the judges that when somebody brings an illegal gun into our communities, even if they don't fire it, it is a crime of violence that endangers all of us and is deserving of serious consequences.

    We are working for commonsense gun reforms. We are not trying to take people's rights away. And you have been a strong partner with us before Sandy Hook. We will continue to work since Sandy Hook. Luckily, we have many more partners now, and we are going to keep moving forward. And I'm just pleased to share with you that we have had two terrific successes just in the most recent weeks with Attorney General Kane closing the Florida Loophole and restoring power to our local police to decide who will have the power to carry a concealed weapon in Pennsylvania, and that the State Police have shared more than 600,000 missing mental health records with the national database. That keeps Pennsylvanians safer. It keeps Philadelphians safer. It keeps Americans safer. And we will keep working with all of you to do that.

    Thank you so much for this honor.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you so much.

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

    Mr. Decker, will you please read the messages.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, I am pleased to advise you that on February 12, 2013, I signed all of the bills that were passed by Council at its sessions on January 31, 2013 and February 7, 2013; and

    I am transmitting herewith for the consideration of your honorable body an ordinance authorizing Beacon on East Girard doing business as Kraftwork to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 541 East Girard Avenue, all under certain terms and conditions.

  • Thank you. These messages will be printed in today's Journal.

    Do you have any other communications, Mr. Decker?

  • I have none, Mr. President.

  • Thank you so much.

    The next order of business is the introduction of bills and resolutions.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Today I introduce one non-privileged resolution.

  • 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 Sixth and Forty-Sixth Wards of the City of Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I'm introducing one bill on your behalf today.

  • An ordinance amending Title 14 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Zoning and Planning," and Title 16 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Public Property," and making conforming amendments to the Code to provide for a comprehensive plan for the placement of advertising on municipal property.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Mr. President, I offer one privileged resolution. I'd like to speak on the resolution.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman. Would you like to speak now?

  • A privileged resolution authorizing the Council Committee on Public Health and Human Services to hold hearings regarding the impact of the Commonwealth's failure to expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Quote, "The expansion will recapture $13 billion in federal tax dollars over the next seven years, money that would otherwise go to other states. The expansion will create a greater safety net for the poor and the mentally ill and ensure a healthier revenue stream to hospitals, which have their reimbursements cut for uncompensated care under the Affordable Care Act."

    Quote, "The Affordable Care Act makes sense for the physical and financial health of the state, and the expansion will create more access to primary care providers, reduce the burden on hospitals and small businesses, and save precious tax dollars," end of quotes.

    In reading these two statements, one would assume that these quotes came from governors that supported President Obama last fall, governors that would have served as excellent surrogates during the presidential reelection campaign, because they could have promoted the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care.

    However, this assumption would be wrong. These quotes came from republican governors John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Snyder of Michigan, truly conservative governors that supported Mitt Romney and controversial bills that promoted right-to-work initiatives that will reduce membership in organized labor in their states. Yet, these governors, as well as the republican governors of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and North Dakota, have decided to expand Medicaid in their states so that millions of their uninsured constituents can receive health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and nationwide a total of 21 states have moved forward with the implementation of Obama Care.

    In contrast to his fellow members of the Republican Governors Association, Governor Corbett, in his February 5th budget address as well as in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, stated that he could not recommend expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania under the Affordable Care Act due to its cost and lack of flexibility. However, the Urban Institute, a non-partisan economic and social policy research organization, has estimated that Medicaid expansion would bring an estimated $38 billion in additional federal dollars to Pennsylvania between 2014 and 2022.

    Additionally, they also estimate that Pennsylvania's spending on Medicaid between these years would grow only 1.4 percent over what the state will spend without expansion. One's state savings on uncompensated care for hospitals are factored in.

    Pennsylvania would also have an additional $300 million per year in spending on existing programs, such as state-funded health coverage for individuals with behavioral health problems and other disabilities.

    Accordingly, Medicaid expansion will save Pennsylvania money through a combination of state savings and new revenues, creating tens of thousands of new jobs statewide and growing the state and local economies, which, considering that Pennsylvania's unemployment rate is higher than the national average, this economic growth is needed for Pennsylvania's fiscal recovery.

