Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

  • Good morning, everyone.

  • (Good morning.)

  • We've established a quorum. I'd ask all guests and visitors to please retire behind the rail and members to take their seat. Thank you so much.

    To give our invocation this morning, the Chair recognizes the Reverend Kathleen Murray, a longtime friend of ours, Deacon of St. Clement's Episcopal Church of New York and senior at the General Theological Seminary of New York. She is here today as the guest of Councilman Squilla.

    All guests and visitors, please rise.

  • Good morning. I bet you never thought you'd see me on this side of it.

    Eternal God, founder of all wisdom, giver of light and life, we give you thanks for the dedicated labors of this City Council and all that its members do to govern our great City of Philadelphia.

    Help these dedicated men and women to make and keep this city a home for all its different peoples, and grant to our Councilmembers and their staff imagination, skill, and energy to address the many needs across this great city.

    Bless these leaders that they may serve to bring peace among ourselves and be a blessing to others. Grant that through their discussions and decisions, we may solve our problems effectively, enhance the well-being of our city, and achieve a fairer and more united society.

    Give them insight, courage, and compassion and grant that we give them the support and affection that they need so all may be strengthened. Send down upon each member the spirit of wisdom, charity, and justice that with steadfast purpose, they may faithfully serve in their offices to promote the well-being, respect, and concern of all people.

    We ask this all for your sake and in your holy name.

    Amen.

  • Thank you very much.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you so much. Thank you.

    The next order of business is the approval of the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, April 11th, 2013.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, April 11th, 2013 be approved.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, April 11th, 2013 stand approved.

    All those in favor please say aye.

  • (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.

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

  • Thank you, sir.

    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 to welcome and thank all of our guests and visitors here today. We really appreciate the fact that you've taken time out of your day to come down to see your government in action. We hope your stay here is an enjoyable one, so much so that you come back again. So, again, thank you very much.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman Jones, who will present a resolution on my behalf honoring the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters. Would Mr. Mel Dorn and those accompanying him please join the Councilman at the podium.

    I see we also have joining the Councilman Councilman Greenlee and Councilman Johnson.

  • It is an extreme honor to on behalf --

  • Hold on a second, Councilman.

    Please have your voices lowered, please. Thank you.

  • It is an extreme honor to present this citation/proclamation on behalf of our President of City Council. If we were looking at political DNA and were to trace back from the President of this body to the past President of this body to a 5th Councilmember by the name of Cecil B. Moore, his direct lineage, politically speaking, comes from this man we will honor today.

    I've had a personal privilege of -- for those of you who have been around a while in this body, there used to be a delicatessen called Miller's Inn at 13th and Filbert where the Justice Center now stands, and I used to deliver orders to this building and to Cecil B. Moore. And I want to put on the record forever to know that he was a great tipper.

    So on behalf of the President of City Council, we'd like to honor and recognize Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters for their commitment to the Philadelphia civil rights movement and dedication to preserving the memory of the legacy of one of Philadelphia's most notable civil rights activists, Cecil B. Moore.

    Whereas -- you can clap on that.

  • (Applause.)

  • Whereas, the Council of the City of Philadelphia is pleased and proud to honor and recognize the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters for their commitment to the Philadelphia civil rights movement and dedication to preserving the memory and legacy of one of Philadelphia's most notable civil rights activists, Cecil B. Moore.

    Whereas, Cecil B. Moore was a Philadelphia lawyer and civil rights activist, known for his historic fight for justice, equality, and in the promotion of racial harmony in the City of Philadelphia. Cecil B. Moore served North Philadelphia and the 5th Councilmanic District as Councilman from January 5th, 1976 to February 13th, 1979; and

  • And he was my City Councilman, by the way.

    Whereas, Cecil B. Moore successfully fought for the inclusion of African Americans in previously segregated institutions and businesses, such as Girard College, commercial bus companies, the airline industry, and the Post Office. Under his leadership, Cecil B. Moore grew the largest chapter of the NAACP in the nation, swelling the chapter from 6,000 to 32,000 members in a single year; and

    Whereas, the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters, previously known as the "Young Militants" have remained committed to social activism and equality for all Philadelphians since the 1960s Civil Right movement through picketing, sit-ins, and the general protest; and

  • Whereas, the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters include as members Mel Dorn, Eugene "Freedom Tree" Dawkins, Kenneth "Freedom Smitty" Salaam, Karen Asper-Jordan, Richard J. Watson, Deborah Mills Batchelor, Bernyce C. Mills DeVaughn, Lester Green, Gary Adams, Henry Reddy, Billy Paul, Arlene Jones and James Hammonton;

    Whereas, the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters have meticulously and with great pride upheld the legacy of Cecil B. Moore, his efforts, his name, and his character throughout the City of Philadelphia;

  • And whereas, the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters with the support of then Councilman, and former Mayor, John F. Street and former Mayor W. Wilson Goode, successfully lobbied for a bill in 1979 in honor of the Honorable Cecil B. Moore, renaming the street signs on Columbia Avenue to Cecil B. Moore; and

    Whereas, the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters have demonstrated continued diligence and efforts of inclusion by ensuring the Cecil B. Moore Mural Arts on the 17th Street be included in the Mural Arts City Tour; and

    Whereas, the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters have attained another victory, preventing SEPTA from abbreviating signage on the number 3 bus, and area street signs, from reading C.B. Moore and instead displaying the activist's full name of Cecil B. Moore. The members of the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters have dedicated their time, energy, and in some cases money, to the continued appreciation of Cecil B. Moore and acknowledgment of his struggle;

  • Scared of them.

    Now therefore be it resolved, by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters be honored and recognized for their integrity, dedication, and continued efforts to promulgating the legacy of Cecil B. Moore.

    Be it also resolved that an engrossed copy of this resolution be presented to Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters as evidence of our sincere sentiment of all of this legislative body.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • At this time, I would like to recognize Mr. Dorn for remarks. The Chair recognizes Mr. Dorn for remarks, or whoever you all so may choose.

  • Whoever thought somebody cared about what we do? We try to do the right thing, but who cares. For today, the City of Philadelphia showed, showing us that they care. Been caring for a long time. You just don't know who is watching you. We got Girard College students back there.

    Stand up, please.

  • (Applause.)

  • Jubilee children from Jubilee School, please stand up. Jubilee kids also.

  • (Applause.)

  • Why? Because we care.

    We thank you so very much for this opportunity. Thank you on behalf of all the Freedom Fighters. We love you. And I ask that you do one thing for me, keep on spreading love, will you, please. Thank you.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you so much. Truly inspiring.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell, who will present a resolution recognizing Mr. Charles Ireland. Would Mr. Ireland and those accompanying him please join the Councilwoman at the podium.

    And joining the Councilwoman is Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you very much. With Principal Ireland will be his wife, Ms. Sheila Ireland, and also Isabel Mapp from the Netter Center for Community Partnerships and others. I'm sorry, but we welcome you all. We welcome you all.

    This is a special privilege for me. Not only is this school in my area, but it is a school where a member of my family --

  • Councilwoman, hold on a second.

    Folks, can we have your voices down, please.

  • Where a member of my family -- thank you, Mr. President -- my sister attended, who is now a principal and where she also taught in earlier years.

    So we are really, really pleased. This is an example of what principals can and should be.

    Resolution recognizing Mr. Charles Ireland, Principal of Sayre High School, for his life-long dedication to the field of education and applauding and supporting his continued ingenuity, passion, and goals for students, goals for parents, teachers, and communities alike.

    Whereas, Principal Ireland grew up in West Philadelphia on the 5900 block of Pine Street, which is right near the school, as you know, with his parents, who to this day live in the same home. They are here. They live like two blocks from the school itself, and they are here with him today.

