Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

  • Good morning, everyone.

  • (Good morning.)

  • The hour has come. We have established a quorum. I'd ask all guests and visitors to please retire behind the rail. Thank you very much. And all members to please take their seats.

    To give our invocation this morning, the Chair recognizes Pastor Darien Thomas of Walking in the Light Christian Center. He is here today as the guest of Councilwoman Blackwell.

    I would ask all members and guests to please rise.

  • (Members and guests rise.)

  • (Good morning.)

  • We give honor to Council President Clarke, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson in my district, and special honor and thanks to Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell for this opportunity.

    I stand before you today in these few moments under the direction of Richard David Evans out of New Jersey and my spiritual father, Bishop Lomax.

    Before I pray in this invocation, I would like to take 30 seconds of silence, if we could, on behalf of a lady who passed away, who battled cancer for the last two years, none other than Honorary Deputy Commissioner Helen Divers. Her funeral is today, and she may transition, so we'll be heading there after this invocation.

    So if we could have 30 seconds of silence, please, on her behalf and her family.

  • (Moment of silence.)

  • Amen.

    As I stand before you today, we give God and we pray to our Heavenly Father who is our maker on this particular day of May 2nd, 2013. Our prayer is that God would give us the wisdom and this Council the knowledge and understanding for our City of Philadelphia.

    We ask, oh Heavenly Father, that you would give this Council and even our President of this Council, President Clarke, and all the other Council men and women the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding and direction to lead this great city with our history and our reputation, to prosper our city that it may be a healthy place for people to live, to grow, be educated, and be able to serve one another.

    We pray, Heavenly Father, for the downtrodden, for the left behind, and for those who have been left out. We pray for the unemployed and the unskilled. We pray for the 58 percent of the African American boys and young men of color who have dropped out of school by ninth grade with no skills, teens roaming the streets with guns and annihilating a generation.

    We pray, Heavenly Father, when this Council makes decisions, help us to not forget the poor, the elderly, the orphans, and the widows. Help us always to remember those who are least fortunate, and forgive us of being self-centered, conceited, and self-serving. Forgive us for our cardinal lifestyle over the soul of a city.

    We repent and turn back to you, our maker, to fulfill the dream of our ancestors. We pray that the angel of the City of Philadelphia will truly open the door and make this a great city, starting with us.

    Heavenly Father, we thank you for this, because your will is that we all prosper, be in health, regardless of our race, our creed, our color. We thank you that from the north to the south, the east and the west, we declare Philadelphia to be a city of brotherly love, a city that will have an open door, a city of opportunity, a city of glory that will show your presence and your goodness and your mercy to all that live in this city.

    We thank you for it, and we give you all the praise and the honor for your greatness and your majesty.

    In Jesus' name, we pray.

    Amen.

  • God bless you.

    Thank you very much.

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

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you. The next order of business is the approval of the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, April 25th, 2013.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, April 25th, 2013 be approved.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, April 25th, 2013 stand approved.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The Journal is approved.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of the majority, a leave of absence is requested by Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Thank you. Leave shall be granted.

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

    Okay. The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh. Are there any requests for leaves of absence from the minority?

  • There are not, Council President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    At this point, I would like to dispense with the regular order of business to welcome all our guests and visitors here today. We hope that your experience here today is a pleasurable one, so much so that you come back again. So, again, thank you for taking time out of your day to see your government in action. We really appreciate you being here.

    At this time, I would like to recognize Councilwoman Bass, who will present a resolution recognizing and commending Philadelphia Police Officers Kimberly Lyons, Antonio Soto, Gregory Giacomelli and Michael McCormick and Jerome Joseph and Evelyn Reyes. Would Captain Craighead and those accompanying him please join the Councilwoman at the podium.

    And also joining the Councilwoman we have Councilman Oh, Councilman Johnson, and Councilman Squilla and Councilman O'Brien and Councilman Henon, all of them also known as the Serious 6.

  • (Good morning.)

  • (Good morning.)

  • We had this presentation scheduled a few weeks ago and we are here today instead of on that day because we had to reschedule because we were at a firefighter's funeral. And so when we think about our first responders, our police and our firefighters, we need to think about all that they put on the line, all that they risk. And so when I heard about an incident that took place in my district and the way these officers jumped into action, I just really felt strongly that I wanted to bring them forward and recognize them for the work that they did.

    A van crashed into a daycare center, and they immediately jumped into action and lifted the van off of small children. When you see it, it just makes you -- it takes your breath away. But everyone at the end of the day was able to go home and be okay, and that's what they do and that's why we want to take a moment today and say thank you, thank you, thank you.

