Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

  • Good morning, everyone.

  • (Good morning.)

  • We're going to start now. I'd ask all the members to please take their seats and ask the guests and visitors to please retire behind the rail. Thank you all very much.

    To give our invocation this morning, the Chair recognizes Reverend Father Hakob Gevorgyan -- I hope I got that right -- of the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church. He is here today as the guest of Councilman Green.

    I would ask all guests and visitors to please rise.

  • (Members and guests rise.)

  • (Good morning.)

  • In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.

    Dear Wise and Loving Father, thank you on behalf of all who are gathered here today. Thank you for your many abundant blessings. Thank you for life itself, for the measure of path we need to fulfill our callings, for sustenance, and for friendship.

    Thank you for the ability to be involved in useful work and for the honor of bearing appropriate responsibilities. Thank you as well for the freedom of free will. Thank you for loving us and for your boundless and gracious nature.

    In the scriptures you have said that citizens ought to obey the governing authorities. Since, you have established those very authorities to promote peace and order and justice. Therefore, I pray for our Mayor, for the various levels of City officials and, in particular, for this assembled Council. I am asking that you would graciously grant them wisdom to govern amid the conflicting interests and issues of our times, a sense of the welfare and true needs of our people, a keen thirst for justice and righteousness, confidence in what is good and fitting, the ability to work together in harmony even when there is honest disagreement, personal peace in their lives and joy in their task.

    Heavenly Father, please give them an assurance of what would please you and what would benefit those who live and work in and around our beloved City of Philadelphia.

    It is in your most precious name, I pray.

    Amen.

  • Thank you so much, Reverend Father.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you so much. Before we start our session today -- could I have your attention, please. Thank you.

    Before we start our session today, I would ask if anyone in the audience has a phone, I say pager -- I know nobody has pagers anymore, but I'm going to say it -- or any other electronic device that makes noise, I'd ask that you please turn it off or turn it on silent. Thank you very much for your cooperation.

    The next order of business is the approval of the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, October 17th, 2013.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, October 17th, 2013 be approved.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that the Journal of the meeting of October 17th, 2013 stand approved.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

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

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

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

  • The Chair thanks the gentleman.

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

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell for the purpose of welcoming a special guest joining us in the Chambers this morning.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. We are very proud to have a delegation from Douala, Cameroon visiting Philadelphia. We would like to ask them to stand as we try to introduce some of them.

    Certainly so that Council notes, the Republic of Cameroon is the only African country that has a sister city relationship with Philadelphia. We're involved with them through a member of the Mayor's Commission on African and Caribbean Affairs, Kahiga Tiagha, and this delegation is led by Mr. Felix Tokam, President and CEO of Eximco LLC. We also have with us this morning Akoa Phillippe Camille, who is the General Manager of FEICOM. We have Owono Owono Etienne, Director of Collected Territories; Bate Azuk, a senior government official from the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development; Andze Emile, President of the United Councils of the City of Cameroon; Samuel Foungtong, one of the collaborators in FEICOM; Jerome Manda, consultant; August Eric Djodom; and Felix Tokam, again, Team Leader.

    The citation for His Excellency, Akoa, General Manager of the Council's Support Team for Mutual Assistance, has been certainly passed on to the group and he will be presented with this later on, but we certainly -- we're proud to present this citation to His Excellency, Phillippe Camille Akoa, on behalf of our entire members, all of us here at City Council.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • Welcome. Welcome. Thank you so much and welcome today. Thank you.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown, who will present a resolution recognizing October as Parent and Family Appreciation Month. Would Ms. Quibila Divine and those accompanying her please join the Councilwoman at the podium.

    And joining Councilwoman Brown, we have Councilman Bill Greenlee and also joining Councilwoman Brown is Councilwoman Blackwell. Thank you.

  • Thank you, Mr. President.

    Recognizing leadership at the School District matters. Recognizing young people who are doing well there matters, but also recognizing parents and caregivers who have the responsibility for ensuring that our children arrive ready for school matters as well. And there's a lot of research that says when parents are actively engaged in the academic lives of their children, all the research says that they do better. So it is with great pleasure that we recognize this month October as Parent and Family Appreciation Month.

    Whereas, according to the National Committee for Citizens in Education, students with families who are involved in their school have fewer behavioral problems and better academic performance, and are more likely to complete secondary school than students whose families are not involved in their daily academic lives; and

    Whereas, research continues to show that parents get involved in their children's education for a variety of reasons, but they do so especially when schools reach out to them and invite -- the operative word is "invite" -- their participation; and

  • Whereas, parents are the first and most influential teachers of their children and most often have high hopes and dreams for their children's future; and

    Whereas, the most accurate predictor of student achievement in school is the extent to which their families are able to create a home environment that encourages learning and advocates for their children's achievement in both school and community; and

  • Whereas, the importance of parent and family engagement in education requires not only recognition, but a firm commitment to the School District of Philadelphia, its students and families; and

    Whereas, Parent Power, The Educational Advocates Reaching Today's Hardworking Students, Incorporated, the Philadelphia branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Women's Christian Alliance has scheduled a month of activities to show appreciation for parents and their contributions as members of school-based and District teams; now, therefore, be it

  • Resolved, by the City Council of Philadelphia, that we hereby recognize October 2013 as Parent and Family Appreciation Month in Philadelphia.