    This economic growth is also needed for Philadelphia's fiscal recovery as well as its global reputation for a region for excellence in healthcare. The City is uniquely positioned to benefit from the economic growth created by the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

    From this perspective, it is important for Council to hold hearings regarding the impact of the Commonwealth's failure to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

    Further, and considering that Pennsylvania could expand Medicaid as early as January 1, 2014, it is also important to analyze the financial impact of Governor Corbett's decision as we deliberate the City's Fiscal Year 2014 Operating Budget and Five Year Plan.

    In order to have a fair and balanced decision regarding this issue, we will invite representatives from the federal Department of Health and Human Services as well as from Governor Corbett's Administration. Consequently, we hope to answer the question of whether the Affordable Care Act is too costly for Pennsylvania or a significant economic benefit that we must adopt.

    Thank you, Mr. President, and I ask my colleagues to support this resolution.

  • Thank you so much for those very important words.

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

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Mr. President, I have two privileged resolutions and one non-privileged resolution.

  • A privileged resolution honoring, recognizing and commending the Queen Memorial Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia on the occasion of its 100th Anniversary for its extraordinary service and dedication to the citizens of Philadelphia.

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

  • And a privileged resolution authorizing City Council's Transportation and Public Utilities Committee to hold hearings to examine the Pennsylvania state budget's impact on transportation infrastructure, SEPTA and Philadelphia's economy.

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

  • And a non-privileged resolution amending Resolution No. 120538, approving the annual Program Statement and Budget for the expenditure of the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative Bond Proceeds for Fiscal Year 2013.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Sanchez.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. No bills or resolutions.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. No bills or resolutions today.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown.

  • Council President, I offer one resolution.

  • A non-privileged resolution calling on members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to pass legislation that allows for early voting in primary and general elections in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one privileged resolution co-sponsored by yourself and Councilman Johnson.

  • A privileged resolution authorizing the City of Philadelphia's Joint Committee on Public Safety and Education to hold public hearings regarding the Philadelphia School District policy for the dismissal or release of students to parents, guardians or other individuals for the purpose of verifying the identity of persons who remove a student from any Philadelphia public school.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

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

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    And the Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

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

  • A privileged resolution celebrating and expressing appreciation on the 150th Anniversary of the opening of the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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

    That concludes our introductions. The next order of business is reports from committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones for a report from the Committee of the Whole.

  • Thank you again, Mr. President. I move that -- wait a minute. I'd like to offer the Rules Committee's -- the Committee of the Whole's report.

    It's been a long morning.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Mr. Decker, please read the report.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, the Committee of the Whole, to which was referred Resolution No. 120883, entitled "A resolution confirming the reappointment of Christopher Lewis as a member of the Board of the Philadelphia Energy Authority, serving in the term ending January 1, 2018"; and

    Resolution No. 130032, entitled "A resolution approving the appointment of George Ginder to the Veterans' Advisory Commission"; and

    Resolution No. 130033, entitled "A resolution approving the appointment of Tony Jenkins to the Veterans' Advisory Commission"; and

    Resolution No. 130034, entitled "A resolution approving the appointment of Joseph Melendez to the Veterans' Advisory Commission"; and

    Resolution No. 130035, entitled "A resolution approving the appointment of R. Edward Speller to the Veterans' Advisory Commission"; and

    Resolution No. 130036, entitled "A resolution approving the appointment of Delano Stones to the Veterans' Advisory Commission"; and

    Resolution No. 130037, entitled "A resolution approving the appointment of Ernest Landers to the Veterans' Advisory Commission"; and

    Resolution No. 130095, entitled "A resolution approving the appointment of Aronda Smith to the Veterans' Advisory Commission," respectfully reports it has considered the same and returns the attached resolutions to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones again.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit consideration of these resolutions on today's Final Passage Calendar.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended this day to permit consideration of Resolutions No. 120883, 130032, 130033, 130034, 130035, 130036, 130037, and 130095 at today's session of Council.

    All those in favor please say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. These resolutions will be placed on today's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman Green for a report from the Committee on Finance.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The Committee on Finance reports two bills with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Mr. Decker, please read the report.