    And so without further delay, I want to read a resolution, which reads: Whereas, on December 17th, 2012 at approximately 12:34 p.m., a mini-van crashed through the front doors of the Deliverance Evangelical Church, located at 2001 West Lehigh Avenue; and

  • Whereas, inside the church was an occupied daycare center with children as young as three years of age. After crashing through the front doors, the van continued into the daycare, at which point three children were struck and became trapped underneath the vehicle; and

  • Whereas, prior to police's arrival, a civilian was able to remove one child from under the vehicle. A five-year-old female still remained trapped under the vehicle. Officer Joseph and Officer Reyes were the first officers to arrive on the scene and immediately attempted to help free the child from underneath that vehicle; and

  • Whereas, Officer Joseph and Officer Reyes tried to lift the vehicle twice before additional officers arrived to help. In a matter of seconds -- because we have great first responders -- the remaining officers arrived. Officer Joseph, Officer Reyes, Officer Lyons, Officer Soto, Officer Giacomelli, and Officer McCormick, and using only their hands, with no mechanical assistance, the officers were able to lift the front end of the vehicle off the ground, which enabled the child to be freed from under the vehicle; and

  • Whereas, the officers then began to render first-aid to the injured children as well as the occupants of the van. After securing the scene, the officers helped the staff of the daycare to ensure all students were accounted for. The injured parties were transported by medics to local hospitals and were treated for injuries sustained during the accident; and

  • Whereas, Officer Joseph, Officer Reyes, Officer Lyons, Officer Soto, Officer Giacomelli, and Officer McCormick have worked tirelessly for the betterment of our City through the fair and equitable enforcement of the law. They have gone beyond the call of duty to perform in an exemplary manner, facing the stresses and dangers of their job with determination and dignity for the citizens of Philadelphia. They have brought pride to the Police Department and distinction to their badges; now therefore, be it

  • Resolved, by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that we hereby honor, recognize, and commend Officer Kimberly Lyons Badge No. 4060, Officer Antonio Soto Badge No. 6731, Officer Gregory Giacomelli Badge No. 2440, Officer Michael McCormick Badge No. 7300, Officer Jerome Joseph Badge No. 2311, and Officer Evelyn Reyes Badge No. 4863 for their extraordinary acts of bravery and courage resulting in all being named 39th Police District Officers of the Month of December 2012.

    Congratulations.

  • (Applause.)

  • And I also want to really quickly acknowledge Captain Craighead and Officer Joe Luchitus (ph), who have been fantastic to work with at the 39th. Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Captain Craighead for remarks.

  • (Good morning.)

  • Good morning, Council President Clarke --

  • -- Councilwoman Bass, City Council. I'd like to first let you guys know we're humbled by this moment. We're unaccustomed to this sort of thing. I'd like to personally thank Councilwoman Bass for inviting us here today.

    This rescue is just an example of the dangerous and difficult work that these officers do day in and day out. They're really excited about this moment, and we really appreciate this time.

    Thank you very much.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you. Thank you so much for your continued great work and your wonderful service to the citizens of the City of Philadelphia.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee, who will present a resolution on my behalf to the Roberts Vaux High School Basketball Team that also happens to be in the 5th Council District. Would Coach Jamison Ross and those accompanying him please join the Councilman at the podium.

  • Good morning. First of all, Councilman Jones is showing great heart here, because he hates giving a presentation to anybody but Overbrook High School.

    You know, the City of Philadelphia's professional teams had a little lighter times this past year, but we do have champions in the City of Philadelphia, and here they are right here.

  • (Applause.)

  • So we're proud to present a resolution congratulating and honoring the Roberts Vaux High School Basketball Team on winning the 2012-2013 PIAA Class A State Championship.

    Whereas, during the 2012-2013 season, the Roberts Vaux High School Basketball Team, the Cougars, led by Head Coach Jamie Ross, had a phenomenal run, finishing the year with an overall record of 24 and 9, and a 9 and 2 record in Public League play; and

  • Whereas, the Cougars were the 2012-2013 runners-up in the Philadelphia Public League, reaching the championship game against the eventual Class 3A State Champions Imhotep Institute Charter School; and

    Whereas, Guard Rysheed Jordan turned in one of the most spectacular performances in recent Public League Championship History by scoring 45 points, only second to the great Wilt Chamberlain --

  • (Applause.)

  • Wilt Chamberlain from Overbrook High School. (Continued) -- and has been named Pennsylvania Class A Player of the Year by the Associated Press and Public League Player of the Year and the Philadelphia Inquirer's Southeastern Pennsylvania Player of the Year; and

  • Whereas, on March the 22nd of 2013, the Cougars won the PIAA Class A State Championship by defeating Johnsonburg High School 83 to 63 to give the Cougars its first state championship in basketball since becoming a high school; and

    Whereas, the Student Athletes and Coaching Staff exhibited great pride, hard work, and determination in leading the team to a remarkable season, while remaining positive in the face of adversity with the knowledge of the closure of their school. While remaining positive in the face of adversity with the knowledge of the closure of their school at the end of the year; now therefore be it

  • Resolved, by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that we hereby congratulate and honor the Roberts Vaux High School Basketball Team for their outstanding season, winning the 2012-2013 PIAA Class A State Championship.

    Further resolved, that an engrossed copy of this resolution be presented to the Roberts Vaux High School Basketball Team, further evidencing the sincere sentiments of this legislative body.

    This was introduced by myself for the Council President and is co-sponsored by all members of City Council.

    Gentlemen, congratulations.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Coach Ross for remarks.

  • Good morning, Councilwomen, Councilmen, Council President Darrell Clarke. Again, I'm not sure if my kids, my student athletes, really understand the gravity of this citation and this moment. I'm hoping that one day when they wake up, it will all hit them and they can talk to their grandchildren about it, the things that we did.

