Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

  • Good morning, everyone.

  • (Good morning.)

  • It's good to be back.

    It appears we have established a quorum. I'd ask all Councilmembers to please take their seats and ask the guests and visitors to please retire behind the rail.

    To give our invocation this morning, the Chair recognizes the Iman Yusef of Masjid Taaha. He is here today as the guest of Councilwoman Sanchez.

    I would ask all guests and visitors and members to please rise.

  • (Members and guests rise.)

  • In the name of Allah, the extremely compassionate and the extremely merciful, all the praise are due to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, the most gracious and the most merciful. He's the master of the day of judgment.

    You alone do we worship and you

    alone do we seek for help. Show us the

    straight path, the path of those on whom

    you favor, not the path of those whom you

    are angry with or of those who go astray.

    Amen.

  • Thank you so much, Iman.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you so much.

    The next order of business is

    the approval of the Journal of the

    meeting of Thursday, December 13, 2012.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman

    Greenlee.

  • Thank

    you, Mr. President. I move that the

    Journal of the meeting of Thursday,

    December 13th, 2012 be approved.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It

    has been moved and properly seconded that the Journal of the meeting of the 13th of December, Thursday, 2012 stand approved.

    All those in favor indicate by saying aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

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

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

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

  • Thank you so much.

    At this point, I would like to recognize Councilman O'Brien.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have official business outside of Council. I would like to be recorded as having voted yes on all bills and resolutions.

  • Thank you. Leave shall be granted. Thank you, Councilman.

    At this time, I would like to dispense with the regular order of business to welcome and thank all guests and visitors here today. We hope that your experience today is a pleasurable one, so much so that you come back. So thank you so much for being here today.

    At this time, I would like to recognize Councilwoman Blackwell, who will present a resolution honoring the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5. Would John McNesby and those accompanying him please join the Councilwoman at the podium.

    We have Councilman Kenney and Councilman Jones joining the Councilwoman.

  • May I add -- and I don't usually speak before resolutions. I try to include the information therein -- that for approximately 15 years, as you all know, we give annual holiday parties for the homeless, and we're up to -- this year we hosted nearly 6,000 people, and every year the FOP -- they volunteered our first or second year, and every year they help us. They organize our lines, keep things in place, make sure the bike line is honored and all of those things, and they always do it and always say they don't want thank you's. Some people have retired who work for the FOP who have done this. And all we do is call Brother McNesby and send him a letter, this is the time and the date, and they organize and they take over. That's a lot of people, and we're grateful for our entire Police Department and all that they do for us. Thank you all.

    Resolution honoring, recognizing and commending the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5 for their never ending service of families of fallen police officers.

    Whereas, the Fraternal Order of Police has over 14,500 members of active and retired Police Officers and Sheriffs; and

    Whereas, the FOP was first chartered in 1939 to serve its members and their families and in time became the bargaining agent for the Philadelphia Police Department and the Sheriff's Office; and

  • Whereas, since 1828, more than 260 officers have given their lives in the line of duty;

    Whereas, beginning in 1997, the FOP began the "Survivors Tribute Luncheon" for the surviving family members of police officers killed in the line of duty, bringing all the families together once a year to honor their sacrifice to the citizens of Philadelphia. Bonds are forged at these events and last a lifetime; and

    Whereas, the FOP Lodge 5 makes sure these families and lost loved ones are never forgotten during the holiday season;

  • Whereas, the FOP Lodge No. 5 delivers food and other essentials to families who have lost loved ones in the line of duty several times a year;

    Whereas, it is important that all remember those who are killed in the line of duty each year and those who protect and serve our communities; and

    Whereas, police officers are among the first responders that will do anything, including laying down their lives for us, to protect us and keep those of us from harm and safe;

    Whereas, police officers unselfishly put their uniforms on every day never knowing what they may meet; and now therefore, be it

  • Resolved, that the Council of the City of Philadelphia hereby honors, recognizes and commends the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5 for their never ending service to the families of fallen police officers.

    Let me note that this is a certification that this is a true and correct copy of the original resolution adopted by the Council of the City of Philadelphia on the 15th day of November, and it was certainly signed and supported and endorsed by every member of Council.

    Before the President calls on Mr. McNesby, let me also note Broderick Mason, whom we all know, who is on the Mayor's detail, but we know about his and his family's commitment and that he's a family of a fallen officer, and certainly the First Deputy Commissioner Ross, who is here with us and whom I've seen more days than I've not during these last few weeks.

    Thank you. Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Mr. McNesby for remarks.

    MR. McNESBY: Thank you. Council President Clarke, I'd like to thank you for having us here today, Councilwoman Blackwell, Kenney, and Jones and the rest of the members of Council. You know, there's times when we disagree, but there's times -- and it's not a matter of if it's going to happen, it's when it's going to happen again, and we've lost too many police officers in the City of Philadelphia. And each time I'm proud to say that I live here in the City of Philadelphia and have an administration, from the Mayor on down to Council, that stands behind the officers in the City of Philadelphia.

    We have many of our uniform highway patrol here today. I'd like to also recognize the family of unfortunately our last two officers who were killed in the line of duty, the family of Brian Lorenzo, who is here, Mrs. Lorenzo and her two children, and Mrs. Walker, who lost her son, Moses, to a violent tragedy over the summer.

    I'm proud to accept this on behalf of the 14,500 members of our Philadelphia Police Department, and we look forward to servicing the citizens here in the City of Philadelphia. And, again, I can't thank you enough, not only Council, the community, and the Mayor on down, for the support that the Philadelphia Police Department receives every day.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

    MR. McNESBY: I'd like to ask real quick, Broderick Mason.

  • (Standing ovation.)

  • Good morning to all. First I'd like to say thank you to City Council, City Council President, and all of the other City Council members that are seated. I'm a survivor. My brother was killed in 1981 in the line of duty, but it only seems like yesterday. So each time that this happens, it opens up that wound that will never be closed.

    So to Mrs. Lorenzo and Mrs. Walker, I want to let you know that we're all in this thing together.

    We want to thank you, City Council, for what you did. We appreciate it, and we're going to continue to serve and protect.

    God bless you all.

  • (Applause.)

  • Good morning, Council President, Councilwoman Blackwell, and other members of Council. We just want to thank you as well for the proclamation. The Fraternal Order of Police is certainly deserving of this. I can tell you we don't always agree, and that's natural, but John McNesby and his team certainly work tirelessly for its members, and they do a very effective job at doing so. But, most importantly, I want to thank you because, as Broderick kind of mentioned, this proclamation really kind of speaks to the fact that we want to remember our fallen heroes, which is most important, as well as their families, which is even more important.

    So I thank you all for that, and I can't thank you enough for all that you do for this city.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you so much.

    At this time, I would like to recognize Councilman Jones, who will present a resolution honoring the United Age Group Track Coaches Association and Director Ron Jackson. Would those accompanying him please join the Councilman at the podium.

    We have Councilman Green, Councilman Kenney also joining Councilman Jones and Councilwoman Bass.

  • Now, Mrs. Jackson, we're going to wait for you until you come up. Come on, be with your husband. We already know the wind beneath his wings is you.

    What I will start by saying is, to watch close to a thousand inner city participants engage in an activity without a curse word, or maybe under their breath, but out loud, not a fist fight, not an act of violence is a beautiful sight to behold in these times.

    Each week during the summer, during indoor, during the cross country season, I watch these individuals give their time, their talent, and I know their treasury to that activity.

    During the Penn Relays, we get to showcase our stuff, and the only time that I'm not so much in favor of the Jamaicans is on three days of the year. And I admit it openly. I'm a fierce American patron of the track and field art.

    But the individuals behind me raise athletes to create positive adults and citizens. I've watched them do it. One of them is on the stage right here. She didn't know I was going to point her out, but you know her as Morgan Cephas. I know her as national champion of the 4-by-8.

    Is that right?

  • (Applause.)

  • They go on to do remarkable things.

    So I'm so very proud to present this today. I remember as an assistant to the assistant to the assistant to one of these track coaches, my actual job was to find the money to buy the uniforms. I knew what they were doing, Coach Daryl. I just want you to know I knew that.

    But I'll never forget coming from New Orleans, and we had a van. You haven't lived until you've driven over a thousand miles with a bunch of kids. By the time you get back to see the Delaware, you are happy. But I'll never forget one that lived in North Philadelphia that had confessed that she had never, until she got involved in track and field, been outside of a ten square block radius in North Philadelphia. You were there when she admitted that. And the most remarkable thing -- I think it was my shift of driving the van. I almost had an accident because she related geography having crossed the Mississippi saying how similar the Delaware was, having never left their neighborhood, having experienced things like room service. And we had to check that up a couple of times, didn't we?

    So what they do on a daily basis, on a yearly basis is nothing short of phenomenal. Not a curse word, not a fight, and often without recognition of the press. We're going to change that. Because if it were a flash mob, everybody would be out there, but because they're flashing through breaking times that are nationally recognized, we don't get any publicity. We're going to change that this summer.

    So without further adieu, honoring and celebrating the United Age Group Track Club Association and its Director Ron Jackson for 35 years of commitment in developing today's athletes into tomorrow's leaders by timelessly working to provide quality, organized Track and Field programs for Philadelphia's youth.