  • The Committee on Finance, to which was referred Bill No. 120110, entitled "An ordinance amending Title 21 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Miscellaneous,' by requiring the Mayor to submit to Council, with the proposed annual capital budget and capital program, a cost-benefit analysis that includes the return on investment and payback time for each capital project funded through the capital program and certain other information, following procedures to be adopted by the Finance Director"; and

    Bill No. 120143, entitled "An ordinance amending Title 21 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Miscellaneous,' by requiring the Finance Director to submit to Council, with the Mayor's proposed annual operating budget, an information technology strategic plan, following procedures to be adopted by the Managing Director," respectfully reports it has considered and amended the same and returns the attached bills to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Green.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bill No. 120110.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended this day as to permit first reading of Bill No. 120110.

    All those in favor will say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. This bill will be placed on our First Reading Calendar for today. Bill No. 120143 will be placed on the First Reading Calendar for our next session of Council.

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman Greenlee for a report from the Committee on Law and Government.

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

  • Thank you, sir.

    Mr. Decker, please read the report.

  • The Committee on Law and Government, to which was referred Bill No. 120960, entitled "An ordinance amending Chapter 21-1700 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Publication of Notices by City,' by revising provisions concerning how and when certain required notices shall be published and advertised"; and

    Bill No. 121002, entitled "An ordinance amending Title 10 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Regulation of Individual Conduct and Activity,' to provide for the licensing of certain horses, to provide for requirements with respect to keeping certain horses, and to further provide for penalties and enforcement," respectfully reports it has considered the same and returns the attached bills 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 Nos. 120960 and 121002.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bills No. 120960 and 121002.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. These bills will be placed on our First Reading Calendar for today.

    The next order of business is consideration of the Calendar. I note that the bills just reported from committee with suspension of the rules have been deemed to have had a first reading. These bills will be placed on our Second Reading and Final Passage Calendar for our next session of Council.

    As there are no additional bills on the First Reading Calendar, the Chair now recognizes Councilman Jones to call up bills and resolutions on the Second and Final Passage Calendar.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The following resolutions and bills are being called up for Second Reading and Final Passage Calendars today: Nos. 130084, 130087, 130091, and 130092. All other resolutions and bills are being held.

  • Thank you so much.

    Before we address our Calendar, we will have public comment. The public comment goes as follows:

    Those individuals who are interested in speaking on bills and resolutions that are on the Final Passage Calendar, you must sign up to the table on my left.

    You will have three minutes to speak. We ask that you please comply with these guidelines because we would like to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to speak.

    In the middle of the Council you will see a podium. There is a microphone and a device. When it is your time to speak, the light will turn green. When it turns yellow, it means that you have 30 seconds to conclude your remarks. Thank you very much.

    Mr. Decker, would you please read the name of the first individual who is interested in testifying today.

  • Blanca Mandia, commenting on 130084.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning, everybody.

  • My name is Blanca Mandia. I with the SEIU Local 32BJ. I working in the Center City in Philadelphia.

    I coming today from South America, Colombia 25 years ago. For 13 years, I live in America. I no have papers. I living for SKR, for immigration, police, and I have a different job. It's not stability. It's very complicated for me.

    But now my life change, because I have the papers. I have a beautiful job, union job, benefits, beautiful house. I love America. And my daughter is 22 years. She go to the school for the nursing. I see the beautiful future for my daughter and for me.

    I'm here because outside is 11 medium people no have papers. It's time for the wonderful immigration, because this is a beautiful country. It's a risk country. It's a big country, and need people for working in the ground, in the factories, but the people need respect. And a lot I have it today.

    This is the moment. This is the time. America, the people need wonderful immigration, please.

    Thank you so much for the opportunity talking today.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Carlos Ibarra, commenting on 130084.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity that you are giving me today. My name is Carlos Ibarra. I am an immigrant. I am also a father, a husband, and a member from SEIU 32BJ.

    My parents brought me to this country when I was just 12 years old. They came here looking for work and a better life for me. We are very proud for what we have accomplished here, because we have worked very hard. But my parents, they always stressed the necessity for education and also for me to learn how to speak English.

    Today, my oldest daughter, I am very proud to say that she just finished and graduate from New York State University, and my youngest daughter is attending Temple University right now.