    I'm not sure if a lot of you understand, but we are considered a promise academy and we had an extra hour during the day. So these kids really went through a lot. They got to school at 7:55 in the morning, went to school until 4 o'clock, practiced until 6:30 sometimes, and got up the next day and did it again. So, like I said, I think they deserve a lot of credit for what they did during the season. And these young men that you see here, they were all eligible during the year, all had all A's, B's, and C's on their report cards, no D's and no F's. So, like I said, they deserve all the accolades, all the recognition that they get. And, again, we'd like to thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Council will be at ease.

    Oh, the principal. Yes, sir. Absolutely.

  • I want to thank City Council. My name is Richard Gordon, Principal of Vaux High School.

    I am extremely proud of the wonderful dedication, the hard work, and the sacrifice these young men have made each and every day coming into school and being positive elements in our building. This is an opportunity for us to again continue to highlight the wonderful things that have been happening in our school over the course of the past few years.

    We want to, of course, thank Council President Darrell Clarke for being so supportive each and every step of the way, and, again, we are so proud of our boys. So, again, on behalf of our families, our staff, and our students at Vaux High School, we thank you for this honor.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Of course, our wonderful coach, Mr. Ross, for everything he's done to bring our boys along. They've truly grown over the course of the last few years and it's all because of his leadership and tutelage. So, again, we thank him.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you all very much.

    At this time, the Chair would like to recognize Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you, Council President. At this time, I'd ask for a point of personal privilege. It is with a heavy heart to inform you of the sudden passing of a friend of Philadelphia's, most recently the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the labor community, and a friend of mine, to inform you of the passing of Philadelphia's own Bishop McFadden. Bishop McFadden suddenly passed this morning, and I'd ask if we can keep him, his family, and all of his friends in our prayers today. And, by the way, Bishop McFadden was just in this body giving an invocation as eloquently as does everywhere he goes. So I'd ask everybody to keep him in all our prayers.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you.

    Can we have a moment of silence, standing moment for the members.

  • (Moment of silence.)

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    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, please read the messages.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, I am pleased to advise you that on April 30, 2012, I signed all the bills that were passed by Council at its session on April 18, 2013; and

    I am transmitting for the consideration of your honorable body a resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Cecil B. Moore Avenue Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 1703 through 5 Cecil B. Moore Avenue; and

    A resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Fairhill and St. Hugh Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 3516 North Water Street; and

    An ordinance authorizing Sabrina's Cafe to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 908 through 12 Christian Street; and

    An ordinance authorizing the revision of lines and grades on a portion of City Plan No. 307 by striking from the City Plan and vacating Water Street from Race Street to its terminus southwardly therefrom; and

    An ordinance authorizing the plotting upon a portion of City Plan No. 58 of a two feet wide area for public pedestrian use extending along the southerly side of Pearl Street, from Tenth Street to a point approximately one-hundred thirty-eight feet westwardly therefrom, and the relocation of the curblines of Pearl Street, from Tenth Street to a point approximately one-hundred thirty-eight feet westwardly therefrom, so as to widen the cartway of said Pearl Street; and

    An ordinance authorizing Girard Leopard Cafe doing business as Bubba's Texas Barbecue to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 19 through 21 West Girard Avenue; and

    An ordinance authorizing Jerry's Bar to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 129 West Laurel Street, all under certain terms and conditions.

  • Thank you, Mr. Decker. Those messages will be printed in the Journal.

    Do you have any other communications?

  • I have none, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, sir.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one resolution on behalf of myself and Councilman Squilla, which I ask to be heard today.

  • A privileged resolution authorizing the Committee on Labor and Civil Service to hold hearings to examine the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative contracts awarded to LP Group 2 from 2004 through 2006.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

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

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On your behalf, I have three bills and one resolution.

  • An ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Cecil B. Moore Avenue, 21st Street, Nicholas Street, and 22nd Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing and directing the revision of curb lines on a portion of City Plan No. 119 by relocating the easterly curb line of Hutchinson Street approximately six feet eastwardly, between Thompson Street and Girard Avenue.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Girard Avenue, Broad Street, Fairmount Avenue, 16th Street, Brown Street, Francis Street, Perkiomen Street, and 19th Street.

  • That bill will also be referred to committee.

  • And a privileged resolution congratulating and honoring the Julia R. Masterman Middle School Chess Team on winning the 2013 United States Chess Federation's Kindergarten-Through-8th-Grade National Championship.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

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

  • An ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Harbison Avenue, Tulip Street, Sanger Street, Tulip Street, Cheltenham Avenue, Keystone Street, Van Kirk Street, the Delaware Expressway, Fraley Street, Eadom Street, and Bridge Street.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Sanchez.

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

  • An ordinance to amend Chapter 10-700 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Refuse and Littering," to exempt duplex dwellings from the annual fee of three hundred dollars per property for neighborhood sanitation and cleaning services.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Venango Street, K Street, Tioga Street, Palmetto Street, Atlantic Street, and I Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And a non-privileged resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Fairhill and St. Hugh Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 3516 North Water Street.

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

    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.

  • 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 LSI-R offender risk assessment tool and the effect that it has on the safety of the citizens of 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.

  • Good morning, Mr. President. No bills or resolutions this morning.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. No bills nor resolutions today.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

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

  • An ordinance authorizing the revision of lines and grades on a portion of City Plan No. 319 by striking from the City Plan and vacating the legally open portion of Pennway Street from Rhawn Street to a point approximately five-hundred fifty feet southwestwardly therefrom.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer four bills and one privileged resolution co-sponsored by Councilman Kenney.

