Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

  • Good morning, everyone.

  • (Good morning.)

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

    At this time, to give our invocation this morning, the Chair recognizes Pastor James Buck of Berean Baptist Church. He is here today as the guest of Councilman Bill Greenlee.

    Would all guests and visitors please rise, and members.

  • (Members and guests rise.)

  • Thank you, Mr. President.

  • In the spirit of ecumenism, join me as we speak in this sacred dialogue we call prayer. Let us pray.

    Our father, now our God, we greet thee this morning with this gratitude of thanks. We honor and bless your sacred presence and power in this place of social deliberation. Now we petitioned our holy Council to meet us and advise us of our collective electoral commitments and responsibilities. Grant us the wisdom that we act with performance and heroic deed in our formal decisions. Extend to us the understandings of our moral intentions and corrective participations that we may produce the equal distributions of resources amongst the rich and the poor that have been entrusted to us.

    Grant us, oh God, your highest generosity that prejudice may not blind the children of men and that wounded justice while lying prostrates on our city streets be lifted up from this dust of shame to reign supreme.

    We pray for the love of people and not the lines of party. Now we pray peace in this city and the globalized effect of it chained in strength. We pray for unity among our constituents, integrity of our officials, and justice for all.

    Pops Vafiscon (ph). In Jesus' name, we pray.

    Amen.

  • Thank you, Pastor.

    Council shall be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

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

    The next order of business is the approval of the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, September 19th, 2013.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, September 19th, 2013 be approved.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, September 19th, 2013 be approved.

    All those in favor?

  • (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. Good morning, Mr. President. There are no requests for leaves of absence on the part of the democrats.

  • The Chair thanks the gentleman.

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

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

  • The Chair thanks the gentleman.

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

    So, again, thank you, and feel free to participate after the Council session one on one with Councilmembers. That was something new I threw in there, so I know some of the Councilmembers are looking at me and saying What? What?

    But really, folks, we really like the fact that we have a participatory government here. We really appreciate you coming down.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Sanchez, who will present a resolution recognizing and honoring the Spanish Speaking Organizations on the occasion of the 51st Annual Puerto Rican Festival Week and Parade in Philadelphia. Would Joanna Otero-Cruz and those accompanying her please join the Councilwoman at the podium.

    And joining the Councilwoman we have Councilman Green and Councilman Jones and Councilwoman Brown.

  • Good morning. Also joining us is Reverend Bonnie Camarda. We've asked her to join this morning since she is always in Chambers.

    Good morning to everyone. This month is Hispanic Month as declared by the President of the United States, and on Saturday, we kicked off what is the Puerto Rican Week Festival with a gala, and on Monday many of you joined me in the annual flag raising.

    We believe this celebration is so very important because of the contributions and the growth of the Latino community here in Philadelphia and in the region, and that's why we are honored to recognize the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, who not only provides a myriad of social services to the community but has the oldest Latino-serving organization in Philadelphia and is the director and producer of what is known to be the Puerto Rican Festival.

    So with that, I am joined with my "Islanders," as Councilman Jones likes to say.

    Recognizing and honoring the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations on the occasion of the 51st Annual Puerto Rican Week Festival and Parade in Philadelphia.

    Whereas, the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, known to us as Concilio, is the oldest Latino organization in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and under its leadership of Joanna Otero-Cruz, the organization remains dedicated to serving the economic, social, and political needs of the Latino Community;

  • Whereas, Concilio was founded in 1962 by Puerto Rican Community leaders concerned with the economic, social, and political issues facing the growing Puerto Rican and Latino Community of the City of Philadelphia. Beginning as a federation of social and fraternal organizations, Concilio grew in numbers over the years and evolved into a pillar of the Latino Community; and

    Whereas, Concilio is widely known and appreciated for its founding of two historic Philadelphia events that convene the entire Puerto Rican and Latino Community every year. Concilio founded the Puerto Rican Festival in 1964 (Festival Puertorriqueno de Filadelfia), and the Hispanic Fiesta at Penns Landing in 1981 which draws 30,000 people annually to Penns Landing for a two-day celebration of the Puerto Rican and Latino culture and heritage. These events include traditional art, music, dance, food, and games, and provide a unique opportunity for the Latino Community to honor and enjoy its rich and diverse culture. Concilio is also the host of countless other community events, forums, and service fairs which aim to serve the Latino Community, including the Seniors Luncheon which recognizes 350 senior as pillars of the Puerto Rican Community and demonstrates our appreciation for their contribution to our community; and

  • Whereas, the Puerto Rican festivities of Puerto Rican Festival Week are kicked off each year by the raising of the Puerto Rican flag on the north side of City Hall in Dilworth Plaza. The Annual Gala ceremony has become one of the most anticipated social events among Puerto Ricans in the region, and gathers together the area's Puerto Rican leaders, government figures, corporate executives, media personalities, heads of community-based organizations. The Festival Week culminates with the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Puerto Rican Day Parade is the crown jewel of the Puerto Rican Festival, creating an opportunity for the Puerto Rican Community to come together in cultural celebration of the entire City of Philadelphia. This colorful and dynamic festival promotes unity, economic development, education, while preserving and promoting the culture and heritage of the Puerto Rican people; and

  • Whereas, Concilio is a leader in the community in providing services that support families in need and help them towards self-sufficiency. Concilio provides social service programming in collaboration with our city's Department of Human Services, the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation, and the Office of Housing and Urban Development, and is a lead member in the Eastern North Philadelphia Youth Services Coalition, a coalition of Latino-based service providers that exist to bridge gaps and ensure coordinated services supporting young people in the Latino Community. Concilio offers a range of culturally- oriented services including adoptions, family foster care, parenting workshops, summer youth programming, and housing counseling. Notably, Concilio has led in the number of family reunifications amongst its clients; and

    Whereas, for over half a century, Concilio has consistently remained steadfast in its core values and mission to serve and support the needs of the Latino Community, and to celebrate the Latino community's enormous contributions throughout the City of Philadelphia and beyond; and

  • Whereas, the 51st Annual Puerto Rican Week Festival will begin on September 23rd, as mentioned, with the raising of the flag, a mass which is this evening at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, and will culminate on Sunday, all are invited, at 12 o'clock on the Parkway.