  • Whereas, the United Age Group Track Coaches Association was founded in 1977. Their mission is to develop young athletes through the sport of track and field. Each year the sponsors -- each year the sponsors hold several Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Meets that are designed to promote its objectives; and

  • Whereas, athletics help youth develop important values such as teamwork, skill building and physical conditioning. Sports also have strong influences on inclusion and community building, character-building, delinquency and community safety; and

  • Whereas, for 40 years, Ron Jackson, UAGTCA Director, has dedicated his spirit of volunteerism to coaching youth in the sports of baseball, girls basketball, football and track and field. In addition to working with the development of the athletes, Mr. Jackson provides financial assistance to those parents who are not in the position to bear the costs required to participate in the sport. To ensure that no athlete was left behind, Mr. Jackson has purchased uniforms, spikes, dinners, and travel tickets to be sure that every member of his team is able to compete;

  • And whereas, Ron Jackson has received numerous awards, including: United States of America Track and Field National Youth Chairman's Award for outstanding contribution to Youth Track and Field and Cross Country and the Mid-Atlantic United States of America Track and Field Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of his lifetime pursuit and achievement of excellence in the sport of Track and Field; now therefore

  • Resolved, by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that we hereby honor and recognize the United Age Group Track Coaches Association on their 35 years of commitment to developing today's athlete into tomorrow's leaders by tirelessly working to provide quality, organized track and field programs for Philadelphia youth.

  • (Applause.)

  • You know what?

    Further resolved that an engrossed copy of this resolution be presented to Ron Jackson, Director of the United Age Group Track Coaches Association, as evidence of our sincere admiration of this legislative body.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Mr. Murphy for remarks.

  • Council President, distinguished members of City Council, on behalf of our founder, George Anderson, our Director, Mr. Ron Jackson, our Executive Committee, our member organizations, we are very pleased and honored to be here this morning. To be recognized by a distinguished body such as the City Council of Philadelphia is indeed an honor.

    We'd like to give a special thank you to Councilman Curtis Jones, who is a lifetime friend and supporter of our organization. Councilman Jones' daughter ran and participated in our program, and now his grandchildren participate in our program.

    The UAG was founded in 1976 with the sole purpose of developing the youth of our city through the sport of track and field. We believe that track teaches life skills and characteristics that these young people can take into other aspects of their life.

    Over the years, we've had hundreds of kids come through our program, go to college, graduate, and now are happy, healthy, productive citizens. As was mentioned, Ms. Morgan Cephas behind us, who I had the privilege of coaching during her teen years.

    The UAG sponsors a series of indoor meets in the winter and outdoor meets in the summertime. We average over a thousand athletes a year, and as Councilman Jones said, in our 36 years of existence, we have never experienced one day of violence, and we are very proud of that aspect.

    We would like to invite City Council --

  • (Applause.)

  • Many of the athletes from our programs are from single-parent households with limited resources. Participation in our program enables them to travel to areas outside the City of Philadelphia, visit various college campuses, and interact with children throughout the country.

    We invite City Council and everyone present to visit our website at uagtca.org where you can check out our schedule, and if there's any time that you have free time in your busy schedules, we'd like to invite you out to our competitions to check it out. We're sure the athletes would be excited to have you there.

    In closing, I'd like to say that the UAGTCA is more than willing to work with City Council, Philadelphia School Board, the Department of Recreation in any of our endeavors that are aimed at the development of the children of the City of Philadelphia.

    Again, we thank you. We're honored to be here today, and have a blessed day.

  • (Applause.)

  • At this time, the Chair would like to recognize Mr. Jackson for remarks.

  • Actually, I can't really say a whole lot more than what Daryl has already said. I just remember back in 1977 when we started, one of the prime reasons that we got our organization together is because the gangs in the City had taken control. They were in control. No one was stepping forward to solve the problem. We realized that the reason that no one stepped forward to solve the problem was that no one felt they could have an impact on solving the problem.

    We came together as a group, realizing that probably our kids had better learn to run fast just to stay alive. We actually only hoped for the most part that our kids would make it to the next Olympiad. We had no idea that we would coach probably over ten Olympians during that period of time, countless collegiates. And one of the things that we're most proud of is that our kids recognize that they can see from the bottom to the top in their chosen sport. They realize that they can run off the playground to Kensington, Germantown, South Philadelphia straight to the finish line in Madrid or London or any of the other Olympic games. It's something they shoot for, something they make and achieve, because it's up to them. They don't have to rely on anyone else other than themselves in order to achieve their goals.

    I really want to thank you for the resolution today. And one of the things that was said earlier, you have to realize that we were built on one premise, that we would actually carry our own lunch, and we still believe in that philosophy. We don't believe in going out and trying to beg our way to the top. We rely on ourselves to achieve the goals that we've set forth.

    But, again, thank you for the resolution, and I know that our members are quite proud of the fact that you've taken this time to honor us. Thank you very much.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee, who will present a resolution honoring PathWays PA. Would Carol Goertzel and those accompanying her please join the Councilman at the podium.

    And joining the Councilman we have Councilman Goode and Councilwoman Tasco.

    Proceed, Councilman.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. It's always a pleasure to recognize an organization for their good work they do. This is a resolution honoring PathWays PA as the winner of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce's Annual Excellence Award as the non-profit of the year.

    Whereas, this year marks the 30th Annual Excellence Awards celebrated by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, which acknowledges the accomplishments of small businesses and the contributions they make to our regional economy. Nominated by their peers throughout our 11-county region, the awards are presented in 10 categories; and

    Whereas, nominees of the award must be headquartered in the Chamber's 11-county Greater Philadelphia area and have between one and 100 employees. The nominees must be owned and independently operated and also have four full years of revenue and if picked as a finalist must be able to provide percentages of gross revenue growth over the past 3 years. Nominees must also show commitment to social responsibility and exemplify strong community involvement; and

  • Whereas, the nominees for the non-profit of the year must be a 501(c)(3) and demonstrate outstanding contributions to the community. The nominee must show benefits of service and how they set the organization apart, including the quantitative results of their initiatives; and

    Whereas, the Chamber created the Small Business Excellence Awards in 1982 which were later renamed the Excellence Awards Honoring the Region's Small Businesses in order to showcase their achievement and impact of small businesses in our region. Each year, businesses with fewer than 100 employees are recognized for their creativity, vitality, stability and relevance. Equally important in selecting the winners are civic involvement and responsiveness, corporate responsibility, employee recognition and concerns regarding service issues. Over the years, the scope of the Excellence Awards has grown with the help of the Small Business Board. The Small Business Board has created new initiatives and categories, increased involvement in the nomination process, and established criteria for measuring and defining excellence; and

    Whereas, PathWays PA was founded in 1978 as the Women's Association for Women's Alternatives and has served as one of Pennsylvania's first residential programs to keep low-income, vulnerable women together with their children. PathWays PA has grown to become one of the Greater Philadelphia region's foremost providers of residential and community-based services for women, children and families. Each year over 64,000 women, children and families benefit from their full complement of social services; public advocacy, job training and employment assistance; as well as outreach and residential programs as they move along the path to self-sufficiency; and

  • Whereas, PathWays PA provides programs committed to the development of client self-sufficiency which leads to the fulfillment of their mission to help women, teens, children and families achieve economic independence and family well-being; and

    Whereas, PathWays PA is accredited by the National Council on Accreditation and is a member in good standing of both the Child Welfare League of America and the Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services. In recognition of their service to Pennsylvania, they have received numerous awards. These include Oprah Winfrey's Angel Network Award; Delaware Valley County Chamber of Commerce Non-Profit of the Year; Philadelphia Department of Human Services Children's Crusader Award; and the Child Welfare League of America's Private Agency Advocate of the Year Award, among countless other citations and recognitions from both public and private entities; and

    Whereas, for their outstanding commitment to sustain the efforts of women and children in their move toward independence and self-sufficiency, PathWays PA was awarded the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce's Annual Excellence Award as the non-profit of the year; now therefore

  • Resolved, that the Council of the City of Philadelphia recognizes and commends PathWays PA as the winner of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce's Annual Excellence Award as the non-profit of the year.

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

    Congratulations, everyone, and thank you for all you do.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Ms. Goertzel for remarks.

  • Thank you. I'm just going to say a few words because the words can't really speak for our appreciation of the City Council and of the City of Philadelphia.

    We thank you so much for the opportunity to be before you today. On behalf of all of us at PathWays PA, this citation means more to us than any award or citation that we've received because you at City Council are really where everything resides to help the City move forward and help all the residents move forward.

    We especially want to thank Councilman Greenlee for support of PathWays PA and the continued support of issues that affect all working families, as well as Marian Tasco, Wilson Goode, Jr., and all of the other City Council people who really support what workers and residents in the City need.

    I would also like to thank the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce for selecting PathWays PA as their 2013 non-profit of the year. The award and today's citation are a perfect start for us of 2013, which is our 35th year of operation, and we have helped well over 75,000 women, children, teens, and families throughout our years of service.

    Much has changed since we began in 1978 as the Women's Association for Women's Alternatives, and when we changed our name to PathWays PA, we realized that we were not an association and the alternative was an alternative to poverty, and that really is our mission. So we took on the name of PathWays PA, because what our mission is is to create a path forward for women, children, teens, and families to move forward economically and move forward without violence and to move forward in terms of family well-being for every member of their family, whomever that might be.

    We started with the residential center, as mentioned, in Delaware County, which serves many Philadelphia families as they struggle and succeed in staying together so everybody can feel loved, wanted, and move forward educationally.

    The range of issues that we cover are adult literacy. We are working with the library in the Northwest, as well as in the Center City and West Philly offices. We do financial literacy, really helping people move forward, deal with their credit issues and know, because we know what you need in order to move forward. We developed the self-sufficiency standard for Pennsylvania and specifically for Philadelphia because we know that people don't have enough money because they don't have enough money. And we work on the policy issues that help families stay stable, healthy, and move forward.