    I am also a veteran. I serve in the military forces in the United States Army from 1977, '79, '80, and '91. I have fought for my country. I set out this is my country and it has been my country for the past 22 years.

    My parents also established a foundation to keeping the families together. I could not imagine, let me tell you that, how my life would have been so different have my family been split. Why? Because I believe firmly in having families together creates a good foundation for the future and for our kids.

    So I'm calling onto you guys today, to City Council, to help support the new comprehensive immigration law. Why? Because good families create a foundation and a better country.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you so much for your testimony.

  • (Applause.)

  • Ignacio Flores, commenting on 130084.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

    MR. FLORES (through interpreter): Good morning. My name is Ignacio Flores. I am an immigrant from Mexico, Veracruz.

    A long time ago I decided to immigrate to the United States looking for a better future for my family and for my kids. Unfortunately I was not counting on the obstacles I was going to find and the immigrant laws that exist in this country. And I think that it's not right that after all the obstacles and after all the dangerous journey that we do, we are facing danger of deportation.

    It's really hard for me, and now I remember when my kids cry and told me not to come, not to leave them back. Especially my mother telling me not to go, not to risk my life going there and staying there, but it was really hard.

    And now what I would like to ask is to please help us with immigration reform that will allow us to have a better future. I am fine if there are documents that I need to provide and proof that I need to provide, because I think it's good to have a just immigration reform.

    I think that if we have immigration reform, we would be able to grow more and also contribute to this country more. Working and paying taxes, we will be able to grow this city more.

  • And I'm sorry. Personally and from the organization, we would like to thank Councilman Kenney and Councilwoman Quinones for introducing this resolution.

    Thank you very much.

    MR. FLORES (through interpreter): Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Mia Lia Kiernan, commenting on 130084.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning, Councilmembers. My name is Mia Lia Kiernan. I'm a community organizer and co-founder of One Love Movement. We were born out of a detention and deportation crisis in the Cambodian American community here in Philadelphia two and a half years ago. Thank you for having us here today to testify about the importance of the Philadelphia City Council resolution on comprehensive immigration reform.

    We first must thank you for seizing this crucial moment in political history to have the voices of Philadelphia heard in the national immigration debate. We thank you for your commitment to building strong relationships with community organizing groups, community activists, leaders, and advocates and allowing us to help shape the language of this document in partnership with you, our elected officials. We thank you for having the courage and integrity to lead our stance on CIR with the concerns and analysis we have on the ground here in Philly. Your leadership makes us proud and gives strength to our hearts in the face of oppressive immigration and deportation systems that test them every day.

    We all know there's a national effort to pass CIR this year. This is why we're here in City Council today, for Philadelphia to have a voice in that initiative but also for Philadelphia to empower ourselves in national efforts that often loses the voices from the grounds. Now is the time to be clear about what CIR means for us.

    As the national effort says, it is fighting for the best and the brightest. We say that's not enough. The reality is that our schools are struggling to stay open, our dropout rates are high and real, our teachers are overworked and underpaid and, therefore, legalization should be extended to young people who strive in our broken education system for GEDs, vocational training, and alternative education too.

    As the national effort says it is fighting to keep families together, we say that needs to be defined in a way that includes all of our families regardless of immigration status, family structure, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.

    As the national effort says it is fighting for enforcement and deportation of, quote/unquote, criminal aliens, we say that is a blanket term used to describe our young people who have become part of not just the school-to-prison pipeline but a school-to-deportation pipeline. We believe in second chances and redemption in Philadelphia.

    As the national effort says it is fighting for swifter legalization of agricultural workers, we say we know deeply our country's history of exportation and division of workers, and any new worker visa program must guarantee with it fundamental rights and fairness to all workers.

    We have begun our job today by challenging the national effort to see us here on the ground and challenging lawmakers to take our analysis into deep consideration. We have challenged them to acknowledge the root causes of our forced migration, such as conditions created by destructive U.S. foreign policies that have led to genocide, economic and human, and conditions of war, conflict, and economic devastation to entire nations.