    Whereas, each member of Mr. Ireland's immediate family are in the field of education: his father a retired motivation coordinator teacher, his mother a retired English teacher -- that was my field -- one sister a biology teacher, and the other sister a special education teacher; and

    Whereas, Mr. Ireland earned an associate degree in natural science from Delaware County Community College, a biology degree from Cheyney University, my alma mater, and his master's degree in educational leadership from Lehigh University; and

    Whereas, Principal Ireland aims to structure Sayre High School's curriculum to meet entry requirements for local universities; and

    Whereas, in order to create such a curriculum, Mr. Ireland plans to actively engage the community so as to bring in all available resources from the surrounding area's established institutions; and

  • Whereas, by partnering with such entities as the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center, Principal Ireland plans to transform Sayre High School into a Health and Science Academy; and

    Whereas, the goal of the Health and Science Academy would be for it to be an inclusive environment as it would provide academic options for students of all abilities;

    Whereas, Principal Ireland plans to invest heavily into extracurricular activities such as a student body government, talent shows, and various boys and girls sports teams; and

    Whereas, in part, the success of Principal Ireland can be traced to his belief that, quote, "environment is not the sole predictor for on outcome, it is what you do that makes a difference," end quote; now therefore, be it

    Resolved, that the Philadelphia City Council recognizes Mr. Charles Ireland, Principal of Sayre High School, for his life-long dedication to the field of education and applauding and supporting his continued ingenuity, passion, and goals for students, parents, teachers, and the community alike.

    Thank you and congratulations.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Mr. Ireland for remarks.

  • I'd like to thank all of you, and I think -- I'm going to be very brief, but first and foremost, we have to give precious thanks to God, our creator, who has allowed me to make it this far. Coming through West Philadelphia is not an easy route.

    So I'd also like to thank my wife and my family who have supported me as needed through thick and thin. I'd also like to thank one of public education's most ardent supporters. I think we would be remiss if we do not thank Councilperson Jannie Blackwell, who has fought and tirelessly fights for our children.

  • (Applause.)

  • I joined that fight about 16 years ago, but I'm just getting started. We have a lot of work to do.

    I'll tell you a little bit about where we're going with Sayre High School. We're a typical struggling comprehensive high school, similar to many in all of the large urban districts. Sayre has had three principals in four years. That's not a recipe for success. That's a recipe for disaster. We need stability, and all educational institutions need a clear vision, committed teachers, administrators, and support staff, along with committed students and parents to make the community of education work.

    So I stand before you today as an example of that commitment. I'm a product of West Philadelphia and the Philadelphia school system, grew up three blocks from Sayre High School on Pine Street, learned how to play basketball in the schoolyard, had many a scuffle and many a joyous time right there in that schoolyard.

    As a typical teenager, never thought my destiny was to help my own neighborhood. I thought I was supposed to go to college, make a million dollars and move on up like the proverbial George and Weezy, but God has another plan.

    So I've been meeting with every constituent possible to help us along this path, and here is what we're doing. We're instilling a common vision that focuses our school on allied health education. There are no career and technical education high schools in all of West Philadelphia. There are no health-oriented high schools in West Philadelphia. And West Philadelphia comprises the largest concentration of healthcare delivery systems in the tri-state area. So there's something missing.

    We're creating the new William L. Sayre Allied Health and Life Sciences Academy, and we have three internal academies that we're creating. We're going to have the Allied Health Academy, which is health-related technology, which is pre-nursing. Students have an opportunity to earn their certified medical assistant certification and be prepared for college. A community health pathway, which is new and interesting, because we're going to focus on public health issues in the local community. We're also starting an environmental academy, and in that academy we're going to focus on natural resources management, which are green jobs, urban gardening, and aquaponics, and there's a certification with that, which is called the PEACE Certification, Pennsylvania Environmental Agricultural Conservation Certificate. So there are certificate options and pre-college options. And, lastly, we'll have a freshman academy.

    But we're doing this because our school already has a mature health center inside the school servicing 30 to 40 patients every day. So we're not starting something brand new. We're building on the existing assets.

    The dental chair in the health center is booked so far in advance that it takes over a month to be scheduled. That's a problem. That means there's a need.

    Dr. Breen, Mr. Carey, and Kenya Hall are all training our students in that clinic now in how to pass their CMA exam and be prepared for college.

    Our school also has another interesting asset, an Olympic-sized swimming pool in the Sayre Rec Center. A lot of us may have gone to the Sayre Rec Center, as I did all of my youth, never knew the pool was owned by the District. So we need to capitalize on that asset.

    So to twist the use of it, we're going to have -- we're going to bring back a swim team, but we're also going to offer scuba lessons. And our school also has four squash courts. Who'd have thought inside the basement of the school.

    So we've begun work again with another partner, Squashsmarts, to offer squash programs for our students and for community members. We also have a meeting coming up where we're going to talk about starting a lacrosse program, and again offer that for the community and the students.

    We have reignited a deep partnership with the University of Pennsylvania, as evidenced by Isabel Mapp who is here with us today from the Netter Center. It's one thing to have a partnership. It's another thing to activate it and to put your time, talent, and treasury to use. So we reignited that partnership, and it is going forward very quickly. So we do after-school programming, during-school content support.

    We have a special shout-out that we have to give to Corey and Ira of the Netter Center. They lead the Netter Center, and without them and that vision, this partnership really wouldn't have come to the level that it is now.

    The last piece for the U Penn is the class of 1980. The class of 1980 at University of Penn, with the leadership of Isabel Mapp, has actually come back in the school, has brought our students to this great body, has brought our students to the Barnes Foundation, has used their contacts to open doors that our students would not usually have access to. That is valuable, but they do it with themselves and their time, talent, and treasury, not just phone calls.

    We've created a new partnership with the University of the Sciences, which has now begun to bear fruit, and that's an interesting one. Dr. Cathy Poon at University of the Sciences has been a supporter since day one. I've met with the new President, Dr. Giles-Gee. She's a supporter. We've done tours with the kids. We're performing. We're beginning a new mentoring program with them. We're also in discussions about trying to build something physical, more substantial inside the school.

    So plan: Year one, short-term plan, we're focusing on project-based learning, allied health offerings. We've talked about that. A family health clinic where we're going to offer internships, because we already have the clinic. So we're going to allow our students to do internships and working with the community members. Swim teams, scuba, bringing music back.

    And another thing that we brought back is, we have a young man, Daniel, who leads a prayer group during lunch. They come into a room. He leads it. We have a parent group. We have the Mom's Squad, who comes in and leads organizations -- leads kids in prayer and also leads kids in organizational structure, telling kids how to be a man, how to be a woman, what does it mean, coming from mom, coming from dad.

    We also have an increased -- we're going to see increased performance on our exams, and we also have online support that we're going to deal with A Plus.

    So three years, the big picture, authentic allied health education, prepping students for college and jobs. All of this delivered and supported by Sayre Health and Life Science Academy students.

    So as you can see, I'm very excited and thankful that Councilperson Blackwell has believed in this vision and supported us from day one when it was just that, a thought. So with that, I say I am under no illusion that this is going to be easy or simple. This is no longer a job. This is my purpose, and I ask all of you for help. Help us make this work. Partner with us.

    So I thank you. I truly appreciate this opportunity. You know I got to get back to my chillins, but, again, I would ask you, please, partner with us, help us, and if you see a student going astray, talk to them. Talk to them.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you. Before we move on to our next presentation, the Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I'd like to recognize a group of young men from RISE that have graced the Chambers today to see how government is run and hopefully be inspired to some day take all of our places.

    Would they please stand.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you. And I want to acknowledge that we have a couple of ladies in the crowd also. Thank you so much for being here today.

    Thank you, Councilman.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman Oh, who will present a resolution recognizing Rock Ministries. Would Buddy Osborn and those accompanying him please join the Councilman at the podium.

    And joining Councilman Oh we have Councilman Squilla, Councilman Jones, and Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you very much, Mr. President.

    As they approach the podium, I would like to just make some introductory comments.

    Rock Ministries is a ministry above all else. It is a church, a place of God. But this is a very special kind of place. It deals with the most difficult, most challenged young people in our city. And I'd like to share an example.

    I remember a young boy. He was called the one-armed boxer. He's a young Latino boy. He had one arm, and he would fight. And he was a great boxer. One day I learned that he had lost his arm because his father got high and got a shotgun, shot off his arm.