    Be it resolved, that the Council of the City of Philadelphia hereby recognizes and honors Concilio on the occasion of its 51st Puerto Rican Week Festival and Parade and its dedication to service to the Puerto Rican community.

    Further resolved, that an engrossed copy of this resolution will be presented to Concilio as a sincere expression of this Council's appreciation.

    This resolution was sponsored/introduced by me and supported by all members of Council.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Ms. Otero-Cruz for remarks.

    MS. OTERO-CRUZ: On behalf of our Board at Concilio, our staff, our other non-profit partners who are present here today, I thank you. We are honored to be receiving this resolution today and just honored to continue to provide services to our community.

    We welcome and invite everyone to the Puerto Rican Day Parade at the Philly Puertorriqueno on Sunday. We begin at 12:00 noon and to all the various events that happen right after, including a sponsored event by the City of Tego Calderon concert at the Dell. And thank you to our Councilwoman, Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who has been inspirational and supporting us with post parade events this year.

    Thank you very much.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you very much.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Reynolds Brown, who will present a resolution congratulating Ms. Joan Myers Brown and Mr. Laurie Olin for being awarded the 2012 National Medal of Arts and Humanities by President Barack H. Obama. Would Ms. Brown and Mr. Olin and those accompanying them please join the Councilwoman at the podium.

    And we have Councilwoman Bass, Councilman Squilla, Councilwoman Blackwell also joining the Councilwoman.

  • Thank you, Mr. President.

  • We're joined this morning by members of the Board of the Philadelphia Dance Company led by Angela Brown, Chairwoman of the Board, and others. I'll get chastised if I don't acknowledge Ms. Joan Myers Brown's daughter Marlisa, who is with us as well.

    But it's no secret that I completely enjoy the arts and culture in Philadelphia, be it visual arts over at the Barnes wherein one of our awardees served as the landscape architect, to the performing arts, first and foremost for me always, Philadanco, Philadelphia Dance Company. And I seize every moment I can to remind myself how grateful I am that it was Joan Myers Brown who gave me a chance many years ago to be a member of the Philadelphia Dance Company, which then led me to actually earn a living for a minute as a dancer.

    So it is with enormous pleasure that I present and salute both she and Laurie Olin who were celebrated in the most magnificent way that you can in the United States America and, that is, being awarded the 2012 National Medal of Arts and Humanities by our President Barack H. Obama.

    Whereas, on Wednesday, July 10th, 2013, President Barack Obama awarded the 2012 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal in the East Room of the White House to Joan Myers Brown and Laurie D. Olin; and

    Whereas, the National Medal of Arts is the nation's highest civic honor for excellence in the arts; and

    Whereas, Joan Myers Brown was recognized for her tremendous contributions as a dancer, choreographer, and artistic director; and

    Whereas, Joan Myers Brown founded the Philadelphia Dance Company, affectionately known as Philadanco, in the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts in 1970. Ms. Brown carved out an artistic haven for African American dancers and choreographers to innovate, create, and share their unique visions and extraordinary gifts with the national and global dance communities;

  • And whereas, Joan Myers Brown serves as honorary co-chairperson for the International Association of Blacks in Dance, an organization she established in 1991. She also founded the Internal Conference of Black Dance Companies in 1988; and

    Whereas, Ms. Brown is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, which bestowed upon her an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, a member of the dance faculty at Howard University in Washington, DC and has been awarded an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania; and

    Whereas, across the nation and around the world, the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco) is celebrated for its innovation, creativity, and preservation of predominantly African American traditions in dance through providing world class dance instruction, promoting emerging dancers and choreographers, and engaging its many communities through performances and outreach activities; and

    Whereas, Philadanco is recognized for its artistic integrity, superbly trained dancers, and electrifying performances; and

  • Whereas, Laurie Olin was recognized for his contributions as a preeminent landscape architect; and

    Whereas, Laurie Olin is renowned for its acute sense of harmony and balance between nature and design and he has dedicated his energy to shaping many iconic spaces around the world and educating new leaders in art;

    Whereas, Laurie Olin is a practice professor of landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and has worked on everything from private residences to large public parks; and

    Whereas, Laurie Olin is a founding partner of the landscape architecture and urban design firm OLIN which has received the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Landscape design and was part of the winning team in the competition to design a new United States Embassy in London with architects Kieran Timberlake; and

  • Whereas, Mr. Olin is a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, an American Academy of Rome Fellow, an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the 1999 Wyck-Strickland Award recipient, and a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects; and

    Whereas, Mr. Olin has written widely on the history and theory of architecture and landscape and received the Bradford Williams medal for best writing on landscape architecture; and

    Whereas, through receiving the National Medal of Arts and Humanities from President Obama, Joan Myers Brown and Laurie Olin have again highlighted the arts in Philadelphia; now, therefore be it

  • Therefore be it that you would review your announcement on your desk and join the Philadelphia Dance Company at the Painted Bride this Friday or you can see them at the Kimmel Center, the only resident African American arts company at the Kimmel Center, thanks to Joan Myers Brown. And with that, we resolve, by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that we hereby recognize and congratulate Joan Myers Brown and Laurie Olin for being awarded the 2012 National Medal of Arts and Humanities by President Barack Obama.

    Further resolved, that engrossed copies of these resolutions will be presented to Joan Myers Brown and Laurie Olin as evidence of the sincere sentiments of this legislative body.

    Know that this was introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, supported by Councilman Mark Squilla, sits in the district of Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell forever, and we want to thank all members of Council that supported this well-deserved and well-earned resolution.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Ms. Brown and Mr. Olin for remarks.

  • Good morning, Council. Good morning, friends, and good morning to my family. Blondell made me smile because she forgot to tell you that she's going to be dancing that night. So if you haven't seen her, be sure to come out.

    But I certainly appreciate this honor. For a moment I thought the City had kind of forgotten that we got this award, but I understand you guys were on vacation, so I forgive you, but I certainly appreciate this support. I certainly appreciate this honor, and I certainly appreciate your support. And I thank my family and Board members for supporting me also.

  • (Applause.)

  • I'll only say a few things. First, actually I want to congratulate Joan, wonderful person and dancer and great choreographer.