    While we've seen many changes, our mission stays the same. And families come to us to build paths out of poverty and to build paths toward success. They come as teen moms who are trying to do it differently for their children than their families were able to do for them. We work with people who lived with abuse and neglect and have more inner strength than any of us might have, and we look for that strength and we promote it. We help people develop the jobs. We're a facilitator for themselves that will help them support their families, learn how to manage the money that they do have, learn how to earn more money, and learn how to get a job that will help them sustain their families.

    Throughout our 35th anniversary year, we'll be holding events focused on the families we work with every day, and the theme of this year for us is "Writing the Path." Our wonderful staff, our Board members here with us today, and our clients across the region and those with whom we work in Philadelphia are really the people that allow us to be here, and we're so honored to be honored both by the Chamber of Commerce and mostly by City Council.

    Everything we do is cost free, and we reach out during these difficult times as far as we can. And one of the things we're doing -- we always try to do new things to fill in the gaps that we see -- is for our free tax service, which will be at Suburban Station for the first time, and our opening is tomorrow at 2:30 by the rail lines 1 and 2, because we're always trying to reach more people who might not know of services that can help their families.

    And in closing, I just want to say thank you so much to City Council and thank you to all of the members that support our work and the work of the non-profits in the City that work with families in need.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you.

    At this time, I would like to recognize Councilwoman Tasco, who will present a resolution honoring the Oak Lane Youth Association. Would Dawn Gardner and those accompanying her please join the Councilwoman at the podium.

    Councilwoman, before you start, I would ask our guests and visitors to please keep your voices down. Thank you.

    Councilwoman.

  • It gives me pleasure this morning to present this citation to an outstanding athletic group in the West Oak Lane section. We have a number of organizations in our community working with young people and this is just one of the many that I work with and who work in the community, and I am appreciative of the leadership of these organizations, because they keep our young people busy, keep them out of trouble. And I just want to pay a little shout-out to LeVan White and our L&I Commissioner, Carlton Williams, who are sort of like the moving force up there in West Oak Lane with the Oak Lane Youth Association.

    So I'm here this morning to provide recognition and honor to the Oak Lane Youth Association for their outstanding achievements in the 2012 Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer and Dance Championships.

    Whereas, at the 2012 Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer and Dance Championships held at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, the Oak Lane Youth Association -- we'll call it Oak Lane -- had four teams placed in the competition; and

    Whereas, during this national competition, the Pee Wee and Junior Midget teams won first place and the Midget and Junior Pee Wee teams won second and fifth place;

    Whereas, under the direction of Dawn Heath Gardner and Monique White, and Head Coaches Larren Armstrong, Rhonda Trotman, Natasha Davis, Kim Jamison, and Assistant Coaches Lakiesha Hollingsworth, Ashley Clanton, Sharkia Water, London Graves, Jasmin Jones, Quianna Bailey, Ashley Speakes, Anitra Williams, and aided by Student Demonstrator Ashley Nichols, Oak Lane has completed their quest and vision to be the best by having four teams place in this national championship; and

    Whereas, Oak Lane is an organization located in the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia and its mission is to establish and maintain a well-organized program of intellectual and athletic experiences that stress the qualities of participation, competition, sportsmanship, and pride and facilitate a basic understanding between parents, youth, and coaches, resulting in community solidarity through mutual involvement; and

    Whereas, Oak Lane has a vested interest in the growth and development of each and every member of its programs, and through its programs, help to prevent inner city youth from engaging in negative behavior and is an effective alternative to drugs, violence, and crime and give youth the opportunity to participate in an organized and productive experience that promotes healthy lifestyles, prevent childhood obesity, and prevents health related illnesses in the future; and

    Whereas, Oak Lane participates in the Liberty Youth Athletic Association ("Liberty Youth") - Pop Warner Little Scholars Football League, and Liberty Youth is organized to develop and operate a football league in affiliation with Pop Warner's Little Scholars, Inc., which is a non-profit corporation (founded in 1929) that provides youth football and cheer programs for approximately 400,000 young people ranging in ages from 5 to 16 years old in 42 states and several countries around the world. Now, therefore be it

    Resolved, by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that we hereby recognize and honor the Oak Lane Youth Association for their outstanding achievements in the 2012 Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer and Dance Championships.

    Resolved, that we congratulate the entire Oak Lane Youth Association on these impressive accomplishments, for serving as outstanding ambassadors for the City of Philadelphia and being a resource of pride for all of its citizens.

    Further resolved, that an engrossed copy of this resolution be presented to representatives of the Oak Lane Youth Association as evidence of the sincere sentiments of this legislative body.

    Thank you, all my colleagues, for recognizing this outstanding group of young people. Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Ms. Gardner for remarks.

  • On behalf of the Oak Lane Youth Association, the cheerleading program, we thank you for this great honor and we thank you for all your support from the Philadelphia City Council and from all the members of Philadelphia who supported us in the West Oak Lane area, whether it be a bucket drive at church providing for these children to make their way to Disney World. We had about over 60 girls go to Disney World and compete in this competition. And not only do they compete on the floor physically, but they're also scholars. All our girls perform well in school. And I just thank you for this great opportunity.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you so much.

    Before we go to our next order of business, I would ask all guests and visitors and members to please stand and we would like to remember former Councilwoman Happy Fernandez with a moment of silence. She was a loyal and dedicated servant, and we would really like to honor her by this moment of silence.

  • (Brief moment of silence.)

  • Thank you so much.

    The next order of business -- the Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Very quickly, Mr. President. First of all, Happy New Year, but I have two -- one announcement. Two of my staff have moved on. One, Shoshana Bricklin, who served here for five years with me, but many years with you and others in this Chamber, has gone on and she has decided to try her hand in politics and run for judge. We will miss her. As many of you know, she is irreplaceable, and we'll just leave it at that, and we wish her success in her new endeavor. The second one is Michelle Wilson, who has gone on from my communications department to serve with JP Wilson, the State Representative who is from the 5th Councilmanic District originally and so is Ms. Wilson. So we want to wish them well.

  • (Applause.)

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

    Mr. Decker, please read the messages.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, 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 regarding the following bills: Bill No. 121033, 121035, and 121041; and

    I am pleased to advise you that on December 18, 2012 and January 8, 2013, I signed the remaining bills that were passed by Council at its session on December 6, 2012 and that on December 21, 2012, January 8, January 14, and January 23, 2013, I signed all the bills that were passed by Council at its session on December 13, 2012, except Bill Nos. 120889 and 120920, which I am returning disapproved.

    And I am transmitting herewith for the consideration of your honorable body a resolution proposing an amendment to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to provide for the creation of an Office of Inspector General, to provide for the powers and duties of, and annual appropriations to, such Office, to establish requirements for City officials and employees in connection with the work of the Inspector General, and to otherwise provide for incorporation of the Inspector General into the City government; and

    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 provide for the creation of an Office of Inspector General; 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 the Philadelphia County Border, the Delaware Expressway, 86th Street, Bartram Avenue, 84th Street, Mario Lanza Boulevard, Island Avenue, Penrose Avenue, Delaware Expressway, the Schuylkill River and the Delaware River; and

    An ordinance authorizing Ruby D doing business as Lemon Hill Food and Drink to construct own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 747 North 25th Street; and

    An ordinance authorizing Farmtable to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 824 South 8th Street, all under certain terms and conditions.

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

  • I have none, Mr. President.

  • Thank you so much.

    At this time, we'd like to have introduction of bills and resolutions.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer two bills, three non-privileged resolutions, one I'm going to seek a suspension of the rules because it was tardy in my circulation. I apologize.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Mr. Decker.

  • 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 provide for the creation of an Office of Inspector General.

  • 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 require that term renewals and extensions of City contracts that result in the contract term exceeding one year shall require Council approval.

  • That bill will also be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a resolution proposing an amendment to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to require that term renewals and extensions of City contracts that result in the contract term exceeding one year shall require Council approval.

  • That resolution will be referred to committee.

  • And a resolution proposing an amendment to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to provide for the creation of an Office of Inspector General.

  • That resolution will also be referred to committee.

  • And a privileged resolution authorizing the Committee on Rules to hold public hearings to examine the City's intent to contract with Corizon Health, Inc. to provide healthcare services to inmates in the Philadelphia Prison System.

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

    Councilman, that's the resolution you would like to have the suspension of the rules?

  • Yes. The prison contract?

  • I'd like to -- if it's appropriate, I'll move the rules be suspended to allow for consideration at the end of today's Calendar.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That will be on today's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Today I introduce two privileged resolutions.

  • A privileged resolution calling on the City Council of Philadelphia Committee on Education and all of City Council to recognize and support President Barack Obama's plan, Now is the Time, which aims to ensure the safety of our children and our communities by reducing gun violence.

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

  • And a privileged resolution calling on the City Council of Philadelphia to support, advocate, and recommend a moratorium (suspension of action) --

  • (Applause.)

  • (Audience members yelling "one year.")

  • Councilwoman, do you want that to be on today's Final Passage Calendar?

  • (Applause.)

  • Mr. President, I move for consideration at the end of today's Calendar for both resolutions introduced today.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have one bill on your behalf and also --

  • Can I ask you to please keep your voices down, please.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. And also together with you and a number of other Councilpeople, on behalf of 210,000 workers in the City of Philadelphia, I introduce the earned paid sick leave bill.

  • (Applause.)

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

  • An ordinance authorizing Ruby D doing business as Lemon Hill Food and Drink to construct own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 747 North 25th Street.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance enacting a new Chapter 9-3300, entitled "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces," to provide that certain employees are entitled to paid leave.

  • (Applause.)

  • That bill will also be referred to committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • I have no bills or resolutions today.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Council President Clarke, I have three bills.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Mr. Decker.