    So I can imagine the issues that this young boy has growing up and how angry he is, as many young men and women in our city are. And he began to box and he began to fight, but it was not a fight he would ever win. The thing that was saving him was the love that he was receiving, and that's the work that Buddy Osborn does. He is a person who is very humble. He probably thinks to himself that he's not worthy, but I would like to say that God decides who is worthy.

    So I'm very pleased to recognize and honor Rock Ministries on their Tenth Anniversary of providing a unique combination of sports and faith based programs for at-risk youth in Philadelphia.

    Whereas, in 2003, Buddy Osborn, a former Pennsylvania Golden Gloves Champion, formed Rock Ministries to train at-risk young people ages seven to twenty-two as a means of directing their energy away from crime and towards positive competition and self discipline; and

  • Whereas, Rock Ministries is located in the Kensington section of Philadelphia and began offering a unique combination of boxing training and Bible study for young people, with the belief that when kids connect with God, their lives are changed; and

    Whereas, Rock Ministries has evolved over time to include faith-based mentoring, computer classes, a homework club, a chess club, art and music classes, all at no cost to the participants; and

  • Whereas, Rock Ministries has provided their service to more than 4,500 at-risk young people in Philadelphia and average age between 80 -- the average between 80 and 100 youth per day taking advantage of the variety of programs that they have to offer.

    And on a point of personal privilege, coming from the Philadelphia building trades and the building trades' involvement of Rock Ministries from the beginning, I could say that Buddy Osborn, its trainers, and Rock Ministries is on the side of the good angels; and

  • Whereas, of the young people who have gone through the program of Rock Ministries, 15 have become Golden Gloves Champions and three have become Amateur World Champions;

  • Whereas, through his love of boxing, strong belief in God and tireless dedication to at-risk youth, Buddy Osborn has impacted and transformed the lives of thousands of young people who may have over otherwise been destined for lives in crime and in incarceration; now therefore be it

  • Resolved, that the Council of the City of Philadelphia, recognizes and honors Rock Ministries on their Tenth Anniversary of providing a unique combination of sports and faith-based programs for at-risk youth in Philadelphia.

    Resolved further, than an engrossed copy of this resolution be presented to Rock Ministries as evidence of the respect and admiration of this legislative body for their positive work in our community.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Mr. Osborn for remarks.

  • Councilman, President, the Council Chambers, I really appreciate this, Councilman Oh. There's a theory that we have in Kensington. We're situated 35 feet of what's considered the number one drug corner in the City, the top one in the country -- top four in the country, five in the country, where 90 percent of the prostitution arrests come from Kensington. I often say this: I'd rather reach a kid on the street block than a prison block.

    You can -- you take a gun from a kid's hand, he'll replace it with a bat. You take a bat, he'll replace it with a knife. You take his hand, he'll kick you to death. Until the heart changes, we're going to have the same problems constantly in the City, at least in Kensington, but when men and women roll up their sleeves and quietly get involved, positive things happen.

    We're close to 5,000 kids we're reaching, and we've seen kids now becoming police officers, going to college, and there's just some amazing things that have been taking place. And one of the scriptures that we use is in Philippians 3:14, and it says, all the kids know, I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

    Thank you for this award I share with my friends and family.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you so much.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman O'Brien, who will present a resolution recognizing April 2013 as Autism Awareness Month. Would Dr. Wendy Ross and those accompanying her please join the Councilman at the podium.

    And joining Councilman O'Brien is Councilman Johnson, Councilwoman Blackwell, and Councilwoman Brown and Councilman Squilla.

    Please proceed, Councilman.

  • Thank you, Mr. President.

    I'd like to be very positive today, but I would like to outline that we're all aware that we have differences between Harrisburg and Philadelphia on such issues as education, health and human services, and even probation and parole. But the purpose today is to celebrate Philadelphia and its infrastructure, which is people, and the people leading the autism conversation from Philadelphia throughout the world.

    We've done a lot in Pennsylvania. We created the first Bureau of Autism Services under the leadership of Nina Wall, who can't be here today because she's heading up a strategic plan that is so far beyond what we're talking about and celebrating even here today.

    But the good things about Philadelphia that we want to take this opportunity to celebrate are the good services of David Mandell. He runs the Center for Autism Research. Tom Insel from the National Institute of Health told me one day when I was in Washington that there are only seven people on the planet that think like David Mandell. He's taught me to take a problem, strip it of its bias, identify the outcomes, and track it by epidemiology.

    You have Craig Newschaffer from Drexel University, the preeminent researcher in autism on the planet.

    And ladies and gentlemen, let me stress this. When you have individuals like this, not only do they do wonderful things in the world of autism, but it's a wonderfully strategic economic development program, because they bring grants here. You have to hire high qualified people to work for these individuals. You have to build buildings for them to habitate while they're doing their good work.

    You have Lindsay Lawler, who is behind me, and she runs ASSERT. They're regional centers that hook up to our centers of excellence where we do the research. She manages the scientists.

    Then we have our own Nancy Minshew-Cante here. She's the world leading researcher in brain research on autism, and she's in Pittsburgh, but we want to shout out to her. We don't want to forget her. But we also have Dr. Wendy Ross, who is taking a much different approach than ever has been taken before. She has trained the personnel at Philadelphia International Airport. It is the first autism-friendly airport in the world, and now there are other airports that are inviting her to train up their personnel as well. She's done the Smithsonian, the Academy of Natural Sciences. And guess what, ladies and gentlemen, we're here to welcome Eric Tobin and Vanessa Mapson from the Philadelphia Phillies, and let me tell you why. They have -- the Philadelphia Phillies are making Citizens Bank Park the first autism-friendly sports menu in the world.

  • (Applause.)

  • And my good friend.

    But I also want you to join me in wishing my friend, the Philadelphia Phanatic, one of his biannual birthdays is this Sunday. So happy birthday, Philly Phanatic.

  • (Applause.)

  • But the Philadelphia Phillies have opened not only their gates, their resources, and the hearts of Philadelphians to the autism community in an extraordinary way, and in a week the New York Mets in a nationally televised game from the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets are going to celebrate not only that competition that takes place on the ball field with those New York stinking Mets, but also the New York Mets have taken a section of their stadium, made that available to families and individuals living with autism.

    We in Philadelphia have trained our whole stadium so individuals with autism can go anywhere and enjoy that sporting venue.

    This Saturday night is Autism Awareness Night at the Phillies. So we invite everybody to go down and celebrate that as well.

    What I'm challenging us in this room today to do is get to yes. You see the infrastructure that is represented behind me. They drive this conversation. I would like to invite Anne Marie Ambrose from DHS, Arthur Evans from Behavioral Health, Joan Ernie from CBH, Dr. Hite from the School District, and my good friends Jannie Blackwell in Education and Marian Tasco on Health and Human Services. I know that they're busy people, but if you want to get something done, you give it to a busy person. I want that collective expertise to come together and build a system, a seamless system, where someone can get diagnosed, they can be assessed, they can be put in a program that habilitates them and makes them successful. That should be our goal, and we should accept nothing less.

    I also challenge the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce to join this conversation and celebrate with us by creating opportunities for employment with individuals living with autism. They can make a difference in your organization.

    I'd also like to challenge in a very, very positive way Independence Blue Cross to drop their lawsuit against Act 62, which is the law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and join us in funding these important services for individuals living with autism. The case is before the Pennsylvania -- they haven't taken it to Pennsylvania Supreme Court. It was dismissed on technicalities. That's wrong, ladies and gentlemen. So I'm giving a shout-out to Dan and my friends at Independence Blue Cross, step up, join the conversation, and let's lean forward and move on.

    The resolution today is coming together, and I know I get on a little bit about this, but it's something that I'm not going to apologize for, because this is something that can bridge the gap between Philadelphia and Harrisburg and the United States government forever. We can do this. We can do it better than anybody on the planet, and we should be about that business.

    So ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to read from the resolution.