    I came to Philadelphia by accident to teach, and I've been here ever since 1974. It turned out to be a great place to live. It's a wonderful city. It's been a fabulous place to have an office and work. People actually now come to our office. We don't have to go to their office. They actually come to Philadelphia to see people and us.

    So it's been a really exciting time. It's a great honor. I appreciate City Council doing this and welcome to all the citizens.

    It's been fabulous to work here in Philadelphia to try and help the environment. One of the things that people in my business do is, we have a belief, a strong belief, that there is an obligation to produce an environment for all Americans that is ecologically healthy, that is socially just, and that is spiritually rewarding, and we've tried to do that.

    So thank you very much.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you so much.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman Jones, who will present a resolution supporting the National Minority Business Development Agency and recognizing September 30th through October 4th, 2013 as Philadelphia Minority Enterprise Development Week. Would Ms. Angela Dowd-Burton and those accompanying her please join the Councilman at the podium.

    And joining the Councilman we have Councilman Oh, Councilwoman Blackwell, and Councilwoman Brown.

  • It's amazing 29 years later how far we've come but yet how far we have to go when it comes to inclusion of minority, female business in the fullness and richness of the American economy.

    September 30th through October 4th is MED Week. This started under the Reagan Administration, my republican colleagues will clearly point out, in 1983, and I think it would be appropriate to acknowledge the forebearers of inclusion in this city, starting with names like Wilson Goode, Sr., Mayor of the City of Philadelphia; names like the late great Councilman Lucien E. Blackwell; John Macklin; organizations like Umia; names like Barbara Daniels Cox; names like Bilal Qayyum; and names like Angela Dowd-Burton, who seems never to get away from this mission.

    So we want to acknowledge that. We want to also say that there will be workshops throughout the week. Our workshop in the 4th District will be MED Week and the topic will be public safety and your business, dealing with property theft, workplace shrinkage, and other topics germane to keeping their businesses safe.

    And with that, this resolution supporting the National Minority Business Development Agency and recognizing September 30th through October 4th, 2013 as Philadelphia Minority Enterprise Development Week which provides critical information to foster the growth and competitiveness of the minority and female business communities.

  • Whereas, since 1983, the United States President has proclaimed a National MED (Minority Enterprise Development) Week observance to recognize the outstanding achievements of Minority Business Enterprises and to honor those corporations and financial institutions that support minority business development. Annual regional conferences and activities are organized by the United States Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency in collaboration with United States Small Business Administration's Office of Government Contracting and Business Development; and

    Whereas, the MED Week celebration was started locally in Philadelphia in 1984 to honor and promote minority-owned businesses in the Philadelphia area. The organizers of the first MED Week activities were Barbara Daniel Cox, former Director of Mayor Goode's Women's Business Commission, and Bilal Abdul Qayyum, Assistant to the Deputy Director of the City Commerce Department; and

  • Whereas, small businesses in Philadelphia and across the country are the cornerstone of economic growth, creating two-thirds of net new jobs in the country and comprising 50 percent of America's employment; and

    Whereas, the support and development of minority businesses is an integral part of our nation's commitment to development, equality, and opportunity; strong economic engagement in minority communities creates and sustains jobs in communities which might otherwise have been overlooked; and

  • Whereas, the Philadelphia MED Week Committee consists of corporations, local colleges and universities, local and regional government agencies and minority business owners that are committed to supporting opportunities for minority businesses, including the African American Chamber of Commerce, Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the City of Philadelphia Commerce Department, and the MBDA Business Center Philadelphia, PA operated by The Enterprise Center; and

  • Whereas, Philadelphia's MED Week has grown exponentially since its inception and this year includes a wide variety of sessions such as "A Conversation with Philadelphia's Business Leaders," "Corporate Supplier Diversity," "Exporting Opportunities," and "Public Safety and Your Business"; and

    Whereas, 2013 Philadelphia Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Awards Reception will celebrate 29 years of Minority Enterprise Development in the Philadelphia region; and now therefore

  • Further resolved, that a copy of this resolution be presented to the Philadelphia MED Week Committee as evidence of the strong support and sincere sentiments of this legislative body.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Ms. Dowd-Burton for remarks.

    MR. DOWD-BURTON: Good morning.

  • (Good morning.)

    MR. DOWD-BURTON: Good morning, President Clarke, Councilman Jones, members of City Council, officials, City administrators, friends and guests. It is an honor to accept this resolution on behalf of the 2013 MED Week Committee.

    This year we are helping to build a trajectory of growth and prosperity for minority and women-owned businesses. The MED Week Committee recognizes that it is time. It is time to build innovative and integrated solutions. It is time for stronger, more deliberate collaboration between the chambers and the business administrators and advocates across this region. And it is time to build a collective competitive spirit that addresses the needs of customers and clients in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, as well as the international marketplace.

    I am joined today by leaders of each of the chambers that were mentioned in the resolution as well as the Philadelphia International Airport and the Convention Center and members of the Office of Economic Opportunity.

    The MED Week 2013 activities are an extraordinary opportunity for businesses to learn about emerging opportunities, to network with some of the largest corporate and institutional leaders in the region, and to build powerful business relationships that will empower them to expand their confidence, their vision, their capacity, and their profitability.

    The MED Week calendar may be found on the OEO website at www.phila.gov/oeo or any of the chamber websites that serve on the MED Week Committee. You can also call 215-683-2057. That's 683-2057. And members of Council can check the documents on your desk. You have a calendar of MED Week.

    We look forward to seeing all of you at each of the events and to invite all of your constituents to join us in building a vibrant, competitive business community.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you so 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, I am pleased to advise you that on September 25, 2013, I signed the remaining bills that were passed by Council at its session on September 12, 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 Point Breeze Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 2348 Cross Street; and

    A resolution approving the redevelopment contract and disposition supplement of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Market Street East Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 810 Arch Street; and

    An ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property, on behalf of the City of Philadelphia, to convey to the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development, a parcel with an address of 4732 through 34 Griscom Street, for further conveyance; and

    An ordinance authorizing the Parks and Recreation Commissioner on behalf of the City of Philadelphia, to execute a Maintenance Agreement with the Township of Lower Merion under which the City will assist the Township in maintaining certain elements of the recreational trail crossing Manayunk Bridge; and

    An ordinance creating the Headquarter Hotel Tax Increment Financing District, being the 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, and approving the project plan of the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development for the redevelopment of the Headquarter Hotel Tax Increment Financing District; all under certain terms and conditions.