    Further resolved, that an engrossed copy of this resolution be presented to Parent Power, The Educational Advocates Reaching Today's Hardworking Students, Inc., the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP, and the Women's Christian Alliance as evidence of the sincere sentiments of this legislative body.

    Introduced by Councilmembers Blackwell, Greenlee, and Blondell Reynolds Brown and supported by all members of the Philadelphia City Council.

    Congratulations.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Ms. Divine for remarks.

  • Thank you so much. I'd like to send my appreciation to President Darrell Clarke, Education Chair Jannie Blackwell, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and her staff, Katherine Gilmore, and my Councilwoman, Cindy Bass, and Councilman Greenlee, as well as the rest of you who work so tirelessly on behalf of the community members which you represent.

    I'd also like to recognize Bishop Mary Palmer, who is the Board Chairperson for the Women's Christian Alliance, and SRC Commissioner Sylvia Simms, as well as School District staff Evelyn Sample-Oates and her big staff. Thank you all very much, because this is a partnership.

    Parent Appreciation Month allows those of us who are usually busy being education chairs, task force members, committee men and women, and ward leaders to recognize the contributions of men and women who are our constituents, our neighbors, our families, and our friends who serve as equal partners with teachers, principals, and District administrators to reinforce learning in their homes and, when necessary, hold public and elected officials accountable.

    It is with great pride that I stand here with a sampling of parents, family, and community members to accept this proclamation. They represent many others who, throughout the years, have proven their dedication and commitment to effective practice -- effective partnership practices, not only with schools in the District, but with many of you as well.

    Thank you very much, and let's continue to do the good work.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee, who will present a resolution on my behalf honoring and recognizing the 30th anniversary of Glenwood Acres. Would Ms. Darlene Marcus and those accompanying her please join the Councilman at the podium.

    And joining Councilman Greenlee, we have Councilwoman Brown, Councilwoman Blackwell, and Councilwoman Bass, who I believe used to be a resident of that particular community.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. It's always a pleasure to honor groups that do such great work in the community for so long. Thus, this is a resolution honoring and recognizing the 30th anniversary of Glenwood Green Acres at 1801 West Glenwood Avenue.

    Whereas, urban agriculture has deep roots here in Philadelphia, long before the recent national renaissance; and

    Whereas, municipal support for farming dates back to the Vacant Lot Cultivation Association in the late 19th century; and

  • Whereas, regarded as one of Philadelphia's largest and most dynamic community gardens, Glenwood Green Acres can be found on the 1800 block of Glenwood Avenue in North Philadelphia; and

    Whereas, the garden encompasses the entire 3.67 acre parcel and today there are almost 90 active gardening plots; and

    Whereas, the idea for Glenwood Green Acres was first conceived in 1983 by James Taylor, an African American who resided directly across from West Glenwood Avenue from the garden, after a fire caused a former whiskey factory to be demolished along the street. Mr. Taylor moved onto the 1800 block of West Glenwood Avenue in 1954; and

  • Whereas, Mr. Taylor and other African American men of southern heritage initially brought with them knowledge of plantation techniques and traditional crops, such as collared greens, peanuts, okra, mustard greens, corn, tobacco and cotton.

    Making you hungry, huh.

    And whereas, in 1997, the Neighborhood Gardens Trust, an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society whose mission is to acquire and preserve community gardens and shared open space in order to enhance the quality of life in Philadelphia neighborhoods, purchased the property through the City's Sheriff Sale, as a permanent open space; and

  • Whereas, more recently, gardeners from communities all over the City, from Philadelphia to Mount Airy, have planted in the Glenwood soil. There are now more women and more young people involved and a more diverse, diverse group of nationalities represented, including gardeners from the Caribbean and South America; and

    Whereas, Glenwood Green Acres acts as a monument, memorializing its eighteenth-century agricultural condition before industry came and went, celebrates the southern heritage of those who began the garden, and serves as a vehicle to pass on an agricultural tradition unknown to today's urban youth; now therefore

  • Be it resolved, that the Council of the City of Philadelphia, hereby recognizes honors and celebrates the 30th anniversary of Glenwood Green Acres.

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

    This resolution is sponsored by Council President Clarke and is supported by all members of City Council.

    Thank you for all you do.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Ms. Marcus for remarks.

  • Thank you. I'd like to thank you on behalf of all the gardeners at Glenwood. It's a shame that Mr. Taylor is no longer with us, because he would have loved this. He loved gardening. That was one of his passions, and along with his southern skills, we have been able to keep up the garden for all these years. As you said, we have many people from many nationalities and all different types of skills going on, and we just love it. It's not only gardeners; it's a meeting place for us as well as a recreational area.