    With that, we also want to let you know that your courageous stance has empowered other cities to step out of the mainstream line of immigration reform as well. Through One Love's national network of allies and community groups, this resolution was sent to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who were so inspired by the language of this document that they wish to adopt it as representative of their city's stance on CIR after we do so here today.

    So thank you all very much, and happy Valentine's Day.

  • (Applause.)

  • (No response.)

  • Tamara Jimenez, commenting on 130084.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning. My name is Tamara Jimenez. I'm an undocumented youth. I was lucky I got granted deferred action, but my mother and my step-dad, they don't have nothing at all. So I'm here on their behalf, because everyone talks about how it's their parents' fault when they bring their children to this country. And I say that every parent will do anything for their kids to put food into their mouth, to give them a birthday, a Christmas present.

    And everyone talks about how we are here to take jobs. My mother and my step-dad, they own a business. We are contributing to the economy in this city and in this State of Pennsylvania, and it's just not fair that they don't have anything to hold on to feel secure, because with a blink of an eye, anything can change and all the hard work that they have done is going to collapse.

    So I think this immigration reform shouldn't be just about selecting people what's right for this country, but for those who also are contributing to this country, like my mother and my step-dad.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you for your testimony.

  • (Applause.)

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

  • Thank you so much.

    That concludes our public -- I'm sorry. The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • I would appreciate your indulgence just for a moment relative to this particular issue, if I may.

  • Thank you. I'm sure this body is going to support this resolution because we're all decent, good people who understand what these folks are going through, but I want to remind from an historical perspective some of the ethnic experiences in this country, starting with the Irish in the 1840s on through the 1880s, '90s, where no Irish need apply for a job because they were discriminated against, where nativist Know-Nothings attempted to burn down two churches right here in Philadelphia in the 200 block of Queen and on the North 4th Street and were fought off and not accomplished their goal.

    When Italians came to this country at the turn of the century, there was an ethnic slur that I learned growing up in South Philadelphia which I was not allowed to use, of course, because my parents wouldn't let me, but it was a slur called WOP, which we've heard more than we need to hear in our lifetime, and that slur meant without papers. So undocumented immigrants are nothing new.

    When the Jews in Europe were fleeing the scourge of Nazism, they came to the United States. When Haitians were starving to death in their own country, they put their own children and themselves on a raft and set off the beach not knowing where they'd land but looking for Florida.

    Every group of people that have come here, Cambodians who were fleeing Khmer Rouge and the killing fields of Pol Pot, the Vietnamese who came here because of war and destitution, all came to the United States, because that's where you go. That's what we stand for. That's where we are.

    People know that they're going to have a chance here, and I think this is the first time in the last five, six, seven years in the United States Congress where there's some bipartisan work going on together, which is amazing, and it's around this issue. And I urge those sensible people in Washington, those people who don't want to build a wall or hire every charter bus in the country to take people back where they're not going will get together, get this done, and make our country proud of our history once again.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • It's amazing what elections will do, sir.

    Mr. Decker, there are no other speakers; am I correct?

  • There are no other speakers, Mr. President.

  • Thank you.

    At this time, we will consider the resolutions and bills on the Second Reading and Final Passage Calendar.

    I would like to recognize Councilman Kenney -- Mr. Decker, read the title of 130084.

  • A resolution urging the 113th Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform as outlined in this resolution that keeps families together, upholds our values as a nation, promotes economic growth, and creates a fair immigration system guided by respect for the human rights of all persons.

  • The Chair now recognizes Councilman Kenney for a motion.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of myself and Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez, I move the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. 130084 is adopted.

  • (Applause.)

  • Mr. Decker, please read the title of 130087.

  • 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 numbers and street addresses as 1716 through 26 Folsom Street, 1730 through 50 Folsom Street and 703 through 05 North Eighteenth Street.

  • Thank you.

    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. Resolution 130087 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 130091.

  • 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 Seventh, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Thirty-Seventh and Forty-Third Wards of the City of Philadelphia.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Sanchez.

  • Thank you. I move for the adoption. I'm sorry. I wasn't paying attention. I move for the adoption.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Resolution 130091 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 130092.

