Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

  • Good morning, everyone.

  • (Good morning.)

  • The hour has come. We have a quorum. I'd ask all guests and visitors to please retire behind the rail. Members will take their seat. We will now get started.

    To give our invocation this morning, the Chair recognizes Sister Helena Kang of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. She is here today as the guest of Councilman David Oh.

    I would ask all guests and visitors to please rise.

  • (Members and guests rise.)

  • Loving God of creation, we come to you today asking for your guidance, wisdom, and support for the City Council as they begin this meeting. Help them to engage in meaningful discussion their deliberations with wisdom. Allow them to grow closer as a group and nurture the bonds of community.

    Fill them with your grace, merciful God, as they make decisions that might affect the federal citizens. Bless them in their decisions that promote the common good and recognize their responsibility to the rights and needs of all individuals and community. And continue to remind them that all that they do here today, all that they accomplish is for the pursuit of truth and for the service of humanity.

    We ask these things in your name.

    Amen.

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

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you very much. Thank you again, Sister.

    The next order of business is the approval of the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, March 20th, 2014.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, March 20th, 2014 be approved.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, March 20th stand approved.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

    At this time, I would ask Councilman Jones, are there any requests for leaves of absence?

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of the majority, a leave of absence is requested for Councilmember Goode.

  • Thank you. Leave shall be granted. It shall be noted.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

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

  • Thank you. The Chair thanks the gentleman.

    At this time, I would like to welcome and thank all of our guests and visitors here today. We hope that your day here is a pleasurable one. We really appreciate the fact that you come down to see your government in action, and we promise we will be on our best behavior today. So thank you all so much for coming down.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney, who will present a resolution to Sheinelle Jones, a very special guest. Would Ms. Jones and those accompanying her please join the Councilman at the podium.

    And joining Councilman Kenney, we have Councilman Greenlee, and we can't have Sheinelle without Mike and the Good Day Philadelphia crew. All right. And Councilwoman Tasco.

  • I was going to get to that, the real husband.

    And Councilwoman Brown, Jones. I don't think there's any relation for today. And Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I'm pleased to offer this resolution recognizing and honoring Sheinelle Jones of Fox 29 for her outstanding service, commitment, and contributions to the community during her time as a broadcast journalist in Philadelphia.

  • Whereas, Sheinelle Jones was born in Philadelphia, raised in Wichita, Kansas, and returned to Philadelphia in July 2005 to join Fox 29 as reporter and co-host of Good Day Philadelphia. Sheinelle has worked at Fox 29 in this capacity for the last nine years; and

    Whereas, Sheinelle is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, majoring in Broadcast Journalism. She continuously pursued a career in television journalism beginning at age 16 at her local school district station in Wichita, Kansas and then completing internships every year until her college graduation; and

  • Whereas, before returning to Philadelphia, Sheinelle was an anchor and reporter for KOKI-FOX 23 in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Springfield, Illinois as an anchor and reporter for WICS-TV; and

    Whereas, Sheinelle Jones has been recognized by multiple journalism organizations for her achievements. Before coming to Philadelphia, she earned an award for outstanding news reporting and overall excellence from the National Association of Black Journalists and the Oklahoma Chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists. Sheinelle has also received an investigative reporting award from Oklahoma's Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists; and

  • Whereas, Sheinelle has also received numerous awards in the Philadelphia region and served on many panels. In 2010, Lincoln University recognized her for an award in Women in Leadership and was named Woman of the Week by 95.7 Ben-FM and Cancer Treatment Center of America; and

    Whereas, Sheinelle has interviewed national icons from Bill Cosby to Hillary Clinton and moderated several political debates and forums, including during the 2007 Philadelphia Mayoral campaign and Pennsylvania's 2010 gubernatorial election; and

  • Whereas, Sheinelle is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and the Philadelphia Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. As an active member of Links, Incorporated, she continues to support young women through self-empowerment, lifting them up all the time and allowing them to come visit with her at the station;

    Whereas, Sheinelle is very engaged in the Philadelphia community where her activities and special interests focus on education and children. She has volunteered in multiple Philadelphia schools and has mentored children from elementary school to college, encouraging them to stay in school and sharing stories about her career and communications and journalism;

  • And whereas, Sheinelle's colleagues describe her TV personality as genuine. On and off camera, she is always friendly and charming and makes those around her laugh; and

    Whereas, Sheinelle is more than a prominent news personality in the Philadelphia region. She is also loving wife to her husband Uche and devoting mother to her three children, a 4 year old son and 19 month old twins. She currently resides in that great Fairmount section -- I added that part -- of Philadelphia and has loved telling people stories every morning; now, therefore, be it

  • Just for now, but not forever, resolved by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that we are proud to honor and recognize Sheinelle Jones of Fox 29 for her years of dedicated service to Philadelphia, and we wish her continued success on her future endeavors.

    We're going to miss you.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Ms. Jones for remarks.

  • I didn't plan this part.

    To everybody behind me, you're looking at family members, my work husband, and my real husband, as they say, and my Good Day Philadelphia crew. People see Mike and Sheinelle, but they don't realize there's a whole crew of people who get up even earlier than we do to make the wheels churn. We've got Tory. I call her our stylist. Tory Williams. Our senior producer, Tom Louden. Here's my brother. He's one of the twins, Fernando, and my sister Antonia. We have Alexis. She's one of the directors in our show, and Meredith Cassidy-Ills. These are the people who make, like I said, Good Day the show it is.

    I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. It means so much that I can just even be recognized by Philadelphia City Council. I'm so grateful and overwhelmed and humbled.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • And a word from the work husband.

  • You know I have to say something too. I want to thank Sheinelle for inviting me, because I'm not allowed in City Council Chambers. I've been banned, and security took me down on the way in.

    No. I just want to say thank you for doing this for Sheinelle. You know how much we love her, and it's just so appropriate that you gave her this honor. She was born in Philadelphia over at CHOP, then went away to Wichita, and then came back. She loves this city, and this is why she's so happy to accept this honor. And thank you for doing it for her. And make sure you watch tomorrow morning. It's her last day.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you. Thank you all very much.

    Before we proceed, I would like to recognize one of our great State Representatives, Jordan Harris. Thank you, sir, for being here today.

  • (Applause.)

  • Always handling the people's business up in the great capital of Harrisburg. And it is a very difficult job, sir.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman Jones, who will present a resolution to Audrey Johnson Thornton. Would Ms. Thornton and those accompanying her please join the Councilman at the podium.

    And joining Councilman Jones, we have Councilwoman Blackwell, Councilwoman Bass, and Councilwoman Tasco and Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez and Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • All too often in these Chambers we might debate who has the best district in the City of Philadelphia. Those District Councilpeople will always tussle and argue about who represents the finest district in the City. But no one can debate where the finest view can be found of the City of Philadelphia. It resides on Belmont Plateau and can be seen at Belmont Mansion.

    In 1742, the Peters family purchased farmland at the site at Belmont Village, which became Belmont Mansion. We are celebrating the expansion of Belmont Mansion, the restoration of Belmont Mansion to include a banquet hall, and we are going to name it after Cornelia Wells, who was a freed slave, who traveled and was picked up by a family that allowed her to convert into indentured servitude where she, after four years, purchased her own freedom and was given the freedom of her daughter. I think that's important to recognize today here in Women's History Month. We are cumulating and honoring a dream of a living legend by the name of Audrey Johnson Thornton.

