Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

  • Good morning, everyone.

  • (Good morning.)

  • The hour has come. It appears we have a quorum. Council is going to come to order. I'd ask all guests and visitors please retire behind the rail. If the members can take their seat, we're going to get started. Thank you very much.

    To give our invocation this morning, the Chair recognizes Father Dennis P. Boyle of Saint Jerome's Church. He is here today as the guest of Councilman Bobby Henon.

    I would ask all members and guests to please rise.

  • (Members and guests rise.)

  • And let us pray.

    Loving provider of all that is good, you have given this city wonders that have called people from all over the world for over 300 years to share in these blessings. We call anew today to bestow upon this gathering of public servants the greatest of all blessings, the wisdom to minister your gifts with dignity, justice, and love for all.

    For over 230 years, men and women have made countless sacrifices to assure our right to gather and express opinions without fear. Calling to mind the blessings provided by you and the sacrifices of others, we ask that you inspire the members of this Council to share freely and with mutual respect the thoughts, concerns, and suggestions of their constituents while remembering the intention of William Penn that Philadelphia be a city where people of many origins may become one family of love.

    With confidence in your love for us, we offer this prayer to you today.

    Amen.

  • Thank you so much, Father.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you very much. Thank you.

    The next order of business is the approval of the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, January 23rd, 2014.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 be approved.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the Journal of January 23rd, 2014 stand approved.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and the Journal shall be approved.

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

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

  • 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.

  • Thank you so much, sir.

    At this time, I would like to dispense with the regular order of business and I would like to welcome and thank everyone who has come down today in this very, very cold weather. I really appreciate the fact that you've come down to see your government in action. We hope that your stay here today is an enjoyable one, so much so that you come back again. So, again, thank you very much for your presence.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who will present a resolution recognizing Francesca Ruscio. Would Ms. Ruscio and those accompanying her please join the Councilman at the podium.

  • Good morning, everyone.

  • (Good morning.)

  • Good morning, everyone.

  • (Good morning.)

  • During last year I had an opportunity to participate with my fellow South Philadelphian colleague Mark Squilla in the annual Columbus Day Parade, and while we were marching down the streets of South Philadelphia, I had an opportunity to meet a very fine young lady representing the City of Philadelphia as Miss Philadelphia, Ms. Francesca Ruscio. And so today I am pleased and honored to stand with my colleagues to present a citation on behalf of the members of City Council and the City of Philadelphia honoring Miss Francesca Ruscio.

    And the citation reads: Whereas, on March the 2nd, 2013, Francesca Ruscio was crowned Miss Philadelphia 2013; and

    Whereas, Francesca Ruscio, a native of Bucks County and a graduate of Central Bucks High School East, has advocated for a number of worthy causes in the Philadelphia area; and

  • Whereas, Ms. Ruscio serves as a city representative for the Miss America Organization, champions polycystic ovarian syndrome awareness, and serves as a local ambassador for the Children's Miracle Network; and

    Whereas, Ms. Ruscio has further demonstrated her commitment to giving back to those in her community who have made the ultimate sacrifice by raising over $22,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project and the Miss Philadelphia Scholarship Organization; and

  • Whereas, an avid golfer and PIAA state champion, Francesca Ruscio organized and hosted the First Annual Miss Philadelphia Golf Classic;

    Whereas, Ms. Ruscio's strong sense of community and leadership motivated her to complete over 360 hours of community service; and

  • Whereas, Francesca Ruscio was also dedicated to her education, receiving a $10,000 scholarship to Temple University to pursue a degree in Communications, with the ultimate goal of becoming a broadcast meteorologist; and

  • Whereas, the City of Philadelphia should recognize young people like Francesca Ruscio who lead by example and demonstrate that hard work and determination can make anything possible; now therefore

  • I like that crown too. It's pretty sharp. I just wanted to let you know that.

    Heavy is the head that wear the crown, right, Mr. President?

  • That's an understatement, sir.

  • Therefore resolved, by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that we hereby honor, recognize, and commend Ms. Francesca Ruscio for her extraordinary leadership, service, and activism as Miss Philadelphia 2013.

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

    On behalf of the members of City Council, we just want to say continue the great work and continue to keep representing the City of Philadelphia. Thank you very much.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Ms. Ruscio for remarks.

  • Well, I'm a person of many words and I'm quite speechless right now, and I'm starting to gain the feeling back in my feet due to how cold it is outside.

    But it is such a huge honor to be here, and I have two more months of being your representative as Miss Philadelphia 2013, and it's been a wonderful year, and I truly find endless joy in putting others before myself and just coming together with wonderful people such as yourselves who really represent the City. It's amazing.