    Whereas, April is National Autism Awareness Month. Autism is a spectrum disorder that impairs an individual's ability to learn healthy and socially accepted interactive behaviors and to understand verbal, non-verbal and reciprocal communication; and

  • Whereas, in 2012, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 1 in every 88 children in the United States is on the autism spectrum; and

    Whereas, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has been an international leader in the fight for individuals with autism. Under the Department of Public Welfare, the Office of Developmental Programs was created along with the Bureau of Autism Services; and

  • Whereas, Philadelphia is the home of cutting edge research, experimental studies finding best strategies and inclusive approaches to mainstream experiences, all of which improve the quality of life for individuals with autism and their families; and

  • Whereas, David Mandell, director of the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research at the University of Pennsylvania, is dedicated to increasing the quality of education and healthcare for people with autism in Philadelphia; and

    Whereas, Dr. Mandell has partnered with the School District of Philadelphia, Elwyn and the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health for the last five years to provide training in evidence-based autism prevention to hundreds of professionals serving thousands of children with autism; and

  • Thank you. Whereas, Craig Newschaffer is the founding director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University and a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Drexel University School of Public Health; and

    Whereas, Dr. Newschaffer and his team have created the first autism research center focused on public health science. Their Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation Studies will examine the possible environmental risk factors for autism and study whether there is an interplay between environmental factors and genetic susceptibility; and

  • Whereas, developmental pediatrician Dr. Wendy Ross, who heads Autism Inclusion Resources, is dedicated to making public places more accessible and easier to navigate for people living with autism and their families; and

    Whereas, Dr. Ross has partnered with the Philadelphia Phillies, Aramark and Theraply to make Citizens Bank Park the first-ever autism friendly ballpark in the nation. Autism Inclusion Resources has trained nearly 3,000 game day staff and concession vendors for the 2013 baseball season, and they continue to prepare families step by step so they can enjoy the excitement and fun of the nation's pastime; now therefore, be it

    Resolved, by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that we hereby recognize April 2013 as Autism Awareness Month in honor of individuals living with autism, their families and those working to improve the quality of life for the entire autism community.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Dr. Ross for remarks.

  • Thank you for having me here today.

    What I would ask you to do is imagine for a minute that you grew up in Philadelphia and you grew up attending Phillies games, like most of us are hard-core Philly fans in the City, and when you thought about having your own kids one day, you thought you would want to take them to the Park. And when you had your own kids, you brought them to the Park, but one of your kids had trouble getting out of the car and making it into the stadium. They had trouble waiting on line. They had trouble being jostled or with the sounds, and then they started to rock and maybe to scream. They could not follow directions. Maybe they ran away and didn't turn when their name was called. And so you went home and were unable to attend the game with your children.

    This is a common fear and sometimes an experience of some of the families that I see when I diagnose and treat them with autism.

    Autism is primarily a social disability, and it affects social skills, communication, and behavior, all of the things that you need to be in the community. And so when I would see my patients, I found frequently that they were telling me that they did not go out. They stayed home. They had children that looked typical that then did not act typically, and when they went into public spaces and this happened, people looked at them as if they were bad parents.

    I have to tell you, when I practice medicine, probably every day, some weeks probably even maybe twice a day, I would tell a family that their child had autism, and I used to compensate for that by making sure that they had the best educational and therapeutic and medical plans that I could put together for them, and I would call their schools and their other clinicians to help make sure that they got those plans. But I found that it wasn't enough.

    When my families went to bed at night, they weren't worried about necessarily what had caused the autism anymore or maybe they didn't think that the cure was going to happen in the lifetime of their child, and they weren't worried about the controversies like the immunizations. And all of those things are very important and they get a lot of resources. They were worried about having a typical family experience with their child the next day, about taking care of the things they needed to take care of for their family. They were worried about their typical siblings of their child with autism and about them having experiences like going to the ballpark.

    And the other thing that they told me, my families in my practice, was that they worried like all parents worry, but more, about what was going to happen one day when they were gone. And both of those concerns, what they were going to do tomorrow and what was going to happen when they were gone, spoke to me about independence and the need for us to try to get individuals with autism as independent as possible in the community. And while there had been some research into helping individuals with developmental disabilities develop skills for independence, there hadn't been a lot done in the community itself, and that's what I decided to do.

    I wish I could say it was a total selfless act, but to be honest, I just couldn't give the diagnosis every day knowing that I really wasn't helping my families with their biggest concerns.

    So what we do now in my non-profit is, we've started to prepare families, and we prepare them with tools like special stories or photographs or picture schedules, and then we go to community venues, like Citizens Bank Park, and we provide education about autism awareness, providing facts and strategies about what autism is and what about autism can limit public experiences, and then we provide supportive practice experiences in these public settings.

    So what that meant to us is that last month, Heather, who is my awesome student here, spent about 14 evenings at Citizens Bank Park providing these sessions for about 3,000 employees of the Phillies and Aramark and --

  • (Applause.)

  • -- I have to say, I can't even take credit for all of that, because the staff and the personnel at Citizens Bank Park are amazing. They were amazing, and they were interested and they were engaged. And it was sort of funny because at the end, there were some people who missed the educational sessions, and Andy, who works with Eric and Vanessa, who really helped me get everything off the ground at the Park, e-mailed me and he said, There's some people who missed it, I heard you give this talk 18 times, send me the slides, I'm going to take care of it. I mean, it was that level of dedication and interest in really being an inclusive setting. It was remarkable.

    And then what we did, which I think makes our experience at the ballpark a little different, is on Tuesday night we brought about ten families affected by autism and ten clinicians, and we provided a practice experience at a collegiate game at the Park. So our families came and, in sort of a less overwhelming setting, got to practice the experience of coming to a ball game. And now during the course of the season, the Phillies have generously given us some tickets to bring more families to the Park supported by clinicians, so that if families have difficulties, they have support right there, so that one day they will be able to come to the Park independently.

    So I just want to read you a letter I got from one of our families from Tuesday night quickly, and then I'll just make a couple more comments.

    Dear Wendy, I wanted to express our sincere thanks for providing such a tremendous opportunity in last evening's practice baseball game. Our family had not previously imagined that we could attend such an event with this level of success, and we feel compelled to tell you how thrilled we were to participate. Pierce had a very good experience and he was able to work through typical stressors such as waiting in line, walking through turn-styles, and moving from activity to activity with less difficulty than we would have expected.

    Thank you for all your work with the Phillies organization on delivering such a valuable event. With this practice run, our family has the confidence to attend a sporting event later in the season, and we anticipate the ability to attend other activities which we typically would not have attempted.

    Providing community and service staff understanding of autism is such an important piece of our children's growth potential, and we heartily applaud the efforts of AIR in bringing the gap between our children and the communities in which we live.

    So this is really what it's all about, and I just want to say when we started the air travel program in Philadelphia a few years ago, the people at the Airport were equally amazing. And I love that program because travel is such a great metaphor for everything else. It's so much more than how we get from one place to another. It's really about having opportunity. And I loved coming to the Phillies because, first of all, they're just amazing, and Eric and Vanessa and also Bryan Angione have really been amazing in helping us bring this to the Park, but also because baseball and sports is so much more than a game. It really emphasized the importance of teamwork, of people coming together to reach a common goal. It emphasizes the idea of practice, that we all need practice in order to reach our potential. And it also is so important, sports is so great as just this idea of sometimes we need to over -- we can overcome the odds to accomplish both what can be unexpected and also inspiring.

    So I'm really thrilled and honored, and I am really grateful to the Phillies and also the other people who helped, Aramark and Theraply, in helping bring this new program to the Park, and we're really hoping that over the upcoming years, it will continue to grow.

    So thank you for having me today.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you, sir. Thank you.

    I'll have some interesting stories to tell my grandson one day.

    Before we move ahead with our business, I'd like to ask the members and guests to take a moment of silence. I know that there are horrific events during the course of every day during the year, individuals who just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, purely innocent, that ended up having tragic events that cause them to lose their lives. As you know, this week we had another horrific event in the City of Boston. And I know some people might say, Well, people get killed every day, but this just symbolizes the fact that violence in our nation -- and we don't know at this time who caused that level of violence, but it is a sad thing, particularly when you see children die.

    So I'd just like to ask, from a symbolic perspective, recognizing the individuals that lost their lives and were damaged and injured and their family members from Boston. But we unfortunately have these events every day.