    Since 1986, she has led the American Women's Heritage Society to restore the Mansion and bring it to its glory, and many of us have experienced that treasure that resides, once again, in the 4th Councilmanic District, the best view in the City of Philadelphia anywhere.

    Ms. Thornton is the living example of entrepreneurial spirit, guided by principles, guided by the spirits of her ancestors, and particularly Ms. Cornelia Wells. Ms. Wells, again, was a slave purchased by abolitionists, immediately turned into an indentured servant, and paid for her freedom and that of her child.

    I am very glad as an enlightened male on Women's History Month to honor you. I got good strong Councilwomen that remind me of that importance.

    So this resolution is recognizing Women's History Month, honoring the outstanding contributions of Ms. Audrey Johnson Thornton on behalf of the American Women's Heritage Society for her tireless efforts to restore the Historic Belmont Mansion and Underground Railroad Museum located in the Fourth Councilmanic District in Philadelphia and proclaiming the banquet facility as Cornelia Wells Banquet Hall and Conference Center.

  • Whereas, the American Women's Heritage Society started as an initiative to save Belmont Mansion, which was at risk of being demolished in 1986, and through the strong, unwavering leadership of Audrey Johnson Thornton, the Heritage Society reclaimed Belmont Mansion and restored it to its former beauty and glory; and

    Whereas, during the Mansion's early restoration, a Heritage Society historian discovered its place in history and learned that the Belmont Mansion served as an important role as a station in the Underground Railroad and was recognized by the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom as a significant place for interpreting the history of the Underground Railroad, the first of its Freedom Stations in Pennsylvania; and

  • Whereas, additional historic research revealed Cornelia Wells, a young woman and her daughter Jane were purchased in 1811 from a slave owner and made an indentured servant and cook for the Peters family, Richard Peters who was a member of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. After three years, Cornelia Wells was able to earn her and her daughter's freedom; and

  • Whereas, after acquiring her freedom, Cornelia Wells continued to work regularly with the Peters family doing household washing. There was little work available for former slave women who were denied the opportunity of an education; and

    Whereas, Cornelia Wells settled in a little cottage down by the river from Belmont Mansion. She gardened and took in washing, sewing, and cooking for her prominent families in the area to support herself and her daughter Jane; and

  • Whereas, through Ms. Thornton's leadership of the Heritage Society, Belmont Mansion has become one of the most important buildings in Fairmount Park open to the public as the Underground Railroad Museum; and

  • Whereas, in recognition of Women's History Month, honoring the outstanding contributions of Ms. Audrey Johnson Thornton on behalf of the American Women's Heritage Society for her tireless efforts to restore the Historic Belmont Mansion and Underground Railroad Museum and in recognition of the legacy of freedom, leadership, and entrepreneurial spirit for African American women demonstrated by Cornelia Wells' efforts to earn her freedom from slavery and support herself and her family against great odds; now, therefore

  • Be it resolved, by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that it hereby proclaims that the banquet facility at the historic Belmont Mansion and Underground Railroad Museum shall be officially named the Cornelia Wells Banquet Hall and Conference Center.

    Further resolved, that an engrossed copy of this resolution shall be presented to Ms. Audrey Johnson Thornton on behalf of the American Women's Heritage Society and Historic Belmont Mansion and Underground Railroad Museum as evidence of our sincere appreciation of this entire legislative body. And anybody who doesn't know her by face will know her by her hat.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Ms. Johnson for remarks.

  • Wow, that was terrific. I want to say good morning, good afternoon to everyone. I have a little speech I'm going to make, not long, but some facts.

    I want to say a special thanks to Mayor Nutter, to President Clarke, Councilman Curtis Jones, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, and all of the City members and City officials who have supported us over the years.

    This is an amazing day, giving all honor and glory to God and all the powerful forces brought together as we travel through this historic journey from concept to this esteemed City Council resolution to officially name the new building the Cornelia Wells Conference Center and Banquet Hall.

    As many of you may know, 20 years ago -- 28 years ago, in 1986, I organized a group of women who became the American Women's Heritage Society to save the Belmont Mansion from demolition. This was the colonial home of Judge Richard Peters, who was Secretary of War to George Washington. We did not know at that time that we were embarking on a heroic journey of restoration and research that would prove to become an asset to the City of Philadelphia and proclaim the Belmont Mansion as the Crown Jewel of Fairmount Park.

    As the only African American women's group to become stewards of the Historic Mansion in Fairmount Park, we restored the Mansion in 2007 and since, the National Freedom Center accredited the Belmont Mansion as a cornerstone to the Underground Railroad and significant part of American history. Since then, we have become nationally recognized by the W3R project, signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009, which the site was used to support troops in the Revolutionary War, and we learned that General Lafayette of the Rochambeau French Army stayed in the Mansion.

    As the American Women Heritage Society continues on our quest to maintain, research, and creatively share the history of slavery for many generations to come by leaving a legacy of the people who have overcome, we are here today to name this new addition and to salute Cornelia Wells, a slave woman, an indentured servant, who ultimately became free. Because of today's City Council resolution, her presence and influence to history will never be forgotten.

    Today, we salute the spirit, the courage, the strength, and determination that it must have taken to achieve her free stance. Today, we endow our collective ancestry and we hail all the slaves who tolled on the ground of the Historic Belmont Mansion and across this great nation.

    Thank you to all of our stakeholders and our supporters for being here today and for all of you that have given to maintain this magnificent site. As we take our next step in our quest for heritage for the future, for the long-awaited expansion program, which is taking place now, we want you to know that this milestone in our history was made possible through the hard work and commitment of many dedicated people of this treasured landmark.

    Again, thank you, City Council and all of you. Praise God.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you.

    Council will be at ease.

  • After the City Council, we will have a reception in the Caucus Room for our members and for City Council. Thank you.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you very much. At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass, who will present a resolution recognizing the Alumnae Association of the Philadelphia High School for Girls on its 125th Anniversary. Would Ms. Merrill Hakim and those accompanying her please join the Councilwoman at the podium.

    And joining Councilwoman Bass, we have Councilwoman Reynolds Brown, Councilwoman Blackwell, Councilwoman Tasco, and Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Good morning, everyone. We do great things here in Philadelphia and among them on the education side is Girls' High. It's one of our city's premier schools, and I'm so happy that it's in the 8th District, along with some other great schools, but they do a wonderful job and have been at this for 125 years. And so we wanted to take a moment out to recognize them on this very important anniversary.

    They have some graduates, including Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, who seemed to come out okay, but my colleague who is a graduate alum of Girls' High, and they have been doing a great job for a long, long time. And so on occasions like this, we really want to take a moment and stop and recognize the excellence in education that we have here in Philadelphia, and we also want to recognize the Alumnae Association, also the principal, Dr. Moore, who has been recognized as the Philadelphia School District's Principal of the Year. So can we give her a round of applause for Dr. Moore right here.

  • (Applause.)

  • And so before we begin reading our resolution, I wanted to bring Councilwoman Brown up to make a few remarks, if you would.

  • It's a wonderful pleasure for me to speak on behalf of my alma mater. It was my 8th grade math teacher who said to my mom, Blondell might be a good candidate for Girls' High School, and for that, I'm eternally grateful, because there's a lot of research that's been done on single sex education and single gender education. And I can testify that when young girls attend high schools where they are the only gender, they're taught very, very early on to soar and that no ceiling is unbreakable. The motto or -- motto at Girls' High is carpe diem, seize the day.