  • An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Montrose Street, north side, 23rd Street to 22nd Street.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Christian Street, both sides, 18th Street to 19th Street.

  • That bill will also be referred to the appropriate 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 the Philadelphia County Border, the Delaware Expressway, 86th Street, Bartram Avenue, 84th Street, Mario Lanza Boulevard, Island Avenue, Penrose Avenue, Delaware Expressway, the Schuylkill River and the Delaware River.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Sanchez.

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

  • An ordinance naming and designating the Department of Parks and Recreation owned playground on the 2300 block of North 5th Street as the "Rainbow De Colores Playground."

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I introduce two bills.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 19-2600 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Business Income and Receipts Taxes," as it relates to nonprofit activity.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance amending Title 17 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Contracts and Procurement," by amending Section 17-109, entitled "Local Bidding Preferences," to expand the criteria for obtaining certification as a "Local Business Entity."

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer two bills.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 19-200 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "City Funds - Deposits, Investments, Disbursements," by requiring that contracts with proposed recipients of City Payroll Deposits, as well as any renewals of such contracts, include an annual statement of community reinvestment goals in addition to existing requirements.

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

  • And an ordinance amending Chapter 19-2600 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Business Income and Receipts Taxes," by revising the number of businesses that may obtain a credit against business income and receipts taxes upon contributing to certain community development organizations or nonprofit intermediaries engaged in neighborhood economic development activities within the City.

  • Thank you. That bill will also be referred to committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown.

  • Good morning, Mr. President. I offer two resolutions this morning.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    Mr. Decker.

  • A privileged resolution recognizing January as "National Human Trafficking Awareness Month" in Philadelphia.

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

  • And a privileged resolution authorizing Council's Committee on Rules to hold hearings on the issue of charitable exemptions from property taxes, and use of land subject to such charitable exemptions for commercial purposes.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Three bills; one privileged resolution co-sponsored by myself, Councilwoman Bass, and Councilman Greenlee; and seven non-privileged resolutions on your behalf.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Mr. Decker.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 22-1000 of The Philadelphia Code concerning investments in the Philadelphia Retirement System to prohibit investments in companies that manufacture or distribute firearms or ammunition.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance amending Title 4 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "The Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code," by amending Subcode "F" ("The Philadelphia Fire Code"), by modifying a subsection providing for the types of premises identification required on new and existing buildings.

  • That bill will also be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance renaming and designating Conshohocken Windemere Park, located at 3910 Conshohocken Avenue, as Woodside Park.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution calling for the Philadelphia City Council Committee on Public Safety to hold hearings on the status of the City's Surveillance Camera Program.

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

  • And a non-privileged resolution approving the appointment of Fredi Eckhardt to the Veterans' Advisory Commission.

  • That will be referred to committee.

  • And a resolution approving the appointment of George Ginder to the Veterans' Advisory Commission.

  • That resolution will also be referred to committee.

  • And a resolution approving the appointment of Tony Jenkins to the Veterans' Advisory Commission; and

    A resolution approving the appointment of Joseph Melendez to the Veterans' Advisory Commission; and

    A resolution approving the appointment of R. Edward Speller to the Veterans' Advisory Commission; and

    A resolution approving the appointment of Delano Stones to the Veterans' Advisory Commission; and

    A resolution approving the appointment of Ernest Landers to the Veterans' Advisory Commission.

  • Those resolutions just read will be referred to committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla -- sorry; O'Neill. Councilman O'Neill.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one resolution signed by all Councilmembers.

  • A privileged resolution recognizing and honoring the 2012 Fox Rok Ravens for winning the American Youth Football National Division I Cadet Championship.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have seven bills and one resolution.

  • An ordinance amending Section 10-722 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Use of Dumpsters," by revising certain requirements for dumpsters and making technical changes; and

    An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Sartain Street, east side, Shunk Street to Porter Street; and

    An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Fitzwater Street, south side, Juniper Street to Broad Street; and

    An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on 13th Street, both sides, Bainbridge Street to South Street; and

    An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Moore Street, north side, 11th Street to 12th Street; and

    An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on 12th Street, both sides, McKean Street to Snyder Avenue; and

    An ordinance authorizing Farmtable to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 824 South 8th Street, under certain terms and conditions.

  • Thank you. Those seven bills just read by the Chief Clerk will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair --

  • And a privileged resolution authorizing the Committee on Streets and Services to hold hearings to examine the current specifications for street lighting products and the Street Department's adherence to the current specifications.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

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

  • A privileged resolution declaring and recognizing February 2013 as "Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month."

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Mr. Decker.

  • A privileged resolution recognizing and honoring Rock Ministries on their tenth anniversary of providing a unique combination of sports and faith based programs for at-risk youth in Philadelphia.

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

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing and honoring the Special Forces Association for its outstanding work and advocacy on behalf of the U.S. Army Special Forces community and for providing a network of brotherhood for those soldiers who served our nation in the U.S. Army Special Forces.

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

  • The next order of business is reports from committees.

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman Goode for a report from the Committee on Commerce and Economic Development.

  • Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Committee on Commerce and Economic Development reports one bill with a favorable recommendation.

  • The Clerk will read the report, title of the report.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, the Committee on Commerce and Economic Development, to which was referred Bill No. 121039, entitled "An ordinance amending Chapter 19-2600 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Business Income and Receipts Taxes,' by further revising the 'Special Tax Credit Opportunity for Job Creation,' under certain terms and conditions," respectfully reports it has considered the same and returns the attached bill to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you. I move the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bill No. 121039.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended as to permit first reading this day of Bill No. 121039.

    All those in favor will say aye.

  • (No response.)

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

    We will now, under a special

    order of business, consider a motion that

    recognizes the vote by which Bill No.

    120889 was passed. The bill was passed

    by Council at its December 13th meeting,

    2012, session and was returned

    disapproved by the Mayor at today's

    Council session.

    The Chief Clerk will read the

    title of the bill.

  • Bill No. 120889,

    entitled "An ordinance amending Title 14

    of The Philadelphia Code, entitled

    'Zoning and Planning,' by defining

    Registered Community Organizations, the

    requirements for their establishment, and

    the parameters and expectations of

    notification.

  • At this

    time, the Chair recognizes Councilwoman

    Blackwell.

  • Thank

    you very much. I move that the Council

    reconsider Bill No. 120889 which was

    approved by City Council on December

    13th, 2012.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been

    moved and seconded. Let it be known that

    all those saying aye are in favor; all

    those opposed that say nay are to the

    motion being carried. Bill No. 120889

    will be reconsidered at the end of

    today's Calendar session.

    All those in favor?

  • One no, and

    that is Councilman Green. The record

    will reflect that Councilman Green is a

    nay.

    The next order of business is

    to consider -- the consideration of

    today's Calendar. I note that the bills

    just reported from committee with a

    suspension of the rules has been deemed

    to have had its first reading. This bill will be placed on the Second Reading Calendar and Final Passage Calendar for the next session of Council.

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

    Oh, she's back? Strike that. We now recognize Councilwoman Brown for the purpose of calling up resolutions and bills on the Second Reading and Final Passage Calendar.

  • Thank you, Mr. Majority Leader. The following resolutions and bills are being called up from the Second Reading and Final Passage Calendars today are: 121044, 120970, 120971, 120972, 120973, 120974, 120975, 120976, 120977, 120978, 120656-AA, 120918, and 120917. All other resolutions and bills are being held.

  • Thank you, Madam.

    Before considering these resolutions and bills, we will consider public comment as follows: Your public comment must concern matters on the Second Reading and Final Passage Calendar for possible action at today's Council session.

    All speakers must sign up in order to testify. If you have not already signed up for today's session, please do so now by giving your name to the Sergeant-of-Arms at the table to my left.

    You will be called in the order in which your name appears on the sign-up sheet. You will have three minutes to speak. In order to be fair, all those wishing to speak, I intend to hold faithfully to the three-minute limit.

    You may begin speaking. You will see a green light on the podium. When three minutes are up, you will see -- at the 30-second mark, the remaining time left, the light will turn yellow, which is a reminder to conclude your remarks. Once the three minutes have passed, the light will turn red and the Sergeant-of-Arms will disconnect the microphone. At that point, please yield the podium to the next speaker, if you have not done so already.

    I also reserve the right pursuant to the rules of Council to limit repetitious comments on the same matter.

    I would ask the Chief Clerk to please read the name of our first speaker.

  • Please come to the microphone and give your comments.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Thank you, Council President and City Council, Councilman Jones, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you so much, Councilwoman Blackwell, for introducing the moratorium on school closings. PCAPS --

  • (Applause.)

  • Just to back up, my name is Anne Gemmell. I'm the Political Director at Fight for Philly. Fight for Philly is an active supporter of the PCAPS Coalition, and we stand with the many, many, many community folks, parents, teachers, students who think that this plan is not a good idea, not well evaluated and, as Council President himself said, was created by bean counters. We believe that fervently, and we're happy to see this moratorium put into place.

    That being said, we don't believe that the plan will cost -- we don't believe that the plan will save money in the long run. In Washington, DC when Michelle Rhee also tried to implement a massive butchering of school closings, it ended up costing three times what she said it was going to save all along. So we don't believe it's going to save money. That's the first thing.

    But, more importantly, we don't think and don't believe from all the community meetings that we've heard and all the people that we've organized, we don't believe for a second that it is fair that all these communities, our most vulnerable communities, are going to be plunged into chaos for less than one percent savings. That is absurd. And we're so happy that Councilpeople are willing to go out publicly and take a stand against this very ill-conceived plan.