  • An ordinance authorizing the revision of lines and grades on a portion of City Plan No. 307 by striking from the City Plan and vacating Water Street from Race Street to its terminus southwardly therefrom.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing the plotting upon a portion of City Plan No. 58 of a two feet wide area for public pedestrian use extending along the southerly side of Pearl Street, from Tenth Street to a point approximately one-hundred thirty-eight feet westwardly therefrom.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing Sabrina's Cafe to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 908 through 12 Christian Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing Jerry's Bar to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 129 West Laurel Street.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing the 250th Anniversary of Old St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Philadelphia's oldest Catholic Church in continuous service.

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

    The Chair now recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have three privileged resolutions and one bill.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    Councilwoman, did you have a bill?

  • We just have the three resolutions.

  • You just have the three resolutions?

  • If we can track it down before the end of the session, we can introduce it later. Thank you.

  • An ordinance establishing a one-way regulation on East Price Street from Sprague Street to Boyer Street, westbound.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution honoring Center in the Park on its 45th Anniversary and recognizing its efforts to enhance the health and wellness of local older adults.

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

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing and celebrating the 43rd Annual Mt. Airy Day.

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

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing Sunday, May 5, 2013 as Ilona Grover Day in appreciation of her twenty-four years of service to the City of Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Today I offer one bill and one non-privileged resolution, and I wish to be recognized after the title of the resolution is read for a motion on the resolution.

  • An ordinance amending Title 15 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Parks and Recreation," Chapter 15-500, entitled "Libraries," by requiring the imposition of fines by The Free Library of Philadelphia for the loss or late return of borrowed materials for all patrons including adults and children, and The Free Library of Philadelphia to spend the net revenues from such fines collected by children for the benefit of enhancing technology in youth specific programming.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a non-privileged resolution authorizing Council's Committee of the Whole to compel the Administration through the issuance of a subpoena as authorized under Section 2-401 of The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to provide the methodology and sample sets used in performing assessments of real property that are being used as part of the citywide Actual Value Initiative such that the information is reproducible.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

    Councilman Johnson, you had your light on.

  • Yes, Council President. I'd like to request a leave of absence for the rest of the day and mark voting yes on all bills and resolutions on Final Passage.

  • Thank you, Councilman. Leave shall be granted.

  • Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, sir.

    The next order of business is reports from committee.

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

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The Committee of the Whole reports eight resolutions with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you, sir.

    Mr. Decker, will you please read the report.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, the Committee of the Whole, to which was referred Resolution No. 130191, entitled "A resolution appointing Reginald Cummings to the Board of Directors for the Old City Special Services District"; and

    Resolution No. 130192, entitled "A resolution appointing Jafar Maleki to the Board of Directors for the Old City Special Services District"; and

    Resolution 130193, entitled "A resolution appointing Robert Dingman to the Board of Directors for the Old City Special Services District"; and

    Resolution 130194, entitled "A resolution appointing Nick Gregory to the Board of Directors for the Old City Special Services District"; and

    Resolution No. 130195, entitled "A resolution appointing Avram Hornik to the Board of Directors for the Old City Special Services District"; and

    Resolution No. 130196, entitled "A resolution appointing Sonia Silverstein to the Board of Directors for the Old City Special Services District"; and

    Resolution No. 130197, entitled "A resolution appointing Joseph F. Ritchie to the Board of Directors for the Old City Special Services District"; and

    Resolution No. 130198, entitled "A resolution appointing Luca Sena to the Board of Directors for the Old City Special Services District," respectfully reports it has considered the same and returns the attached resolutions to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you, Mr. Decker. These resolutions will be placed on our Final Passage at our next session of Council.

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman Greenlee for a report from the Committee of Rules.

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

  • Thank you.

    Mr. Decker, please read the report.

  • The Committee on Rules, to which was referred Bill No. 120959, entitled "An ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Erie Avenue, B Street, Venango Street, and Front Street"; and

    Bill No. 130061, entitled "An ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Overbrook Avenue, 54th Street, Woodbine Avenue, Wynnefield Avenue, and 56th Street"; and

    Bill No. 130062, entitled "An ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by City Avenue, Cardinal Avenue, Overbrook Avenue, and 59th Street"; and

    Bill No. 130063, entitled "An ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by City Avenue, 52nd Street, Overbrook Avenue, and 54th Street"; and

    Bill No. 130242, entitled "An ordinance amending Title 14 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Zoning and Planning,' by amending Chapter 14-800, entitled 'Parking and Loading,' by revising parking design standards, under certain terms and conditions," respectfully reports it has considered the same and returns the attached bills to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bill Nos. 120959, 130061, 130062, 130063, and 130242.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended as to permit first reading this day of Bills No. 120959, 130061, 130062, 130063, and 130242.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

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

    The Chair now recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell for a report from the Committee of Housing and Neighborhood Development.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and the Homeless reports two bills with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you.

    Mr. Decker, please read the report.

  • The Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and the Homeless, to which was referred Bill No. 130298, entitled "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"; and

    Bill No. 130306, entitled "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," respectfully reports it has considered and amended the same and returns the attached bills to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bill Nos. 130298 and 130306.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended today so as to permit first reading of Bills No. 130298 and 130306.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

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

    Thank you. That concludes our committee report. The next order of business is consideration of the Calendar.