    And then finally you should know that when we meet a Girls' High girl, like when I hired my Legislative Director, Katherine Gilmore, you never give the year that you graduated. You only say the class that you were a part of. So I'm a proud class of 2014, and congratulations to all of these wonderful alum of Girls' High. It made a huge difference in my life and my outlook on what's possible.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you.

    And our resolution reads: Recognizing and honoring the Alumnae Association of the Philadelphia High School for Girls on its 125th Anniversary.

    Whereas, the Alumnae Association of the Philadelphia High School for Girls was founded in 1889, a time when most professions and workplaces were restricted to the male gender. Most institutions of higher learning gave only limited access to women, or in many cases, none at all; and

  • Whereas, from its very beginning, Philadelphia High School for Girls played a leading role in the dramatic changes in women's lifestyles that began in this country in 1848, the year in which the school opened and the same year of the first Women's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, New York. The school proved to be a beacon of light in the bleak picture of women's lives at that time. Originally founded to train women teachers, the school program was soon expanded to provide full academic training; and

    Whereas, Girls High has never ceased to provide the best education for all of the young women who filled its classrooms and walked those pink marble halls and who earned their right to teach and to aim for higher education. From the earliest days in its unique history, the school has been the launchpad for great women achievers who have influenced and enhanced the history and culture of these United States. In addition, from the school's inception, the ideals and spirit of the school have fostered lifelong sisterhood and friendship among its graduates; and

  • Whereas, on January 19th, 1889, twenty-five loyal graduates joined their hands and hearts to place their signatures on the Charter that launched the Alumnae Association of the Girls' High and Normal School of Philadelphia, the name of the school at that time. A framed copy of this Charter, with its beautiful calligraphy and handwritten signatures, adorn the wall of the Alumnae Room of the school at Broad and Olney, which is across from the 9th District. In the Charter, the founders stated their objectives, and I quote, The purpose for which the Association is formed is the cultivation of social relations among the graduates of the Girls' High and Normal School of Philadelphia and the promotion of the best interests of the said school and the furthering of all efforts for the enlargement of opportunities for women; and

  • Whereas, in 1894, the Alumnae Association scored a triumph when it petitioned the University of Pennsylvania, until that time a solid fortress of masculinity, to accept women applicants to the Science Department and also asked that graduates of the Girls' High and Normal School be accepted without taking examinations; and

  • Throughout its existence, the Alumnae Association has focused heavily on philanthropy, including the establishment of a fund to provide aid to teachers in need who were graduates of the school, the donation of famous sculptures from the classical works of ancient Greece and Rome to the school, a copy of the famous bronze standing statue of Abraham Lincoln by Auguste Saint Gaudens, financial support for scholarships and the school library and the advanced placement program, and the creation of the Court of Honor of Distinguished Daughters, the school's hall of fame, among many other contributions; and

    Whereas, the Alumnae Association of the Philadelphia High School for Girls has been working as partners for 125 years to maintain their traditions of excellence and to prepare for the future.

  • Be it resolved, by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that we hereby recognize and honor the Alumnae Association of the Philadelphia High School for Girls on its 125th Anniversary.

    Further resolved, that an engrossed copy of this resolution be presented to the Alumnae Association of the Philadelphia High School for Girls as evidence of the sincere sentiments of this legislative body.

    Congratulations.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Ms. Hakim for remarks.

  • Good morning, Council President Clarke, Councilwoman Bass, Councilwoman Reynolds Brown, and members of Council. As President of the Alumnae Association of the Philadelphia High School for Girls, along with Vice President Joy Pollock; Toni Bailey Nottingham; archivist Dorothy Kapenstein; our principal Dr. Parthenia Moore, who was just this week named Principal of the Year for the School District; fellow alumnae, faculty members, and students, who are all up here on the podium with me, to my surprise and relief, it is with great pleasure that we accept this beautiful proclamation that you have issued to celebrate our 125th Anniversary. We are extremely grateful for this honor, for which we offer our profound thanks.

    We have always been there to serve the school and her students, and we always will. We hope you will too.

    Thank you very much.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you. And I'd like to also recognize Ms. Moore.

  • Good morning. To the President, Darrell Clarke, to all of the representatives of City Council, we can't thank you enough from the Philadelphia High School for Girls. We are very honored to be here. We are really even honored to have the opportunity to bring our students so they can see the work that's being done by Council on our behalf.

    There's a lot going on out there. We need you every single day. Education is not what it was many years ago, but it still exists, and we want it to continue. So keep working for us. We're definitely working for you. And know that every single day the students, especially at the Philadelphia High School for Girls, are getting better. Those last year who graduated graduated with $3.1 million in grants and scholarships. We're very honored to have that be part of the legacy of our school. We want that to continue.

    So please continue to support us, be there for us, and if the phone rings, just say, How can I help.

    Thank you very much.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you very much.

    Before we proceed, I would like to recognize a former colleague of Councilman O'Brien, then State Representative O'Brien, former State Representative Curt Schroder.

  • (Applause.)

  • Welcome, sir.

    Thank you. 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.

    Can I ask for a little quiet, please. Thank you.

    Please proceed.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, I am pleased to advise you that on March 21, 2014, I signed all of the bills that were passed by Council at its session on March 13, 2014, except Bill No. 140017, which I have returned without my signature, and I am transmitting herewith for the introduction and consideration of your honorable body the following 11 resolutions for appointees to the South Street Headhouse District; namely, Hannah DePaulis, Michele Grant, Frank DiCicco, Christian Dunbar, John Foy, Sara McCorriston, Ellen Owens, Francesca Rivetti, Dara Slott, James Weber, and Howard Lander; and

    I am transmitting for your consideration a resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Model Cities Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 1233 Germantown Avenue; and

    An ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to convey, to the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development, a parcel of land generally situate at 2518 East Clearfield Street; and

    An ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to convey, to the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development, parcels of land generally situate at 1224, 1226, 1228, and 30-32 North Mascher Street; and

    An ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to acquire title from the Salvation Army to a certain tract of land at the southeast corner of 22nd and Market Streets, known as 2140 Market Street, and amending Chapter 15-200 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Fairmount Park," to make the parcel part of the Fairmount Park System and to make technical changes, all under certain terms and conditions.

  • Thank you, Mr. Decker. Do you have any additional communications?

  • I have none, Mr. President.

  • Thank you very much.

    At this time, we will have the introduction of bills and resolutions, and the Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of myself and Councilman Squilla, I offer one resolution.

  • A privileged resolution honoring the students and teachers of Academy at Palumbo High School in South Philadelphia for their achievements in winning one of five prizes in Samsung's nationwide Solve for Tomorrow contest which includes $140,000 in new technology for their school.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Today I introduce one bill.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 16-800 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Philadelphia Affordable Housing Opportunity Zones," by designating the Mantua Housing Opportunity Zones pursuant to the 1500 New Affordable Housing Units Initiative.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On your behalf, I offer four bills and one resolution.

  • An ordinance amending Title 9 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Regulation of Businesses, Trades and Professions," to modify an exception to the Expediters license requirements.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to acquire title from the Salvation Army to a certain tract of land at the southeast corner of 22nd and Market Streets, known as 2140 Market Street, and amending Chapter 15-200 of Philadelphia Code, entitled "Fairmount Park," to make the parcel part of the Fairmount Park System.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to convey, to the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development, parcels of land generally situate at 1224, 1226, 1228, and 1230-32 North Mascher Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance amending Chapter 16-800 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Philadelphia Affordable Housing Opportunity Zones," by designating the Francisville and Brewerytown Housing Opportunity Zones pursuant to the 1500 New Affordable Housing Units Initiative.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • 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 Forty-Seventh Ward of the City of Philadelphia.