    That being said, we are in a crisis. We have a state budget crisis, and that is where this crisis -- the road of this crisis leads to Harrisburg. There's no doubt about it. And this Coalition will be just as organized. We will be just as organized. We will be just as fired up in Harrisburg, when Corbett comes to Philadelphia. When there's a bus trip to Harrisburg, we will be ready to fight, and we are looking for you to lead the way. We are looking for you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Just a reminder, since 2010, a funding formula implemented by Governor Rendell, which was fair and rational and served the poorest children in the state very well, was totally wiped off the books, almost eviscerated by this republican government in Harrisburg. This needs to come back on the table, and we need City leaders like the leaders in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh, all the community --

  • (Applause.)

  • We need all of those folks to come together, all the people that care about this issue, care about public education as the bedrock of our democracy, and we cannot stand by.

    A billion dollars has been cut. We want to look to restore some of that, and we're hoping to get your back when that time comes in a very difficult, what promises to be contentious, state budget fight. We'll be there.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you for your comment.

    I would ask the Chief Clerk to please read the name of our next speaker.

  • Hanif Palmer, commenting on 120340-AAA.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning, everyone. Good morning, Council. My name is Hanif Palmer. I'm here to say that I am a parent of children in the Philadelphia public school. Closing these schools is really going to hinder these children all the way across the City, the safety, the commute, everything. We really need to bring everything back to the table and really sit down and take a look at what's really at stake, which is the education and the safety of these children in Philadelphia.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you for your comments.

    Will the Clerk please read the name of the next person to testify.

  • Che Saitta, commenting on Bill No. 120340-AAA.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Hi. I want to thank Council and Councilman Greenlee for introducing the paid sick day bill again.

  • (Applause.)

  • My name is Che Saitta and I'm currently with Fight for Philly, but before I got a job with Fight for Philly, I was a restaurant worker. I was working three different restaurant jobs, and I could tell you as a restaurant worker, I've seen people cut their fingers, cough, be actually quite sick, still with stitches that they went to the hospital the night before, working on the line, cutting people's food and serving it to them. And right now with this flu epidemic that everyone has been hearing about, it's impossible to believe that your food has not been touched by somebody who has the flu. You're kidding yourselves if you believe your food has not been touched by a sick person.

    Restaurants claim they cannot afford this, but I don't know about you, but everywhere I walk there's a new restaurant opening. There's new restaurants opening left and right and expanding and asking to be expanded. And right now -- I recently graduated from Temple University, and I want to say 90 percent of my friends are currently working restaurant jobs. These are really the only jobs that they can afford. And as -- I know the opposition usually says the reason why they will not support this bill is for economic reasons, it's not the right time, it's bad economic policy. Well, as a worker in this city, I believe this is good for the economy. What this will do is create good jobs that young people like me will want to stay and work at. If the jobs that are being offered in Philly are, pardon me, but crappy with no sick leave, no good money, why would we stay here?

    So please support this bill. Help create better jobs for the youth of Philadelphia and stand with the people. And don't be persuaded by the lobbyists of Comcast and by the lobbyists of Dunkin Donuts and by the lobbyists of Walmart. Stand with the people who really need this.

    And I would like to thank Greenlee again for supporting this bill, and I would also like to thank my Councilman Clarke for supporting this bill. We appreciate it.

  • (Applause.)

  • Just very quickly, I appreciate the woman's comments, but I want to tell everybody else in the room this is not the time to talk about the paid sick leave bill. We will have a hearing and there will be time to talk about it. I'm sure we'll hear a lot about it. So while I appreciate the comments, it's not the time to talk about it, if anybody else plans to comment on that.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Councilman, I really appreciate you making that comment so I don't have to make it.

    Just briefly, the rules as stated, if there is a bill or a resolution on the Final Passage Calendar, that's the time to speak. So there will be an opportunity both at the public hearing and an opportunity at the final passage to speak on this bill again. So that's what the Councilman is referring to.

    Thank you, Councilman.

    Mr. Decker.

  • Gwen Snyder, commenting on Bill No. 120340-AAA.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Hi. I want to thank Council and particularly Blondell Reynolds Brown for starting to pay attention to non-profit property taxes.

  • (Applause.)

  • I'm Gwen Snyder. I'm the Executive Director of Philadelphia Jobs with Justice. We're a coalition of over 40 faith, community, labor, and student groups. Our constituents are students, teachers, librarians, and our neighbors, workers and the communities that they serve.

    Our schools are shutting down because we don't have enough money, and at the same time, we are watching non-profits who own office space rented out to private practice or universities that have a Hilton and don't pay taxes.

    After April 2012, we had the opportunity to start working on enforcing the Pike County decision, implement good neighbors policy, and make sure that our neighbors, our non-profits, are paying their fair share. At Jobs with Justice, we are a non-profit. We're not looking to target or attack other non-profits. Many of our members are non-profits, but if you're operating a business on non-profit land, it's still a business and it should still be paying taxes regardless of who owns it.

  • (Applause.)

  • In December, we delivered a letter signed by 15 different leaders from different organizations, the presidents of both AFSCME District Councils, the President of the Firefighters Union Local 22, as well as clergy, student groups, community groups.

    We need to implement good neighbors policy. It's the first step towards non-profits paying their fair share towards sewers, towards firefighters, towards our library. Mayor Nutter has not responded to our letter. We need him to act and be a leader for the 99 percent, not just the one percent.

  • (Applause.)

  • We need a response on enforcement of the good neighbors policy, and we're excited this dialogue is about to begin.

    Again, Councilwoman Reynolds Brown, thank you so much for introducing this. I look forward to these conversations and having better neighbors.

  • (Applause.)

  • Robin Rouse, commenting on Bill No. 120340-AAA.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning, Council. My name is Robin Rouse. I am a parent of children at Bartram High School. We are glad to know that Council voted on holding off of closing the schools. It's hard on the commute for my kids and their safety. Myself and the parents want to be a part of the change, but closing the school is not the way to do it. We all need to stand together and fight in Harrisburg for fair funding for education.

  • (Applause.)

  • Dawn Hawkins, commenting on Bill No. 120340-AAA.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning. My name is Dawn Hawkins. I'm also a parent with a seventh grader at elementary school. I want to thank Ms. Blackwell, also you, Mr. Clarke, for passing this bill, also the rest of the Councilmen. I just want to thank y'all, because it's very important that our children get their education. We are asking for an education and not incarceration. We are asking for our children to be the future and not the past. We are asking you to pass this bill so our children can be a productive and successful person in life. We are asking you to pass this bill. Our children are our future.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you for your testimony.

  • (Applause.)

  • A one-year moratorium.

  • Deacon Marsha Moore, commenting on Bill No. 120340-AAA.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • First of all, I want to give honor and good to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That's who I serve besides the City of Philadelphia, and I'm from Southwest Philly.

    First of all, I want to talk about this tax reassessment. When I bought my house in '77, it was 10,500. Now all the houses going for 51,000 and up.

    Secondly, our schools. I was a truant officer until I was brutally attacked in a home invasion, and we need our schools. We got three schools in Southwest Philly High -- Southwest Philly high schools, and my daughter go to one, Commodees (ph). We got to get up 5:30 every morning and wait for the bus, but thank God her father work at the post office. But we're still out there in the morning. I'm watching other children doing Safe Corridors.

    So please, please reconsider with the moratorium, because we can't afford to lose another generation, and our kids --

  • (Applause.)

  • And then our children are getting up 5 and 6 o'clock in the morning. I'm up every morning 5:30 doing Safe Corridors at 58th and Kingsessing, waiting to make sure nobody attack our children.

    Ms. Jannie, you've been there from day one. I love you. Thank you. And Mr. Kenyatta.

    But just rethink the plan about the schools. Our children get up early enough to go to school. Let's not make it 4 o'clock in the morning.

    God bless.

  • Thank you for your testimony.

  • (Applause.)

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

  • Thank you, Mr. Decker.

    We will now consider resolutions and bills on the Second Reading and Final Passage Calendar.

    Mr. Decker, would you please read the title of Resolution No. 121044.

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

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Resolution 121044 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 120970.

  • A resolution approving the appointment of Lynette Brown-Sow as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 120971.

  • A resolution approving the appointment of Bonnie Camarda as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

  • It's been moved and properly seconded -- we need to make the motion first.

  • I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Resolution 120971 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 120972.

  • A resolution approving the appointment of Joan Markman, Esquire as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

  • The Chair recognize Councilman Jones.

  • 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?

  • The ayes have it. Resolution 120972 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 120973.

  • A resolution approving the appointment of Kenneth A. Murphy, Esquire as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. 120973 is adopted.

    120974, Mr. Decker.

  • A resolution approving the appointment of Leslie Callahan as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

  • The Chair again 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. 120974 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 120975.

  • A resolution approving the appointment of Shellie Jackson as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

  • (Applause.)

  • I think I see Ms. Jackson in the audience.

    Councilman Jones.

  • I enthusiastically 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. 120975 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 120976.

  • A resolution approving the appointment of Nelson Diaz, Esquire as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

  • The Chair again 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. 120976 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 120977.

  • A resolution approving the appointment of Vernell Tate --

  • (Applause.)

  • -- as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

  • And good morning, Ms. Tate.

    Councilman Jones.

  • I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. 120977 is approved.

    Mr. Decker, 120978.

  • A resolution approving the appointment of Herbert Wetzel as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

  • (Audience members yelling "Herb.")

  • Let the record reflect that your cheers were not as loud as the residents.

    Councilman Jones, 120978.

  • 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. 120978 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 120656-AA.