  • Good morning. Glenwood has served as a recreation center, a therapy for all of us senior citizens, and it is an open space, a green space. Our motto is to keep it clean and open. It has enhanced the neighborhood, and the gardeners love to come in. They produce and plant and learn how nutritious fresh vegetables are to our existence, and we thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you very much.

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

    Mr. Decker, would you please read those messages.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, pursuant to Sections 4-604 and 2-307 of the Home Rule Charter, I am today transmitting to the Council the recommendation of the City Planning Commission on the following bills: Bill Nos. 130578, 130589, 130590, 130629, 130632, 130633, 130655, 130656, 130657, 130658, and 130695; and

    I am pleased to advise you that on October 23, 2013, I signed the remaining bills that were passed by Council at its session on October 10, 2013; and

    I am transmitting for the consideration of your honorable body a resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Whitman Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 2553 South Fairhill Street; and

    Also an ordinance authorizing Telepartners doing business as Fairmount Coffee Company to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 888 North 26th Street; and

    An ordinance authorizing Likmos trading as Dmitri's to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 944 North 2nd Street; and

    An ordinance authorizing Global Crepes & Local Shakes to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 1309 South 9th Street; and

    An ordinance authorizing Green Eggs Cafe to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 719 North 2nd Street; and

    An ordinance authorizing Green Eggs Cafe to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 1306 Dickinson Street; and

    An ordinance authorizing Lloyd's Whiskey Bar to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 529 East Girard Avenue; and

    An ordinance amending Title 14 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Zoning and Planning," by making technical and clarifying changes; and

    An ordinance amending The Philadelphia Code replacing the term "ex-offender" with the term "Returning Citizen" and by making conforming changes, all under certain terms and conditions.

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

  • I have none, Mr. President.

  • Thank you so much.

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

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one privileged resolution, which I'd like to be heard today.

  • A privileged resolution authorizing the Committee on Labor and Civil Service to hold public hearings to examine the mistreatment of workers by LP Group 2 under contracts awarded through the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative after the workers in question have now been subject to 18 hours of hearings before the Board of Labor Standards while the City of Philadelphia has stated that they have money available to pay the workers.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer three bills, two on your behalf, and two resolutions on your behalf.

  • An ordinance amending Section 14-506 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "/NCP North Central Delaware Overlay District" by specifically amending Section 14-506(2)(c) entitled "Sunset Provision" to extend the stated expiration date until December 31, 2016.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance amending Title 14 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Zoning and Planning," by making technical and clarifying changes.

  • That bill will also be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing Chestlen Development, owner and developer of 1441 Chestnut Street to construct, own and maintain various encroachments to be installed in conjunction with a mixed-use development.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution honoring and recognizing the 30th anniversary of Glenwood Green Acres as 1801 West Glenwood Avenue.

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

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

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

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

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

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • I have no bills or resolutions.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

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

  • An ordinance authorizing, generally, the continued issuance and sale by the City of Philadelphia of Gas Works Revenue Notes of the City, prescribing the form of notes and providing for their execution and payment.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance constituting the Twelfth Supplemental Ordinance to the General Gas Works Revenue Bond Ordinance of 1998; authorizing the City of Philadelphia to sell, either at public or private sale, Gas Works Revenue Capital Project Commercial Paper Notes.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution honoring Carol Goertzel for her achievements in service to the citizens of Philadelphia as President and CEO of Pathways PA.

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

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman Johnson.

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

  • An ordinance amending Title 14 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Zoning and Planning," by revising certain provisions relating to definitions of certain industrial use categories and regulations.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And a privileged resolution authorizing City Council's Committee on Education to hold hearings to investigate the benefits of integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics into early childhood education in Philadelphia schools.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Thank you, Council President. I have two non-privileged resolutions.

  • A privileged resolution calling on the Committee on Labor and Civil Service of the Council of the City of Philadelphia to hold hearings on increasing access to City services to immigrant and language-minority populations, including the development of hiring guidelines and goals, and to determine progress made toward that end.

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

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

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have one privileged resolution co-sponsored by Councilmembers Bass and Brown proclaiming the State of Young Philly Week in Philadelphia.

  • A privileged resolution proclaiming the weeks of October 25, 2013 through November 2, 2013 as "State of Young Philly Week," and honoring Young Involved Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Brien.

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

  • A privileged resolution recognizing October 2013 as Dyslexia Awareness Month in honor of the individuals living with Dyslexia.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one bill on behalf of the Administration.

  • An ordinance amending The Philadelphia Code by replacing the term "ex-offender" with the term "Returning Citizen," and by making conforming changes, under certain terms and conditions.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Thank you. Good morning. I offer one resolution.

  • A privileged resolution recognizing October 21 through 25, 2013 as Juvenile Detention Centers Week in Pennsylvania.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. One privileged and one non-privileged resolution today.

