Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

  • Good morning, everyone.

  • (Good morning.)

  • The hour has come. We have established a quorum. Council will come to order. I'd ask all the guests and visitors to please retire behind the rails.

    Thank you very much for your cooperation.

    To give our invocation this morning, the Chair recognizes the Reverend Bonnie Camarda. She is here as my guest.

    I would ask all members and guests to please rise.

  • (Members and guests rise.)

  • Good morning. The work of God say in Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord. Thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then you shall call upon me, and you shall go and pray unto me, and I will hear your prayer.

    Father, we just want to thank you, because we know that you have plans for this city. You have plans for City Council. You have plans for each member. And we just all pray that as we think of our city, we think a city of peace and that you will reign and that you will prosper the City that we live in.

    We thank you that you are here among us and that you are with each one of us. And as we stay here doing the business of today or as you release us to go into our districts and into our home, we keep doing unto you.

    We pray for this peace, in Jesus' name.

    Amen.

  • Thank you very much.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you very much.

    The next order of business is the approval of the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, December 12th, 2013.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, December 12th, 2013 be approved.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, December 12th, 2013 stand approved.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

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

  • Thank you and Happy New Year, Mr. President. There are no requests for leaves of absence today on the part of the democrats.

  • Thank you. The Chair thanks the gentleman.

    And the Chair now recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

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

  • The Chair thanks the gentleman.

    At this time, I would like to dispense with the regular order of business to recognize the guests and visitors joining us today. I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy day to come down to see your government in action. I hope that your stay here today is a pleasurable one, so much so that you come again.

    So, again, I want to thank you coming down in this, I guess we're around, 12-degree weather. It shows your interest in government in action. So thank you so much for your participation.

    Today we have no presentations, and I know that is really problematic for you, but we will make up for it next week.

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

    Mr. Decker, would you please read those messages from the Mayor.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, pursuant to Sections 4-604 and 2-307 of the Home Rule Charter, I am today transmitting to the Council the recommendation of the City Planning Commission on the following bills: Bill Nos. 130817, 130818, and 130879; and

    I am pleased to advise you that on January 20, 2014, I signed Bill No. 130723, which was passed by Council at its session on December 5, 2013, and that on December 18, 2013, January 8 and January 20, 2014, I signed all the bills that were passed by Council at its session on December 12, 2013; and

    I am transmitting herewith for the introduction and consideration of your honorable body a resolution proposing an amendment to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to create the Department of Prisons, to transfer the functions of certain City agencies with respect to penal, reformatory and correctional institutions to a newly-created Department of Prisons and Board of Trustees of Philadelphia Prisons; and

    An ordinance providing for the submission to the qualified electors of the City of Philadelphia of the proposal set forth in a Resolution approved by Council proposing an amendment to The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to transfer the functions of certain City agencies with respect to penal, reformatory and correctional institutions to a newly-created Department of Prisons and Board of Trustees of Philadelphia Prisons; and

    An ordinance amending Title 2 of The Philadelphia Code to provide for the powers and duties of the Department of Prisons created under Section 3-100 of the Home Rule Charter; and further amending Title 20 of The Philadelphia Code to provide for the salary of the Commissioner of Prisons; and

    Also an ordinance amending Section 9-213 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Farmers' Markets," to remove the requirement that operators of farmers' markets obtain a license from the Department of Licenses and Inspections; and

    An ordinance authorizing the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development to purchase approximately Two and Seven-Tenths acres of land situate at 5210 Lindbergh Boulevard; 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 Croskey Street from its terminus north of Cherry Street to a point approximately five feet southwardly therefrom; and

    An ordinance authorizing the revision of lines and grades on a portion of City Plan No. 271 by striking from the City Plan and vacating an irregularly shaped portion of Laurel Street, from Canal Street to Delaware Avenue, all under certain terms and conditions.

  • Thank you, Mr. Decker. Do you have any other messages?

  • 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 bill and three resolutions.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 10-800 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Safety," by providing for ending the existing procedure of mandatory custodial arrests for the crime of Marijuana possession, and by requiring the reporting of the number of arrests and related information with respect to those arrested for Marijuana possession.

  • I'm not sure what committee that bill will go to, but it will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution honoring the St. Joseph's Preparatory School Varsity Football Team on winning the PIAA AAAA State Championship, the District XII AAAA City Championship and the Philadelphia Catholic League Championship.

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

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing and honoring Philadelphia legend Sonny Hill for receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Comcast SportsNet Shining Star Award Ceremony and for his countless contributions to the Philadelphia sports community.

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

  • And a non-privileged resolution urging the members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to oppose all efforts by anonymously funded groups to attack the collective bargaining rights of public sector union workers through House Bill 1507 and Senate Bill 1034.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

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

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

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

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

  • An ordinance amending Title 9 of The Philadelphia Code, by amending Section 9-203 relating to Street Vendors, Section 9-205 relating to Sidewalk Sales, and Section 9-212 relating to newsstands by prohibiting street and sidewalk vending and newsstands in the area bounded by the north side of Spring Garden, the south side of Callowhill, the east side of Broad Street, and the west side of 18th Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing Liberty Property 18th and Arch to construct, use and maintain, an underground pedestrian tunnel crossing the Unit block of 18th Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance to amend Section 14-701 of the Zoning Code, entitled "Dimensional Standards," and to amend Section 14-702(4) of the Zoning Code, entitled "Maximum Floor Area and Height Bonus Amounts," to amend Section 14-806 of the Zoning Code, entitled "Off-Street Loading," and to amend Section 14-502 of the Zoning Code, entitled "CTR, Center City Overlay."

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • 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 Croskey Street from its terminus north of Cherry Street to a point approximately five feet southwardly therefrom.

  • That bill will also be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing Liberty Property 18th and Arch, owner of the property at 1800 Arch Street to be improved with an office tower and hotel, to install security bollards on and under Arch Street, North 18th Street, North 19th Street and Cuthbert Street.

  • 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 18th Street, 19th Street, Arch Street and Cuthbert Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing the revision of lines and grades on a portion of City Plan No. 307 by relocating the curblines of Cuthbert Street, from Eighteenth Street to Nineteenth Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And a privileged resolution honoring and congratulating James Lafferty for being one of the youngest - if not the youngest - officials elected to Sharon Hill Borough Council in Delaware County.

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

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

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • I have no bills or resolutions.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Mr. President, I offer one bill and two resolutions.

  • An ordinance amending Section 9-213 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Farmers' Markets," to remove the requirement that operators of farmers' markets obtain a license from the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And a privileged resolution authorizing the Council Committee on Public Health and Human Services to hold hearings regarding Healthy PA.

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

  • And a privileged resolution authorizing the Council Committee on Public Health and Human Services to hold hearings regarding the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act of Pennsylvania.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have four resolutions.

  • A privileged resolution honoring, recognizing and commending Francesca Ruscio for her extraordinary leadership, service, and activism as Miss Philadelphia 2013.

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

  • And a privileged resolution authorizing City Council's Committee on Transportation and Public Utilities to hold hearings to examine the status of the claims filed as a result of the July 22nd, 2012 water main break at 21st and Bainbridge and to investigate possible measures to ensure the victims of this instance.

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

  • And a privileged resolution authorizing the joint Committees on Transportation and Public Utilities and Public Safety to hold hearings to investigate the conditions of railways, bridges and other surface transportation infrastructure owned, operated and maintained by CSX Transportation in Philadelphia.