    So I'd just like everybody to stand for a moment of silence, please.

  • (Moment of silence.)

  • Thank you so much.

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

    Mr. Decker, would you please read those messages.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, I am pleased to advise you that on April 17, 2013, I signed the remaining bills that were passed by Council at its session on April 4, 2013; and

    I am transmitting herewith for the introduction and consideration of your honorable body an ordinance authorizing the revision of lines and grades on a portion of City Plan No. 55 by striking from the City Plan and vacating the legally open portions of Adams Avenue from Aramingo Avenue to its terminus southeastwardly therefrom; and

    Also an ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to acquire from the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development a strip of land along the Schuylkill River that is approximately one-hundred feet wide between 56th Street, as extended to the Schuylkill River, and 58th Street, all under certain terms and conditions.

  • Mr. Decker, do you have any other communications?

  • I have none, Mr. President.

  • Thank you so much.

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

    At this point, I recognize 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 have one bill and one resolution, and certainly the bill is co-sponsored by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 19-1300 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Real Estate Taxes," by amending the deadline for which certain property owners may apply for a designation of homestead property.

  • Thank you. That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution Calling on the City Council of Philadelphia Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and the Homeless to Hold Hearings Concerning the City Planning Commission's Project: Philadelphia-2035.

  • That resolution will be on the Final Passage Calendar today.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On your behalf, I offer four bills and one resolution.

  • An ordinance authorizing Nirlesh Desai, owner and operator of the newsstand located on the northeast corner of 17th and Chestnut Streets, to construct, use and maintain conduits in and under the northeast corner of 17th and Chestnut Streets.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing Beacon on East Girard Inc. doing business as Kraftwork to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 541 East Girard Avenue.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance regulating the direction of movement of traffic on Warnock Street between Montgomery Avenue and Berks Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance establishing a no parking regulation on North Warnock Street, between West Montgomery Avenue and West Berks Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And a privileged resolution congratulating and honoring The Roberts Vaux High School Basketball Team on winning the 2013 PIAA Class A State Championship.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have one bill today.

  • An ordinance authorizing the revision of lines and grades on a portion of City Plan No. 55 by striking from the City Plan and vacating the legally open portions of Adams Avenue from Aramingo Avenue to its terminus southeastwardly therefrom.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Mr. President, I offer one resolution and one ordinance.

  • An ordinance establishing a no truck parking on Godfrey Avenue, from Tabor Road to Whitaker Avenue.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And a non-privileged resolution urging the Pennsylvania General Assembly to oppose legislation that will legalize predatory small-dollar lending, commonly known as payday lending, in Pennsylvania and harm the citizens of our Commonwealth.

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

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Mr. President, I have one bill and one resolution, and the resolution for the ODUNDE Festival is sponsored by Councilman Curtis Jones, Councilman Greenlee, Councilman Henon, Councilman Kenney, Councilman Denny O'Brien, Councilwoman Cindy Bass, Councilman Bill Green, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell.

  • And Councilwoman Marian Tasco.

  • An ordinance amending the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Broad Street, Morris Street, 15th Street, and Castle Avenue.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing the ODUNDE Festival's positive cultural impact on Philadelphia and the importance of maintaining its presence as a South Street tradition.

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

  • And I want to also acknowledge Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown was on the resolution for ODUNDE.

  • It seems like I was the only one that wasn't on there. Thank you, Councilman.

  • You're welcome, Council President.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Sanchez.

  • Thank you. No bills or resolutions today.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Brien.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have one privileged resolution, and I'd like to offer a few brief remarks.

  • At the time of the vote or --

  • Yes, at the time of the vote. That would be fine. Thank you.

  • A privileged resolution authorizing Council's Committee on Public Safety to investigate and hold public hearings reviewing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole and its practices in Philadelphia, including the assignment, workload and experience of agents; the use of GPS for offender tracking; and the establishment of a workgroup solely focused on Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one resolution. I will call for a rules suspension. And I should note that it was co-sponsored by Councilwomen Tasco and Quinones-Sanchez. I'd like to speak on it at the time of the vote, please.

  • Okay. You need a rules suspension to be heard today?

  • Why don't you ask for the rules suspension now, Councilwoman.

  • Mr. President, I make a request for a rules suspension.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded that the rules be suspended to allow first reading on today's Calendar.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • Thank you.

    Mr. Decker, please read that resolution.

  • A privileged resolution authorizing Council's Committee of the Whole to hold hearings to investigate the coordination between various City commissions, departments and agencies on outreach efforts regarding the Actual Value Initiative in the City of Philadelphia, particularly as to informing senior citizens, vulnerable populations and other hard-to-reach groups, and to determine and immediately make recommendations to the appropriate City agencies for improved citizen and community outreach.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Two ordinances, one on behalf of the Administration, one on your behalf co-sponsored by everybody except one Councilperson.

  • I won't go through the list.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 19-1300 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Real Estate Taxes," by extending the deadline for the filing of applications for the homestead exclusion.

  • Thank you. That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance amending the Ordinance of March 1, 1963, entitled "An ordinance authorizing the Board of Pensions and Retirement to enter into an agreement or agreements to administer employee retirement benefits for the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, Passenger Services Improvement Corporation, Food Distribution Center, and the Philadelphia Parking Authority," as amended, to provide for revised reimbursement rates.

  • That bill will also be referred to committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one bill today.

  • An ordinance amending Section 19-1303 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Discounts and Additions to Tax," by tolling additions, interest and penalties when the assessed value of property is under appeal; limiting what the Department can bill for tax years under appeal; and requiring for the tax year under appeal payment of an amount at least equal to the prior year's tax.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

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

  • A privileged resolution recognizing and honoring the achievements of the LaSalle University men's basketball team for their accomplishments during the 2012-13 season.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you very much, Mr. President. I offer five privileged resolutions.

  • A privileged resolution expressing sympathy and admiration for the citizens and guests of Boston in response to the April 15th tragic and cowardly terrorist attack during the Boston Marathon: 2 bombs, 3 dead, and over 180 injured.

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

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing and celebrating the First Annual Mexican Week Philadelphia 2013.

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

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing and honoring the life and accomplishments of Dr. Ethel Allen.

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

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing April 30th as Vietnamese Heritage and Freedom Flag Day as a symbol of contributions of the Vietnamese-American community in the City of Philadelphia.

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

  • And a privileged resolution declaring May 2013 to be Hepatitis B Awareness Month in Philadelphia to recognize and support the "Hep B United Philadelphia" Campaign aimed at raising the profile of Hepatitis B and liver cancer as an urgent health priority.

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

    Thank you very much.

    The next order of business is reports from committees.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon for a report from the Committee of Public Property and Public Works.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The Committee on Public Property and Public Works reports one bill, Bill No. 130230, with a favorable recommendation with a suspension of rules.

  • Thank you.

    Mr. Decker, would you please read the report.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, the Committee on Public Property and Public Works, to which was referred Bill No. 130230, entitled "An ordinance naming and designating the property located at 12601 Townsend Road as 'The Rosemary Montagno Senior Center,'" respectfully reports it has considered the same and returns the attached bill to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you again, Mr. President. I move that the rules of Council be suspended as to permit first reading this day of Bill No. 130230.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended this day so as to permit first reading of Bill No. 130230.

    All those in favor please say aye.

  • (No response.)

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

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman Squilla for a report from the Committee on Streets and Services.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The Committee on Streets and Services reports six bills with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Mr. Decker, please read the report.