  • A privileged resolution honoring Dominique "Dom" Streater for her extraordinary achievements in fashion design and her victory as the 2013 winner of Lifetime Television's Project Runway for Season 12.

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

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

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

    The Chair recognizes --

  • I will be remiss if I did not mention for the record that Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown co-sponsored the fashion resolution.

  • Thank you. The record shall reflect that. Thank you, Councilman.

    And the Chair now recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one bill co-sponsored by Councilman Henon.

  • An ordinance amending Title 14 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Zoning and Planning," by revising use regulations relating to medical, dental and health practitioners in certain areas of the City.

  • And that bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have five bills and one non-privileged resolution.

  • An ordinance authorizing Green Eggs Cafe to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 1306 Dickinson Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing Green Eggs Cafe to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 719 North 2nd Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing Global Crepes & Local Shakes to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 1309 South 9th Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing Likmos trading as Dmitri's to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 944 North 2nd Street.

  • That bill will also be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance approving a new plan, estimated costs and proposed method of assessment of the Old City Special Services District for and concerning business improvements and administrative services to the Old City area of the City of Philadelphia and authorizing a change to the registered office address of the Old City Special Services District.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And a non-privileged resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Whitman Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 2553 South Fairhill Street.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

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

  • A privileged resolution authorizing City Council's Committee on Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs to hold public hearings regarding the relationship between the Department of Parks and Recreation and the various organizations and individuals that support and use facilities operated by the Department.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer a non-privileged resolution co-sponsored by Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr., Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, and Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown.

  • A privileged resolution authorizing Council's Committee on Global Opportunities and the Creative/Innovative Economy to hold hearings on the state of affairs of veterans in the City of Philadelphia.

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

    That concludes our introductions of bills and resolutions. The next order of business is the consideration of the Calendar.

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

  • Thank you,

    Mr. President. The following resolutions

    and bills are being called up for Second

    Reading and Final Passage Calendar today:

    Nos. 130706, 130736, 130746, 130747,

    130748, 130754, 130531-A, 130635-A, and

    all other resolutions and bills are being

    held.

  • Thank you so much, Councilman.

    Before considering these

    resolutions and bills on the Final

    Passage Calendar, we will have our public

    comment session. It will go as follows:

    If anyone is interested in

    testifying with respect to public

    comment, it must be on a bill or

    resolution on the Final Passage Calendar.

    If you are interested, I would ask that

    you please sign up at the table to my

    left.

    There will be a podium in the

    middle of the floor, and there's a device

    on the podium. That device will turn green when it is your time to speak. When it turns yellow, you will have 30 seconds to conclude your remarks, and when it turns red, we ask that you please adhere to the guidelines and conclude your remarks. You will be given three minutes for remarks.

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

  • Clarc King, commenting on 120118.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Councilmembers. I am here to address Resolution 120118 authorizing the feasibility of transferring the ownership or operation of Philadelphia Gas Works to a private entity.

    The demand to sell public assets, property, public schools, and public utilities is unthinkable, in that it will further the degradation of the population's standard of living, of which the City is dedicated to uphold.

    The sale of PGW to the very forces that have caused the City's fiscal crisis furthers the inherently criminal activities operating from the Wall Street organization.

    In Detroit, Barclays Bank, a British international banker speculator organization, has been awarded management of Detroit's assets in its bankruptcy resolution process by the financial power of Wall Street. How does this happen to the arsenal of democracy? Is there a court in the land that can find for the people? Is there an institution in U.S. officialism that can discern fraud, a financial warfare offensive conducted against the people?

    It is a national security crisis, as a Detroit model spreads across the nation attacking every state, city, and town across the nation with fed and court collaboration. We must apprehend the reality. Sequester enforces us -- pardon me; informs us a national economy and population contraction policy has been ordered. Our most lavishly credentialed political and financier authorities have bought into the global radical population reduction policy while doing anything to save the present monetary financial unlimited bailout system, actually stating that some lives are not worthy of life, justifying the attack on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    We do not know the implications of the chaos operation emanating from the federal administration and the Congress. The poor and the working must be protected. The demands of the physical economy depend upon them. Be on guard for the triggers of depression.

    Across Europe the situation is much worse, reflecting the general health of the transatlantic financial system. In Ireland, the people faced with brutal budget cuts enforced by the central banker authorities shout, "Gas us, it's cheaper." Can cities across the United States go the same way?

    Philadelphia has the capacity of being a super city. The creation of the Philadelphia public bank can stabilize the City and facilitate its economic policy, starting with the redevelopment of Philadelphia.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you for your remarks, sir.

  • Allan Domb, commenting on 130531-A.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning. The Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors supports Bill 130531. It has to do with tax lien sales. Twenty-eight states across the country currently do tax lien sales. There was a bill in the State of Pennsylvania in the 1920s authorizing tax lien sales.

    We have about $1.6 billion of delinquent taxes in the City of Philadelphia spread over 16 different taxes. Over 500 million are delinquent real estate taxes; 370 million are delinquent utility liens, water, sewer, and gas, totalling $870 million.