    I note that those bills just reported from committee with suspension of the rules have been deemed to have had a first reading. Those bills will be placed on our Second and Final Passage Calendar at our next session of Council.

    As there are no additional bills on the First Reading Calendar, the Chair now recognizes Councilman Jones for the purpose of calling up resolutions and bills on the Final Passage Calendar.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The following resolutions and bills are being called up for Second Reading and Final Passage Calendar today: Nos. 130334, 130335, 130336, and 130109. All other resolutions and bills are being held.

  • Thank you, sir.

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

    If you are interested in testifying on a bill or resolution on the Final Passage Calendar today, we ask that you sign up at the table at my left.

    The guidelines as it relates to speaking, you will be given three minutes. We want to ensure that everybody has an opportunity, so we impose a three-minute limit.

    There's a device in the middle of the podium. When that light turns green, it is your time to speak. When it turns yellow, you have 30 seconds to conclude your remarks. When it turns red, we ask that you please adhere to the guidelines and conclude your remarks. Thank you very much.

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

  • Clarc King, commenting on 120118.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Thank you, President to the Council. Thank you, members of the Council.

  • I am speaking against the resolution to hold hearings to examine the feasibility of transferring ownership or operations of Philadelphia Gas Works to a private entity.

    Philadelphia Gas Works is a great science-driven economy platform that undergirds the economy of Philadelphia and cannot be sold to a private entity. I also would like to mention that the City's assets of property revenues are under too-big-to-fail management, and I'd like to push the mobilization for the creation of a public bank. A public bank would also expand the public Gas Works facility and take care of the rest of Philadelphia's economy's needs.

    I also ask that Philadelphia consider a transaction tax on stocks, commodities, currencies, and derivatives within its jurisdiction. I also want to mention that the United States is facing the greatest crisis it's ever had, and we need to communicate to our representation in Washington for the need to reinstate Glass-Steagall in U.S. banking.

    Thank you very much.

  • Thank you so much for your testimony.

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

  • Thank you very much.

    There are no other individuals interested in testifying today?

  • (No response.)

  • We will now consider our Calendar.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee -- I'm sorry. Mr. Decker, will you please read the title of 130334.

  • 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-Ninth Ward of the City of Philadelphia.

  • The Chair now recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Resolution 130334 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 130335.

  • 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-Eighth and Thirty-Seventh Wards of the City of Philadelphia.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Resolution 130335 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 130336.

  • A resolution authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to execute and deliver to the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, without consideration, deeds conveying conditional fee simple title to certain City-owned lots or pieces of ground with the buildings and improvements thereon, situate in the Seventh, Nineteenth and Twenty-Third Wards of the City of Philadelphia.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Sanchez.

  • 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. Resolution 130336 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 130109.

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

  • 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 is voting aye.

    Councilman Jones.

  • Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 16 -- I'm sorry.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have a potential conflict of interest with respect to that bill and will be submitting a memorandum to the Clerk documenting that for the record, and so I need to abstain on that bill.

  • Okay. Thank you, Councilman. So noted.

    So the ayes are 15; 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 authorizing the Committee on Labor and Civil Service to hold hearings to examine the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative contracts awarded to LP Group 2 from 2004 to 2006, introduced by Councilman Kenney.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move the adoption of the resolution and I'd like to speak briefly, if I may.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    Councilman, please proceed.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Before we vote on this bill, I wanted members of Council to understand the process that we've been going through until we've got this point.

    Back in the NTI period of time, contracts were awarded for demolition all around the City and companies were hiring individuals to do demolition and stucco work throughout our city. As you know, every district in the City probably had some impact from NTI.

    As a result of the Board of Building Standards citing a particular contractor for paying substandard wages to their employees, it was made clear that there's about two dozen individuals who have been shortchanged about $200,000 in work that would have been paid if he had paid prevailing wage. It's about $8,000 a person. Many of these folks are ex-offenders who have come back into the community, trying to do the right thing. We promised to have their back. We promised to try to help them get their lives back together.

    The government of the City of Philadelphia through the Labor Standards Board did their job. They discovered an inequity. They cited on numerous occasions the contractor, and for some reason or another, the contractor was paid regardless, who refuses now to pay these individuals for the hard work that they were doing. Obviously stucco work, demolition work, knocking down houses is not pleasant work to do. It's hard, it's dusty, it's dirty, but these individual men and women put their backs to the grindstone, did their work every day, went to work, expected to be paid a prevailing wage and were not.

    The City fell down on its inability to stop the payment for whatever reason and the contractor was paid and is basically thumbing his nose at the City and at these two dozen workers.

    We're not going to let this go. We have talked to the Administration over a long period of time. We have written letters. We have called. We have talked. We have had City Solicitor Shelley Smith in front of our hearing asking, cajoling, pleading to make these folks whole.

    Eight thousand dollars to most people is a lot of money. Eight thousand dollars to folks in this situation is an extreme amount of money that could change their lives for the good or for the ill. I think the City has a responsibility, because it did cite the contractor for not paying prevailing wage, to make these people whole. We have identified money that's been held in contingency accounts in the NTI program. For some reason or another, the City Solicitor, the Administration simply refuse to cut the checks. My suggestion is, they cut the checks to these hard-working people and they go after the contractor for the balance of the money that's owed.