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

  • And a non-privileged resolution condemning the American Studies Association's academic boycott against Israeli academic institutions and urging the Department of Education, the State System of Higher Education and all colleges and universities in Pennsylvania to reject the academic boycott.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

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

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I introduce two bills, one privileged resolution and another privileged resolution honoring the retiring President of Holy Family University with Councilman Henon and Dennis O'Brien.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 10-600 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Public Places - Prohibited Conduct," by prohibiting the use of electronic cigarettes in public places and in the workplace.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance amending Title 12 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Traffic Code," to revise the fee for the use of parking meters, all under certain terms and conditions.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And a privileged resolution honoring the accomplishments of Holy Family University President Sister Francesca Onley.

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

  • And a privileged resolution calling on the City of Philadelphia City Council Committee on Finance to hold hearings concerning the economic impact of the sharing economy and collaborative consumption on the City of Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Brien.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown.

  • Good morning, Mr. President. I offer one resolution co-sponsored by Councilman Johnson and one bill.

  • An ordinance amending Section A-703 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Special Certificate of Inspection," to require the issuance of special certificates of inspection for the occupancy of day care facilities, and to include day care facilities in the reporting requirements regarding special certificates of inspection.

  • That resolution will be on today's Final Passage Calendar -- that bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution honoring the African American Children's Book Project on the occasion of 22nd Annual African American Children's Book Fair.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Today I offer two bills, three resolutions, one of them non-privileged.

  • That resolution is co-sponsored by Councilman Kenney, Brown, and Goode.

  • An ordinance amending Title 2 of The Philadelphia Code to provide for the powers and duties of the Department of Prisons created under Section 3-100 of the Home Rule Charter.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance providing for the submission to the qualified electors of the City of Philadelphia of the proposal set forth in a Resolution approved by Council proposing an amendment to The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to transfer the functions of certain City agencies with respect to penal, reformatory and correctional institutions to a newly-designated Department of Prisons.

  • And that will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a non-privileged resolution proposing an amendment to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to create the Department of Prisons, to transfer the functions of certain City agencies with respect to penal, reformatory and correctional institutions.

  • And that resolution will be referred to committee.

  • And a privileged resolution honoring and celebrating Philadelphia Living Legends: John F. Street, Ethel S. Barnett, Sylvester M. Johnson, Joyce Batchelor, Samuel Staten, Jr., Doris A. Smith, J. Wyatt (Jerry) Mondesire, and Della Clark and Trudy Haynes in the areas of government, public safety, social justice, civil rights, labor relations, journalism, and community activism in Philadelphia as part of the commemoration of Black History Month.

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

  • And a privileged resolution calling for joint hearings by the Committee on Public Safety and the Committee on Licenses and Inspections to investigate and explore the need to for a third party structural inspection or an engineering report on residential rental units or fire escapes on residential buildings to be submitted with the City's Housing Inspection License, also known as a Housing Rental License and required for any entity that rents any type of housing unit in Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair now 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 two bills today.

  • An ordinance authorizing the revision of lines and grades on a portion of City Plan No. 271 by striking from the City Plan and vacating an irregularly shaped portion of Laurel Street, from Canal Street to Delaware Avenue.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

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

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

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

  • An ordinance authorizing and directing the changing of the name of Wishart Street, from Seventeenth Street westwardly and northwestwardly to Allegheny Avenue, to Lippincott Street.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution honoring and congratulating the Good Shepherd Mediation Program on its 30th Anniversary.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Today I offer one non-privileged resolution and I wish to be recognized after the title of the resolution re-calling Bill No. 130701-A is read for a motion on the resolution.

  • A resolution requesting the Mayor to return to Council Bill No. 130701-A, entitled "An ordinance providing for the submission to the qualified electors of the City of Philadelphia of an amendment to The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to permit City elected officials to become candidates for nomination of election to public office without first resigning from their City office, under certain terms and conditions; fixing the date of a special election for such purposes; prescribing the form of ballot question to be voted on," for the purpose of reconsideration by the Council of the vote by which said bill passed Council.

  • Councilman, you want to be recognized?

  • Yes, Mr. President. I'd like to 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 the rules will be suspended to allow first reading on today's session of Council.

  • Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, sir.

    That concludes the introduction of bills and resolutions, and the next order of business is reports from committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Mr. Decker, 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. 130958, entitled "A resolution approving the appointment of Asia Coney as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Philadelphia Housing Authority," respectfully reports it has considered the same and returns the attached resolution to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you, Mr. Decker.

    Resolution 130958 will be placed on the Final Passage Calendar for our next session of Council. Thank you.

    The next order of business is the consideration of the Calendar. The Chief Clerk will please read the title of the bill on the First Reading Calendar.

  • Bill No. 130530, entitled "An ordinance amending Chapter 19-2600 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Business Income and Receipts Tax,' by providing certain exclusions; revising certain tax rates; and creating certain fresh food tax credits; and amending Chapter 19-1200 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Parking Tax,' by providing for scheduled reductions in the rate of the tax and by making certain technical amendments."

  • The Chair agrees. This bill will be placed on the Second Reading and Final Passage Calendar for our next session of Council.

    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 for Second Reading and Final Passage Calendar today: Nos. 130959, 130960, 130961, 130963, 130630, and 130657. All other resolutions and bills are being held.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

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

    If you are interested in testifying on bills and resolutions today on the Final Passage -- bills and resolutions on the Final Passage, you must have signed up to the table to my left. You will be given three minutes for your testimony. You will come before the Council at the podium in the middle of the Council. There's a device on that podium. It has a light. That light will turn green. It is your time to speak. When the light turns yellow, you have 30 seconds to conclude your remarks. And at the end of your three minutes, the light will turn red. I'd ask that you please adhere to those guidelines and conclude your comments.

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

  • Christopher Wight, commenting on 120232.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Nombre Espanol Christopher.

  • Good morning, Council President, Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez, Councilwoman Blackwell. I also greet in language that I have not spoken in many, many years. Velama laig (ph), my Muslim brothers and sisters. I learned that language as a Christian, mind you, before the first Gulf War.

    I came here to this beautiful city to buy a home, to settle down, to start over, to one day raise a family of my own. This is not the first time I was here. I was here many years ago. We won't go into that. I have learned many things.

    When I lived in public housing in Ohio, it gave me some stability. It gave me a home. It gave me the freedom to go back to school. But I didn't finish.

    What I recommend for those who in public housing who can hear me, be patient with the system. Never take any more money from the government than you truly need, because if you do, it does become a trap. I've experienced that. Don't take any loans that you don't need, whether student loans or otherwise, unless you know you can pay them back within ten years. Be patient with the system.

    And I recommend to anyone in government who can hear me, please, I beg of you, provide a way to transition single mothers with children, single fathers with children, married couples, immigrants from all over the world to this great city. We're all residents of the same planet, and if we are truly Americans, we welcome all. Help us to find a way to buy a home in the end, for that will break the power of generational poverty gradually over four generations.

    Thank you for your time.

  • DeWayne Drummond, commenting on 130657.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning. My name is DeWayne Drummond, President of the Mantua Civic Association. I would like to first thank City Council for giving us the opportunity to address an issue that can impact the future of our community.

    The Mantua Civic Association has worked hard over the last two years, along with the partners and local community organizations, to help begin the transformation of a struggling community into a striving, clean, safe, and exciting place to live. We have worked tirelessly to organize to become better advocates for its residents.

    Our bylaws state in Article 2.2 the purpose of the Mantua Civic Association is to advocate for our directors and issues and concerns of residents to improve quality of life for all and to preserve the identity and history of Mantua for the next generation.

    Through our volunteer efforts and outreach, we have built a strong organization. Although in its infancy, has the potential to do great things for the residents of Mantua and the City of Philadelphia. We have held monthly meetings where all residents and partners are invited. We hand out and distribute meeting notice, over 3,000, to residents each month. We invite partners and other supporters to keep residents informed, hold special meetings to address critical issues, meet with current RCOs and neighboring RCOs and developers to provide the opportunity for community input.