  • The Committee on Streets and Services, to which was referred Bill No. 121041, entitled "An ordinance authorizing the revision of lines and grades on a portion of City Plan No. 72 by placing on the City Plan an extension of Cotton Street from its current terminus at the northeasterly side of the Manayunk Canal, southwest of Main Street, southwestwardly to a point approximately twenty-two feet southwest of the southwesterly side of Canal"; and

    Bill No. 121042, entitled "An ordinance authorizing the Streets Commissioner to enter into an agreement with the Norfolk Southern Railway Company for the establishment and construction of public at-grade crossings of the tracks of the said Railway Company at the southwestwardly side of the Manayunk Canal by proposed extensions of Cotton Street and Lock Street"; and

    Bill No. 130079, entitled "An ordinance authorizing the 39th and Sansom Streets Corporation trading as Cavanaugh's Leprechaun to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 119 South 39th Street; and

    Bill No. 130083, entitled "An ordinance authorizing the plotting upon a portion of City Plan No. 271 of a right-of-way for sewer and drainage purposes extending from the westerly side of Front Street, north of Callowhill Street, westwardly to the Delaware Expressway"; and

    Bill No. 130138, entitled "An ordinance authorizing the Holme Circle Civic Association to construct, own and maintain various right-of-way encroachments on the traffic median located on Holme Avenue where it intersects Welsh Road and Ashton Road"; and

    Bill No. 130241, entitled "An ordinance amending Section 9-213 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Farmers' Markets,' by adding Pretzel Park as a permissible location," respectfully reports it has considered the same and returns the attached bills to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you, sir.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the rules of Council be suspended as to permit the first reading this day of the six bills that were just read into the record.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended this day as to permit first reading of Bills No. 121041, 121042, 130079, 130083, 130138, and 130241.

    All those in favor please say aye.

  • (No response.)

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

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman Kenney for a report from the Committee of Labor and Civil Service.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The Committee on Labor and Civil Service reports one bill out with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Mr. Decker, please read the report.

  • The Committee on Labor and Civil Service, to which was referred Bill No. 130224, entitled "An ordinance amending various titles of The Philadelphia Code to provide for equality of treatment of all persons in the City of Philadelphia regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, including by further providing for the definition of 'Life Partnership' and 'Life Partner,' and for protections, rights, benefits, and responsibilities of Life Partners; authorizing a tax credit or credits to encourage employers to expand certain health benefits; providing for gender neutrality in certain City forms and online websites; providing for access to public accommodations based on an individual's gender identity; providing for gender-neutral bathrooms in City-controlled buildings; providing for the right to dress consistently with one's gender identity; ensuring the right of transgender individuals to request name and gender changes on pertinent records; and by other measures; and making conforming changes; all under certain terms and conditions," respectfully reports it has considered and amended the same and returns the attached bill to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you so much.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bill No. 130224.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended this day as to permit first reading of Bill No. 130224.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman Jones for a report from the Committee of Public Safety.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The Committee of Public Safety reports one bill with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you.

    Mr. Decker, please read that report.

  • The Committee on Public Safety, to which was referred Bill No. 130140, entitled "An ordinance amending Title 21 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Miscellaneous,' to increase appointments on the Mayor's Commission on Aging," 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 Jones.

  • Thank you again, Mr. President. I move that the rules of Council be suspended as to permit first reading of this Bill No. 130140.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bill No. 130140.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. This bill will be placed on our First Reading Calendar today. Thank you all very much.

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

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The following resolutions and bills are being called up from Second Reading and Final Passage Calendar today: Nos. 130279, 130280, 130281, 130282, 130283, 130290, 130293, 121038, 130136, 130162, 120775, and 130135. All other resolutions and bills are being held.

    Excuse me, Mr. President. Bill No. 130137 is being amended.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Before considering these resolutions and bills, we will consider public comment. Public comment will be as follows: If you are interested in testifying on a bill or resolution that's on the Final Passage Calendar today, you must register at the table to my left.

    You will be given three minutes for your testimony. You will come to the middle of the Council session where there's a podium. There's a device on the podium. That device indicates the three minutes. When it's green, it's time to speak. When it turns yellow, that means you have 30 seconds before your time, and when it is red, it means you must conclude your remarks. And we thank you all very much for adhering to these guidelines.

    At this time, Mr. Decker, can you please read the name of the first individual who wishes to testify.

    Before we do that, the Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you. Also being amended is Bill No. 120775.

  • Thank you, Councilman. That shall be reflected.

    Mr. Decker, please read the name of the first individual.

  • Bertha Simmons, commenting on 130279.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Well, hello everybody. I know all of you think you're grown today because you're sitting here looking all bright and shiny and pretty. But you're not grown yet, hear?

  • 130279. I'm only here to let all of us know we need the prayer back in school. When we went to school, didn't we have a little grace that we always said good morning. Everybody prays a different prayer, but you can meet and greet each other and go on about your business.

    The teachers need the prayer. Do you teach your kids to pray at night before they go to bed? When they come from school, do you ask them how was their day? The kids tell me their parents are not talking to them like they were brought up.

    We got to stop now. The prayer needs to go back in school. Everybody prays different, but meet and greet each other, say hello, how are you, may God bless you. This is the worst thing to do for children nowadays, because they're getting older, they need more respect from all of us, and let them know we care about them.

    So I want you to know when my daughter Jannie Blackwell -- get up, Jannie.

  • (Applause.)

  • I raised her at Richard Allen project when her mother passed. I raised her up when she was a little child trying to strut across the street. I had to hold her back because I said, Wait for the light to change. She want to jump and run. I had to hold her back. But look at her now. And I want we all to respect her and do what she ask us to do. We want to stay on the right track and do the right thing.

    When you go to bed at night, don't you say your prayers before you go to bed? Don't you thank the Lord for waking you up and carrying through a day? See, I know all about it. I was raised up to say my prayers every night when I was four or five years old. My mother taught me say your prayers, and I've been doing it ever since. And I want everybody to know, all of you, don't forget to say your prayers. How do you think the Lord brought you up this far? And some of you may be 75, 65, 85, but you're still not grown if you cannot thank the Lord for blessing you right now.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you, ma'am, for your testimony.

  • (Applause.)

  • Carol Green, commenting on 120054.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Excuse me. Those that know how to pray, please pray for me. I'm the worst of the sinners, mother. Please pray for me.

    I thank you all for having me here. I don't want to pay taxes if I have a house. And the bill is 120054. I don't want to pay taxes because it's wrong. And I go to the grocery store to buy food and I don't have to pay tax on the food because it's necessary, and it's necessary -- it's necessary. So a house is necessary, so I don't want to pay taxes for a house and...

  • Thank you, ma'am. Thank you for your testimony.

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

  • Thank you so much.

    We have one more? Yes, sir.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Thank you very much for hearing me. My name is Clarc King, and I came up to address the Resolution 120118. That's the resolution authorizing the Committee of Transportation and Public Utilities to hold hearings to examine the feasibility of transferring ownership or operations of Philadelphia Gas Works to a private entity.

    I think personally that selling the Philadelphia Gas Works is a great mistake. Philadelphia Gas Works is a power source for the City, the core of its strength. Its economic potential has not been fully realized. It must be explored. I think the Councilmembers need to hear input from both scientists, engineers, and people understanding the workings of an economy.

    Thank you so much.

  • Thank you so much, sir.

    Is that it? Thank you.

    This concludes today's public comment. We will now consider resolutions and bills on the Second Reading and Final Passage Calendar.

    Mr. Decker, would you please read the title of 130279.

  • A resolution calling on the City Council of Philadelphia to support the efforts of the Honorable Stewart J. Greenleaf, State Senator, 12th District, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as he introduces legislation to amend the Public School Code of 1949 by providing for greater awareness of religious freedoms in public schools.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell for a motion.

  • 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. Resolution 130279 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 130280.

  • 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 Thirty-Second Ward of the City of Philadelphia.

  • 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. That resolution is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 130281.

  • 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 3134 Page Street.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. 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. Resolution 130281 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 130282.

  • A resolution urging the Pennsylvania General Assembly to pass Senate Bill 637 and House Bill 923 which establish a minimum ratio of registered nurses to patients at Pennsylvania hospitals.

  • Thank you.

    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?

  • One? The ayes have it. Resolution 130282 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 130283.

  • 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 2320 through 24 Emerald Street.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Sanchez.

  • 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. Resolution 130283 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 130290.

  • 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 Twenty-Fifth and Thirty-First Wards of the City of Philadelphia.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • 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. Resolution 130290 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 130293.