  • That bill will be referred to committee -- that resolution will be on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

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

  • The Chair thanks the Councilman.

    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 bills and one non-privileged resolution. I'd like to speak on one of my bills, please.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 16-800 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Philadelphia Affordable Housing Opportunity Zones," by designating the Point Breeze and Gray's Ferry Affordable Housing Opportunity Zones pursuant to the 1500 New Affordable Housing Units Initiative.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance establishing parking regulations in the vicinity of Carpenter Street and 15th Street; Rosewood Street and Tasker Street; Catharine Street and 23rd Street; Christian Street and 15th Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • 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-Sixth and Forty-Eighth Wards of the City of Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Today, Mr. President, I introduced the Opportunity Zone Bill under your 1500 New Affordable Housing Units Initiative. The Grays Ferry and Point Breeze neighborhoods are neighborhoods in my district that have been recognized as areas that are rapidly developing with an abundance of speculative and market-rate development, yet a serious lack of affordable and workforce housing.

    I'm supportive of this initiative, as it seeks to help manage this growth by utilizing publicly owned land and untapped funding resources. Already in my district on the 1300 block of South Bouvier Street, we have piloted a development project that exhibits some of the principles and properties of the Opportunity Zone Initiative. With the Bouvier Street project, we put out an RFP to have a grouping of City-owned properties developed as workforce housing by offering the land at a discount as long as the developer who was awarded the contract passes the savings on to the purchaser. This project will build 16 units of City-owned land, seven which will be sold around the ball park figure of $150,000. The RFP has just been awarded, and we're hoping to see this project break ground soon.

    I look forward to working with the Council President and my colleagues through this 1500 New Affordable and Workforce Housing Units Initiative to create more units in my district through similar means. By utilizing our public-owned vacant properties to promote workforce housing, we can grow truly sustainable neighborhoods and strong diverse communities. It is important that we realize this goal.

    We as a city should be looking to promote policies and development that acknowledge that these are communities and neighborhoods and not just parcels of land. By doing so, we not only work to increase our tax base and work towards cleaner, safer neighborhoods, but we also support and strengthen communities that are invested in each other and this city.

    If we want better schools and safer streets, we need to do everything we can to help our neighborhoods grow and develop in a sustainable, intelligent way, with a strong focus on community.

    And, Council President, I just want to acknowledge your work and your efforts in addressing this issue. You have my support, and we look forward to making this initiative a reality.

    Thank you very much, Council President.

  • Thank you, Councilman. And as always, it's all about the team. There's a reason why the booklets that we put out have City Council, because this doesn't happen without all the members of City Council of Philadelphia and the Administration. Thank you so much.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

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

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 16-800 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Philadelphia Affordable Housing Opportunity Zones," by designating the Allegheny Avenue, Roosevelt Boulevard and Erie Avenue Affordable Housing Opportunity Zones pursuant to the 1500 New Affordable Housing Units Initiative.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing and honoring Angel Luis Lozada on the occasion of his retirement from WPVI after a long and distinguished career in journalism.

  • And that 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 Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Thirty-Third and Forty-Third Wards of the City of Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman O'Brien.

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

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, women continue to earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. So today on this last Thursday of Women's History Month, I introduce a resolution and a bill designed to help women learn how to walk on water so that we can have some sense of equity when it comes to pay equity in other matters. It's an historic opportunity, Mr. President. One bill and one resolution.

  • Thank you. Councilwoman, did you want to make a brief comment?

  • I'll seize this moment, yes. For clarity purposes, we want to let our audience, guests know that immediately following City Council, there will be a briefing by Women's Way first, and immediately following the briefing will be the reception hosted by Belmont Mansion and the leadership of Audrey Johnson Thornton.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • 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 of The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter relating to the creation, appointment, powers and duties of a Commission for Women; and authorizing the appropriate officers to publish notice and to make arrangements for the special election.

  • That will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a resolution proposing an amendment to The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to provide for the creation, appointment, powers and duties of a Commission for Women; and providing for the submission of the amendment to the electors of Philadelphia.

  • And that resolution will also be referred to committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have three bills, one on your behalf that's signed by all members of City Council.

  • An ordinance establishing a new Chapter 16-800 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Philadelphia Affordable Housing Opportunity Zones," authorizing the designation of Affordable Housing Opportunity Zones; establishing definitions; authorizing the disposition of publicly-owned zone properties for nominal consideration pursuant to the 1500 New Affordable Housing Units Initiative.

  • That will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance amending Chapter 16-800 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Philadelphia Affordable Housing Opportunity Zones," by designating the Lansdowne and Hunting Park Housing Opportunity Zones pursuant to the 1500 New Affordable Housing Units Initiative.

  • That will also be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Hermitage Street, Henry Avenue, Dupont Street, Ridge Avenue, Monastery Avenue, Dexter Street, Lyceum Avenue, Manayunk Avenue, Leverington Avenue, and Ridge Avenue.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

    And the Chair now recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

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

  • An ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Dungan Road, Napfle Avenue, Railroad Right-of-Way, and Rhawn Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer two bills and 11 non-privileged resolutions.

  • An ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to convey, to the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development, a parcel of land situate at 2518 Clearfield Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance amending Section 5 of an Ordinance (Bill No. 130463), approved July 11, 2013, entitled "An ordinance authorizing Fond Bistro doing business as Fond Restaurant to construct, own and maintain an open-air sidewalk cafe at 1537 South 11th Street," by extending the time for compliance with the authorization conditions therein.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And a resolution appointing Hannah DePaulis to the Board of Directors for the South Street Headhouse District; and

    A resolution appointing John Foy to the Board of Directors for the South Street Headhouse District; and

    A resolution appointing Sara McCorriston to the Board of Directors for the South Street Headhouse District; and

    A resolution appointing Dara Slott to the Board of Directors for the South Street Headhouse District; and

    A resolution appointing Frank DiCicco to the Board of Directors for the South Street Headhouse District; and

    A resolution appointing Michele Grant to the Board of Directors for the South Street Headhouse District; and

    A resolution appointing Ellen Owens to the Board of Directors for the South Street Headhouse District; and

    A resolution appointing James Weber to the Board of Directors for the South Street Headhouse District; and

    A resolution appointing Howard Lander to the Board of Directors for the South Street Headhouse District; and

    A resolution appointing Christian Dunbar to the Board of Directors for the South Street Headhouse District; and

    A resolution appointing Francesca Rivetti to the Board of Directors for the South Street Headhouse District.

  • Those resolutions just read by the Chief Clerk will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair now recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

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

  • An ordinance establishing a parking regulation in the vicinity of Eleanor Street and Old York Road; 13th Street and Wyoming Avenue.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing and honoring the achievements of the 2013-'14 Martin Luther King High School Boys' Basketball Team.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you, Council President. I offer one bill and I ask to be heard on the bill after its introduction.