    MCA has worked diligently with integrity and limited resources because we care about our community and its residents. We preserve to serve as a model for community engagement.

    Last March, we were approved as an RCO, having fulfilled the requirements that were set forth by PCPC. As a registered community organization, we have engaged builders and developers, notified the entire community, and held open meetings for discussion and consideration. We followed the rules as required. However, now we are faced with a new and confusing set of criterias that challenge our accomplishments of the year. We have been fair, honest, and transparent in our deliberations. This amended bill suggests in construction that residents do not have the right, ability or the capacity to decide what's best for their community and neighborhood. Requiring the submission of the information related to operation of organization, periodic re-registration for RCOs and minimal property notification requirements for builders and appeal process for the RCO is not independent opinion.

    In closing, we believe that this bill systemically silences the voices of long-term community residents who have supported the City of Philadelphia and its community. Philadelphia has proven again that it is not resident friendly, City of Brotherly Love, but a city who preys on vulnerability of the residents to further business and development. We ask that you consider the nature and tone of this amendment Bill 130657 and vote no.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you for your testimony.

  • Reverend E. Andre Stanlon, commenting on 130657.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning, Council President. We thank you for allowing us to come and speak. On behalf of DeWayne Drummond and Mantua Civic Association, I'm here also as one of the members. But when I think about Philadelphia as the birthplace of independence and all of the nuances that come along with as a country, I think about the opportunities to gain a good way of life, but the main focus that I have seen that brings everything together is unity. I see a Council full of individuals who represent different sections of Philadelphia and doing a great job, unified, but Mantua has become over the last ten years probably one of the sought after communities or section of Philadelphia in regards to development. But a lot of the residents who have been long-term residents of Mantua have been displaced or moved out because they could no longer afford to change along with the times, but the remaining residents that are there now are feeling the pinch of separation because they are trying to forge a unified front to stand up and represent and have a voice for their community. And I can say with different organizations within Mantua, whether it's Drexel University, whether it's Mantua in Action, whether it's We Are Mantua, MCIC, we have a lot of different organizations that for the first time Mantua has been known over the years as a gang-ridden community. We have people from the hub, the Empire gang, 34th Street gang. It was known for a gang territory place. But today we have been united through the Mantua Civic Association, through our guidance of Councilwoman Blackwell, even the Mayor of the City. Everyone has been trying to bring us together. Now that the President of the United States has identified West Philadelphia, mainly the Mantua section, as a Promise Zone, now it seem as though we have a better chance of coming together and doing great things for not only the residents of Mantua but those stakeholders, those businesses. But we do not want to lose the integrity of unity, of coming together as a community and having a voice.

    We understand that City Council has their priorities. They have to take care of some fiscal things and some regulations that they do. We support that. But we don't want to push out the local residents and business stakeholders in Mantua.

    So it is our prayer that you would consider just inviting the residents and the members of Mantua to come and to have a voice about what's being developed in the place where we're going to live and operate.

    Thank you, sir.

  • (Applause.)

  • Celeste Hardester, commenting on 130699-A.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning, Council President. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak. I would like to read the Chestnut Hill Community Association's position on Bill 130699-A. I'd first like to acknowledge that Councilman O'Neill and Councilwoman Bass's offices have been willing to work with us to find a solution to our concerns, and I have just learned this morning that this bill is being held. So there is still opportunity for discussion, but I would like to share our concerns regardless.

    The Chestnut Hill Community Association wishes to register its continuing opposition to Bill 130699-A, as amended on December 12th. While we appreciate the effort that has gone into trying to improve this bill since its first reading, the CHCA believes that the recent changes have had the unintended consequence of making the bill more ambiguous, difficult to enforce, and potentially disruptive to Philadelphia's many residential communities, not just Chestnut Hill.

    We are particularly concerned about the changes to Subsection 14-803(b)(.1)(.a)(.iii) which has been amended to read, "Driveways may be located in required front, side, or rear yards. Parking of personal automobiles is permitted in such driveways."

    This provision is contradictory on its face to the prior Subsection 14-1803(b)(.1)(.a)(.ii) which reads, "Surface parking spaces and detached garages and carports are prohibited in required front, side, and rear yards."

    The conflict between these two subsections, the fact that Subsection 2 prohibits what Subsection 3 explicitly allows will, as we see it, have the effect of rendering both provisions unenforceable.

    Beyond issues of enforceability, we see two essential problems with Subsection 3 as currently phrased. The first is that it is unlikely to solve one of the problems to which it is directed, which, as we understand it, is that many residents currently park their vehicles overlapping public sidewalks. Indeed given that Subsection 3 authorizes the by-right creation of additional driveway space in areas currently reserved for front yards, Subsection 3 might actually worsen the problem.

    Second, we are concerned that by potentially giving over front yard areas to permanent resident parking, Subsection 3 will generate visual and perhaps physical blight and thereby have a potentially adverse effect on neighborhood attractiveness and property values.

    We do appreciate that many Philadelphia neighborhoods lack sufficient on-street parking to accommodate residential demand and that there is a need for additional free off-street parking capacity. Our first preference is to continue to deal with this problem on a case-by-case basis through the traditional variance process. If City Council does not see fit to agree with this suggestion, we would request that individual neighborhoods and planning districts be given the local option of opting out of Subsection 3 as inappropriate to the particular neighborhood.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you for your testimony.

  • Madeline Shikomba, commenting on 130657.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning. Thank you, City Councilman Clarke, members of City Council. Also good morning to Kenyatta Johnson, Jannie Blackwell, Wilson Goode, Jr., and Curtis Jones and other members of City Council.

    President Clarke, I have a question to ask you. Has Bill 130657 passed?

    No. You ain't going to answer. I'll answer for you.

    Can the provision of a bill be implemented before it's passed by City Council? President Clarke?

    No. You won't answer that either.

    Does a City agency have the authority to implement the provision of a bill before it's passed? I didn't think so. But at any rate, I have in my hand a letter, City Planning Commission implementing Bill No. 130657. I want to know under what authority they did this.

    I received this on Tuesday. It states on March 1st, 2014, a new zoning law, Bill No. 130657, goes into effect, and that changes the role of RCOs. You think they would have the decency to wait until Council actually passed the bill before they sent out letters triumphing what seems to be a foregone conclusion.

  • (Applause.)

  • This letter represents an affront to City Council and every Philadelphian. It is a fait accompli, an accomplished fact. It puts the cart before the horse. I guess maybe -- I thought the horse was City Council, but I guess it's not, because it seems like it's City Planning.

    You know what kind of message that sends. Any argument that anyone or I would want to present or hope to present today to sway your vote is useless. It completely destroys any hope that one would think -- would be thinking that they still had a chance and an opportunity to change the course of events is now futile.

    Even the slightest hope I had has not happened. When I read the letter, I was highly disturbed and quite upset. It told me that it was totally useless for me to appear before this august body to ask you to reconsider your position on this bill before you cast your votes.

    This bill is already signed, sealed, and delivered. City Council has passed it and the Mayor has signed it. Where is the democratic process?

    I'm a retired history teacher. It would be extremely difficult for me to teach the students we actually live in a democracy when we proclaim the word of the people, for the people, and by the people. Today is anything but that. This simply has become an anomaly. As we said today, this looks more like hypocrisy and (unintelligible). The things that these words, democracy and plutocracy and all the guise they have in common, is the word "-cracy," which means to govern by.

    Today we are a government of the rich, for the rich, and government by the few are on behalf and in support of the rich, the powerful, and the well connected.

    During the past three weeks, I desperately tried to schedule meetings with different members of City Council. This proved to be futile. Only four people responded.

  • (Microphone turned off.)

  • (Witness still speaking.)

  • (Witness still speaking.)

  • Thank you for your remarks.

  • (Applause.)