  • Thank you. Those messages will be printed in today's Journal.

    Mr. Decker, do you have any other communications?

  • I have none, Mr. President.

  • Thank you so much, sir.

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

    At this time, I would like to recognize Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have two privileged resolutions which I'd like to be heard today.

  • A privileged resolution recognizing the Church of the Gesu located at 18th and Stiles Street in North Philadelphia on the church's 125th Anniversary to be celebrated on Sunday, November 10, 2013.

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

  • And a privileged resolution authorizing the Committee on Labor and Civil Service to hold public hearings to review the decision of the Philadelphia Fire Department to demote nine Fire Lieutenants and five Fire Captains after their recent promotion this past May.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

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

  • A privileged resolution recognizing October as Philly Plays Scrabble Month.

  • 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 Sixth and Fifty-First Wards of the City of Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On your behalf, I offer one bill and two resolutions.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 14 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Zoning and Planning," by adding special provisions regulating temporary real estate and wall signs in certain districts, under certain terms and conditions.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing September 29, 2013 through October 5, 2013 as Prostate Cancer Awareness Week in Philadelphia.

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

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

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have two bills and one privileged resolution, one bill co-signed by several Councilmembers and one co-signed by Councilman Greenlee.

  • An ordinance amending Title 14 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Zoning and Planning," by further providing for revised sign controls and making technical changes, all under certain terms and conditions; and amending Chapter 9-600 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Service and Other Businesses," by adjusting the licensing fees for commercial outdoor advertising signs and information required in the annual inventory of signs.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

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

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

  • And a privileged resolution honoring the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Philadelphia County.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

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

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Mr. President, I have two non-privileged resolutions.

  • A non-privileged resolution urging the Board of Revision of Taxes to provide for a deadline extension for the filing of real estate market value appeals, or otherwise make arrangements to accept late appeals, for property owners who have not received responses to their First Level Reviews by October 7, 2013.

  • Councilman, do you want that heard today?

  • I'd like to ask you to request a suspension of the rules.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to request a suspension of the rules for the bill to be read today.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

    Thank you, Councilman.

  • 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 Point Breeze Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 2348 Cross Street.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Sanchez.

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

  • An ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property, on behalf of the City of Philadelphia, to convey to the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development, a parcel with an address of 4732 through 34 Griscom Street, for further conveyance.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Brien.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have nothing today.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Good morning, Mr. President. I offer one resolution.

  • Before we proceed, Mr. Decker, I would ask anyone who has a device, be it a cell phone, pager, if they still have those, or whatever other device you have, would you please turn it on silent or turn it off. Thank you for your cooperation.

    Mr. Decker.

  • A privileged resolution recognizing October as Parent and Family Appreciation Month.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have two bills and three privileged resolutions co-sponsored by Blackwell, Johnson, Brown, and Greenlee.

  • An ordinance amending Section 9-205 of The Philadelphia Code, relating to Sidewalk Sales, and vending in residential areas, within the Ninth District, by deleting a provision allowing sidewalk sales and vending in the area bordered by and including Olney Avenue, Cheltenham Avenue, Broad Street, and Fifth Street, both sides.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing the Parks and Recreation Commissioner on behalf of the City of Philadelphia, to execute a Maintenance Agreement with the Township of Lower Merion under which the City will assist the Township in maintaining certain elements of the recreational trail crossing Manayunk Bridge.

  • That bill will also be referred to committee.

  • And a privileged resolution honoring and celebrating the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Philadelphia Chapter, for their dedication to the youth, through their advocacy for education, nonviolence and community service.

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

  • And a privileged resolution celebrating and recognizing October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities to the City of Philadelphia.

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

  • And a privileged resolution proclaiming Saturday, October 19, 2013 as Men Against Domestic Violence Day to raise public awareness of the specter of domestic violence and stand united in support of victims of domestic violence across the City of Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

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

  • A non-privileged resolution approving the redevelopment contract and disposition supplement of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Market Street East Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 810 Arch Street.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have one privileged resolution co-sponsored by Councilwomen Tasco, Blackwell, and Blondell Reynolds Brown.

  • A privileged resolution recognizing and honoring the d'Zert Club and African Genesis Institute on their 20th Anniversary.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have two privileged resolutions, the first co-sponsored by Councilwoman Cindy Bass and Councilwoman Reynolds Brown and the second one co-sponsored by Councilwoman Reynolds Brown. Thank you.

  • A privileged resolution congratulating History Making Productions and commemorating the work of Founder and Executive Producer Sam Katz for his multi-format historical documentary television film and Internet project Philadelphia: The Great Experiment.

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

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in honor of childhood cancer patients, care givers, survivors and those children who have succumbed to the disease.

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

    That concludes our introduction of bills and resolutions. We have no committee reports today. So at this time, the next order of business is the consideration of the Calendar. As there are no bills on the First Reading, the Chair recognizes Councilman Jones for calling up the bills and resolutions on the Final Passage Calendar today.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The following resolutions and bills are being called up for Second Reading and Final Passage Calendars today: Nos. 130639, 130646, 130648, 130650, 130651, 130652, 130544, and 130532. All other resolutions and bills are being held.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Before considering the resolutions and bills on the Final Passage Calendar, we will have public comment. Public comment will go as follows: If you are interested in speaking on a bill or resolution that is on the Final Passage Calendar today, we ask that you please sign up at the table to my left.

    When it is your time to speak and your name is called, you will see a podium in the middle of the room. That podium has a device and a microphone. That device will turn green when it's your time to speak. It will turn yellow when you 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 your comment as it relates to bills and resolutions on the Final Passage Calendar.

    Thank you all very much for your cooperation. And with that, Mr. Decker, would you please read the first name.

  • Brian Thompson, commenting on Bill No. 130532.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning. As he just told you, my name is Brian Thompson. I work at the Philadelphia International Airport as a baggage handler with PrimeFlight. I make 7.25 an hour. On a good biweekly pay period when I'm given the opportunity to work a full 80 hours, I take home about $449. That is obviously not enough to live on.