  • An ordinance amending Title 19 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Finances, Taxes and Collections," to provide for automatic transfer of delinquent taxes and fees to a qualified third party law firm or collection agency.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee, and the Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you very much, Council President. Over a year ago, I think it was, the news reported that the City was owed delinquent taxes and fees just for property, related property, in an amount over a half a billion dollars, and that was alarming to everyone in this Council body. I'm sure it was equally alarming to the Administration. And I'd like to recognize my colleagues and in particular the six freshmen under the leadership of Councilman Bobby Henon who took aggressive action in trying to deal with delinquent taxes and fees.

    We had a hearing, Council President, on Monday under the Appropriations Committee under the leadership of Councilman Wilson Goode, Jr. that looked at what was going on since that time in the collection of these delinquent taxes and fees. The good news is great work is being done by Clarena Tolson and she's doing a wonderful job in collecting taxes now that are owed, but still these delinquent taxes remain uncollected in its overwhelming majority. Five hundred thirty-three million dollars in taxes were owed and only 18.8 million was collected. There's still $514.2 million owed.

    The issue is that if the taxes are uncollectible and the people are poor, then these should be resolved, but of it, experts have estimated that there is $150 million or more in collectible taxes, many of them coming from speculators who purchase land and in their business plan intentionally do not pay the taxes, expecting that if they sell the property, they'll pay their taxes at that time.

    While the problem may be addressed, it has to be addressed more definitively and, more importantly, the problem, the source of the problem, has to be addressed.

    What I offer to my colleagues for a consideration of this body, as no decision here is made by any individual and everyone here has input, is that we amend the ordinance so that when a tax delinquency property, wage tax, whatever, is delinquent for more than one year and in that time there has not been worked out a payment plan, a waiver or something with the Department of Revenue, that that delinquency automatically be transferred to a third-party collector. And one of the problems we found based on the hearing is that when that does not happen, there's uncertainty and debt that is not collected for six, ten, 15 years remains uncollected, getting more uncollectible each year.

    What I'm also looking for is something definitive, as the expert testimony has been that there needs to be firmness and discipline in this procedure and, that is, that if the taxes or delinquencies are not collected within a year, that a report of those delinquencies and non-collected delinquencies, that they be provided to the City Controller and that the City Controller have the option of requesting to transfer those files to the Controller's Office to be sent to his third-party collectors automatically, and therefore, in this process, the City will have to report uncollected delinquencies that are over a year old and whether or not within 30 days the City has been able to resolve them or come into a payment plan.

    I hope that will address the fundamental problem, Council President. And in addition, as our friends in Harrisburg know, as we are seeking funding from Harrisburg, the issue that arises is the City of Philadelphia has a half billion dollars in uncollected taxes, why should we give the City more money. That is hurtful to our city. That is not a true number, but I will have to agree that until we address the issue of what we're doing to collect these outstanding amounts of money, they have an argument to make.

    I hope we will discuss this, Council President, and come to an agreement on how we can help our city come into stronger financial health.

    Thank you very much.

  • Thank you very much, Councilman.

    That concludes our introduction of bills and resolutions, and we now move into reports from committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco for a report from the Committee on Finance.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The Committee on Finance reports out four bills with a favorable recommendation.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, the Committee on Finance, to which was referred Bill No. 130587, entitled "An ordinance amending Section 19-201 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'City Depositories,' by authorizing the City Treasurer to deposit funds in U.S. Bank"; and

    Bill No. 140072, entitled "An ordinance authorizing and approving the execution and delivery of a Service Agreement between the City of Philadelphia and the Municipal Authority relating to the financing of the acquisition from the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development of an approximately fifteen-acre tract of land in the City bounded by 46th Street, Market Street, Haverford Avenue, and 48th Street, together with the improvements thereon, and the making of certain capital improvements to such land and improvements, including the development of a new Police Department headquarters and related parking accommodations"; and

    Bill No. 140073, entitled "An ordinance authorizing The Philadelphia Municipal Authority, incorporated pursuant to the Municipality Authorities Act (as amended from time to time) to undertake any project that the Authority is specifically authorized to undertake from time to time by ordinance of the City Council"; and

    Bill No. 140099, entitled "An ordinance constituting the Seventh Supplemental Ordinance to the Restated General Water and Wastewater Revenue Bond Ordinance of 1989, as supplemented; authorizing the Bond Committee to issue and sell one or more series or subseries of tax-exempt or taxable water and wastewater revenue bonds," respectfully reports it has considered and amended the same and returns the attached bills to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • I move that the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bills No. 130587, 140072, 140073, and 140099.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended this day so as to permit reading of Bills No. 130587, 140072, 140073, and 140099.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

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

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

    As there are no additional bills on the First Reading Calendar today, the Chair now 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. 120485, 130451, 130656, 140004, 140007, 140008, 140095, and 140096. All other resolutions and bills are being held.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Before considering these bills and resolutions on the Final Passage Calendar, we will have our public comment session.

    If there is anyone here who is interested in testifying on a bill or a resolution that's on the Final Passage Calendar today, if you haven't already done so, I'd ask that you please sign up to the table to my left. If you have, your name will be called. You will come to the middle of the Council Chambers. There is a podium. There is a device on that podium with a light. When that light turns green, it is your time to speak. When it turns yellow, you have 30 seconds to conclude your remarks. When it turns red, we ask that you please conclude your remarks and adhere to those guidelines. You will be given three minutes to speak as it relates to your public comment today.

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

  • Dr. Walter Tsou, commenting on Bill Nos. 140095 and 140096.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning, President Clarke and members of Council. My name is Dr. Walter Tsou. I currently serve as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and formerly served as Health Commissioner for Philadelphia during the early years when this city debated the restricting smoking in public places.

    In my brief testimony I want to express my strong support of Bills 140095 and 140096, which will limit the use of e-cigarettes in public places and restrict the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. As noted during testimony before the Committee on Public Health and Safety, e-cigarettes are not subject to FDA or federal review, a crucial error by the e-cigarette industry, in my opinion. The FDA notes on their website that in limited lab testing of e-cigarettes, they, quote, "found significant quality issues that indicate the quality control processes used to manufacture these products are substandard or non-existent. FDA found that cartridges labeled as containing no nicotine actually contain nicotine and that three different electronic cigarette cartridges with the same label emitted a markedly different amount of nicotine in each puff," end quote. This lack of quality control should disturb any e-cigarette user, but especially their potential sale to innocent minors.

    The e-cigarette industry has made the availability of nicotine cartridges in hundreds of different flavors. The fruity flavors are the most popular and can be deceptively attractive to minors. The sale of the nicotine cartridges are also unregulated, and this week in a New York Times article it was highlighted that one can even buy barrels of liquid nicotine to refill these cartridges. The nicotine can be readily absorbed not just by mouth, but through the skin and that even a diluted teaspoon of nicotine could be fatal to a small child. Already poison control centers are seeing a doubling of calls.

    In preparation for this testimony, I puffed Blu, one of the popular e-cigarettes in the market. As President Clinton famously said, I did not inhale. Puffing an e-cigarette gives a vapor that looks indistinguishable from smoke. To allow such vaping would effectively nullify the appearance of our highly successful smoke-free regulations by forcing restaurant and building owners to differentiate between banned smoke and identical-appearing vaping. Inhalation of the vapor carries not only the noticeable flavors added to the nicotine cartridge, but additives which are unknown and unregulated. The, quote, "prohibition of e-cigarettes in public places" message that our peer cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles have adopted is that public spaces are for clean air and nothing else.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you so much, Commissioner.