  • Tiffany Green, commenting on 130657.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • I want to make this very quick. I think it comes down to developers versus community, and I want to speak directly to City Council, because the reality of it is, many of you started out as community leaders, activists in your community. You were sitting back here in the popcorn section many times before you got up there as City Council, and at that time, you went around to Ms. Sinni, the block captains, head of all the block captains, and you went around to Mr. Johnson, head of Town Watch over here, and Mr. Parks, who got the men's group down the street, and you went around to Ms. Barbara, who got all the CBO coalition. Now many of these people have become RCOs and now you're acting as if you don't know who they are.

    But I tell you what, to God be the glory, because come six months from now when you're running for reelection, you going to want to go around to Ms. Sinni, you going to want to go around to Mr. Johnson, you going to want to go around to Mr. Parks, you going to want to go around to Ms. Barbara and you're going to want to say, Hi, I'm running for City Council again, can I come out and talk to your group.

    Oh, but let me tell you, the word is out. People understand. It's all over. Because if these CBOs start getting cancelled as RCOs, they're going to tell their members. Their members have families. Their families have neighbors, and they're going to put it out. It's already been told to us they're going to put the vote out about AVI, ten-year tax abatement, and RCOs. It's going to Broad and Erie, Broad and Olney. It's going to go to Germantown and Chelten. It's going out to Bridge and Pratt, all over the place, because the reality of it is this: The people are tired about this situation. No more mama balls, papa balls, community day. No more reelection, job fair.

    The people are struggling. They can't put food on the table. You have minimum wage a 7.75, but you going to let a developer come and build a condominium starting at 12 and 15 hundred dollars a month.

    A vote for this Bobby Henon bill is a vote for developers. A no vote is for the community. We're not going to stand up here and allow you to disrespect us anymore. We've had enough. The bottom line is that we may not have no power today, but we got power come reelection time when you want to get that vote. And if you can disregard us now but you maybe can't disregard us back then, because reality is these developers are out here and they're doing unscrupulous things. They make promises to the people that they don't stand up to. They want to ask for zoning meetings. They don't even own the property. It's under contract for 60 days, and if that deal don't go through, then you have a voting on properties that they don't even own.

    I'm saying to you, you need to come and sit down and talk about ground zero. Don't sit up here and support this bill and talk about what RCOs is not doing. Talk about what developers are out there doing. And that's not right that you sit up here back in the 1990s when nobody was around. People stayed here and paid their taxes and stuck by you through thick and thin, and now you turn your back on us.

    But what does it gain the whole man to have nothing? And even though they might be walking in your offices and making all these offers, but if you can't enjoy it, because God is our leader and he will protect the poor and he will turn around in our favor.

    Thank you. Thank you, God.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you. Thank you for your testimony.

  • Judith Robinson, commenting on 130657.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning. Judith Robinson here speaking on the bill just mentioned. Greetings to you all and happy new years.

    With all the conditions, the horrible conditions in your district, you all should be happy that someone wants to come down here and give you all input. You really should be. It's a shame that you want to take away our rights after we have supported you all over many years.

    Bobby Henon, you said that your mother told you don't jump in the water that you can't see the bottom of. You're about to do it today, brother, please.

    This law has been changed three times. Something is wrong with it, when you're going to try to take away our rights to speak about what is going on in our communities. Our communities are going through hell and we are struggling. We're working with you all to try to do everything we can to make it right, but now you all want to wrap us up in some legalese nonsense to try to take away our rights.

    Know that if you vote for this bill today, you are voting against the citizens, the ones who support you all, who run around trying to get you votes. Just know that.

    How can you listen to someone who is asking you to vote against the right of your citizens to have freedom of speech, all of these rules to stop us from speaking to developers? We understand gentrification. We sit through all the meetings, RDA, PHA, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We come here before you begging for your ear. White men get to come in your offices while we sit outside the door like the Schuylkill set by the door. You sit up and listen to them tell you whatever they tell you, bringing in millions.

    My old broker told me, Judith, what is the golden rule, asked me what is the golden rule?

    I said, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    He said, No, Judith. He who has the gold makes the rules.

    He who has the gold is helping you all make these rules, not the people who do not have money. But we're the ones who you ask to vote for you. We live here in the town. You're allowing people who do not reside in our community at this time to make the rules.

    We understand that Philadelphia is a changing city, and for the good things that are changing, we're happy about, but there's a hell of a lot of murder and mayhem going on in our communities as these laws are changing.

    In the Northeast, you all are trying to stop a methadone clinic from coming to your neighborhood. I bet you ain't going to use no doggone RCOs for that. You, O'Neill, Henon, and the others of you who live in the Northeast, you all are fighting in court against that methadone center, but then you want to turn around and tie our hands in other areas.

    You all are out of order today. You need to rescind this bill and hold it or whatever you can do at this late date. You are out of order. Listen to the people, because we will not go away. We guarantee you that. That we can guarantee you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you for your testimony.

  • Theresa McCormick, commenting on 130657.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning.

    MS. McCORMICK: Good morning, City Council President Clarke and the body of City Council. I am speaking today on Bill No. 130657 concerning the RCOs. Our concerns is, one, about the land usage. About the land usage is when developers come into our community and tell us one thing that they're going to develop their land and when we go down to the ZBA, it's something completely different. That's under (a)(.2) on the bill.

    Line No. (B)(.3), the name of the person who is going to be designated for the Civic Design Review. We feel as though that that should be someone from the community and, once again, not an organization who does not live in our community.

    Number (c), the Planning Commission. We feel as though that the Planning Commission should not select who should be an RCO. And, again, as we have said for the last year, that there is no appeal process if you are denied.

    Also on the bill, No. 12, it also talks about neighborhood notification. It does not talk about the developers in terms of notifying the community. We tell you time and time and time again that they do not notify us of what development is coming through. We as the RCOs have to go back and check to make sure that the developers are doing what they're supposed to do.

    The other thing that happens in there is also that they do unscrupulous things where they come in and they make promises to the community and then to find out that they don't own the property and they're just the agent, so that those promises that is made to the community does not happen.

    The other thing that takes place in this here is that your bill does not talk about the developer, Mr. Henon, from -- they don't have any standards.

    We ask that this bill is tabled until you decide where is the developer held accountable for what they do. You have -- and this bill has not made it friendly to the community. We have asked you. We have met with other Councilpersons, and it still has not talked about have been community friendly.

    We also says here we have a list of concerns. Our list of concerns is that the power comes to -- goes to the Commission. The bill allows the Planning Commission to select coordinating agencies. The bill requires proof of elections. The bill removes the democratic process. Also the bill has no independent appeal process. The bill reduces zoning notification. The bill leaves notification to developers. The bill leaves -- takes away the rights of the residents. The bill leaves the Planning Commission power to suspend for one year. The bill requires RCOs to bring all of their paperwork down for 12 months. The bill has numerous straight illegal requirements. The bill -- have you checked with the federal laws? You did not.

    The bill has numerous straight -- the bill -- as you can see, I am very upset by this bill. I cannot believe that after all that we have done, that you have sat back here and asked us, those of us who have went to college, to stay here and support the community and support you in reelection, that now that we have been denied with this RCO bill and you have not talked about anything in terms of the developers.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Catherine Blunt, commenting on 130657.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning. Hello. My name is Catherine Blunt. I am a retired educator and I am here to remind us of an agreement that has become a legacy. The great ministers of the Martin Luther king, Jr. era knew that church and community gatherings were the vehicles for a great vision about and for the people to be heard among and realized by the people. Then there were great sermons and meetings and memorable speeches from a pulpit and in community gatherings about the rights and our responsibilities as citizens of a city, a state, and a nation.