    It is nothing but a struggle just to pay my bills and get by. There's no real flexibility or breathing room in my budget. Small things that other people might think are minor annoyances can spell financial disaster when you're scraping by on minimum wage. If I drop my phone on the pavement, I know I don't have the money to fix it. If I leave my breakfast or don't make breakfast, I know I can't afford an overpriced airport meal, especially twice a day. If I leave a TransPass on my kitchen table, paying full price for SEPTA fare will blow my entire week's budget.

    Working at this job I had to move back with my parents, because there is no way I could afford an apartment of my own off what I make at the airport. This leaves me stressed about money all of the time, and I know that without this bill, there's no hope in sight for a raise.

    At my job I'm often reminded of a Chris Rock bit where he described earning minimum wage working at McDonald's. He said, You know what it means when someone pays you minimum wage? You know what your boss is trying to say? Your boss is saying, Hey, if I could pay you less, I would, but it's against the law.

    My co-workers and I are realists. We understand one basic truth about working at the airport, and that's if PrimeFlight and other subcontractors at the airport could legally pay you less, they would. If these subcontractors had an interest in the livelihood or morale of their co-workers and the people that work for them, they would have phased in raises incrementally a long time ago, but they don't even explore it.

    It's not right that working adults in Philadelphia are not able to pay basic bills when they are gainfully employed. Subcontracted workers are not looking for a bailout. We're not looking for a handout. We're not looking for a get-rich-quick scheme. We're simply asking to not live in poverty if we're working full time. We want the existing minimum wage benefit standards to apply to us too.

    What does it say about Philadelphia if we choose not to enforce a law that would keep thousands of people out of poverty? What does it say about our city if it isn't important enough to allow voters and workers to have a say? Airport workers are voters too. I know that thousands of us look forward to getting in that booth this spring and voting for fair wages for all airport workers.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you for your remarks, sir.

  • Daisy Cruz, commenting on 130532.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning. My name is Daisy Cruz and I'm the Assistant Area Director of 32BJ here in Philadelphia. 32BJ represents 145,000 workers in 11 states and 22,000 here in Pennsylvania. We believe that all workers deserve a living wage.

    We stand behind all low-wage workers, whether it's fast food workers organizing for better wages, security officers' fight for a fair contract or Philly Airport workers demanding that existing minimum wage legislation help them out of poverty.

    City Council has already done the right thing by unanimously passing the 21 Century Minimum Wage and Benefits Standard. We implore Council to do everything in their power to ensure that the City applies this important ordinance to those who need it the most.

    32BJ supports this bill, and we appreciate all of Council's efforts to extend the living wage to all Philadelphians.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you so much for your testimony.

  • (Applause.)

  • (No response.)

  • (No response.)

  • Reverend Greg Holsten, commenting on 130532.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • My name is Reverend Gregory Holsten. I'm the Pastor of New Vision United Methodist Church at Broad and Westmoreland Streets in the heart of Philadelphia. I am the Co-Chair of POWER's Job Strategy Committee. POWER is an organization of 42 houses of faith throughout the City of Philadelphia in every neighborhood, of every denomination, of every religion that are speaking out on the issues to make Philadelphia a city of opportunity that works for all.

    We are excited to be able to stand here today in support of the living wage referendum and resolution. We believe that it is important for all Philadelphians, particularly those who are working for contractors and subcontractors of the City of Philadelphia, to have a living wage.

    As a pastor, I've seen the amount of poverty that exists in my neighborhood. In the three zip codes that surround my church, there the percentages of poverty range from 35 percent to 50 percent, poverty rate which means that people are making less than $11,000 a year.

    When we do our Christmas giveaways and our Christmas baskets, we recognize that we see whole families come in, families that have working parents but can't afford Christmas toys for their children. We recognize that we're in a neighborhood where it is so poor, that the businesses that are in that neighborhood can't be supported by the people in the neighborhood and, therefore, our whole history of Philadelphia being a history of neighborhoods and communities and businesses that operate in those neighborhoods is at stake because of the poverty that exists in our community. Those businesses may not exist.

    So I ask that not only do we do the justice thing and the righteous thing, as many of the workers that will come forward and have already come forward to say, the power and the devastation that they live these lives in poverty as they're working, afraid of losing -- afraid of just losing the basic things of life. But we also look at this as an economic issue for the City of Philadelphia. We cannot be the city that we want to be if our neighborhoods are not vibrant, our neighborhoods are not fulfilled economically, where our neighborhoods and our children, 40 percent of them who go to bed every night hungry. When we're not providing the opportunities for those neighborhoods to thrive by supporting this referendum -- by supporting this today, it gives an opportunity to put more dollars in the hands of our communities, which will build our businesses and build our community to be where we need to be.

    Thank you so much.

  • (Applause.)

  • Geraldine Roberson, commenting on 130544.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Yes. I just want to say hello everybody. I'm not sure who is all here. I might not speak in the language that y'all are used to hearing, but I am a citizen of Philadelphia and my mother is. My mother was born and raised here. She is well in her 80's. My grandmother died. She was 96 years old, and she worked all her life, and she had nothing, because they took everything from her.

    All of y'all sit here with y'all gadgets and y'all big paychecks and you driving y'all nice cars and things like that, and y'all look at the world through rosy-colored eyes, but if y'all take off y'all glasses and look at it through our eyes the way we live day to day, minimum wage 7.25 and 7.25, you know, you will see the real world.

    There's only one Councilman in this room that I'm glad to say that I voted for them, and that's Jannie Blackwell, because she really cares about us. She's not afraid to take off her glasses and say hello, come down to our neighborhood, shake a hand. The rest of y'all sit here and most of y'all bring your cell phones, you're playing with your computers, but, see, you don't understand. The world that you're building today is going to fall down on y'all too. Just like it fell down on us, it's going to fall down on y'all eventually, because you might be wealthy now and, you know, passing the laws and cupcake want and stuff like that. I almost threw up, you know.

    I just want to say that y'all need to take off y'all rosy-colored glasses and see the world as it really is, because y'all have taken -- I'll make this quick. Y'all have taken the responsibility of the male out of the household. Most men -- I go to McDonald's. I see a man old as my grandfather working. I said, Pops, what are you doing here sweeping the floor?