  • 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 numbers and street addresses as 400 West Susquehanna Avenue (including 2152 North Fourth Street and 2159 North Leithgow Street), 417 West Susquehanna Avenue (including 2202 North Leithgow Street and 2203 North Lawrence Street), 2151 North Fourth Street and 2153 through 55 North Leithgow Street.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes -- would you like to be recognized now or after? That's a mistake, okay.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Sanchez.

  • 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. Resolution 130092 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, do you have any additional resolutions?

  • A resolution authorizing the Council Committee on Public Health and Human Services to hold hearings regarding the impact of the Commonwealth's failure to expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, introduced by Councilwoman Tasco.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • 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. The resolution is adopted.

  • (Applause.)

  • And a resolution honoring, recognizing and commending the Queen Memorial Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia on the occasion of its 100th Anniversary for its extraordinary service and dedication to the citizens of Philadelphia, introduced by Councilman Johnson.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • 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. The resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution authorizing City Council's Committee on Transportation and Public Utilities to hold hearings to examine the Pennsylvania state budget's impact on transportation infrastructure, SEPTA and Philadelphia's economy, introduced by Councilman Johnson.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • 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. The resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution authorizing the City of Philadelphia's Joint Committees on Public Safety and Education to hold public hearings regarding the Philadelphia School District policy for the dismissal or release of students to parents, guardians or other individuals for the purpose of verifying the identity of persons who remove a student from any Philadelphia public school, introduced by Councilman Jones.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • I'd like to speak to this resolution for a brief second.

  • I want to commend my colleague Councilwoman Blackwell for bringing forth the young man, Nelson Mandela Myers, who rescued young Nai'lla from her situation. I've been off my game ever since talking to the grandfather of that child today, who we recognized in Council.

    This resolution allows for us not to pile on to the SRC or the School Board's current fiscal woes, but it allows us to work together with them to examine the extraction policies that are currently on the books that removes young people from schools. It is kind of not as widely accepted from school to school as it should be. There are bits and pieces in different places, and we need to codify that policy.

    In addition, we need to explore different technologies that can be used to universally allow for -- maybe even bar codes or some other things to allow for acceptance of IDs and people that are from time to time removed from the list when people go through divorces or when people have protection orders. There are a whole plethora of things that may change the status of a parent or a guardian, but we need to update those policies and procedures in light of all that is going on in this Chamber today and unfortunately in our school systems.

    So we want to work with the school system to kind of assure with law enforcement and with the School Board, SRC to assure parents when they drop those precious babies off, they're dropping them off to a safe haven.

    So with that, I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution celebrating and expressing appreciation on the 150th Anniversary of the opening of the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, introduced by Councilman Oh.

  • I'm sorry. The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • 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. That resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution confirming the reappointment of Christopher Lewis as a member of the Board of the Philadelphia Energy Authority, to serve in the term ending January 1, 2018, introduced by Councilman Jones for Council President Clarke.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • On your behalf, I move for the adoption.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is also adopted.

  • And a resolution approving the appointment of George Ginder to the Veterans' Advisory Commission, introduced by Councilman Jones for Council President Clarke.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Jones.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution approving the appointment of Tony Jenkins to the Veterans' Advisory Commission, introduced by Councilman Jones for Council President Clarke.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • I move for the adoption.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is adopted.

  • And Resolution No. 130034, entitled "A resolution approving the appointment of Joseph Melendez to the Veterans' Advisory Commission," introduced by Councilman Jones for Council President Clarke.

  • 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.)

  • That resolution is adopted.

  • And Resolution No. 130035, entitled "A resolution approving the appointment of R. Edward Speller to the Veterans' Advisory Commission," introduced by Councilman Jones for Council President Clarke.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Mr. President, I move for its adoption.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • That resolution is adopted.

  • And Resolution No. 130036, entitled "A resolution approving the appointment of Delano Stones to the Veterans' Advisory Commission," introduced by Councilman Jones for Council President Clarke.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • I move for its adoption, Mr. President.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is adopted.

  • And Resolution No. 130037, entitled "A resolution approving the appointment of Ernest Landers to the Veterans' Advisory Commission," introduced by Councilman Jones for Council President Clarke.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • I move for the adoption.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is adopted.