    A movement sprang from those words, which mobilized the nation to dream and countless other communities around the globe to dream as well. Other movements sprang up around, and from this, and they did not require and did not seek recognition or approval from any power but themselves and God.

    Every year we celebrate the man and his dream but do not pursue his legacy of action to keep the dream alive. We need those who will be that leadership to embrace the vision of the old leaders and have the tenacity to move us to battle the remnants of slavery in our own thinking and our acceptance of the status quo and our celebration of only our own individual accomplishments.

    We in Philly have aptly asked our giving into the cities the ministry's support of public education, allowing schools to close, the wholehearted acceptance of AVI, which increases our property taxes, while allowing developers and gentry from wherever to get tax abatements funded by the homeowners and money stolen from public education. And now during the week that we remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and two weeks away from Black History Month, this City Council, voted in by the very people being devastated by AVI, is considering legislation that will determine for us, the citizens of Philadelphia, which organized groups will be recognized as the official community organizations and will determine and even limit the information to our communities about who and what developers are planning to do in our neighborhoods. I hope not. I hope not. That these limits to our civil rights were proposed is unsettling, that these limits to our freedom is before this full Council for a vote is unconscionable.

    In the name of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the honor of his legacy as well as his dream, I urge this Council of leaders to stand with your communities and vote this legislation down.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning. My name is Bernadette Wyche, Ward Leader of the 24th Ward, and that's the Mantua area. And we already have people speaking from Mantua, and I just want to add on to it, that the developers come in. They come before our community. If we approve or disapprove -- or we disapprove anything, then they come back down here. They want to make it where they could go into wherever they developing, whatever block they going to go into, put up apartment building or something, that they could ask only one or two persons in that block -- and that means nobody -- to get the okay so they could develop, and I think it's wrong. And Mantua is out here fighting, because there's so many developers there now. You turn right, you turn left, front and back, they there. And the taxes is going up, and there's no jobs for anybody, and it's bad. It's bad.

  • Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Wyche. Thank you for your testimony.

  • (Applause.)

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

  • Thank you, Mr. Decker.

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

    Mr. Decker will read the title of Resolution No. 130959.

  • 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 Sixteenth Ward of the City of Philadelphia.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Resolution 130959 is approved.

    Mr. Decker, 130960.

  • A resolution respectfully urging the Pennsylvania General Assembly to approve House Bill 1010 which would require background checks for the private sale of long guns.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Resolution 130960 is adopted.

    130961, Mr. Decker, please read the title.

  • 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-Seventh Ward of the City of Philadelphia.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Quinones-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, and Resolution 130961 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 130963.

  • 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-Eighth Ward of the City of Philadelphia.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Resolution 130963 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, would you please read the title of 130630.

  • An ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to lease to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority certain land and improvements known as City Owned Transit Properties, and further authorizing acceptance of title to certain real estate and improvements from SEPTA.

  • 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.

  • (No response.)

  • Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

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

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 130657.

  • An ordinance amending Title 14 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Zoning and Planning," by revising Section 14-303(12), entitled 'Neighborhood Notice and Meetings,' by establishing new minimum qualifications for Registered Community Organizations, adjusting the requirements for notification and meetings, and amending the procedures regarding re-registration of Registered Community Organizations.

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

    Mr. Decker, before we call the roll, the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. This has been a long journey and a long battle. As many of you know, we got involved in this issue because community groups came to me about City Planning legislation that came out of the Zoning Code calling for registered community organizations and all that it implies. Certainly after we introduced a bill and it was passed, the Mayor vetoed it and all of you, along with myself, overrode the Mayor's veto. So we thought we were fine, until my colleague decided to introduce a bill fighting what Council had just passed.

    You have heard all those who have testified today. I agree with what they have said. When it comes to Mantua, which has now been declared a Promise Zone, it wasn't declared that because life is well. It was declared that because one of the areas that qualifies it is its 51 percent poverty rate. When Mantuans' taxes go up, these are people from great-grandparents on down to great-grandchildren, their taxes go up so that what universities couldn't do in terms of expansion, this bill does, the Zoning Code does, and AVI does and all of these things, Philadelphia 2035. All are opportunities for people to gentrify our neighborhoods, and that's what's at the core of all of this.

    This bill -- and there have been many meetings around the City. This bill violates civil rights under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act as well as Title VIII that deals with federal housing laws. We've asked that all of these things be considered, but we understand -- I accept the fact that the minority will have its say and the majority will have its way, but I also always do what I think is right.

    To have changed the bill to now include special service districts, I have a special service district that includes at least four other community organizations who are RCOs, maybe six. So it even made larger entities. It was initially supposed to be, they told us, areas, organizations for small community groups to be involved, but they included everything, neighborhood improvement districts, special service districts. So that means -- I won't use my area. Let's say Center City District. They have a vote. What about all the areas they include?

    There's so much unfairness in this bill. The registration rules is not applied equally. Boundaries for RCOs is not applied equally. Selection of coordinating RCOs, it's still back in here that the District Councilperson has to decide who the developer wants to work with. So if you have a big institution against a small group, maybe a small group has ten members and you have a big RCO that includes a big area, then the Councilperson is supposed to choose. Well, I want all my RCOs included as all registered community organizations, and that's what I will recommend.

  • (Applause.)

  • Not only that, on Page 7, Section (g) at the bottom of the page, you will see where it says that the right to amend this law dealing with RCOs can happen because the City Planning Commission decides to. We don't even vote on that. They put a section in the bill that they can amend this and not even come to us.

    I tell you, colleagues, please don't vote yourself out of a vote. I always say Lucien Blackwell taught me that, and I always deal with it when it comes down to deciding what I must do. God first and then I listen to those lessons I've learned over the years. And has been said, there's no appeal process for RCOs who are denied or who are told if you don't do something in three meetings, we can kick you out, but if a developer, a bad applicant, doesn't contact the community, there's no punishment for them.

    It is obvious that this bill is not meant to protect community organizations but to foster applicants and developers who may be for us but who may also be against us.

    There's also concerns on Page 4 where they say a seven-day notification is supposed to be given by the Planning Commission to the applicant or developer to RCOs and to the Councilperson. They say seven days. They don't say -- they don't talk about weekends. So we assume then it's five weekdays, but at the bottom on the same page, they talk about the fact that if the District Councilperson doesn't decide in a quick enough manner who their coordinating RCO will be, that they will pick that too. They never put any other time in it. But they will say if we don't move quickly enough. So does that mean that in seven days, we have to be notified, assuming we are notified within seven days, and then if we don't do it, how do we -- where are the assurances and checks and balances there?

    There are many questions and many concerns that this bill raises.

    The City Planning Commission created RCOs, not me or anyone in this Council. All my efforts have been are to try to protect the communities who send us here, who elect us, and who expect that we do our best to protect them and their interest in protecting their blocks and neighborhoods.

    So, again, we say that we believe there are enough issues to at least warrant holding up the bill. If that is not the case, Mr. President, I will be voting no on this bill.

    Thank you very much.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Audience members chanting, "Don't pass the bill.")

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you. Just a housekeeping measure. I would like to be recorded as voting aye on all resolutions and bills while I was out of the Chamber.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you. Thank you, Councilman. It shall be noted.

    Mr. Decker, please call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • (Audience members saying, "Speak up.")

  • Folks, please. You had an opportunity to speak.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Folks, please. Everybody had an opportunity to speak. Please.

  • Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • The ayes are 14; the nays are three.

  • A majority of all members present voting in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    Mr. Decker, do you have any additional resolutions?

  • A resolution honoring the St. Joseph's Preparatory School --

  • Hold on, Mr. Decker.

    Folks, please keep your voices down. Thank you.