    He said, Well, I don't have any money. I have to work.

    He should be home in a rocking chair. You know, this is what y'all doing to us. But, you know, you reap what you sew. So you might be on top, but what goes up, remember, comes down.

    So that's all I want to say, and thank you.

  • Thank you for your testimony, ma'am.

  • (Applause.)

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

  • Thank you. That concludes the public comment session. We will now move on to our Calendar.

    Mr. Decker, could you please read the title of 130639.

  • A resolution also naming 20th Street from Berks Street to Montgomery Avenue as "Jackie Jones Way."

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee for a motion.

  • 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 130639 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 130646.

  • A resolution supporting Senate Bill 1080 which seeks to reduce plastic bags in the trash.

  • (That's being held.)

  • Mr. Decker, please -- I'm sorry. You read the title.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown.

  • Yes. I move for the adoption.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • The ayes have it. Resolution 130646 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 130648.

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

  • Thank you.

    Folks, could I ask you to please keep your voices down a little bit. It's kind of difficult to hear. Thank you.

    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. 130648 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 130650.

  • 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 Twelfth Ward of the City of Philadelphia.

  • Thank you.

    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. 130650 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 130651.

  • A resolution also naming Emlen Street between West Upsal Street and West Johnson Street as "Reverend Dr. G. Daniel Jones Way."

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. 130651 is also adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 130652.

  • A resolution supporting the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation and their planned development of the Eastern Tower Community Center.

  • Thank you.

    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. 130652 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 130544.

  • A resolution proposing an amendment to The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter confirming Council's power to enact provisions Council considers necessary or appropriate to accomplish the purposes of a Minimum Wage and Benefits Ordinance.

  • Thank you. Because Resolution No. 130544 is a proposed amendment to The Home Rule Charter, it requires a two-thirds vote.

    Mr. Decker, would you 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.

  • (Standing ovation.)

  • Thank you. The ayes are 17 to zero. The resolution is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, would you please read the title of 130532.

  • 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 confirming Council's power to enact provisions Council considers necessary or appropriate to accomplish the purposes of a Minimum Wage and Benefits Ordinance.

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

  • (Standing ovation.)

  • Thank you all so much. Councilmembers need love too. Thank you.

    Mr. Decker, do you have any additional resolutions.

  • A resolution recognizing the Church of the Gesu located at 18th and Stiles Street in North Philadelphia on the church's 125th Anniversary to be celebrated on Sunday, November 10, 2013, introduced by Councilman Kenney.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • I move the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    Those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution authorizing the Committee on Labor and Civil Service to hold public hearings to review the decision of the Philadelphia Fire Department to demote nine Fire Lieutenants and five Fire Captains after their recent promotion this past May, introduced by Councilman Kenney.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • I move the adoption of the resolution and request to be recognized for a moment.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney again.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On May 14th, 2013, Judge Leon Tucker ordered the City to fill the 14 budgeted promotional positions using then the current promotional list for the Fire Department for captains and lieutenant. On May 30th, 2013, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers met with 14 individuals in his office and promoted five individuals to fire captain and nine individuals to fire lieutenant.

    In September 2013, the City of Philadelphia issued a new promotional list and none of these 14 individuals are on the list because they had already been promoted. The Fire Department issued a memorandum on September 23rd, 2013 stating that all of these promotions would be rescinded and all individuals would be demoted and reassigned to different positions.

    The Philadelphia Civil Service Commission has specific regulations regarding temporary appointments under Civil Service Regulation 12 titled "Limited Term Appointments." At no point did any of the 14 individuals affirmatively accept their appointment with the understanding that the position was temporary. None of these individuals has been certified as rejected by the Fire Department as if required by Civil Service Regulation 14 titled "Probationary Period."

    These individuals were invited to attend a promotional ceremony on July 17th, 2013 with their families and honored as newly promoted fire captains and fire lieutenants by Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.

    Yesterday Commissioner Ayers attended a hearing disputing the -- dealing with the challenge to the Commonwealth Court's ruling that they could be demoted, and he said yesterday in court that he was forced to promote these people based on the court order.

    I have a number of pictures of the promotional ceremony at the Fire Academy which took place on July 17th. It is attended by Commissioner Ayers, command staff, the promoted individuals, the captain, and their families, and Commissioner Ayers is smiling in every one of these pictures. It doesn't seem to me that he was forced to actually do these promotions. And the reason why I raise it is because in 1967 and then again in 1975 when my father was promoted to captain and then battalion chief, I attended those ceremonies with my brothers and my mother. They are some of the most important memories that I have growing up. We were very proud of what my dad did for a living, because he put on a uniform every day and went out to save people's lives potentially.

    Every one of these family members that are in these pictures all went through the same feelings, and all of them are now going through the feelings of why their brave dad, captain or lieutenant, is being demoted by the City of Philadelphia that they serve and the Fire Department that they serve. I don't believe Commissioner Ayers wants to do this. I think if you look at his smiling countenance in these pictures, I think he was very proud of what went on that day, along with the spouses and children of these firefighters, who are also very proud of what went on that day.

    The day before yesterday, Everett Gillison said that, along with the City Solicitor and Deputy Commissioner Resnick -- Deputy Mayor Resnick, that they were exercising a management prerogative. So now on one hand, Fire Commissioner Ayers says he was forced to do something. On the other hand, Chief of Staff Gillison and others are saying they're exercising a management prerogative. Well, the definition of a management prerogative or the definition of prerogative is a right or a privilege exclusive to a particular individual or class.

    You can't have it both ways. If this is a management prerogative, then I would suggest that they do the right thing by these firefighters, these captains, these lieutenants, and their very proud families. There's many, many other openings. There's 39 openings, I believe, that are still available for captains and lieutenants to be promoted. Not to rescind these people, not to demote them, not to embarrass them, not to rip off their insignia, which is what they plan to do in some not-so-open ceremony soon, and just do the right thing.

    Change the dialogue. Change the dialogue between the Fire Department and this Administration in a positive and compassionate way and move forward so we don't have to continue to have these hearings and these fights and these lawsuits and this wasted tax money that goes on and on and on and never seems to stop.