  • An ordinance amending Title 14 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Zoning and Planning," by revising lot area and parking requirements in certain districts.

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

    Mr. Decker, please call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Councilman O'Brien is voting aye.

    Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

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

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 120918.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 11-300 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Board of Surveyors," by adding a new section to revise and codify the notice requirements for public hearings held by the Board of Surveyors on changes in the City Plan.

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

    Mr. Decker, please call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Councilman O'Brien is voting aye.

    Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 17; the nays are zero. All members present having voted in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    Mr. Decker, will you please call up 120917.

  • An ordinance amending Title 14 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Zoning and Planning," by revising certain provisions relating to allowed uses and dimensional standards in commercial districts.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one amendment, and that amendment has been circulated to all Councilmembers.

  • Thank you. Do you want to make a motion on the amendment.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • The amendment has been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The bill is amended.

  • (Applause.)

  • For the record, that bill will be placed on Final Passage for next Council session.

    Council will now reconsider the vote by which Bill No. 120889 was passed.

    Mr. Decker, will you please read the title of the bill.

  • An ordinance amending Title 14 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Zoning and Planning," by defining Registered Community Organizations, the requirements for their establishment, and the parameters and expectations of notification.

  • This bill having been read on two different days was duly approved by City Council on December 13th, 2012 and was returned to the Council by the Mayor as disapproved at today's session of Council. The question is shall the Bill No. 120889 pass notwithstanding the Mayor's disapproval.

    Please note that a vote of aye is a vote to override the Mayor's veto and a vote of nay is a vote to sustain the Mayor's veto.

    Mr. Decker --

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to say I served on the Zoning Code Commission for three years. A lot of thought and effort and compromise was spent during those three years on coming up with the proper balance between creating registered community organizations, the kind of notice that was going to have to be given by the organizations and by developers, and this bill creates notice requirements that are almost impossible to legally comply with. They will hold up projects in the courts for years because someone on the block can simply say, I didn't get a notice from. And this is required from both the RCO and the developer to every person on a block. This is going to create legal roadblocks to development and job creation, which is the exact opposite purpose of passing the Zoning Code. This has not been tried. So I think we need to give the current method that was passed by this Council through a great series of compromises with the Administration, with the Zoning Code members, et cetera, a chance to succeed before we start changing it, especially for extremely burdensome changes that are notice requirements that will keep projects in court for years.

    There are many other problems with this, multiple meetings with developers instead of one meeting that has to be organized, and the requirements to be a registered RCO are so weak that a group could register 50 and a developer would be required to have 50 meetings before they could put a bill before -- before they could get the zoning change or get their hearing before the ZBA. This is a big mistake, and I urge my colleagues to vote no.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Let me say and many of you will remember that at the request of the Chairman of the Committee, he said go out and try to work it out, and we did that. Some of the language that is now being criticized in the Mayor's veto was the language that his people wrote.

    We agree and we're always happy -- I believe in compromising, and we're happy to continue to work with the Administration. But those issues that my colleague just spoke about are all the issues that we talked about in my office many times and the issues that we came up with a compromise, and they agreed to the compromise and agreed to the bill.

    So I hope my colleagues will -- now they want to start all over as if we had never had the meetings, we never had the compromise. And we worked very, very hard. I believe in the art of compromise and that it takes all of us to try to do the right thing and serve our city.

    So I hope my colleagues will take that into consideration. And we told the Mayor as recently as this morning when he said he had a problem with it for some -- even after all of this, we said we're still happy to work with them. We're happy to work with anybody who has ideas.

    We understand changing the Zoning Code -- and this is just one of the early bills, so there will be many issues that we may consider, because after we had the hearings -- I went to every hearing in my district on the Zoning Code. We knew what we agreed to, but then they went and told some offices, changed it, did not talk to people, and that is why we have these issues that we have to deal with up front.

    But it is our responsibility to do so. We're happy to do that. We're happy to still continue to work with the Mayor and his Administration, but I ask my colleagues if they will continue to support the right of communities to know when there is zoning in their area. I ask them to continue to support this legislation and support the override.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Just very quickly. I just have to endorse particularly the beginning of what Councilwoman Blackwell said. As Chair of the Rules Committee, that day it was a very contentious hearing on a number of issues. I asked, as Councilwoman Blackwell said, for both parties to go talk about it a little bit, because it didn't sound from the public statements that were being made that they were that far apart. They came back and as usual in compromise, not everybody was happy. That's what a compromise is. But it seems to me, best that I remember -- maybe my memory is getting bad -- that they agreed, both sides agreed, to this bill and the wording of this bill. And now they come back at the end and basically say, Well, we don't agree with everything in it. Well, again, that's what I think a compromise is.

    So I certainly will be voting to override, because I think in fairness, I think Councilwoman Blackwell tried to work out to the best of her ability and I think everybody tried to work out the best middle ground we could find, and that's what we do a lot of times in this place. So I will be supporting the override.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to say that I respect both of my colleagues, understand their point of view, but a compromise does not mean -- because the Administration may have agreed or may not have agreed with what is in this bill is not really relevant to the substance of the bill, and I am telling this Council that projects that you want to get done will be held up for years because of the burdensome, expensive nature of these requirements and we will all rue the day that this veto was overridden.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. That's absolutely not true, period.

  • (Applause.)

  • Finished, Councilwoman? Thank you.

    Mr. Decker, are you prepared to call the roll? Again, a vote of aye is to override the Mayor's veto and a vote of nay is to sustain to the Mayor's veto.

    Mr. Decker, please call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • The ayes are 13; the nays are three.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Mayor's veto is overridden. Thirteen to 3, the Mayor's veto is overridden. Two-thirds majority of all members of Council have voted in the affirmative, the Mayor's veto is overridden. I'll say it again for the record.

    That completes our Calendar for today. I'm sorry. You have resolutions. Mr. Decker, do you have any additional resolutions?

  • A resolution authorizing the Committee on Rules to hold public hearings to examine the City's intent to contract with Corizon Health, Inc. to provide healthcare services to inmates in the Philadelphia Prison System, introduced by Councilman Kenney.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution calling on the City Council of Philadelphia Committee on Education and all of City Council to recognize and support President Barack Obama's plan, Now is the Time, which aims to ensure the safety of our children and our communities by reducing gun violence, introduced by Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution calling on the City Council of Philadelphia to support, advocate, and recommend a moratorium (suspension --

  • (Applause.)

  • -- (suspension of action) for the School District of Philadelphia's Facilities Master Plan recommendations concerning grade changes, school closures, program co-locations, and program mergers/relocations, introduced by Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • 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. I'd like to speak on that. I have my light on.

  • I'm sorry. Councilwoman Sanchez.

  • Is it appropriate to speak or do you want to continue?

  • Yeah, Councilwoman, because I missed the light.

  • I agree that there are many unanswered questions regarding Dr. Hite and the SRC's plans. We asked the SRC and Dr. Hite to make very tough decisions. This year alone they borrowed $300 million to pay the bills. I am prepared to discuss additional funding in a responsible way and then ask for a moratorium. We cannot act like Congress and say that we are going to kick the bucket and not deal with our fiscal cliff.

    Dr. Hite and the SRC have responded -- have to respond to every single issue and legitimate questions that our parents have put forth to them. How were the decisions made, do they make sense, what is the public safety plan. But let's remember over 100,000 kids get on some sort of public transportation because their parents are making a choice about where they go to school.

    Meetings are being held, continue to be held, and I continue to encourage parents and the students to come forth and speak about the impact of any decision on their school. I have personally visited most of my schools and will continue to visit the schools that are being closed and the receiving schools, and I continue to talk with staff, parents, and students.

    My problem with this resolution and the way that it's crafted is that it says a moratorium that to me equals a zero-sum game, and that to me right now is irresponsible. We are all right that all roads lead to Harrisburg and the funding cuts that we've experienced. I am the most passionate supporter of public education. My son attends public schools. But we cannot tell the District to right-size itself and at the same time not give it money and at the same time interfere in every single decision.

    I am prepared to shape some of these discussions and I want to continue the dialogue, but it is irresponsible without additional money to tell the School District they cannot do anything. I think the conversation should continue to happen, and I think what this Council should be asking Dr. Hite and the SRC is to answer the questions, the legitimate questions, students and parents have put forward around public safety. But I cannot vote, because of the crafting of the wording of this resolution, for it. I think that unlike Congress, we don't have the luxury of time and we have to make tough decisions, and I'm willing to work towards them.

    Thank you.

  • (Audience members yelling "save our schools.")

  • We have some additional speeches. Hold up for a second.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I know half as much as my colleagues on Education such as Councilwoman Blackwell, Councilwoman Sanchez, Councilwoman Brown. They've spent a considerable amount of time on the Education Committee delving into this. But what I do know is that we cannot make whole decisions on half information. And there are so many questions that have come out, and I've taken the time to talk to my colleagues, talk to Dr. Hite, talk to members of the SRC, talk to educators, talk to parents, talk to students, all of whom are going to be impacted by this.

    This decision is probably the most important decision we will make for the next ten years when it comes to the future of this city, not just our kids, but this city.

    So I applaud Councilwoman Blackwell for pushing the pause button so that we don't --

  • (Applause.)

  • -- that we don't make whole decisions on half information.

    I mentioned in this Chamber about a guy named Ray-Ray. Well, I met him on the school yard of Beeber Junior High School in on overcrowded situation that caused all kinds of public safety issues. When it comes to our kids, we can ill-afford for kids who really, some of whom, some of whom, don't want to go to school anyway, for them to have to take a march into danger without us as adults, as us as elected officials, as us as parents weighing in on this to make sure every aspect of their safety, their transportation is dealt with before we send them into a situation.