  • A resolution calling upon the Administration to take action to fully explore opportunities presented by natural gas development in Pennsylvania to stimulate the local economy thereby creating family sustaining jobs and revenue for the City of Philadelphia.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • Let the record reflect there's one nay. Resolution No. 130293 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 121038.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 17-1900 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "First Source Jobs Policy," by clarifying certain definitions and responsibilities of financial assistance beneficiaries and of the City.

  • This bill having 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.

  • Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 17; the nays are zero. A majority of all members present voting in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 130136.

  • An ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Spring Garden Street, 22nd Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, Hamilton Street, and 21st Street.

  • This bill having 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.

  • Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 17; the nays are zero. A majority of all members present voting in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 130137.

  • An ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Thompson Street, 9th Street, Girard Avenue and Hutchinson Street.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On your behalf I would like to offer an amendment to Bill No. 130137. A copy of the amendment, which is the equal opportunity plan, has been circulated to all members of Council and I move for the adoption of the amendment.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Bill No. 130137 is amended and will be on next week's Final Passage Calendar. Thank you.

    Mr. Decker, 130162.

  • An ordinance amending Title 14 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Zoning and Planning," by amending Section 14-405, entitled "Entertainment (Special Purpose) District," by revising certain provisions relating to setback, parking requirements, parking lots, and off-street loading.

  • 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.

  • Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 17; the nays are zero. A majority of all members present voting in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 120775.

  • An ordinance amending Title 19 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Finance, Taxes and Collections," to provide for a private right of action to enforce certain tax laws, including penalties for nonpayment.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I'd like to offer an amendment to Bill No. 120775. A copy of the amendment has been circulated to all members of Council, and I move for the adoption of the amendment.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Bill No. 120775 has been amended. It will be placed on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

    Mr. Decker, 130135.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 9-600 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Service and Other Businesses," by amending Section 9-605, entitled "Towing," to provide for certain exceptions to licensing requirements for towing companies located outside of the City.

  • 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.

  • Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 17; the nays are zero. A majority of all members present voting in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    Mr. Decker, do you have any additional resolutions?

  • A resolution Calling on the City Council of Philadelphia Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and the Homeless to Hold Hearings Concerning the City Planning Commission's Project: Philadelphia-2035, introduced by Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell for a motion.

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

  • (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 congratulating and honoring The Roberts Vaux High School Basketball Team on winning 2012-2013 PIAA Class A State Championship, introduced by Councilman Greenlee for 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. That resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution recognizing ODUNDE Festival's positive cultural impact on Philadelphia and the importance of maintaining its presence as a South Street tradition, introduced by Councilman Johnson.

  • Is that the resolution where I was the only one that didn't sign?

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • 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 authorizing Council's Committee on Public Safety to investigate and hold public hearings reviewing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole and its practices in Philadelphia, including the assignment, workload and experience of its agents, introduced by Councilman O'Brien.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Brien.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move for the adoption of the resolution and would like to be recognized for a few brief remarks.

  • I would like to express my gratitude to Councilman Curtis Jones, the Chair of the Public Safety Committee, and the entire Public Safety Committee for participating in last week's public hearing to review the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Board of Probation and Parole and its practices in Philadelphia.

    Last week we learned much about the work of the state's Parole and Probation Board here in the Philadelphia district compared to other districts around the state. We had retired parole agents testify about the stress and challenges of supervising offenders in tough conditions that are created by design for Philadelphia by decision-makers in Harrisburg. They also told us about their vastly different working conditions and assignments outside of the City. Their testimony was absolutely riveting.

    During that hearing, we also heard about some of the good practices of our local probation officials. I applaud them for their efforts and willingness to adapt in an effort to keep us safe. The most compelling portion of this hearing was our interaction with the Board's Chair. I still don't know what to make of what he said and what he didn't say to us.

    After last Friday, four things are clear. Philadelphia is treated in an adversely different way by the Board. The Board's numbers simply don't add up. We need more hearings, and I'm focused like a laser on this issue. Police Officer Walker's mother deserves it. The family of Sergeant Pat McDonald deserve it, and all Philadelphians deserve it.

    As I've said before, I fear the numbers are driving this issue. I fear the quest to keep recidivism numbers low are dictating policy. I fear for the safety of our city.

    That's why we need to hold additional public hearings to further review the work of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Board of Probation and Parole and its readiness to protect the safety of the citizens of Philadelphia.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    There's a motion.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution authorizing Council's Committee of the Whole to hold hearings to investigate the coordination between various City commissions, departments and agencies on outreach efforts regarding the Actual Value Initiative in the City of Philadelphia, particularly as to informing senior citizens, vulnerable populations and other hard-to-reach groups, and to determine and immediately make recommendations to the appropriate City agencies for improved citizen and community outreach, introduced by Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. This resolution comes -- first, I need to thank again co-sponsors Councilwomen Tasco and Quinones-Sanchez. It comes as a result of having attended a few of the AVI meetings and listening to public testimony this past week and being reminded that it appears there has not been adequate coordination among City agencies.

    I'm even more pleased by this resolution now that I've learned that both you and Councilwoman Blackwell have introduced bills to extend the deadlines. So the hope and expectation is having heard back from these departments, we can get a do-over with regards to developing recommendations on how we deepen the understanding of the impact of AVI and the awareness of the protections.

    And so with that said, 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.

  • And a resolution recognizing and honoring the achievements of the LaSalle University men's basketball team for their accomplishments during the 2012-13 season, introduced by Councilwoman Bass.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move for the adoption of the resolution on behalf of my colleagues, LaSalle graduates, Councilman Kenney, Squilla, and O'Brien.

  • (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 expressing sympathy and admiration for the citizens and guests of Boston in response to the April 15th tragic and cowardly terrorist attack during the Boston Marathon: 2 bombs, 3 dead, and over 180 injured, introduced by Councilman Oh.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you very much, Mr. President. That was co-sponsored by Councilman Johnson and signed by all members of City Council, and I would ask for a motion on 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 recognizing and celebrating the First Annual Mexican Week Philadelphia 2013, introduced by Councilman Oh.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. That resolution was co-sponsored by Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez and I would ask for a motion on the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • And a resolution recognizing and honoring the life and accomplishments of Dr. Ethel D. Allen, introduced by Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you very much, Mr. President.

  • The Chair again -- I'm sorry.

  • 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 recognizing April 30th as Vietnamese Heritage and Freedom Flag Day as a symbol of the contributions of the Vietnamese-American community in the City of Philadelphia, introduced by Councilman Oh.

  • The Chair again 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 declaring May 2013 to be Hepatitis B Awareness Month in Philadelphia to recognize and support the "Hep B United Philadelphia" Campaign aimed at raising the profile of Hepatitis B and liver cancer as an urgent health priority, introduced by Councilman Oh.

  • The Chair again 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.

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

  • Thank you very much.

    Are there any speeches on the part of the minority?

  • (No response.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to remind my colleagues that Councilwoman Blackwell and I have co-sponsored a joint hearing on education, and as part of that preparation, I had the opportunity to go to the Swiss Embassy last night and met with some of the vocational educators who are involved in vocational education in Switzerland. It was very impressive.

    Swiss companies have 430,000 employees in the U.S., and the average salary of the vocational employees, $95,000 a year. So they have a different track there. Seventy percent don't go to college, but they do make high wages, making quality goods, and I think it is so important that we really recognize that opportunities in vocational careers is one that we should encourage, right job, right opportunities for people all throughout our city.

    Thank you very much, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. You have been a huge leader on this issue and Councilmembers Jones and Kenyatta Johnson have had unwavering voices around this issue. Yesterday was a shameful day. Forty-six United States Senators blocked the will of 90 percent of the American people. As many of us on our Facebook and Twitter pages echoed, common sense is no longer common.

    The failure to take action disrespected the wishes of 90 percent of Americans, 80 percent of them republicans, disrespected families of victims in Connecticut, Colorado, and cities across the United States, and more closely at home, disrespected the family of the Overbrook High School sophomore, Bernard Scott, wherein our Majority Leader has been actively involved with that tragedy.

    There were surely Senators whose conscience told them to vote yes, but they ultimately, as we well know, it appears, yielded to the political pressure and threats of the NRA.