    We are just simply not going to let this go away. I think we owe these 24 or so folks who are trying to make their lives better, who are trying to do the right thing and work hard during this period of time to get them the money that they earned, and I call on the Administration again to cut the checks, make these people whole, do the right thing. And we're going to continue to have hearings and have this discussion until these individuals are paid their fair day's wage.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    There was a motion and a second. All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution congratulating and honoring the Julia R. Masterman Middle School Chess Team on winning the 2013 United States Chess Federation's Kindergarten-through-8th- Grade National 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. The 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 LSI-R offender risk assessment tool and the effect that it has on the safety of the citizens of Philadelphia, 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.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    Councilman, please proceed.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I introduce one privileged resolution relating to public safety. This resolution stems from the April 12, 2013 Public Safety Committee hearing where we peeled away at the many layers of the Pennsylvania State Probation and Parole. Just in case somebody wasn't paying attention, every week following that hearing, I've introduced a resolution calling for the Committee on Public Safety to look at each of those layers in more detail. This week I'm calling on the Committee to investigate the risk assessment tool used by State Probation and Parole. Specifically, how do they evaluate offenders, how do they classify whether someone will be maximum risk versus low risk, how do they supervise the different levels of risk, but above all, is this system effective and does it protect the citizens of Philadelphia.

    These are all important questions. These are all questions that we as citizens of Philadelphia deserve answers. As I've said in previous weeks, we need to keep drilling down into how the Board runs its shop. We will not stop until we get the real answers and until we get change. The safety of Philadelphia depends on it.

    Last week I gave you some numbers related to crime in the City. There have been over 4,300 violent crimes in Philadelphia since the start of the year. Last week the number of homicides was 76. Today that number stands at 81. That's unacceptable. Public safety needs to be a priority. We here in this legislative body make it a priority. It's time that everyone, including the Parole Board, make it a priority as well.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    It has been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution recognizing the 250th Anniversary of Old St. Saint Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Philadelphia's oldest Catholic Church in continuous service, introduced by Councilman Squilla.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • 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 honoring Center in the Park on its 45th Anniversary and recognizing its efforts to enhance the health and wellness of local older adults, introduced by Councilwoman Bass.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it and that resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution recognizing and celebrating the 43rd Annual Mt. Airy Day, introduced by Councilwoman Bass.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution recognizing, Sunday, May 5, 2013 as Ilona Grover Day in appreciation of her twenty-four years of service to the City of Philadelphia, introduced by Councilwoman Bass.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

  • 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. That resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution authorizing Council's Committee of the Whole to compel the Administration through the issuance of a subpoena as authorized under Section 2-401 of The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to provide the methodology and sample sets used in performing assessments of real property that are being used as part of the citywide Actual Value Initiative such that the information is reproducible, introduced by Councilman Oh.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • That was a much stronger aye than the earlier ayes.

    Those opposed?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is adopted.

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

  • Thank you so very much.

    Are there any speeches on the part of the minority?

    We seem to be having a technical challenge for the third week in a row. So I actually think -- Councilman, were you -- because nothing is registering on the board.

  • I'm voice challenged today, Mr. President --

  • So you're going to waive that?

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I just wanted to make a comment on the bill that was introduced, because it may be a little bit difficult to understand, regarding the Library fines.

    This body is challenged to come up with funds, and there's just not enough funds for us to find in order to pay for all the needed and worthy things. One of the important issues that comes before this body is funding our local libraries or branch libraries and the challenges that they have in providing not only the time for children and parents to come to the library, but also the resources such as computers and other types of programs.

    Recently, the Administration announced that it would no longer collect fees from late children's books -- or books that are late, fees from children. And I think it is very well intended, but I do have an issue with that, and, that is, that if the problem is that children who have late books are not allowed to use library resources, that can simply be remedied by allowing them to use resources waiving the fees or providing amnesty. I think that is fine. Many of us, myself included, will pay late fines when our children are late with their books, and we don't complain about it. It's a good lesson for our children to know, to try to return things on time.

    The late fees, which I don't know that the Library can distinguish adult from children, are substantial. It's $430,000 I belive last year and three years ago it was $700,000. This is money that nobody is complaining about, and if the City does not want the money, I think it should be placed in a separate fund to be distributed to the branches so they can get some funding that they need, have been requesting to provide for programs for children.

    I will say that many of us will remember that if we needed a copy made, the only place you could go was the library. If you needed books and resource items, that was the library. My mother would let me go to the library without hesitation, although I couldn't go play basketball or hang out with my friends. The library was that kind of place.

    But today the libraries don't have the technology that we had when we were young. For example, 3D printers cost about $20,000. Why can't a library have a 3D printer so that the children and the teenagers can use that type of technology?

    I think $700,000 or $400,000, which nobody is complaining about, is too much money to leave somewhere behind and I think the better use of it is for the programs for children in our neighborhoods.

    Thank you very much.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    I'm assuming that Councilman Jones would be on this panel if this was working. Councilman, am I correct?

  • That is a lucky guess.

  • I want to briefly thank you for having the perseverance and patience, Mr. President, to listen to all of the public comment that you've heard, and many of our colleagues have sat through that and listened, I mean truly listened, to what people were saying. And some of the things that we were hearing obviously revolved around AVI, but also the other elephant in the room was the pending issue with the SRC and public education.