  • Jenny Drumgoole, commenting on 140004.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Most people call me Soxx. I'm commenting on 140004 and talking about bike racks and benches, and that's -- I'm in favor of that. I don't understand the conduit and retractable bollards and all of that kind of stuff, but you know what I do understand? Happy Trash Day and the trash collectors. I know I've talked to all of you about Happy Trash Day before, where my friends and I throw surprise parties for the trash collectors. We bring out balloons and streamers and cupcakes and coffees and things like that. And I've even talked to some of you guys about having a citywide Happy Trash Day. Councilman Squilla and Councilman Oh came to a Happy Trash Day.

    And then I need to give a special shout-out to Councilman Henon, who did #undercoverCouncilman, right? Yes. And he spent a day with the sanitation workers. So I'm sure that you saw how hard they work.

    Now, I'm guessing that "undercover Councilman" is based on the show Undercover Boss. You guys seen that show? It's a reality show where really rich bosses of corporations go in disguise to their companies and they work with their employees. What happens, though, they go in and they find out that their employees are overworked and underpaid, and what they do at the end is they pick three or four of them and they give them some sort of prize, like you can take -- here's some money to take some classes or here's a car. And in the end, nothing really changes for them, and the rest of the people who work at the company, nothing changes for them as well.

    So that got me thinking. Is Happy Trash Day like that, where it's just a one-day party for the sanitation collectors where nothing really changes? And I think it might be, because I did notice when I started doing Happy Trash Day and I know that all of you guys know this, but you know that the sanitation workers haven't had a contract or a raise in five years. And I love that you all came out and are pushing the Mayor to move forward and get their contract resolved.

    But there's one other thing. You might not know this, but I make arts and crafts and I have my Happy Trash Day arts and crafts here in an art show here in Philadelphia until the end of the month, and people have been coming in, and they were like, Oh, I had no idea this is going on with the sanitation workers, what can I do? So I decided that for the closing party, which is this Saturday, the sanitation workers are coming in and I've been sending lots of e-mails and they're all coming in and they're taking over the art show. There are three artists, me, there's my friend who has a giant bike-powered popcorn maker, and then another friend who has made a giant tomato cannon that you can shoot at the wall. So the trash collectors are coming in and taking it over and hopefully spreading the word about what they've been dealing with with the City. So I am here to invite all of you guys too.

    So our red light is on. And just one last thing. There can't be a Happy Trash Day until the sanitation workers have their contract.

    So thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Gregory Conley, commenting on 140096.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • First off, Happy Trash Day.

    Distinguished members of the Philadelphia City Council, my name is Gregory Conley. I am an ex-smoker of three and a half years, thanks to vapor products commonly referred to as electronic cigarettes, and I am here today as a volunteer for the non-profit advocacy and research group, the National Vapers Club, and I am here to strongly urge you to vote no on Councilman Greenlee's bill to deceptively and dishonestly redefine Philadelphia and Pennsylvania's definition of smoking to include the use of smoke-free, tobacco-free, and often nicotine-free electronic cigarettes.

    Hundreds of studies have been conducted on e-cigarette vapor, and not a single study has ever found any harmful level of any chemical produced in the vapor of an electronic cigarette. Let me repeat this. No harmful level of any chemical has ever been found in a cigarette vapor. In fact, a Drexel University toxicologist, Dr. Igor Burstyn, examined the subject and found no evidence that e-cigarette vapor poses even a remote risk of risk to bystanders.

    So why are we here today? I'm not sure, and judging by today's Philadelphia Inquirer, neither does their Editorial Board, as they correctly called this bill misguided moralism.

    This is not only misguided moralism, but it is dishonest, misleading, and harmful moralism.

    The sponsor and supporters of this bill talk about children. If this is about children, why are we not providing a way for adult-only establishments like bars to allow e-cigarette use? I am an ex-smoker, and if myself and Philadelphia e-cigarette users want to have a beer and host a support group for smokers who are looking to quit with e-cigarettes, we are forced by this law to go into one of the few remaining Philadelphia bars that still allows people to smoke. That is like sending an alcoholic into a winery for an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

    Let me also point out that this ordinance, like other ordinances across the country, if enacted, will never be enforced. Please, bring your eyes to me for just one moment.

    Now, did I just use my electronic cigarette or did I simply hold a metal object up to my lip to simulate using one, which would not be illegal under this act? You have no hope of enforcing this bill. So you are just passing something for the sake of passing it.

    Councilman Greenlee, the Philadelphia Commissioner of Health, and Mayor Nutter are shamelessly deceiving the public and trying to get you to redefine smoking to include the use of a smoke-free product. I strongly encourage you to reject this senseless bill and instead work to protect public health.

    Thank you very much.

  • Thank you for your testimony, sir.

  • Aaron Young, commenting on 140096.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning -- good afternoon.

  • Hi. My name is Aaron Young. I was a smoker for 11 years, a pack a day. I switched to e-cigarettes in October 2012. I haven't used cigarettes since. This bill would force me to go back into smoky bars if I want to go out for a drink. I don't understand why City Council would want to hate smokers so much to pass bills that would vilify smokers even after they've stopped being smokers. Not to mention it's unenforceable. You can't tell if I'm using my e-cigarette.

    So how does City Council expect to enforce this? How are you going to issue a citation to someone that you can't tell if they're using the device?

    On top of that, this bill may very well be preempted by the Pennsylvania Indoor Clean Air Act, and I'm sure many people are lining up to sue the Council on this matter if it passes.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you for your testimony.

  • Aras Azoulas, commenting on 140096.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Hello. My name is Aras Azoulas. I'm a business owner, a Pennsylvania taxpayer. I own a company that makes the liquid used in electronic cigarettes. Again, like the others have said, it's an unenforceable law. You're basically passing something just to pass something, to say you did something.

    You can't tell. You can't tell what I did just there.

    As far as it goes, this is for the Pennsylvania Indoor Clean Air Act. It's been proven that propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, which are the liquids in an e-cigarette, are harmless. They're actually used in medications. They're used in asthma inhalers. They're used in fog machines. So if you're going to ban indoor vaping, you may as well ban indoor fog machines at concerts and clubs, because it's the same exact vapor that's being put out.

    Again, to agree, sending a smoker out to a smoking section or a bar is like sending an Alcoholics Anonymous member out to a bar for a meeting. You're tempting them to do something that is worse for them.

    The FDA study is showing that the doctor mentioned earlier the inconsistencies in the cartridges are very outdated and also from Chinese-manufactured cartridges that was also obviously unregulated. In this country, especially with my company, I've hired 18 full-time members. I pay for their health insurance. We're very consistent with the product we make. It's very safe. It's very clean. You can check on our website, see what kind of facility we run. We are self-regulating, as I think business owners in this city should self-regulate what they allow on their own property. It's harmless. It has nothing to do with the Indoor Clean Air Act.

    I guess that's all I have to say.

  • Thank you, sir, for your testimony.

  • (Applause.)

  • Suzanne Parratt, commenting on 140096.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Hello, Council. Thank you for having me. I'm just here to say that e-cigarettes do save lives. I smoked a pack a day for 13 years. April 11th of 2013 is my quit date. So I am coming up on my one-year mark of being smoke-free. It's the only thing that has worked since I've tried to quit over the years, and I've become involved in the very supportive vape community.