  • (Applause.)

  • And, again, I kept an open mind about this. I respect, I respect Councilwoman Sanchez's point of view, having run a school, having dealt with kids. But having listened to the parents of Gompers, having listened to the parents of Lamberton, having been a parent in those schools, we cannot, as a famous Councilperson said, act in haste and repent in your leisure.

    I'm going to go for the resolution to hold it.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I will be brief. For clarity of the record, this Council did not ask Dr. Hite or the School Reform Commission to come up with a plan. Governor Corbett asked the School Reform Commission to come up with a plan. Governor Corbett asked for a plan because he has deliberately underfunded the schools. That's what put us in this situation. So this Council has had to ask residential taxpayers and other taxpayers to look at local revenue for schools. The state still hasn't stood up.

    And so this is not our plan. We do not have control of the situation. This is about the time we begin to talk about local control. So not only are we calling for a moratorium, but we're calling for local control again.

  • (Applause.)

  • That's what the majority of this Council is saying and that's what the citizens are saying and that's what the taxpayers are saying.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I thank my colleagues for their remarks on this issue, and we note, sure, there are many issues. We have schools in Councilman Johnson's area in Southwest where they want to relocate young people to University City. What sense does that make? We have one school in my area, we built brand new housing, PHA, Mantua Square, the school to service them right across the street, McMichael School, they want to close. We're talking about not only turf areas, not only transportation, we're talking about a plan that should be thought out with the community involved in those discussions, not being told afterwards and saying that's community inclusion.

    Certainly --

  • (Applause.)

  • Certainly no one is saying that a moratorium means it has to be forever, and no one is saying -- we carefully crafted this resolution. We were careful about how we worded moratorium, and certainly we were careful about many issues dealing with closing, like time.

    We've learned that -- studies show that if there's a notice for schools to close, that year the scores go down. When they move to the next school, the first year of the new school scores go down. The second year the scores go back to where they were before changes occur.

    So we believe and we were very careful, because we did not even say that all 37 schools wouldn't close. I've been to many, many meetings and have many, many discussions on this. In Southwest they have 23 organizations in the area who have come together on this. And what all groups are saying in every meeting I've been to, they're not saying that some schools shouldn't close, but not 37 schools should close.

  • (Applause.)

  • I think that the students -- it's ironic that in all the meetings, the largest group of people who protest are students, which is very, very sad. Second is parents and third are teachers. Teachers have even come forward and stood up for their schools, their students, and their environment.

    So we're not saying we're not willing to talk about it. We're saying we need inclusion on major decisions like this. So let's hold up. Let's try to get it right so that the majority of our citizens, students, parents, teachers, community members are satisfied, so we can have a plan that makes sense, not a plan that doesn't.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I'm going to be brief because I know a lot of what I wanted to cover has already been covered. But I just really want to echo what Councilwoman Blackwell just said. Let's do it right. Let's get it right the first time, because I believe that if we don't make sure that we are doing things in a manner that makes sense, next year come January of 2014 will we be here asking the exact same questions and trying to figure out which young people should now go to a different school? There are turf battles. There are various issues.

    You know, in my district I know that there are a number of issues that I'm greatly concerned about. I think we need to be much more thoughtful about the distance that we're asking some of our young people to go, particularly elementary school students.

    I want to just take a second and recognize that Jerry Jordan is here from the PFT and that he --

  • (Applause.)

  • -- actually was in the, I think it was, the Philadelphia Tribune where he actually walked the distance from one of the closed schools to two of the schools that those students would then be transferred to and the distance and the time, and we're talking about elementary school students. I know in my district the idea of closing the Peirce School at 23rd and Cambria and then having those students walk to Rhoads at 29th and Clearfield is quite a distance. And so we've all seen very small, very young children walking to school in the mornings by themselves, and it makes me want to cringe when I see a young person, their backpack is sometimes bigger than they are, walking themselves quite a distance to school. It's very troubling. I think we need to think about that. I think we need to think about some of the turf battles, which are real, which should not be --

  • (Applause.)

  • -- which should not be minimized. And I don't think any one of us thinks that we want to keep all of these schools open. Some of these schools will have to close. It's just a fact. But let's just slow down for one moment, take our time and do it right the first time so that we're not at this place again in the future.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I feel like at the entrance to Council today there must have been a reality distortion field and we've all walked through it to be in this Chamber today. I just -- I cannot understand how we are forgetting the fact that there are 70,000 empty seats in the Philadelphia public schools. To create a moratorium for another year will cost the School District $25 million that they do not have and we have not provided.

  • (Audience members yelling.)

  • I'll wait, Mr. President.

  • Please. Please let the Councilmember speak, please.

  • The fact of the matter is, there are not additional resources. The School District has to make tough decisions, and last year at this time, the Public School Notebook published a list of many of these same schools that were potential for closing. This body, as part of our negotiations with the School District in the context of providing additional resources, asked the District not to act last year on school closings in the context of having to raise taxes and do all the other things that we had to do. And so there has been a one-year moratorium, and now is the time for the District to act.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Audience member yelling.)

  • Ron, Ron, Ron. Hey, Ron. Ron, come on.

    Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Yes. I will be very brief. Councilman Green talked about last year we asked the School District for a moratorium. I believe about two years ago there were rumblings about closing schools and we asked at that time what schools would be closed. And then, of course, through all the upheaval around the Superintendent and the change, everything was put on hold and we heard nothing else. And then when Dr. Hite came in, I mean, certainly he walked into a hornet's nest, not of his making, but we get this study of these schools. And so we in the Northwest in my area are asking how did you make the decision, how did you come to the determination which schools would be closed. So we're asking for the data.

    We attended the community meetings, and we want to know who did the study, how did they determine which schools should be closed. And our parents and students have been very vocal about their school. And certainly we are not losing a lot of schools in my district. However, we're getting children from schools from Pulaski Avenue coming up to Cheltenham. So how do you come to a decision to take 5th graders, 4th graders and transport them to Sedgwick, Thouron Avenue. It just doesn't make sense.

    So I think that we -- and we are working with Enon and Reverend Waller in our community to look at the data to see how they came to the determination of which schools to close. And I think -- there's a March deadline, and what these parents are saying, that's not a lot of time to get all of this together. So I think that -- I don't know what the timeline is, but certainly we can't get it all done by March.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Again, Mr. President, I recognize the sincere comments of my colleagues who have spent a lot of time on this issue, care greatly about the future of our young people. I do not doubt their motivation is not one that -- and I want to say that for the record. However, the reality check is something that we've also heard in these Chambers. The reality is if an urban young man -- I remember this from Wilson Goode, Councilman Goode's inquiries -- does not read up to standard by the 4th grade, we know how many prison cells to build by the time they're 18. We know. We know that violence -- the bean counters of the world can draw maps, but if you don't know the difference between Parkside and Parkway and you don't know crossing those two can cause public safety, you are putting our children in danger. And I'm saying to you that these things can be dealt with, but I need to hear how they're dealt with. It's like build it, they shall come. But don't say go and we'll figure it out. You're not going to do that to our kids.

    So I would urge us to move cautiously. The realities of the budget are true. I'm a person who in this Chamber, Mr. Chairman, along with you, stood up for increased revenues for the School District, not afraid to do it, because our kids mean that much to me. But I also know they will not be the victim of poor planning by other Administrations. It's just not going to happen.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I too want to thank Jerry Jordan for his leadership, all the PCAP groups, all of them, from Philly Fight, Anne Gemmell to SEIU, to everyone who has been involved, and certainly we want to reiterate that on February 12th, Lincoln Day, we will have hearings in here at 11 o'clock dealing with this issue, school closures, and we hope that all those who can and who have an opinion will come forward so that we may have a full airing of this whole school closure and all that that involves.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Sanchez.

  • Again, I want to reiterate the fact that we all agree that we want to be responsible, that they need to be thoughtful, that there are questions that are unanswered, that there is going to have to be an investment by the City around public safety around these issues. What I cannot say is an absolute no.

    Every one of my colleagues has mentioned the fact that they know that some schools will have to close, and I agree, we need to shape the criteria by which that happens, but I don't want to give anybody the false impression. When you say moratorium, you say totally stop, and we need to move some tough decisions so that we can go back to basics, which is what Mr. Jordan talks about every single time he testifies here. We need nurses, we need gyms, we need a healthy lunch, we need reading specialists, we need all of those things. And if we're going to be able to go to provide those back-to-basics in all those schools, the conversation is how do we create the highest number of high achievement seats all over the district, in every neighborhood, in every part of the City. We cannot get there if every single time we need to make tough decisions we say no.

    I agree, we need to pause. Every one of the folks involved need to sit down and we need to look at every single decision. I do not agree with all the 37 closures. I will not pretend to know the ones that are not in my district, but what I do know is that this is an opportunity. This is the perfect storm for us to deal with the full funding of public education. We need to go to Harrisburg, but then we also need to have a reality check that this Council has done heavy lifting. And I have prodded and probed all of my Council colleagues every single budget season to try to get as much money for public education as I possibly can, but we need to be responsible.

    And so I think all of the parents have legitimate concerns and I think all of us in Council who have a voice in this Council should provide some leadership and shape this, but we can't tell the District, no, don't do nothing. We need to shape how that happens.