    Tax lien sales could help collect a lot of that money. And, by the way, in the 28 other states, less than 1 percent of all tax lien sales end up in foreclosure. Over 50 percent of the tax lien sales are purchased by mortgage companies protecting their interest. This is an easy way for Philadelphia to collect a lot of money. And we're not looking at the individual putting people out on the street, but if you look at the statistics, 40 percent of our real estate delinquencies are investors who don't live in Philadelphia, and that's not right. Why should Philadelphians who pay their taxes -- 85 to 87 percent of us pay our real estate taxes, and 13 to 15 percent do not. That's not fair.

    So we believe this bill Councilman Green has put forth should be supported, and we think it's great for the City and a great way to collect money at a time when we really need it.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you so much for your testimony.

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

  • Thank you, sir. There being no one else who is interested in public comment, it is time to consider our Calendar.

    Mr. Decker, would you please read the title of 130706.

  • 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-Sixth Ward of the City of Philadelphia.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Council 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. Resolution 130706 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 130736.

  • A resolution agreeing to participate in the "Headquarter Hotel Tax Increment Financing District," if it should be created by the Council of the City of Philadelphia in accordance with the Tax Increment Financing Act of July 11, 1990, as amended, in the Center City Redevelopment Area, in an area generally bounded by South Penn Square on the north, Broad Street on the east, 15th Street on the west, and Chestnut Street on the south.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I didn't know this resolution was being called up. There's actually a bill in the Finance Committee that complements this bill. I think we should wait for the action by the Finance Committee before we entertain the resolution.

  • I can certainly accommodate your request, Councilman.

  • We will hold that bill so it can coincide with the public hearing and the conversations centered around it.

  • Thank you, Mr. President.

  • You're welcome.

    So let the record reflect that 130736 will be held.

    Mr. Decker, 130746.

  • A resolution calling upon the Philadelphia School District to make Howard Zinn's best-selling book "A People's History of the United States" a required part of the high school U.S. history curriculum as Philadelphia City Council recognizes the need to expose students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of United States history.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • I move the adoption of the resolution and I'd like to speak briefly on it, Mr. President.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded. But before we call the vote, let me recognize Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate my colleagues' consideration of this resolution relative to the School District.

    Throughout our educational experience, most of us have received a varnished version of American history, replete with the activities and accomplishments of basically white males, Anglo-Saxon Protestants. As I age in life and read more and more, I've become more exposed to folks who are never mentioned in our history books - the Arawak Indians in the Caribbean, the Creeks, the Seminoles, the Cherokees, blacks, African slaves, those women who were denied the right to vote up until the 19th century.

    I think it is very important that in addition to the Ben Franklins and George Washingtons and the Thomas Jeffersons of the world, of the country that we know and hear about and read about and allow different cultures of our own children to understand their contributions to this country, the struggles and the oppression and the things that their folks have gone through.

    I'd just like to read a quote from Mr. Zinn relative to his own book. He says, "My history describes the inspiring struggle of those who have fought slavery and racism (Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Fannie Lou Hamer, Bob Moses), of the labor organizers who have led strikes for the rights of working people (Big Bill Haywood, Mother Jones, Cesar Chavez), and others who have protested war and militarism (Eugene Debs, Hellen Keller, the Reverend Daniel Berrigan, Cindy Sheehan). My hero is not Theodore Roosevelt, who loved war and congratulated a general after a massacre of Filipino villagers at the turn of the century, but Mark Twain, who denounced the massacre and satirized imperialism.

    "I want young people to understand that ours is a beautiful country, but it has been taken over by men who have no respect for human rights or constitutional liberties. Our people are basically decent and caring, and our highest ideals are expressed in the Declaration of Independence, which says that all of us have an equal right to 'life, liberty, and the pursuant of happiness.' The history of our country, I point out in my book, is a striving, against corporate robber barons and war makers, to make those ideals a reality - and all of us, of whatever age, can find immense satisfaction in becoming part of that struggle."

    I just want our own children, in high school generally -- and I think this is where this book belongs -- to understand that there is another history of the United States, another history of Philadelphia, and another history of Pennsylvania that has been intentionally removed from our consciousness and needs to be put back, and I think this book is the best vehicle to do that. And I appreciate the support of my colleagues and move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown.

  • Yes, Mr. President. I'd only like to add that before I signed this resolution, I asked two questions. Was there content on women and people of color. And then I've learned in many recent months that you trust but then verify, and I can say for the record that this book indeed captures the entire history of America in a way that was not even discussed at the Philadelphia High School for Girls, and, therefore, I stand ready to support this resolution, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    And the Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I do appreciate the introduction of this book, and I will not certainly oppose this resolution. I appreciate its introduction. I just express a note of caution that while I believe we should make these good suggestions, I'd like to clarify that at the end of the day, it's a suggestion to the curriculum experts in the School District.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    There are no other speeches on this particular resolution. Resolution 130746 has been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. 130746 is adopted.