  • A resolution honoring the St. Joseph's Preparatory School Varsity Football Team on winning the PIAA AAAA State Championship, introduced by Councilman Kenney.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • 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 and honoring Philadelphia legend Sonny Hill for receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Comcast SportsNet Shining Star Award Ceremony and for his countless contributions to the Philadelphia sports community, introduced by Councilman Kenney.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • 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 and congratulating James Lafferty for being one of the youngest - if not the youngest - officials elected to Sharon Hill Borough Council in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, 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 authorizing the Council Committee on Public Health and Human Services to hold hearings regarding Healthy PA, introduced by Councilwoman Tasco.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution authorizing the Council Committee on Public Health and Human Services to hold hearings regarding the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act of Pennsylvania, introduced by Councilwoman Tasco.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • 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 honoring, recognizing and commending Francesca Ruscio for her extraordinary leadership, service, and activism as Miss Philadelphia 2013, introduced by Councilman Johnson.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution authorizing City Council's Committee on Transportation and Public Utilities to hold hearings to examine the status of the claims filed as a result of the July 22nd, 2012 water main break at 21st and Bainbridge and to investigate possible measures to ensure that victims of this instance and future water main breaks are fully compensated for their losses, introduced by Councilman Johnson.

  • The Chair again 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, and that resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution authorizing the joint Committees on Transportation and Public Utilities and Public Safety to hold hearings to investigate the conditions of railways, bridges and other surface transportation infrastructure owned, operated or maintained by CSX Transportation in the City of Philadelphia, introduced by Councilman Johnson.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Mr. President, can I speak on the resolution?

  • Mr. President and colleagues, I will be calling for hearings to investigate the cause of the recent train derailment on a rail bridge over the Schuylkill River. I've had concerns about the condition of CSX railways and bridges for some time. Even before this incident, my office has been preparing to do work on this issue in the new session.

    We received a lot of calls and concerns from people about not only the location of the recent derailment but also a number of attached rail bridges such as the one on 25th and Washington in which myself and other elected officials, including Councilman Curtis Jones, the Chairman of Public Safety, will be touring today. These bridges are falling down and are in the state of disrepair.

    More importantly, as a result of the derailment of the CSX railcars the other day, we could have possibly had a catastrophe resulting in the loss of life. And so we will be calling hearings. A lot of people pass the buck and say the federal government is responsible for CSX bridges and railroads, but I'm a firm believer that if you operate your business within the confines of the City of Philadelphia, we should have a level of holding them accountable. And so I will be partnering with Councilman Curtis Jones, Chairman of Public Safety, and myself as Chairman of Transportation to examine the role that CSX -- how they maintain their bridges, their railways, their infrastructure, what's the City's plan in the event that there is a catastrophe. I mean, if you were on the Schuylkill Expressway driving east or west this past weekend, I mean, to be honest with you, I think it was a shame to see these two railcars just hanging on the side. Even in the midst of it snowing, they still didn't come out and address it until yesterday. And I think to be in an urban environment, I think in certain places this wouldn't have been accepted. They probably would have brought a helicopter out real quick.

    This company is from Jacksonville, Florida. So this isn't a an easy feat. I know it's going to take some hard work and a commitment to hold them accountable, but if you look at how they maintain their bridges, particularly the one in South Philadelphia -- we'll be touring it again today -- but also throughout the southwest part of my district, filled with trash, debris, and I think it's just a lack of respect of how they operate in the City of Philadelphia.

    And so I do move for the adoption of this resolution, and we will be hosting hearings to address this issue of CSX and how they operate in the City of Philadelphia.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and that resolution will be adopted.

  • And a resolution honoring the accomplishments of Holy Family University President Sister Francesca Onley, introduced by Councilman Green.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

  • 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, and that resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution calling on the City of Philadelphia City Council Committee on Finance to hold hearings concerning the economic impact of the sharing economy and collaborative consumption on the City of Philadelphia, introduced by Councilman Green.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Green.

  • I move for the adoption.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution honoring the African American Children's Book Project on the occasion of the 22nd Annual African American Children's Book Fair, introduced by Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • 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, and that resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution honoring and celebrating Philadelphia's Living Legends: John F. Street, Ethel S. Barnett, Sylvester M. Johnson, Joyce Batchelor, Samuel Staten, Jr., Doris A. Smith, J. Wyatt (Jerry) Mondesire, Trudy Haynes, and Della Clark in the areas of government, public safety, social justice, civil rights, labor relations, journalism, and community activism in Philadelphia as part of the commemoration of Black History Month, introduced by Councilman Jones.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution calling for joint hearings by the Committee on Public Safety and the Committee on Licenses and Inspections to investigate and explore the need to for a third party structural inspection or an engineering report on residential rental units or fire escapes on residential buildings to be submitted with the City's Housing Inspection License, also known as a Housing Rental License and required for any entity that rents any type of housing unit in Philadelphia, introduced by Councilman Jones.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • For the record, that is co-sponsored by Councilman Henon, and I move for its adoption.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution honoring and congratulating the Good Shepherd Mediation Program on its 30th Anniversary, 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 requesting the Mayor to return to City Council Bill No. 130701-A, entitled "An ordinance providing for the submission to the qualified electors of the City of Philadelphia of an amendment to The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to permit City elected officials to become candidates for nomination of election to public office without first resigning from their City office," for the purpose of reconsideration by the Council of the vote by which said bill passed Council, introduced by Councilman Oh.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

    COUNCIL President CLARKE: It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is adopted.

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

  • Thank you very much, Mr. Decker.

    That concludes our Calendar. The individuals who pressed the names, is that for speeches? We have some special business first, but you've teed up. Duly noted.

    At this time, we have a special order of business, and I would like to recognize Councilman Oh for a motion regarding special business.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

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

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Mr. Decker will read the letter from the Mayor.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, I am returning herewith, as requested by your resolution adopted January 23, 2014, Bill No. 130701-A, entitled "An ordinance providing for the submission to the qualified electors of the City of Philadelphia of an amendment to The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to permit City elected officials to become candidates for nomination of election to public office without first resigning from their office," for the purpose of reconsideration by the Council of the vote by which said bill passed Council.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh for a motion that Council reconsider the vote by which Bill No. 130701-A was passed.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to make that motion.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded that the vote by which Bill No. 130701-A was passed be reconsidered.

    All those in favor of the motion please signify by saying aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. A majority of all members having voted in the affirmative, the motion carries and the vote by which Bill No. 130701-A was passed has been reconsidered.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer an amendment to Bill No. 130701-A. A copy of the amendment has been circulated to all members of Council. I move for the adoption of the amendment.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It's been moved and properly seconded that the amendment to Bill No. 130701-A be adopted.

    All in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Bill No. 130701-A has been amended. This bill is amended and will be placed on the Final Passage Calendar for our next Council session.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. By way of brief explanation to the public, I'd simply like to say that I feel that it is important that we include the Office of the Mayor. Apparently when the "resign to run" section was placed in the Charter, which I am attempting to amend and which we had passed, I did not realize until notified by our technical staff that in the section pertaining to the Mayor's Office, it has its own limitation upon the Mayor, that if we did not address that if the referendum passed by the citizens, all City elected officials, except the Mayor, could announce and run for another office without first resigning. And so in order to allow our Mayor to run for another office without first resigning, this amendment has to be placed, because Section 3-400, which limits the Mayor to two terms, also states that the Mayor cannot run for another position without first resigning. That is the purpose of this amendment and, therefore, I move that Council reconsider the vote by which Resolution No. 130715 was adopted.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Mr. Decker will read the title of Resolution No. 130715, which was adopted by the Council on December 12th, 2013.

  • Resolution No. 130715, entitled "A resolution proposing an amendment to the 'resign to run' provision of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter so that City elected officials may become candidates for nomination or election to public office without first resigning from their City office."