    So I just think that we agree on too many things for us to make this important debate contentious, because we all agree on the same things. High quality education, high quality slots, and choices for children everywhere. So let's keep our eyes on that point of agreement as we continue to talk about this. As Councilwoman Blackwell says, Dr. Hite will be in here for hearings. We will have an opportunity during the budget discussion. No final decision will be made. And the SRC can have a March deadline. No final decision can be made until we make a budget decision, and that is going to help determine what stays open and what stays closed.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. This important debate and the remarks shared and perspectives shared by colleagues was triggered by the resolution introduced by Councilwoman Blackwell, and I too read it very, very, very carefully and was initially quite -- wanted to push the pause button on moratorium. In further speaking with Councilwoman Blackwell, we all agree and it says in here that we do not oppose the closing of some schools.

    So though moratorium literally suggests stop action, I would submit that we need to use whatever time this designated period means and continue the important debate, continue to listen to the issues raised at these community meetings, which are exceedingly important, and keep in mind two things. We've raised taxes consecutively for the last three years, and that's a problem. Councilman Goode has made it clear that the inaction, non-action, and some would say benign action in Harrisburg has forced us to do that. The other fact is there's 70,000 fewer seats in our Philadelphia public schools.

    So given those facts and given the healthy, heated debate that is going on in the trench level with our schools and parents who care, I would ask that we use this period, working with the School District, in figuring out what that ultimate number should be.

    So in talking with Councilwoman Blackwell, I feel better now about supporting the resolution, because, again, on the other -- I was on the other side.

  • (Applause.)

  • As long as we understand that the debate for conversation, the discussion, the listening to be responsible does not end, or else we will end up back here next year debating the same issues again, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode -- I'm sorry; Councilman Green.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I want to echo the words of my colleague Maria Quinones-Sanchez who spoke passionately about what the dollars that would be saved from closing some schools would be used for. Maybe art instruction, maybe music instruction, other things like that. They are projected to save $25 million a year.

    But this problem, this entire issue, is created by a simple thing. It is created because when the School Reform Commission was created, they decided to make Philadelphia one of the nation's experiments in charter schools. State law allows charters to open. Ten years ago, the Philadelphia public school students were about 200,000 in Philadelphia public schools. Today it's about 145, with 55,000 in charter schools, and in ten years it will be closer to 100,000 in charter schools and 100,000 in our public schools. In that context, the School Reform Commission, not just this year but every year, has a plan that they have stated publicly to close down schools and bad seats for the forecoming foreseeable future, and that will be true as long as state law allows charter schools. And there are many great charter schools and I support them, but that will be true as long as that is the case.

    And so this is something that we will be discussing every year, and I think it's time for us to understand that it is time for the School District to start acting to right-size itself given the realities that it will continue to lose students to charters for the foreseeable future.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Every year we end up in the same trap. We are not deciding today how many schools should close or which schools should close. That decision is not up to us. That decision is up to the School Reform Commission, which is controlled by Governor Corbett.

    We should be reminded of two things, as I do have a very good memory. One, at the beginning of Governor Corbett's administration, he appointed the Education Secretary, who stated very quickly money doesn't matter, one of the most ridiculous statements that could be made. There are people at the School District who came in here last year who said if you don't give us X amount of money, the schools won't even open in September.

    So it's time to stop playing games. Point the finger where it should be pointed. It should be pointed at Governor Corbett and his School Reform Commission.

  • (Applause.)

  • This whole issue of being able to negotiate with the School Reform Commission, the whole issue of working with the School Reform Commission, the whole issue of them supposedly listening to us all, aside from just coming here for their money, is a joke. I mean, so this is what we have to do. You have to take a stand at some point and say we want local control; yes, we stand for a moratorium; and realize that it's a symbolic stance. We're not passing a law here today. We're passing a resolution that simply says this is the intent of Council. This is the intent of Council because you left us out of the decision of how many schools and which schools, and we should not be left out of that decision.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to echo Councilman Goode here, because one of the things that I think we really need to focus on a little bit more is that this is a financial decision, and we get it. We understand, and we want to be responsible.

    And so in making a financial decision, we want to also underscore that -- I feel like we're getting somewhat of a sales pitch. The parents and the students are getting this pitch from the District that this is in your best interest. And so my question then is, if this is in the best interest of parents and students across Philadelphia, then what sort of baseline increase and results are we going to see? Is there some sort of guarantee? What kind of scores, test scores, are we going to see in terms of increases? What kind of new services are we going to see? I don't believe that that's been laid out, but there is this continuous pitch that this is in your best interest, and I don't believe anyone is buying that.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The last thing I'll say on the issue is, I hope that citizens around the City will not buy into when all else fails, then let's fight one another. Let's have charter schools fight traditional public schools and then we can talk about renaissance academies and promise academies. Let's not get into that fight and have students and schools fighting one another.

    We didn't create this model. They created it at the state level. So let's keep that in mind, that we all have an interest, that we want to survive. I associate myself with Councilman Goode's comments and hope that we can move forward together. Let's take the high road.

  • (Applause.)

  • I think we left it off in the middle of the vote, but why don't we start by reading the resolution and then call for the vote.

    Mr. Decker, read it one more time.

  • A resolution calling on the City Council of Philadelphia to support, advocate, and recommend a moratorium (suspension of action) for the School District of Philadelphia's Facilities Master Plan recommendations concerning grade changes, school closures, program co-locations, and program mergers/relocations.

  • And recognize Councilwoman Blackwell for a motion.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • Is there a call for a roll call?

    Roll call, Mr. Decker.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • (No response.)

  • Councilman O'Brien is voting aye.

    Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • (Applause.)

  • The ayes are 14; the nays are two. The resolution passes.

  • And a resolution --

  • Hold on. Hold on.

    Mr. Decker.

  • And a resolution recognizing January as "National Human Trafficking Awareness Month" in Philadelphia, introduced by Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown for a motion.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, hold on a second.

    Folks, we're going to ask that when you leave, please hold down your voices. We still have to conduct a few more pieces of business.

    We'll try it again, Mr. Decker.

  • And a resolution authorizing Council's Committee on Rules to hold hearings on the issue of charitable exemptions from property taxes, and use of land subject to such charitable exemptions for commercial purposes, introduced by Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown for a motion.

  • I move for the adoption, Mr. President.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution calling for the Philadelphia City Council Committee on Public Safety to hold hearings on the status of the City's Surveillance Camera Program, introduced by Councilman Jones for Council President Clarke.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • That was also co-sponsored by Councilwoman Bass and Councilman Greenlee. I move for the adoption.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    Those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution recognizing and honoring the 2012 Fox Rok Ravens for winning the American Youth Football National Division I Cadet Championship, introduced by Councilman O'Neill.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution authorizing the Committee on Streets and Services to hold hearings to examine the current specifications for street lighting products and the Streets Department's adherence to the current specifications, introduced by Councilman Squilla.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution declaring and recognizing February 2013 as "Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month," introduced by Councilwoman Bass.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution recognizing and honoring Rock Ministries on their tenth anniversary of providing a unique combination of sports and faith based programs for at-risk youth in Philadelphia, introduced by Councilman Oh.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded.

    Those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. The resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution recognizing and honoring the Special Forces Association for its outstanding work and advocacy on behalf of the U.S. Army Special Forces community and for providing a network of brotherhood for those soldiers who served our nation in the U.S. Army Special Forces, introduced by Councilman Oh.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh again.

  • Thank you. I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • Thank you so much, Mr. Decker.

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

  • (No response.)

  • Are there any speeches on the part of the majority?

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I wish our colleague Councilman Kenney were still here. I was going to commend him on the introduction of the bill creating -- or the Charter change creating an Inspector General. I too was working on such a Charter change amendment, and I want to let him know publicly that I'll be happy to work with him on that.

    We have had a lot of discussion here today about taxes and resources and other things, and I think there's one thing that we all have to recognize. Over the past few years, I have identified and proposed over $350 million in spending reductions in connection with not being willing to vote for various real estate tax increases. I thought I had to pay for those decisions. I think that when we're talking about asking people to spend money or forcing them to spend money they're not planning to spend, you have to be able to come up with cuts or with revenue measures to do that. And so we are going to have, I think, a very difficult spring.

    The one thing that I'm pleased to report is that the AVI debate is over. I keep reading and hearing in different places that we have to set a millage rate, that we have to have a discussion about AVI, what's the rate going to be. The rate is 1.44 percent, if the Administration's estimates that they came out with last week are true. AVI passed last year. It goes into effect automatically this year -- or next year by action that we took last year.

    So unless there are 12 votes to change the rate from something other than 1.44, either by lowering the homestead exemption to a lower number -- by the way, 15,000 I think is 1.39. No homestead exemption is 1.3. We need -- as long as the Administration -- and the Mayor has already said he's not going to raise real estate taxes this year. So we have 1.44 or less, unless there are 12 votes to make that kind of change. So I don't know why we're spending a lot of time handwringing about what the AVI rate is. It's the law, and all we're going to be able to do without 12 votes and only with the Mayor's support is lower it.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Today is the 10th anniversary of the passing of the late and great Lucien E. Blackwell. I'm proud to have succeeded him. We were the first couple in the country ever elected on the same day when he went to the Congress in '92 and I succeeded him to come here after working for him nearly some many, many years.

    So I am proud to acknowledge him today. I think he would have been proud of the lively debate, and we're sure he's looking down and hope he is proud for all that we attempted to do. We brought into the vision and the mission, and we're doing our best to serve the people we represent.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman. And I'm sure he is very proud of the way you are continuing to carry the torch as it relates to your fighting for the people and the citizens of Philadelphia.

  • Thank you.

    There are no other speeches. At this time, I recognize Councilwoman Brown.

  • Surely, Mr. President. I move that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, January 31st, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • I thought you guys wanted to stay here.

    Those opposed?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Council is adjourned until January 31st, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

    Thank you all very much.

  • (Stated Meeting adjourned at 1:00 p.m.)