    All I'm asking them to do is do the right thing by these people and stop this nonsense.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • (Applause.)

  • A resolution recognizing October as Philly Plays Scrabble Month, 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.)

  • And a resolution recognizing September 29, 2013 through October 5, 2013 as Prostate Cancer Awareness Week in Philadelphia, introduced by Councilman Greenlee for Council President Clarke.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution honoring the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Philadelphia County, introduced by Councilman Henon.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • 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 urging the Board of Revision of Taxes to provide for a deadline extension for the filing of real estate market value appeals, or otherwise make arrangements to accept late appeals, for property owners who have not received responses to their First Level Reviews by October 7, 2013, introduced by Councilman Johnson.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I also would like to say a few remarks and be recognized.

  • Today, myself and Councilman Mark Squilla, supported by other Councilmembers, introduced a resolution urging the Board of Revision of Taxes to provide for a deadline extension for the filing of real estate market value appeals, or otherwise make arrangements to accept late appeals, for property owners who have not received responses to their First Level Reviews by October 7th, 2013.

    The Administration has received 49,000 First Level Reviews and will not finish its review process before the October 7th deadline for appeals. Property owners have just begun to find out that they will not receive a response before the appeal deadline less than two weeks away and they have been receiving additional mailings from the Administration encouraging them to appeal. And we have been receiving phone calls, or actually my staff that was working with constituents, who are pretty much confused about this whole process. I just talked to a gentleman yesterday. He is on disability. He's scared. He doesn't know what to do. He thinks that because he put in a First Level Review form, that that was the actual appeal process. They haven't responded to him, so he wants to know why do I have to also still put in an appeal for the October 7th deadline.

    And so we want to urge the Board of Revision of Taxes, if they can't extend the deadline, to also work with us in terms of making arrangements for individuals who may appeal their property taxes later than the October 7th deadline and really give people a chance to adjust to this process, because it's still moving pretty quickly. And I know for a fact -- and I'll state this for the record -- when people get their tax bills in 2014, we will revisit this issue on a whole different level.

    And so I want to ask for my Councilmembers' support for the resolution, and 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 as Parent and Family Appreciation Month, 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.)

  • That resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution honoring and celebrating the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Philadelphia Chapter, for their dedication to the youth, through their advocacy for education, nonviolence and community service, introduced by Councilman Jones.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • 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 celebrating and recognizing October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities to the City of Philadelphia, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and United States of America, introduced by Councilman Jones.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you 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, and that resolution is also adopted.

  • And a resolution proclaiming Saturday, October 19, 2013 as Men Against Domestic Violence Day to raise public awareness of the specter of domestic violence and stand united in support of victims of domestic violence across the City of Philadelphia, introduced by Councilman Jones.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Again, Mr. President, for the record, that was introduced by Blackwell, Johnson, Brown, and Greenlee, but I move for the adoption.

  • (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 and honoring the d'Zert Club and African Genesis Institute on their 20th Anniversary, 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, and that resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution congratulating History Making Productions and commemorating the work of Founder and Executive Producer Sam Katz for his multi-format historical documentary television film and Internet project Philadelphia: The Great Experiment, 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.

  • And a resolution recognizing September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in honor of childhood cancer patients, care givers, survivors and those children who have succumbed to the disease, introduced by Councilman Oh.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Oh.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

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

  • Thank you very much. That concludes our Calendar for today.

    Are there any speeches on the part of the minority?

  • (No response.)

  • Any speeches on the part of the majority?

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I will be brief.

    Last week I called on the School Reform Commission to revisit its policy on abating tax revenue that would go to needy schools. I stated that not every project needs a full abatement, but every school absolutely needs more money.

    The SRC at its meeting this week took testimony from a guidance counselor that's now responsible for thousands of students at multiple schools. Then the SRC voted four to one to abate some more money that could possibly go to needy schools, but to its credit -- and I believe in giving credit where it's due -- the SRC did revisit its policy. While they abated the taxes, they also required payments in lieu of taxes that would amount to almost $2 million over ten years. One SRC member voted no because there was no independent analysis that showed that the schools couldn't get a better deal. No kidding.

    When originally packaged for SRC approval, a full tax abatement was requested. Now all of the sudden the project owners can afford to pay least $2 million in lieu of taxes. That's the sham.

    My message is clear: Stop taking money from public schools for private profit. We should ask ourselves, Where was that $2 million going to go before the new deal? Certainly not for the kids.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Today I rise to talk about RCOs, or registered community organizations. During the times of then Mayor John F. Street, he was called the Neighborhood Mayor. Philadelphia was known as the City of Neighborhoods, as it is now, and our neighborhood groups took great pride in knowing that neighborhoods have a say and a right certainly to be included in decisions that affect the City.

    Fast forward, we were doing zoning. We were satisfied with the red neon signs and that process, but we fast forward and the Zoning Commission decided that they want to upgrade the code, and they had meetings across the City. Well, I went to all the meetings in my district, and at no time did I hear anybody talk about creating registered community organizations and what that would include. All right. We've had that debate here. The only thing we did was introduce a resolution making the process easier. We didn't create them; just making it easier for groups to apply.

    As many of you and all of you will probably remember, the big argument was, Councilwoman Blackwell, give it a year, give it time, give it time. Now, ever since they came up with this process, we passed a bill to only make it inclusive, because they wanted the registered community organizations' minutes, bylaws, names of everybody on the Board and everything else they could think of, and we didn't know why they needed that.

    We also were concerned because now we also have Year 2035 Plan, and the community groups are already questioning whether or not they want to improve a plan or whether they want to gentrify and have developers only make the decisions on what happens in our city. So while they asked us to wait a year, they were interested in changing all of this RCO information.

    Now, the new bill that we have introduced today calls on RCOs to be yearly instead of three years. That's one of the changes they want. They want them to represent 3.5 miles, not 7 miles. Now, remember, all of these things, all of these requirements were issues they put in the bill, not us. Now they want to change it. They who argued and argued and argued that we shouldn't change RCOs, we shouldn't change the Zoning Code, give it a year. So in addition to that, they want to change it again to 3.5 square miles, not 7 miles.