  • Thank you. It has been moved and seconded that the vote by which Resolution 130715 was adopted be reconsidered.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. A majority of all members having voted in the affirmative, the motion carries and the vote by which Resolution No. 130715 was adopted has been reconsidered.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer an amendment to Resolution No. 130715. A copy of the amendment has been circulated to all members of Council. I move for the adoption of the amendment.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the amendment to Resolution 130715 be adopted.

    All those in favor?

  • Let the record reflect that there was one member opposing, but the ayes have it and it has been amended. This resolution is amended and will be placed on the Final Passage Calendar for our next session of Council.

    That concludes our special business for today. At this time, are there any speeches on the part of the minority?

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Brien.

  • I'm pleased that Mayor Nutter has enacted Bill 130723, which amends Title 6, Title 17, and Title 20 of The Philadelphia Code by replacing references to "mental retardation" with references to "intellectual disability," all under certain terms and conditions. To my Council colleagues, I say thank you. Thank you for your unanimous, enthusiastic support of this measure.

    Advocates and individuals with intellectual disabilities have rightfully asserted that the term "mental retardation" is both disparaging and hurtful. It is language that does not recognize the ability of those individuals that make us better by who they are and what they do every day. This change will be a celebration of those abilities.

    The City now falls in line with our federal and state governments, as both use the more appropriate term of "intellectual disability." The City now demonstrates that we do not accept language that is exclusionary. It challenges our citizens to think differently about those with intellectual disabilities, and it honors the valuable contributions they've made to our society.

    I would now like to speak about the indigent conflict counsel contract. Last week at the 11th hour, the Mayor wisely backed out of making a huge mistake with deep constitutional implications for the most vulnerable. I am glad I didn't have to go through with my plan to file a lawsuit with well-respected attorney Sam Stratton to stop the flawed plan. I am glad the Administration will start anew in an effort to provide legal representation to indigent clients when a conflict of interest exists that prohibits the Defenders Association from providing representation. But rebooting does not mean that the Mayor's vision is properly focused. Therefore, the process should move forward with more inclusive Council input.

    On December 4th, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled that cities of Mount Vernon and Burlington in Washington state were responsible for the systemic deficiencies that deprive the accused indigent of their constitutional right to meaningful representation. In Joseph Wilbur versus City of Mount Vernon, the court granted injunctive relief and identified the foreseeable problems of a defective indigent defense system. The court found deprivations of constitutional rights, flaws with a flat contract fee method, and an absence of supervision and adherence to performance standards.

    Nine out of ten expert witnesses at our October Law and Government Committee hearing into the Administration's plan highlighted systemic deficiencies and constitutional shortcomings. Additionally, the for-profit model the City seeks to implement does not seem to reconcile with the American Bar Association's Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System. I believe Philadelphia will be on the Wilbur versus City of Mount Vernon litigation path if we institute a model compromising constitutionally protected representation.

    Therefore, I am pushing forward on the two measures I introduced related to this issue and look forward to the early February hearing dates. One measure will establish reporting and auditing requirements for certain contracts for conflict counsel for indigent individuals. The second measure proposes to amend the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter which will require Council approval for City contracts of one year or less for the purpose of providing legal representation and related services for indigent persons.

    I am very comfortable staying on this course of action, because we need to preserve the constitutional rights of those most vulnerable and among us. Finally, I hope the Mayor will give Council and myself a seat at the table as this moves forward.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman, and good job.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Public safety means different things to different people, and we've discovered that over the last couple of years. But a disturbing new type of wave of crime is spreading throughout the City of Philadelphia, and this particular type of methodology is using utility workers' uniforms to gain access to houses. In particular vulnerable to this type of deception are our seniors.

    On January 10th, an elderly couple in South Philadelphia, they were robbed in their home by two men posing as utility workers. I believe it was in Councilman Squilla's district. A 79-year-old Korean War veteran was sitting in his home with his 77-year-old wife and their special needs son. Authorities say they ransacked every room and took about $2,500 in cash and jewelry that meant a lot to that couple.

    Just last week, a 54-year-old woman was able to fight back two impersonators who tried to rob them by using a bat. This was in the Northeast, I believe in Councilwoman Sanchez's district. They were dressed in white jumpsuits, and the couple thought that they were Water Department workers.

    We held a summit in 2011 called Aging in the New Age and we discussed a great many things, and one of them was how the trend of picking on our most vulnerable in the fourth quarter of life was becoming more of the trend of some of these desperate criminals.

    Many of our senior citizens are more often falling vulnerable to that. So tomorrow, January 24th at 11 o'clock, we are bringing a committee together, Public Safety, to discuss this, and we want to do three basic things. We want to bring awareness to this new trend, how they're posing as utility workers. We want to learn how law enforcement is dealing with this disturbing trend, and then, finally, we want to find out from the PECO's and the PGW's of the world how they are providing proof of identification for their workforce, whether it is electronic, whether it is an app, whether it is an old-fashioned rotary dial-up phone. We want to know how seniors can be comfortable with that, and then provide, at the end of the day, tips to seniors on how to prevent these heinous acts from occurring throughout our city.

    So I hope my colleagues will join me 11 o'clock tomorrow with the utility companies to discuss this and put our minds together to keep our seniors safe.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to thank all of those who helped us with our yearly party for the homeless and other members in our city that we had on December 18th. This year or in December we were blessed to feed -- and Kevin Parker confirmed the numbers from Ms. Tootsie's Soul Food Cafe -- 7,500 people. We gave out nearly 4,000 toys and 50 bikes that were donated, and we took more than a thousand pictures with Santa and so many other activities.

    This year was the first year we even had a barber shop at 43rd and Chestnut, Philly Cuts, close their businesses and we had seven barbers cutting hair for those who needed it, as well as the yearly face painting and moon bounce and many other activities.

    So we're grateful to some 30 people or more who contribute. Not only labor, but certainly people from food to dessert, where Tastykake helps us, so many private institutions, so many colleges and universities. We thank the Convention Center and how much they gave. Certainly the FOP always helps us keep our lines in order. We thank Shop Rite and certainly Fresh Grocer, and that's just to name a few, Mural Arts and many, many others. We are grateful for the opportunity to try to serve so many people in these hard times. And God always blesses us. It's like the story with the fishes and the loaves of bread. We never run out. People always have the opportunity to eat all they want, and we always have toys then and beyond so that children have an opportunity to have a decent holiday. We are grateful for that.

    So, again, we want to thank all of those who were involved in that, and we want to announce that right now in -- I should have made copies for everybody -- 476, my other office, we have under Echoes of Africa, we're having a program. Many of you have met my best friend who has been in Nigeria 44 years. She is hosting a forum with students from Friends Select, and we're trying to organize an exchange program between her school in Nigeria, where she has some 3,000 students, and certainly students from Friends Select. We invite you to come by in between before we start our next public hearing. We invite you to come by to introduce yourself. There should be some 24 students from Friends Select down the street who were there, and we'd love to have you come just to greet them and let them know that you were here and so that they may be encouraged. We're even having a fashion show taught by Youma Ba, who is head of the Fulani Association of North America and certainly owner of Kilimanjaro Restaurant at 43rd and Chestnut. So that's another exciting thing. We hope those of you who have time can stop by just to greet the kids.

    And, finally, we would like to say that we've been very busy. I thank Ben on my staff for working on these hearings. Jerry Jordan, who is President, as we know, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, will have a briefing -- and we'll send you a list of these, so it's okay if you don't write them down now -- on the 29th at noon. We'll have a briefing in the Caucus Room on the status of affairs per the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. And let me say that the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, they give us maybe a couple thousand toys for our people. And it's so encouraging when we have our affair, because teachers who have a hard enough time trying to take care of children in their classrooms and principals also give to our event so that other children who have nothing have something.