    Thank you all very much.

    Mr. Decker, 130747.

  • A resolution calling on the School District of Philadelphia to restore School Nurses to each and every school in the District.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee -- I'm sorry; Councilwoman Blackwell.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • May I say, even though it's not technically out of order, whenever there's a time to write history, we all have a responsibility to do that.

    Thank you, and, again, I move for the adoption.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • You're welcome.

    It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. 130747 has been adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 130748.

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

  • I now call on 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. 130748 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 130754.

  • 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 Fifty-Ninth Ward of the City of Philadelphia.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Resolution 130754 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, would you please read the title of 130531-A.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 19-1300 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Real Estate Taxes," by authorizing the assignment or transfer to third-parties, real estate tax claims either absolutely or as collateral security, for an amount to be determined by the Department.

  • Before we call for a vote, the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Given all the work that this body has done over the past many months around AVI, homestead exemptions and the like, I'd simply like to ask the sponsor of the bill to review with us for the benefit of all of us the amendments that were put forth, as I thought they were -- I will not editorialize. It would be helpful to know what they are, because I believe ultimately they make a difference in the intent of the bill.

  • Thank you.

    A request has been made to Councilman Green. Would you accommodate us, sir?

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Certainly I'd be happy to discuss the bill. I don't think I could possibly summarize it any better than was done by Mr. Domb who came during speaking time, but I also want to note, as I know Mr. Domb is aware, that a lot of people worked hard on this bill and co-sponsored it, including Councilmembers Oh, O'Neill, Henon, Kenney, and Squilla.

    With respect to the specific request of Councilmember Brown, last week we added an amendment that prevented the sales -- prevented an acquirer of a lien in a lien sale from selling that lien or from foreclosing on that property for two years. And this is significant because under current law the City is required to foreclose within one year if people have not entered a payment agreement. So this gives, at only a 5 percent penalty rate, homeowners the opportunity to have two years to pay off the lienholder, which should be of great benefit to them.

    There are also other protections in this bill. There won't be a lien sale of any lien that is less than $1,000. Additionally, legal fees are capped at $200 an hour, which is not the case with respect to foreclosures, which can cost $8,000, $10,000 in legal fees and other fees associated therewith that the property owner would have to pay to prevent their house from going into foreclosure. And additionally there is a maximum amount that can be charged in connection with the foreclosure or pursuing the property owner of $2,500, which are protections that do not exist in current law with respect to foreclosures or any other way the City has to gather money from taxpayers who owe it that money.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Councilwoman Brown, are you okay?

  • Yes. Thank you, Mr. President. And I thank the sponsor of the bill for the clarity, as I felt just in doing some homework this morning that we needed that. Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes -- are you okay, Councilman? You're good? Okay.

    The bill has been read and -- this particular Bill 130531-A has been read on two separate occasions. The question is shall the bill pass finally.

    Mr. Decker, please call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

    The ayes are 15; the nays are two. A majority of members present voting in the affirmative, the bill passes.

    Mr. Decker, would you please read the title of 130635-A.

  • An ordinance mending Chapter 10-700 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Refuse and Littering," by further providing with respect to the annual fee for neighborhood sanitation and cleaning services provided to owner-occupied duplexes.

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

    Mr. Decker, please call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

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

    Mr. Decker, do you have any additional resolutions.

  • A resolution authorizing the Committee on Labor and Civil Service to hold public hearings to examine the mistreatment of workers by LP Group 2 under contracts awarded through the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative after the workers in question have been now subject to 18 hours of hearings before the Board of Labor Standards while the City of Philadelphia has stated that they have the money available to pay the workers, introduced by Councilman Kenney.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. Chair -- thank you, Mr. President. I'd like to move the adoption of the resolution and speak briefly on its subject.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • I wanted to say a few words.

  • I appreciate the members' support.

  • Do you want me to take the vote back?

  • No. I appreciate the members' support of the resolution, but I have to say these are 50 men, all minority citizens, many of them, in deference to Councilman Goode, many of them are returning citizens, are trying to right their lives, have gone through eight years of intentional delay on the part of Mr. Littlepage, who is the contractor. The money is available. It's about $200,000. The City has it. They're not trying to get it from Littlepage. The City has it. Eight years and 18 hours of administrative hearings on their own time, where they have to leave their jobs to sit in an administrative hearing.

    I would ask the Mayor, or whoever the Mayor could direct, to write the check and pay these people what they are deserved and what they're owed. There's no reason in the world they should be held off. The money is in hand. They did the work. The contractor tried to beat the system by not paying prevailing wage. Everyone agrees that they're owed the money. They deserve the money. I think it's incumbent upon this Administration that talks about dealing with people who are coming out of incarceration in a fair and just way to write the check and show that they really act the way they talk.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Let the record reflect that that resolution did pass.