    I'm asking that we now seize the moment and flip the script on those who intimidate elected officials and those who are afraid to vote their conscience for fear of losing an election of the NRA. Ninety percent of Americans actually support gun safety, not gun control. If those of us who seek commonsense gun safety banded together and committed to vote, we would have a clean sweep.

    In closing, to echo the words of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and I quote, "It is clear to me that if members of the United States Senate refuse to change the laws to reduce gun violence, then we need to change the members of the United States Senate," end quote, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. To echo my colleague's remarks about a young man who lost his life, Mr. Bernard Scott, Saturday Councilwoman Blackwell and I will be attending his funeral. So the 50,000 foot view of Washington or the 50,000 foot turn a blind eye to the problems in Philadelphia we have to deal with.

    I want to point out that what happened on the recreation center at Tuscan was an act, but the response to that has been equally notable, that right away a good samaritan named Antoine Gardner saw what happened, intervened, put his self in danger to rush that young man in the back of his own personal vehicle to a hospital nearby. He failed, but he didn't fail. He didn't fail because he didn't leave that child alone. He did not die alone, and he knew in his last moments that somebody cared whether he lived or died. That is important.

    The response went on further that over 250 people with a twilight vigil went into that same ground where he lost his life to save this violence in our city that all of us in our respective districts face every day. Enough is enough, and they showed that they care about what's going on in their community.

    The further response goes further. Commissioner Slawson kicked into action based on the cry of Councilwoman Bass to add cameras to recreation centers. We're going to get a dozen new cameras in that recreation center. And it's too late for young Mr. Scott, but it may prevent future deaths in that way.

    The response went on further. Twenty or so stakeholders met at Overbrook High School first thing in the morning to talk about how to create safe corridors within passageways because of the school mergers with different warring neighborhoods.

    So the response, the boy didn't die in vain. That Beeber, Dimner Beeber Junior High School, is now being spared the chopping block of merger and a new renaissance -- well, not renaissance, but a new school and teaching concept will come out of it. The young man's death is not in vain.

    Overbrook will also be rebranded with an emphasis toward safety and career technology and the like. So the young man's life didn't die in vain.

    Further, the young man that annually comes and sits with me, who is my neighbor, Devon Burkhart, which was on the second page of the Daily News, found his voice. He's a big, strapping young man, but he is rather shy. He found his voice on the steps of Overbrook High School to say to his peers more than anything that he wasn't putting up with it anymore and that peer pressure was now going to be in the reverse for bad actors to perform better, to do better, because those young people deserve better.

    So Bernard Scott died, but it wasn't in vain and what we do as a response is what matters.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Thank you, Council President. You have officially been added to the resolution this morning, the ODUNDE Festival in the great land of South Philadelphia a/k/a South Street, sir.

  • That's the power of the position.

    I just want to make two quick announcements. Tomorrow at Myers Recreation Center, I will be hosting a senior expo starting at 10 o'clock at Myers Rec Center located at 58th and Kingsessing, an opportunity for seniors to come out. Lunch will be served, information on health, fitness, nutrition, and there will be more than 30 agencies that pretty much just service our seniors in the twilight of their lives. And so we want to always make sure that we give them their judge due. I'm inviting everyone who is interested to come out, as well as those who can hear within my voice.

    Next Friday, on April the 26th, I will be having my annual spring Job Fair. It's going to be at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. I'm starting at 10:00 a.m., and we will have more than 50 employers who will be coming out. We will also have workshops regarding resume writing, workshops regarding how you interview so you can actually land a job. And so I just want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to let their constituents know as well if they're interested in finding employment, we will be having our annual Job Fair.

    Mr. President and members of Council, on March 26th during the Office of Property Assessment testimony before Council, I asked the Office of Property Assessment to share the formula or methodology it used to arrive at the new property assessments. Just this week the Crosstown Coalition of Taxpayers, a coalition of civic groups from across Philadelphia, have requested the same information so that it can -- so its experts can evaluate the accuracy of the new assessments. To date, not I, nor the Crosstown Coalition or members of Council have received such information.

    I understand that the factors and calculations involved are complicated and may to some seem confusing, but the Office of Property Assessment needs to tell Council and the public how it arrived at these assessments. Otherwise, we will have no idea how accurate these assessments are.

    For instance, just this week, we received information in the 2nd Councilmanic District, Graduate Hospital area, we found evidence that new assessments are grossly inaccurate. Five houses on one block in my district are assessed in the aggregate of 3.2 million less than they sold for within the last few years. One house sold for 1.4 million in 2012, but OPA assessed it at 700,000. Another house sold for 1.7 million, but OPA assessed it at 800,000, almost 1 million less than the sale price. We are seeing apparent inconsistencies like this throughout the City.

    Without a detailed explanation regarding how the assessments were calculated, the public will not have any confidence in this process.

    Council has conducted an in-depth analysis of the effects of AVI, moving to AVI based upon the new assessments. We know how the proposed relief measures will affect the residents, but we don't have the same information regarding the accuracy of the assessments citywide.

    The Administration and OPA needs to convince the public and Council that the assessments are fundamentally accurate and that it can correct inaccuracies before residents get their new tax bills. And why this is so important, in order for us to continue to gain our public's trust, it's important that they have a clear understanding on how OPA arrived to these numbers.

    I have met countless individuals who I mentioned time and time again, they do not have a problem paying their fair share. They just want a detailed explanation on how you got to these numbers before they actually pay their tax bills.

    And so I honestly believe that we're moving from one flawed system to another system that could also be flawed, and if the Administration cannot prove the assessments are accurate, then we shouldn't move forward in this process until public and, most importantly, Council has a detailed explanation on how they arrived at these numbers.

    Thank you very much, Council President and members of Council.

  • Thank you, sir.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Just very quickly. I just want to remind the members of the Rules Committee that as soon as Council is over and they set up the room, we are going to commence with the Committee hearing, because we also have a hearing after that. So we have to get started as quickly as possible. So I will ask the members to stand by right after our Council meeting is over.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I'd just like to invite my colleagues and those who are listening from the 9th Councilmanic District to please join us tomorrow morning at 10:30 at the Sturgis Recreation Center, where we will be breaking ground.

  • The infamous Sturgis Playground.

  • It's at 65th and Second Street, across from the old Cardinal Dougherty School, which is now Aspira.

  • Congratulations on that one, Councilwoman. Hard fought.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. For clarity of the legislative record, I feel compelled to say that I did in fact sign the ODUNDE resolution.

  • Thank you, sir. Thank you, sir.

    Councilman Johnson.

  • I'm glad everyone supported the ODUNDE resolution, and I know we all are politicians. When I go down to read my resolution, I don't know how many of us have degrees in terms of being doctors in terms of how you sign your names. That will more help me kind of recognize who is actually signing the resolutions.

    Thank you, Council President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I just wanted to speak today, after I heard Councilman Johnson's speech of the majority, to say that I completely agree with everything he said and that there is something we can do about it, and, Mr. President, I would like to ask you, or if Councilman Johnson wants to propose it, to subpoena the information from the Department of Revenue, from OPA, whoever has it, with respect to the algorithms and the analysis that is done. That is within our investigatory powers, and I think this body ought to subpoena those records if we don't have them by next Thursday.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman. We had promised the individuals at last night's meeting that we were currently in a process to ensure that we get the appropriate answers for this particular measure, amongst others. I don't want to broadcast what we're up to, but trust me, I concur, and we're going to get the information. Thank you.

    Thank you both.

    There being no other speeches at this time, the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown for a motion to adjourn.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Councilman Greenlee has spoken to the Rules hearing. I'd like to also note this housekeeping matter wherein Big Brothers and Big Sisters will be joining us next door featuring W. Wilson Goode, Sr. and the new very, very dynamic, extraordinary leader of -- the new leader of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Marcus Allen. So you're invited please also to honor the duty of the Rules Committee and then step over to meet the new leader of Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

    I move that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, April 25th, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that Council stand adjourned.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Council shall be adjourned until Thursday, April 25th, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

    Thank you all very much.

  • (Stated Meeting adjourned at 12:25 p.m.)