    Then they talk about notice that registered community organizations as well as developers must give to one another. They're saying that they took out notification that the Councilperson and near neighborhoods get. And I'm always reminded -- and I say this all the time whenever it applies -- and, that is, the late and great Lucien Blackwell talked about his father going to vote, and his father said -- somebody asked him, Do you think you should have to read and write the Constitution in order to vote?

    And the neighbor said, Yes.

    And he said, Fool voting himself out of a vote.

    And I say that to say in the legislation, they suggest that the developers not even have to notify the Councilperson. They want to remove that from the legislation. This is legislation they wrote where they want to take Councilpeople out of notification. They want to take near neighbors out of notification. They want to give those who apply, the developers, more rights than they give the community organizations.

    I believe that they created these issues, and if they want to be fair, they have to realize that we not only represent developers, institutions -- and I represent more of those than anybody and we deal with development, but we're also elected by these RCOs, by community organizations, and people across the City who elect us to represent all of them. We don't have the luxury like maybe those Zoning Code people or the City Planning Commission to decide that we're going to speak or we're going to deal with one side of the equation only. We can't just represent developers. We have to represent those people in our neighborhoods who send us here as well.

    I do also absolutely resent that they try to take Councilpeople out also in the Civic Design Review issue. They're saying there has to be one meeting only, no matter how many they are. They created this process. So if you have three or four RCOs, where before they could -- the developer could call for a few meetings, they're saying that it's up to the community organizations, who could be opposing groups, it's up to registered community organizations to find a way to get along so that the developers only have to call one meeting. They give them that authority, but they don't give the community organizations any.

    They also take out the right to have a rotating community organization on the Civic Design Review Committee, and they take out the right of the District Councilperson sitting on that committee. Remember, that's non-voting. It's just that they have decided that we as District Councilpeople don't have any right to have a say in this. And this 2035 Plan they have, I guess they might as well just figure they're going to just take us out of office.

    I resent people who try to undermine this Council, who try to undermine our right to represent people, institutions, and developers. And I call on those who call for all these Zoning Board changes in the first place, I appeal to them. You went to the community groups. You asked for all this. I call on them to go back, call those meetings again to the same community groups. If those community groups are pleased with these changes, then we can be pleased with the changes. But to have come up with this and then realize that they created the biggest mess and then call on us to undermine our community groups, not developers, is the wrong thing to do.

    So I call on those who want the Zoning Code changes. You created this. You went to groups. You met across the City. You said they wanted this, not that I heard it in my meetings in my district. You said they wanted this. Then you should go back to those groups if you want them to change and certainly ask them those questions.

    So I challenge them to come forward, to call on meetings in these community groups, and we look forward to continuing dialogue and debate on this issue.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Mr. President, I want to recognize a group of students here today from the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Charter School, and I want to recognize them in context -- are they here? There they go. Give them a round of applause.

  • (Applause.)

  • They're here to observe us in our natural habitat, if you would, dealing with public policy issues as they heard today. It reminds me, however, that we are still kicking the can down the road on full funding for our public schools.

  • (Applause.)

  • We here have done our job in this body. We here have done what we could with the revenues we have, but we still await additional resources. We started in September. We don't know if we're going to be able to go on the current budget until June.

    I had a disturbing visit up to Harrisburg to observe a high school called SciTech High School. In that high school, they were dealing with robotics, an international competition, Mr. President. They were teaching robots and mechanically how to move back, forward, pick up things in an increasingly more competitive, complicated environment where warehouses now are occupied by robots, so they need to have those skills.

    I then came to my alma mater, Overbrook High School, to look at their robotics class, where I fought back tears, seeing a struggling teacher doing what she could for our students, dealing with a cardboard box and a plastic wire to simulate movement within the robotics class. This is absolutely unacceptable, and the education funding gap between what kids worldwide need to achieve and what we get in the City of Philadelphia must be filled.

    So as we deal with the school year and we open the school doors, we don't want them closed mid spring prematurely because of lack of funding. Our eyes are turned towards those who can help in Harrisburg.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Very often we privately congratulate and salute our comrades when they have achieved a major legislative victory. I want to go on the record and publicly congratulate Councilman Goode on the Minimum Wage and Benefits Ordinance and the process that was engaged in by POWER. I found that their grace and diplomacy and strategic action to be very, very commendable, and it all yields a very, very positive outcome. So congratulations to Councilman Goode and POWER.

    Secondly, I want to say thank you to my Councilmembers who were able to join us yesterday at the signing of the Women on Boards Bill. After 18 months of work, the first leg of this journey has been accomplished, and we feel very, very good about that when we continue to wrestle with disturbing facts that less than one percent of women of color serve on boards, and right here in the region, there are 41 percent of our boards have no women on the boards at all, and that's a lot startling when there's a growing body of global research that says that when you have the presence of women in leadership and corporate positions, the profitability spikes up.

    Additionally, there is increasing acknowledgment that a strong, positive -- and a strong, positive correlation between a number of board seats held by women and financial performance. Credible data supports the business case for having boards reflect a broader population and consumer base.

    And then, lastly, when you factor in that women make up 80 percent of the consumer decisions, it behooves Philadelphia as a region to get with the program and do better with regards to women serving on boards.

    So I thank my colleagues, and know that there is subsequent additional legislation in the wings of this stage of trying to level the playing field for women.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I want to acknowledge Councilwoman's concerns, Councilwoman Blackwell's, concerns with the RCO bill that was introduced today, and I want to let you know that not only do I respect your opinion and value your perspective, I care about you very much, both personally and professionally. And what I found out in the short period of time here on our first term is that we won't agree on everything here in this body, but we do agree to try to do what's best for our communities that we are elected to represent and the City of Philadelphia. But I can promise both Councilwoman and other members of this body that I am committed to working through any issues or concerns that anyone may have to the proposed changes so that we could produce the best possible public policy.

    So thank you all for your time.

  • (Applause.)

  • There being no other speeches, at this time I would like to recognize Councilwoman Brown for a motion to adjourn.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It has been moved and properly seconded that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, October 3rd, 2013, 10:00 a.m.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Council is adjourned.

    Thank you all very much.

  • (Stated Meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.)