  • And a resolution honoring and recognizing the 30th anniversary of Glenwood Green Acres at 1801 West Glenwood Avenue, introduced by Councilman Greenlee for Council President Clarke.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution honoring Carol Goertzel for her achievements in service to the citizens of Philadelphia as President and CEO of Pathways PA, introduced by Councilwoman Tasco.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution authorizing City Council's Committee on Education to hold hearings to investigate the benefits of integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics into early childhood education in Philadelphia schools, introduced by Councilman Johnson.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • That bill is also sponsored by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell. I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution calling on the Committee on Labor and Civil Service of the Council of the City of Philadelphia to hold hearings on increasing access to City services to immigrant and language-minority populations, including the development of hiring guidelines and goals, and to determine progress made toward that end, introduced by Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Thank you, Council President. I also, for the record, want to thank Councilman Goode, who has helped us with some legal opinion regarding the City and its ability to provide more language access, and to the other co-sponsors, Councilman Oh, Squilla, and Jim Kenney. So with that, I move for the motion.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution proclaiming the weeks of October 25, 2013 through November 2, 2013 as "State of Young Philly Week," and honoring Young Involved Philadelphia, introduced by Councilman Green.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

  • 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, and that resolution is also adopted.

  • And a resolution recognizing October 2013 as Dyslexia Awareness Month in honor of the individuals living with Dyslexia, introduced by Councilman O'Brien.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Brien.

  • 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, and that resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution recognizing October 21 through 25, 2013 as Juvenile Detention Centers Week in Pennsylvania, introduced by Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution honoring Dominique "Dom" Streater for her extraordinary achievements in fashion design and her victory as the 2013 winner of Lifetime Television's Project Runway for Season 12, introduced by Councilman Jones.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution authorizing City Council's Committee on Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs to hold public hearings regarding the relationship between the Department of Parks and Recreation and the various organizations and individuals that support and use facilities operated by the Department, introduced by Councilwoman Bass.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution authorizing Council's Committee on Global Opportunities and the Creative/Innovative Economy to hold hearings on the state of affairs of veterans in the City of Philadelphia, introduced by Councilman Oh.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

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

  • Thank you very much.

    At this time, are there any speeches on the part of the minority?

  • Point of order, Mr. President.

  • Sorry. The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

  • I just raise a quick point of order. The resolution that we did not move on for TIFs, I just would like to make sure that that does not have to be passed prior to the ordinance being heard in committee. I thought under TIF rules that we may have to pass that resolution first, so that we would not want to wait until after the bill is heard in committee. I just want to make sure -- we could always do that next Thursday, but we would maybe have to hear that resolution prior to the committee hearing.

  • Thank you, Councilman. I'm trying to find out. Hold on one second, sir.

    Thank you. Thank you, Councilman. That is correct. It can be done next week prior to the hearing. So we'll make sure.

  • But we must do it prior to the hearing.

  • Thank you for that notation.

    Councilman Jones, did you wish to be recognized?

  • On the speech of the majority.

  • You got a head start. I understand.

    Going back to speeches on the minority?

  • (No response.)

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

    Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President.

  • I'm going to say a name in this Chamber that probably 99 percent of the people won't even remember. This gentleman's name is Lannert Roberts. He was the first African American real estate broker in the City of Philadelphia.

    I bring his name up because he was named by JET Magazine as "The Blockbuster," and what he would do is take couples, sometimes minorities, sometimes Caucasian couples, and show where racial discrimination played a part in housing.

    He also took me under his wing and talked about real estate in a historic perspective and talked about the fact that early on, the concept of redlining came from a standard where the federal government surveyed 239 cities to create a code by which realtors, participants, insurance brokers could understand what type of neighborhood it was. So they went from a scale of one to five and then put colors on them. The most dangerous ones, the most undesirable ones were called redlined neighborhoods. Synonymous to that, most of them on many occasions happen to be African American.

    The federal government followed with FHA in 1934 and they created companion insurance to go with these respective neighborhoods, and what happened was in redlined neighborhoods, insurance was always higher, cost of housing always higher, and this was a part of -- unfortunate part of our history as a nation but our history in the City of Philadelphia.

    Fast forward to current date, you would think that all of these things were something to be Googled as a part of our past, but recently a study was released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development dealing with 2012 citing discrimination in the City of Philadelphia higher than the national average.

    Now, name calling and N words are no longer used, but subtle codes, subtle descriptions are even used to this day. And what the study showed, some of the highlights, were that African Americans were 17.7 percent higher to be shown fewer options of housing in particular neighborhoods. This was true for Asians as well, that they were shown 18.8 percent times higher to be shown various housing in different neighborhoods fewer times than their counterparts, whether it was rental or for ownership.

    These limited options cost us. They're not just keeping the neighborhood, you know, ethnic, but it cost the individuals who are not shown those options.

    The study goes on to show that in those redlined neighborhoods, insurance is higher, education options are more limited, access to transportation limited, access to job opportunities limited.