    The claims that e-cigarettes are dangerous to users and those around them are baseless, and, Council, I find it no coincidence that organizations such as the American Lung Association, who actively lobbied for Pfizer, have spoken against e-cigarette usage. Pfizer is the maker of Chantix, an FDA-approved medication used for smoking cessation. Chantix is responsible for 500 suicides and counting. E-cigarettes are responsible for zero.

    We simply cannot trust these healthcare profiteering organizations, and I refuse to fall for the alarmist scare tactics used by the American Lung Association and its pharmaceutical donors. They do not care about the lives of smokers. There's no money to be made off of healthy people. There is a financial incentive to keep people smoking.

    My life, the lives of my friends, family, and the lives of all e-cigarette users are more valuable than the profits of big tobacco and big pharmaceutical, and I will consider the passage of this bill a vote for profit over people.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you for your testimony.

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

  • Thank you very much, Mr. Decker.

    That concludes our public comment session. We will now move to our Calendar.

    Mr. Decker, can you please read the title of 120485.

  • An ordinance amending Title 19 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Finance, Taxes and Collections," by providing for the inclusion of notices regarding Housing Inspection License requirements in certain City tax and utility bills.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that Bill No. 120485 be placed on the Suspension Calendar.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded that Bill No. 120485 be placed on the Suspension Calendar.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Bill 120485 will be on the Suspension Calendar.

    Mr. Decker, 130451.

  • An ordinance amending Section 19-1806 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Authorization of Realty Use and Occupancy Tax," including by providing for special tax provisions for manufacturers.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you again, Mr. President. I move that Bill No. 130451 also be placed on the Suspension Calendar.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Bill No. 130451 will be on the Suspension Calendar.

    Mr. Decker, please read the title of 130656.

  • An ordinance amending Title 14 of The Philadelphia Code by further providing for revised sign controls and making technical changes, all under certain terms and conditions; and amending Chapter 9-600 by adjusting the licensing fees for commercial outdoor advertising signs and information required in the annual inventory of signs; and amending Chapter 19-3400 by revising the excise tax on outdoor advertising signs.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you again, Mr. President. Lastly, I move that Bill No. 130656 be placed on the Suspension Calendar.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Bill No. 130656 is on the Suspension Calendar.

    Mr. Decker, 140004.

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

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

    Mr. Decker, call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

  • Councilman O'Brien.

  • Councilman O'Neill.

  • Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Councilman Squilla.

  • Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Council President Clarke.

  • Aye.

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

    Mr. Decker, 140007.

  • An ordinance authorizing the revision of lines and grades on a portion of City Plan No. 307 by relocating the curblines of Cuthbert Street, from Eighteenth Street to Nineteenth Street, thereby increasing the cartway width of said Cuthbert Street, and by regrading Eighteenth Street from John F. Kennedy Boulevard to Arch Street, and regrading Cuthbert Street from Eighteenth Street to Nineteenth Street, thereby raising said Eighteenth Street and Cuthbert Street.

  • Before calling the roll, let the record reflect that the vote on 004 was 15-0. Councilman Goode is absent today.

    Now 140007. This bill has been read on two separate days. The question is shall the bill pass finally.

    Mr. Decker, please call the roll on that bill.

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

    Mr. Decker, 140008.

  • An ordinance authorizing Liberty Property 18th and Arch to construct, use and maintain, an underground pedestrian tunnel crossing the Unit block of 18th Street and extending the existing underground transit concourse westward between 18th Street and an underground utility vault.

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

    Mr. Decker, call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

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

    Mr. Decker, please call the title of 140095.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 10-600 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Public Places-Prohibited Conduct," by adding a new Section to prohibit the use of Electronic Smoking Devices in public places and in the workplace.

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

    Mr. Decker, call the roll.

  • Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Councilman Greenlee.

  • Councilman Johnson.

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

    Mr. Decker, 140096.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 9-600 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Service and Other Businesses," by clarifying penalties for violations of Section 9-622, entitled "Cigarettes and Tobacco Products," and by adding a new section to prohibit sales of electronic smoking devices and unapproved nicotine delivery products to minors.

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

    Mr. Decker, call the roll.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I'll be brief. First of all, I want to thank the members of Council for supporting the previous bill, 140095, to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. I think that was a very sensible bill that even the tobacco industry couldn't figure out how to oppose it.

    But what you've heard or what you've gotten over the last week or two, including ads on the radio and what you heard today, I believe, with all due respect, have had a lot of misstatements and hyperbole. I just want to state a few facts before we vote on this bill.

    Fact: Electronic cigarettes are a totally unregulated product. We are proposing reasonable regulations, not a ban, to protect the health of people. We do not know exactly what ingredients or the level of ingredients that are in a lot of these products. And when we talk about these products, we're not talking about just simply what was shown today. We are talking about all kind of different products, as somebody once described as the Wild Wild West products. Many of them look like cigarettes, and most of them do emit vapor. That was a good show that was put on here, but most of them, even the editorial in the Inquirer today, the picture that accompanied it showed someone emitting vapor. We don't know what's in all that vapor, despite what was said today.

    And I want to point out that 1.5 million people are in the City; 1.4 million do not use electronic cigarettes. I think we have to base our decisions on the majority of that 1.4.

    Another fact: The three largest cities in the United States - New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago - and the entire State of New Jersey, among others, have passed similar indoor use regulations.

    Fact: Supporters of this bill include the University of Pennsylvania Lung Center, the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University, the Philadelphia County Medical Society, Independence Blue Cross, health professionals at Temple University, and our present Health Commissioner, Dr. Don Schwarz, and as you heard today, our past Health Commissioner, Dr. Walter Tsou, I think people and organizations that you would call certainly mainstream in the health industry.

    Fact: If people want to use them for smoking cessation to quit smoking, please go right ahead. We hope it helps. We hope it works. Although there have been no studies; in fact, a study just came out the other day, that showed there are no direct correlation between electronic cigarettes and quitting smoking. But, again, if that makes people comfortable, if they think it works for them, please do it, but do it in a safe manner that does not affect other people.

    And, finally, fact: The big tobacco companies are the impetus behind the opposition to most of this bill. They have the lobbyists working the halls. And nothing against the lobbyists. They're doing their jobs representing their clients. The tobacco companies funded the radio ads that we've been hearing the last few days. They produce a lot of the electronic cigarettes. They market them. It's their products. They're making money off of them.

    Do I have to remind people of the history, the history that for decades tobacco companies lied, lied, lied to the public about the effects of cigarettes, about the effects of thirdhand smoke -- secondhand smoke, probably thirdhand too. Secondhand smoke of cigarettes. So now they're saying, Trust us, this product is safe, we would not harm you. Really, Mr. President? Really? Do we trust them? I'm sorry. I don't.

    Again, this is a reasonable bill that provides reasonable regulations in the City of Philadelphia, and I respectfully ask all Councilmembers to support it.

    Thank you very much, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    We will start over again. 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 15; 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 honoring the students and teachers of Academy at Palumbo High School in South Philadelphia for their achievements in winning one of five prizes in Samsung's nationwide Solve for Tomorrow contest which includes $140,000 in new technology for their school, introduced by Councilman Kenney.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • 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 recognizing and honoring Angel Luis Lozada on the occasion of his retirement from WPVI after a long and distinguished career in journalism, introduced by Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution recognizing and honoring the achievements of the 2013-'14 Martin Luther King High School Boys' Basketball Team, 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.

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

  • Thank you very much.

    It is time for speeches on behalf of the minority.

  • (No response.)