    Out of those voices, the young man I believe from Councilwoman Sanchez's district, Guillermo Santos, came clarionly clear as his concerns about whether his choices were school, prison or war. And I think if none of us could hear anything else, we should have heard that.

    The other thing is that today Pastor Thomas talked about the 48 percent of African Americans that don't find their way to graduation, many of whom are out by the ninth grade. The 24 schools that will close, one of them was Vaux that was recognized by you today, Mr. President. The fact that we don't have enough libraries in schools, paper in schools and supplies, all of that putting a spotlight on the issue that we will have to tackle this year.

    But there was some good news. The same word for "crisis" in China is the same word for "opportunity," and that is important to note as we go about our business, that we have an opportunity to make it better, that we have an opportunity for closing schools for those parents and students not to do the death march but march into a future that is worthwhile by educating them correctly.

    I heard little tidbits such as technical training, such as emphasis on science and biology. I heard issues of conflict resolution by implementing youth courts. And so I've heard little pieces of hope that we can have.

    So as we begin to look at what we need to do for those young people, that we need to have listened very closely, taken notes as we make the hard choice over the next month of what we are going to do by way of this crisis, and we pray and hope that also those in Harrisburg -- you've established a great relationship with the Senate and the House, but those in the executive branch also hear us too.

    So thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Councilwoman Blackwell -- I'm sorry; Councilwoman Brown.

  • Yes. Thank you, Mr. President. So let's take the remarks shared by Councilman Jones as the backdrop and back story for my additional remarks around how we fund our Philadelphia public schools.

    According to the Pennsylvania Constitution, it is the state's responsibility to, and I quote, "provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth," end quote. In fact, it is the only service mandated by our Constitution.

    Why is it that we find ourselves experiencing another deja vu, searching to fill a hole in our School District budget, waiting once again to see who will go first, the State or the City of Philadelphia?

    We're told that the only way that the Corbett Administration will think we are serious about getting our financial house in order is if City Council steps up to the plate first with meaningful action.

    Let the record reflect three years in a row we have done just that and then asked Philadelphia's taxpayers to help us close the gap. These are unpopular decisions that have been made because we all felt it was the right thing to do.

    We then look back to the Corbett Administration, who has been silent at best and shrug their shoulders at worst, at our request for additional aid.

    I applaud you, Council President, for asking and I would say directing School Reform Commissioner Pedro -- President Pedro Ramos to join you and members of Council to make a case for needed funding. The direct question was important.

    This year it is clear that the shared sacrifice approach will be essential to filling the budget gap that will only restore basic education to our District's 140,000 students.

    I continue to be troubled by the notion that the School District is, and I quote, "so far gone" and that it is, quote, "a lost cause." I do disagree with the belief that we are throwing good money after bad. That simply is not true.

    So let's consider some myths. The graduation rate is hopelessly low, as reported. That's false. In 2002, 44 percent of the young people graduated, and in 2012, it's 64 percent. Improvement.

    Teacher salaries are too high. That's false. Starting salaries for teachers in Philadelphia public schools are about $30,000 a year, significantly less than the average annual salary of $34,000 for teachers in suburban school districts.

    The central office spending is out of control. That's false. Central office has been cut dramatically and now accounts for only 3 percent of the total budget. In 2011, there were 762 filled positions, and today there are 433 filled positions from the operating budget.

    We hear that the School District of Philadelphia is the problem child in an otherwise excellent state. That's false. School districts across Pennsylvania are hurting. We have Chester-Upland, York, Harrisburg have been declared financially distressed, and experts predict more schools to fall in this category. I had a meeting with Senator Vincent Hughes this week wherein he indicated Philadelphia is not alone.

    Philadelphia always looks to Harrisburg to bail us out. That's false. We have made tough choices and increased taxes in Philadelphia to fill holes in our budget for the past three years.

    Philadelphia is nothing more than a money pit that is consistently bailed out by the state and giving nothing in return. That's false. Philadelphia represents 12 percent of the state population, but it accounts for 35 percent of the statewide gross domestic product. We are indeed Pennsylvania's economic engine. Our population is growing. Tourism is growing. Our GDP is growing. Our students deserve a growing commitment from the state government that says, yes, we will invest in their education.

    So I pose a question or questions to the members of the Corbett Administration. Who among you participated in a varsity sport? Who among you was a cheerleader? Who played an instrument in the band or the orchestra? Who sang in the high school chorus? Who paid a visit to the school nurse or the guidance counselor? Who checked out a book from the library?

    I challenge members of the Corbett Administration to come to Philadelphia and do what all of us do in this Council all the time, spend the day in a classroom, without books, without supplies, without proper staffing, without assistant principals or counselors or librarians. Let's invite Governor Corbett to come shadow a student who has no art or music class to look forward to, no after-school sport to play. Librarians, school nurses, school counselors are not luxury items.

    Dr. Hite said it best during his testimony, and I quote, "A $304 million shortfall presents cold, harsh scenarios: Schools with no assistant principals or AA's, no guidance counselors, no librarians, no music teachers, no school-based instructional aides, no athletics, no extracurricular activities, no summer programming." He further went on to remark, "If this budget scenario comes to pass, then the activities that enrich their talents, interests, and lives would disappear, and there would be fewer adults to help them navigate their childhood years into an eye towards the future."