  • And Resolution No. 130095, entitled "A resolution approving the appointment of Aronda Smith to the Veterans' Advisory Commission," introduced by Councilman Jones for Council President Clarke.

  • Mr. President, I move for the adoption.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is adopted.

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

  • Thank you very much, Mr. Decker.

    That concludes our Calendar. Are there any speeches on the part of the minority?

  • (No response.)

  • There being none, are there any speeches on the part of the majority?

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I'll first start off by saying happy Valentine's Day to everyone. And as we go through this process, I don't think some of our taxpayers are going to feel love after those bills go out tomorrow. But as we enter the budget season, Mr. President and colleagues, it is critical that Council fully understands the impact the AVI will have on all Philadelphia residents.

    I recognize that officials on the local and state level have worked diligently and continue to work diligently on relief measures to protect those most vulnerable Philadelphians.

    Throughout the budget process, I will pay special attention to those in certain parts of my district, which is the 2nd Councilmanic District, who could see the largest jumps in their property taxes. I firmly believe that residents and properties that have been under-assessed for years need to pay their fair share, but I will also act as an advocate for these residents to ensure that we aren't taxing them out of their homes.

    Many average Philadelphians cannot afford to pay a tax bill that is four, five or even six times larger than their last bill. And so I've been working with my staff and Council technical staff to comb through the numbers on a block-by-block basis throughout the 2nd Councilmanic District to fully understand the impact of this new system and how it would have an impact on all the residents in the 2nd Councilmanic District to craft sensible relief measures for those most affected.

    And so I wanted to really take a look at this process. We have been getting bits and pieces of information, some from the City Controller's Office. I will be briefed, with other Councilmembers, by the Administration, but it's something to really pay close attention to as we go through this process, because we also don't want to have a system where there are winners and losers based upon a system that has been broken which is now currently being corrected.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Sanchez.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. First, I want to recognize two students who are interning in my office as part of their 12th grade graduation requirement at Sankofa Freedom Academy of Frankford. I have Malika Tender, who is someone who is interested in public policy. So don't be surprised if you see her sitting in my chair in the very near future. And Jeremiah Rodriguez, who is interested in criminal justice. We want to thank them and recognize them. They sat through their first Council session.

    Stand up.

  • (Applause.)

  • They sat as part of their first Council session.

    And I want to add to the words expressed by my Council colleague Councilman Johnson. Whether it is immigration, which is something that we need, and I want to thank Councilman Kenney for his strong leadership in this, the good news is, this city has grown. It has grown because of new immigrants. It has grown because of values, and many of the neighborhoods throughout the City have improved. And so that is the good news.

    I also agree with Councilman Johnson that this Council is tasked with the duty of figuring out how it protects folks as it introduces and hopefully accepts a system that is fair. And that is what AVI is about. It is about fairness. And the system has been so broken that how you get to fairness sometimes may be a tough pill to swallow.

    But we have worked too hard and far too long, and I trust that with your leadership and the amount of talent that is in this Council that we're going to get this done. And in the words of President Obama in his speech, imperfect sometimes, but it is and should move the needle forward.

    So let us continue to work together with our state delegation, who is doing their part to give us the tools, and let everything be on the table as we try to protect as many people as possible, to keep people in their homes, but we go to a system that's fair, so that as we talk about the other taxes that hopefully we will be able to address as this discussion moves forward, whether it's our BIRT tax, our business privilege tax, our U&O tax, that we get to a system that is fair, that is equitable and reflects the growth and the potential of the City of Philadelphia.

    So thank you, and I look forward to working through that in the upcoming months.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you. We want to say thank you, Councilman Squilla, for the flowers. We thank you for the candy. And these little animals are nice, although that's part of our agenda. But thank you very much, and, again, happy Valentine's Day to everyone.

  • Thank you.

    Councilman Squilla, not only did you take on the responsibility of Councilman DiCicco's district, I see you also took on the responsibility of providing flowers on Valentine's Day as he did on an annual basis. Good move, sir.

  • There being no other speeches, at this time I'd like to call on Councilman Greenlee for a motion to adjourn.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, February 21st, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, February 21st, 10:00 a.m.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Council is adjourned.

    Thank you.

  • (Stated Meeting adjourned at 11:55 a.m.)