    So I'm very, very honored that the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers helps us and does such a wonderful job going around the City collecting toys for children in need. So that's on January 29th at noon.

    And on February 7th, Vincent Hughes will brief us on the state education affairs that he sees there with regard to Harrisburg and the state Senate.

    On February 19th, charter school operators -- these are at 10:00, both those meetings -- will contact us and will be in the Caucus Room to voice their concerns, and we need to have a discussion about how they see this budget. I always talk about how the state created this funding mechanism where they're all funded from the same pot instead of separate pots to keep people fighting.

    And on February 26th, we will hold hearings where we will examine the current state of early childhood education in the City.

    Also let me mention to you, all of you received an invitation about a grand opening for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for Philadelphia and beyond. Their field offices will open at 30 North 41st Street. It's 41st and Market in our district. So this will be for this whole city and region, immigration services will be there, which is really, really great for us since we work so much with the African and Caribbean immigrant community. And that is on the 28th at 11 o'clock. All of you have received an invitation, and this is in one of our brand new -- the only platinum building that was just opened in Philadelphia. It's at that location. So we will have new immigrant offices there for all of your people to enjoy, and we hope that you will come. That's February 28th at 11:00. And we will call your offices today to confirm whether or not you're able to come, as they are confirming with the feds as to who will be among us and who will be able to come.

    So I know there's a lot, but I'll still send you a note. And we say thank you, everyone, and we look forward to your participation.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman, and thank you for your continued service to those most in need. We really appreciate what you do.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. There's a front-page story, actually it's the lead story on the front page of the Inquirer today and it was online this morning on Philly.com, and it is basically a negative story about our millennials that we should be very proud of. We've gotten over a hundred thousand of them in six years move into the City, 20 to 34-year-old people, mostly college graduates. And we weren't even on the map for this group prior to that for years, no matter what we did, for doing a whole lot of things right and we're not that far behind Washington and Boston, which are big cities, successful cities for attracting this population. And I think the City Administration and anybody involved in the process of getting more restaurants, better apartments, better zoning, whatever it would be, should be very proud of themselves and be congratulated.

    The article focuses on the ones that will leave when they have children particularly and some people looking for jobs. Well, first of all, it's one of those half empty/half full when we've never had the half full story. There's never been a story about all these millennials that was a positive, brag-about-it Philadelphia story, and why, whether it's the Pew study or major newspaper, they would lead with the half empty story is -- it's sad, because it didn't have to be. It could be the Chapter 2, we got to watch out, we still have to improve our schools, we still have to provide for jobs, maybe improve our business climate.

    This all happened during a jobless recession, first of all, that is historic in scope and a jobless recovery that we're still in. It's pretty amazing that it's very hard to get an apartment in the City in the areas that are described where the millennials want to live. It also is why we did a lot of things in our Zoning Code that are there and even the amendments we made, considered making sure that we keep this going. But talking about the schools in the District of Columbia and in Boston, just as in Philadelphia, people that are mobile, tend to be higher educated, have a lot of mobility, if they don't like the public schools -- this isn't something the millennials just thought up -- they move. If they can't find a good school in the City, a public school if that's what they're looking for, on the alternative one where they have to pay tuition or now charter school sometimes, it's happening in the other places as well, and it didn't just happen because of the current financial crisis. It happened when we had governors and flush economies in the City very recently, and we were still losing the same number of people because there weren't enough seats in our public schools that were attractive to people who had mobility. And you talk to people in Washington, DC. They'll tell you when your kids hit school age, either move into the one side of Rock Creek Park where all the good schools are or you leave town or find a private school or a charter.

    This is not a Philadelphia story. Same problems. DC is on fire, but every city is having job issues right now. This should be a very positive story. Philadelphia has been trying to keep college graduates, attract college graduates for years and years and years and have been unsuccessful. And in six very difficult years, we succeed beyond anybody's imagination to be able to predict it, and it doesn't come across as positive first. That's all.

    I just think we kind of shoot ourselves in the foot a lot and kind of smack ourselves when we've actually done something good, because we're just looking for the negative part. And I hope somebody writes a positive story about this, because it's rather remarkable. When you talk to people from other cities, they can't believe that Philadelphia went from zero to a hundred in this race to get this population, which is very good for any city's economy, low service requirements, no children, one or two incomes depending on how many people are in the housing unit. And you can see what it does. Try to get a restaurant reservation in or around Center City on just about any night at a decent time. And that wasn't the case. And we just have more and more restaurants, hotels. We just did a couple of big hotels last week.

    The City has gotten the buzz and it apparently started in the latter part of the second Street Administration. So let's be more positive. That's all.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President and colleagues, over the last week, I have been aggressively working throughout my councilmanic district on the issue of youth gun violence. Today in the City of Philadelphia we have more murders than we have days. And as a result of me working with some community organizations, at their request I created the Neighborhood Task Force on Youth Gun Violence in which we will be working in partnership with community organizations throughout the 2nd Councilmanic District as well as in partnership with the Philadelphia Police Department and the District Attorney's Office to look at a comprehensive overall action plan as we move forward and, more importantly, from the community aspect, supporting one another and challenging us to think outside the box on how we address this very, very complex issue. But I never get tired in addressing this issue, because at the end of the day when I'm sitting in my home and I turn on the news and I hear about the loss of life, either through someone being robbed or someone being murdered over something as simple as, quote/unquote, "disrespect" on Instagram and/or Facebook, it always resonates as to why I do the work that I do.

    And so I will continue to remain diligent and as an advocate in addressing this issue. But I also want to bring another issue that we will be working on is continuing to make sure the constituents in my district are aware of the Longtime Owner Occupant Program, the program we passed known as LOOP. In February we will be rolling out two outreach initiatives specifically to make sure that everyone who is available -- everyone who is eligible to participate in the LOOP program takes advantage of it.

    We know in late February, individuals will be receiving their tax bills, and we want to make sure that as a result of AVI, individuals do not lose their home. We want to make sure as a result of AVI, individuals who want to stay in their home have the tools necessary, specifically long-term residents, and also take advantage of the tax payment plan that we passed through City Council as well.

    And so I just wanted to highlight those two initiatives. Again, early February we'll be having outreach initiatives around the LOOP program. We will continue hosting the community collaborative meetings regarding our Neighborhood Task Force on Youth Gun Violence.

    Thank you, Mr. President, and welcome back, everyone.

  • Thank you. Thank you, Councilman. Keep up the hard work.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I want to underscore the remarks and observations shared by Councilman Brian O'Neill. I could not agree 2,000 percent. The upside or the seeing that glass is half full, by way of point of information, the Paul Levy in the most current issue of the Center City District publication does a stark contrast on the pluses of this demographic and does it in great detail and pointing to the positive value that they bring to this city along a number of different -- or discussing a number of different factors.

    So struck by that article, my office has begun to take a look at this demographic, largely because I have a few of those in my office, so it would behoove me to. But to Councilman Brian O'Neill's observation, when you read Paul Levy's report, we should be encouraged in what they bring and look to see how we can be innovative in holding them here once they choose -- and I do mean the word "choose" -- to stay here. So kudos to Brian O'Neill's, Councilman Brian O'Neill's observations.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to add one other thing to -- the Administration has agreed to send out new bills for the tax people who have appealed to the BRT. They had originally sent out the bills due for 2014 when the legislation that we passed here in Council said they would have to pay the previous bill amount as long as they appeal to the BRT, and the Administration has agreed to send out the new bills. Hopefully they will be receiving them if not the end of this week, next week, so to make that note. I really appreciate that effort.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    And with that, I'd like to call on Councilwoman Reynolds Brown for a motion to adjourn.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that we stand adjourned until Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

    Thank you very much.

  • (Stated Meeting adjourned at 12:50 p.m.)