    So, Mr. President, once again, City Council has to lead by example. Once again, under your able leadership, we may have to pull teeth to craft a resolution. Thank you for making it clear to Pedro Ramos that it will take our collective will to get anything done. Thank you for directing President Ramos and helping us secure a meeting with the Governor.

    So once Councilman Goode's question is answered -- and you'll remember it during the public school testimony. Councilman Goode raised the question to the Administration, What does $60 million buy us? City Council will need to do our part to exhaust non-traditional funding sources. We should closely consider Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez's use and occupancy proposal. We should closely review the proposal percolating to increase the liquor by the drink tax.

    Further, the Nutter Administration will need to do its part, such as closely reexamining the $18 million request in new spending, closely consider the Sanchez U&O proposal. The Corbett Administration will need to do its part to find the 120 million.

    Further, as Senator Anthony Hardy Williams stated in a recent editorial, and I quote, "The respective corners, be it City Hall, union halls, Harrisburg, we will all bear responsibility if the District goes belly up."

    Therefore, while it remains unclear at this hour precisely where the local funding will come from, I do remain encouraged by your leadership and your willingness to keep the door open for, now I quote you, "coming up with non-traditional revenue sources for the School District."

    In closing, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. It will not matter whose fault it is. When it comes to the School District of Philadelphia, we, as elected officials, will not be absolved of our duties because of mistakes or poor judgments or misjudgments or silence or benign leadership of others. Mr. President, I believe that we are duty-bound. It is our job to face the obstacle, as we have done in the past three consecutive years, tackle challenge, as we have done in the past three consecutive years, and been very, very successful in crafting an acceptable funding formula solution, a solution, Mr. President, that will have to be built with shared sacrifice.

    I thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • I thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Yesterday a lobbyist for the Building Association of Realtors e-mailed City Council a report done by a consultant of the ten-year tax abatement program as it currently exists. In an e-mail exchange, the lobbyist admitted that he advised his clients not to participate in public testimony before City Council like other citizens and taxpayers. He advised that they deserve a different forum. Hence, that explains the private e-mail from a lobbyist to City Council rather than public testimony like any other citizen and taxpayer.

    I assumed the report was commissioned related to Bill 120651, but the report never analyzes that bill. The report analyzes what has occurred in the real estate market since the abatement became law. It shows a correlation in time between the abatement and a surge in real estate development, without much further analysis.

    There is indeed a correlation. That's not the debate, and it never was. The debate is over whether correlation equals causation. In other words, because development occurred after the abatement does not prove that all or most of the development was caused by the abatement. But let's assume that most of it was. The report does not analyze what would have occurred with a different abatement. The report presents the case of the current abatement versus no abatement. That's a false analysis.

    In determining the beneficiaries of the abatement, the report measures a number of properties rather than also considering the value of properties in its highlights. That's also deceptive. The abatement exists and there are no plans to eliminate it, and the value of the abated properties is not equally distributed. The report, if it were commissioned by the Commerce Department, as the Finance Director previously claimed, should have examined what would occur with a modified abatement, with over $320 million in business and wage tax cuts over the next five years, and newly devised construction subsidy based on need. But we didn't pay for the report. The rich guys paid for it.

    My point is simple: To get a ten-year tax abatement, you don't have to need the abatement. The report does not examine whether most of the beneficiaries actually needed the abatement over time. It's just a broad view of the real estate market. An industry benefiting from the tax abatement program can afford to hire lobbyists and consultants, unlike the average taxpayer whose bills increase by the abatements. And the rich guys' lobbyists and consultants will even try to convince you that the abatements will lower the AVI tax rate, but trust me, you're still paying for their abatements, not them.

    The average taxpayer will rely upon us, even though the rich developers think that we're not that smart. We know that the report did not analyze the bill before us or any plan for a modified abatement or with $300 million in business and wage tax cuts. Instead, the rich developers want to continue to take more money, mostly from public education, whether they need it or not. I guess they don't care whether our kids are not that smart either.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Councilman Green.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. During budget time, people are probably tired of hearing me, budgeting is choosing between competing ideas for good with limited resources. I say this this time every year, and I just get the feeling that people think that the City's coffers or that we are living in Candy Land.

    Every single week we pass a bill for an appropriation for a tax credit, for giving money away for this good cause, for -- there's a proposal to increase Parks and Rec spending by $6 million. There's all sorts of proposals for new spending for good and valid things, $60 million for firefighters, et cetera. And here we are talking about needing $60 million for schools, talking about -- I agree with almost everything Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown said, except that there's $78 million still in the administration of the School District.

    We have to make serious choices. We have to live within our means, and every single week we give away just a little bit more here, a little bit more there, and we think that that doesn't add all up. When you add all that stuff up, that's the equivalent of not having to do a tax increase for the schools when you add it up over several years.

    People have to look at each individual expenditure, not in the context of whether or not that one thing is a good idea, but in the context of whether or not we can afford all the things that everybody would want.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    It appears there are no other speeches. At this time, I'd like to recognize Councilwoman Brown for a motion to adjourn.

  • I thank you, Mr. President. I would hasten to alert my colleagues that they're welcome to a briefing next door hosted by Teens for Good, T-E-E-N-S. Teens for Good strives to build additional multi-green green spaces and incorporate urban farming and the like around our City of Philadelphia.

    With that said, I move that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, May 9th, 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, May 9th, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

    Thank you very much.

  • (Stated Meeting adjourned at 11:45 a.m.)