  • There being none, we will move to the majority, and the Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Last week we spoke about the looming negotiations between SEPTA and the TWU SEPTA workers. You and 14 other members -- 13 other members of this body signed on to a letter urging arbitration for this matter to avoid a strike.

    Today I rise to thank our colleagues at the state level, particularly represented by Representative Jordan Harris today, who equally put together a letter urging for that arbitration to avoid a strike, and 28 members, 28 members joined us in urging the talks between SEPTA and TWU. Particularly I want to thank you, Mr. President, because this body has begun working with state House members in an unprecedented manner, and those kinds of conversations have resulted in these kinds of collaboration. I want to thank you on behalf of all of the ridership that takes this to work, to play, to school in an effort to avoid a work stoppage. And hopefully they've heard us and urge them to do the right thing and continue to talk and avoid a work stoppage. I want to thank you and our guest today, State Representative Jordan Harris.

    Thank you very much.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Two items. First, yesterday there was a tragic day in Boston. The City of Boston and the Boston Fire Department lost two of its members fighting a nine-alarm blaze on Beacon Street in the City of Boston. I know I speak for you and for all here in the room and for the entire City as we send our love and condolences to the families of Lieutenant Edward Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy. They certainly made the ultimate sacrifice for their citizens, as our folks put their lives on the lines every day both in the Police and Fire Department. So I wanted to just mention that. It was a very tragic day for the City of Boston.

    Tuesday I had the privilege to meet with the Criminal Justice Advisory Board, and as you know, today I've held Bill No. 140001-A. Everyone I've talked to regarding the non-custodial arrests of small amounts of marijuana possession have all agreed with me. The Police Department, the District Attorney's Office, the Courts, everyone thinks that arresting 4,200 of our citizens, 83 percent of whom are African American, and with 76 percent of our pedestrian stops by the Police stopping African Americans in our city, that there is a large amount of inequity in how we enforce the law relative to the possession of marijuana. No one is suggesting that we're urging people to smoke marijuana, but I am simply saying that based on the loss of police services on our street of 17,000 hours a year to handcuff, photograph, fingerprint, lock up, and process 4,200 of our citizens for the de minimis action of having under an ounce of marijuana on their possession, everyone agrees that this is a dumb thing to do and it should be stopped.

    The Mayor has the ability to issue an Executive Order to order the Police Department to cease mandatory custodial arrests of marijuana possession, to take the contraband off of the person, to take their information and pass it on to both the Court and the District Attorney so an appropriate summons process could be conducted.

    I was going to run this bill today, but I decided based on the request from Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper, who is the Chairperson of the Criminal Justice Advisory Board and the Supervising Judge of the Common Pleas Court, who I find to be an honorable, decent, intelligent, forthright individual, I decided not to run the bill. She asked for the opportunity to put together a subcommittee that would try to get this done administratively. And I respect her request and will follow that request.

    But I want to make sure it's very clear for the record that I will not wait forever. This will not be drug out for three, four, six months, a year while young people in our city are disproportionately arrested, put through the traumatic process of an arrest, and then given an arrest record that they need to carry with them while they try to find employment and keep their lives on the straight and narrow. It's not fair, and it should stop. It has stopped in many cities in our country, and even in Pennsylvania, which is not exactly the most progressive state in the nation on many social issues and crime issues, Pittsburgh has not been arresting people for years. Montgomery County, Pennsylvania has not been arresting people for quite some time. Why is it that Philadelphia finds itself in a position to make this obvious wrong a correctable issue when everyone in the criminal justice community agrees it's wrong.

    So I'm holding this bill, as you know. I will see what kind of progress we make, but I intend to run the bill at some point in time if it's not resolved, and there's always the option of Federal Court to make sure that the Federal Court intervenes to stop this inequity from continuing. Our young people have enough difficulty as it is keeping straight, getting a job, raising families without having the burden of an additional arrest record for the simple de minimis action of carrying a small amount of marijuana.

    So I thank my colleagues for their support and input. I thank the CJAB for their openness, and I thank Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper for her leadership, and I look forward to having some positive result.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Thank you, Council President. Just a small announcement about an initiative that we're doing in the 2nd Councilmanic District on April the 12th. Myself and partnering with my wife, Dawn Chavous, who is the founder of an organization called Sky Community Partners, as well as the DeSean Jackson Foundation, we will be hosting the Point Breeze 5K Run/Walk and Health Fair bringing awareness to those who have been victims and those who have suffered from the disease of pancreatic cancer. This is a very, very deadly disease that usually when an individual finds out that they are suffering from pancreatic cancer are pretty much at the last minute.

    So we're going to be doing a 5K run/walk raising awareness, but also funds for the DeSean Jackson charitable organization to find a way that we can -- to focus on finding a way on finding a cure to address this deadly disease. It's going to take place on Saturday, April the 12th in the Point Breeze community, leaving from 24th and Wharton at Wharton Square Park. Anyone that's interested in organizing a team to address this benefit, please log on to Facebook, Point Breeze 5K Run/Walk or also get in contact with my office.

    Thank you very much, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman. Very important initiative.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I'm not sure if many people who are sitting here today, aside from the members of this legislative body, understand or know what CCAP stands for. It's the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, and it was created in the late 1880s to weigh in and advise the State Legislature on important issues, and a lot of issues they support and oppose. It is my honor and pleasure to state here today that there was an anti-Work and Family resolution that was withdrawn because of the support of this legislative body in a letter which all members signed on to. It was withdrawn. And what it does, it was supporting state legislation that interferes with the collective bargaining process, and you see that happening all too much these days. People just run to the legislative body to try to circumvent the collective bargaining process. It almost seems like it's a fad. Let's go to the Supreme Court, let's invoke our legislative prerogative or rights. That's wrong. It's 2014.

    We have great labor-management cooperation teams. Everybody is reasonable and smart adults that can sit down and bargain. When you talk about work rules, when you talk about the health and safety of members that belong to a union, that means the principles that we all live by every day and looking to have a respectful retirement, to have healthcare and to go to work with dignity, and that's all anybody asks for. And it's their fundamental right to be represented, and when a body chooses to intervene or take action in that process, I find it quite offensive when, again, we just run to a legislative body or another process or civil service committee. I just think it's wrong.

    So I just want to thank all my colleagues standing with Work and Families of the State of Pennsylvania and this Commonwealth in keeping the sanctity of collective bargaining strong and vibrant. So thank you all.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    And the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. As we continue to deliberate this budget season, after careful consideration following our most recent hearing from the Committee on Education concerning the benefits of early childhood education in our city, we will begin to hold internal meetings with all of you to explore the possibility of introducing legislation that would propose to alter the Charter so that money dedicated each year to Childhood Education Facilities Improvement Fund will come out automatically.

    While dedicating these dollars is but one step, this action certainly would be an improvement to making sure that a full and just education is provided to all of Philadelphia's children.

    We look forward to discussing this possibility and will be in touch with each of your offices for further discussion.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    And that concludes our speeches, and with that, I will call on Councilwoman Reynolds Brown for a motion to adjourn.

  • Yes, Mr. President. Again, I want to seize the opportunity to alert, offer a friendly reminder to colleagues to join us to meet the new head of the Women's Way briefing immediately following City Council across the hall, and following that will be the wonderful reception to celebrate Belmont Mansion.

    I move now that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, April 3rd, 2014.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Thank you all very much. Council is adjourned.

  • (Stated Meeting adjourned at 12:35 p.m.)