    So a single decision of where you live impacts us in so many different ways, so many different times. Someone once said the most expensive thing in America is being poor, because you will pay far more for where you live than you would if you lived in a zip code that was favored.

    So the Committee on Public Safety, along with the Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Development and the Homelessness chaired by my colleague Jannie Blackwell, will hold a hearing to review these findings to see where we really are. And, sadly, the fight is not over. And a great man once said that those who cannot remember the past will be condemned to repeat it. And we intend to take a hard look at what's going on and make hard decisions as a result. AVI makes a decision. We pass bills that affect housing today, but we must keep our eye on the prize to make sure we are not taking giant steps forward and taking cultural steps backward.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I wanted to publicly thank Pedro Ramos who this week resigned from the SRC, and I want to thank him because many times we've seen him in this Chamber and in the various meetings in our district, and he served as a volunteer during a very turbulent time at the School District. He is my personal friend. His children and mine went to school together, and he has been a public education parent and advocate, and I want to thank him for his service. And then remind us that not only is his seat vacant, but Commissioner Dworetzky's seat ends at the end of the year, which allows us an opportunity to put two new people on the SRC. And we need to be vigilant about what Governor Corbett does with these positions and the people that he puts forth at the SRC given our challenges.

    Councilwoman Blackwell today passed a resolution on the nursing situation at the District. I want to remind folks, I put on folks' desks today the Public Interest Law Center filed an official complaint at the state level Board of Education this week on Tuesday, and I want my colleagues to read this and remind them of the dire situation that exists in our schools every single day.

    In a public letter to Dr. Hite, Parents United put forward some points about the $45 million that recently was released by Corbett for reasons unknown, although we hope that some of the public advocacy that's going on with Phil Cobb, Councilman Green and I have joined the parents in asking for official complaints to be filed at the state, which by law must be investigated.

    But Parents United put forth a request about what happens to this 45 million, and I share some of their priorities, and as we last week passed our 50 million, I think it's important that the priorities by which this newly allocated money gets applied to the District is important to all of us. And I want to share in what they've called on, which is the restoration of guidance counselors to last year's level. All of us have heard the stories. It is unacceptable to have 16 roving counselors. Those of you who went to our briefing recently heard firsthand from the frustration of counselors and their numbers, which in some cases one to every 1,500 schools, with less than 600 students not having a counselor, and that is unacceptable.

    As the School District levels -- Councilwoman Blackwell also mentioned this last week -- there's a concern that staffing is going to be moved around the City. We want to make sure that some of this 45 million and the next 50 that we hope to get to them real soon, that if we all publicly agree that the staffing levels are unacceptable, that we not just do a traditional leveling, but that we try to keep those staffing positions particularly around public safety in the schools.

    The no splitting of grades, this just goes against every good best practice in education, and one of the goals should be to have no split grades. As someone who attended a school where this happened years ago, I can tell you my 7th and 8th grade years were very similar because we had split grades. And that is unacceptable and should be a priority that we work towards.

    Obviously hiring more teachers, and while there's some legal issues around class size, we have all agreed that class size is a major issue in effective education, and so that should be also a priority. And obviously this nursing situation and medical safety of students should be a non-negotiable.

    So I want to remind our folks that there's still a lot of work to be done and we still have a responsibility to help shape the -- work with the District in shaping how this money gets allocated and prioritized in the District.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    There being no other speeches on behalf of the minority or the majority, the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown for a motion to adjourn.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to offer two announcements and then move to adjournment. One, as a friendly reminder in response to Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez's concerns about counselors, now going through the enormity of the college admissions process and hearing too often the anguish that parents are enduring to get it right, you should know that Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell is actually hosting an essay workshop, because that now is the new reality for young people wanting to go to college. And there are a number of pre-college form activities happening around the City, including one being offered by the Mayor's Office.

    Two weeks ago, I introduced a resolution for us to sit down and look at the scarcity of counselors and how the lack of them is going to contribute to the diminished number of young people who end up not applying for college for September '14.

    So I would ask members of the Education Committee to look forward to that hearing, because we do need to look at that in a more definitive way.

    Secondly, the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is this Saturday. It's called the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, and I mention that because a young man dear to a number of us in here overdosed on prescription drugs that were not his and he didn't know that they were even prescription drugs, and it just heightened our awareness of that. So if you know of young people in particular, they're encouraged to turn in unused or expired medication for safe disposal and welcomed to call a number on the website, on the Drug Enforcement Agency website. So, again, the reminder is that this Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

    Lastly, I invite my colleagues to join us for one hour as the Chair of the Transportation Committee, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, and Majority Leader Jones and I are hosting an hour session for the Philadelphia OIC to look at the celebration of the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the founding of OIC by Philadelphia's dearly beloved Leon H. Sullivan. So I would ask my colleagues to please step in for that one hour, because that session is going to inform us on how we go forward with regards to a major initiative.

    With that said, Mr. President, I move that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, October 31st, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, October 31st, 2013, 10:00 a.m.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Council shall stand adjourned.

    Thank you all very much.

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