    So thank you so much, and we're going to welcome our new Miss Philadelphia 2014 with love, kindness, and humility. So with Philly love, I'm signing off.

    Thank you so much.

  • (Applause.)

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you, and congratulations.

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown, who will present a resolution honoring the African American Children's Book Project. Would Vanesse Lloyd Sgambati and those accompanying her please join the Councilwoman at the podium.

  • Thank you, Mr. President.

  • The African American Children's Book Project and book experience is one of my favorite activities of the year, in that it symbolizes everything that I love, books and reading, children and books, and reading and children. And I think Maya Angelou captures the value of reading the best when I read through a number of quotes, if you would. Maya Angelou said, Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his or her deep and continuing needs, it's good for them.

    And so with that, it's a wonderful pleasure to bring to you once again Vanesse Lloyd Sgambati honoring the African American Children's Book Project on the occasion of the 22nd Annual African American Children's Book Fair.

    Whereas, in 1926, noted historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be Negro History Week; and

    Whereas, the second week in February was chosen because of the birthdays of both President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Little known history fact.

    Whereas, the first Black History Month celebration occurred at Kent State in February 1970, and in 1976, the federal government acknowledged the expansion of Black History Week to Black History Month; and

  • Whereas, during early American history, African Americans were not allowed to learn to read and have books; and

    Whereas, the importance of book fairs cannot be understated. For twenty-two years, the African American Children's Book Fair has enhanced multi-culturalism in our City utilizing the joy of reading as a tool;

  • Whereas, Vanesse Lloyd Sgambati created the book fair because she believes books open up a world of opportunity for children, and after twenty-two years, the African American Children's Book Fair is one of the oldest, largest single day events for children's books in the country; and

    Whereas, one of the most important reasons to encourage reading in our children is a study shows that the more our youth read, the more likely they are to make positive lifestyle decisions as they grow older; and

    Whereas, strictly judging by the attendance, the fair is a tremendous success, as well over 4,500 people attended the fair in past years; and

  • Whereas, rich or poor, no one leaves empty-handed, as the books themselves are priced at a level where they are more affordable, and posters, bookmarkers, and raffle books are distributed free of charge to attendees; and

    Whereas, one of the esteemed attendees will be Philadelphia born and educated Dr. Marion Lane. Dr. Lane is a retired public school educator. She is the author of several books, including Patriots of African Descent in the Revolutionary War: Part 1, which is a fictional account, as told by a family historian to his great-grandson about their family's service as African Americans during the Revolutionary War; and

    Whereas, another esteemed attendee will be Kathleen M. Wainwright. Kathleen Wainwright is a dedicated teacher in the School District of Philadelphia and a graduate of Temple University and West Chester University. She is the author of Summer in the City;

  • And whereas, an additional attendee of the book fair will be Nancy Devard, who is a Philadelphia born and educated award-winning American Library Association Coretta Scott King winning author who has authored several books, including, quote, "The Secret Olivia Told Me," end of quote; and

    Whereas, the fair is also lucky to host terrific sponsors and partners, including NBC 10 Philadelphia Reading Circle, the PECO Literary Salon, McDonald's, Health Partners Plan, Health Partners Foundation, Comcast Educators, and Parents Book Giveaway Program, all who have been instrumental in keeping the literary flames ablaze for our children in the City of Philadelphia through tireless contributions to the African American Children's Book Project; and

    Whereas, the 22nd Annual African American Book Fair will be held free of charge on Saturday, February 1st from one to three p.m. at the gymnasium of the Community College of Philadelphia located at 17th and Spring Garden Streets; now, therefore

  • Be it resolved, by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that we hereby honor the African American Children's Book Project on the occasion of the 22nd Annual African American Children's Book Fair.

    Further resolved, that an engrossed copy of this resolution be presented to Vanesse Lloyd Sgambati, founder of the African American Children's Book Project, and all of those who work with her for their hard work and efforts in promoting children's literacy, as evidence of the sincere sentiments of this legislative body.

    Introduced by myself and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, Councilman Jones, and Councilwoman Blackwell and supported, of course, by all members of Philadelphia City Council. We salute Vanesse Lloyd Sgambati for this truly extraordinary experience for children across the City. If you've never been there, you're missing out. It's a wonderful treat. Let's congratulate this effort.

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Ms. Sgambati for remarks.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, members of Council, especially those who are present. I have a connection with everybody up on this stage that goes beyond their political duties. Curtis Jones is my Councilperson. Give it up to him. Jannie Blackwell is a dear friend, and Kenyatta Johnson, I can't express my appreciation, who came on board as a sponsor to help us defray some of our costs, and I truly appreciate him and his team, Tiphanie White and Chris Sample, to help us continue our mission.

    I am not going to hog the mic, because that is my style now, but I want to give these three people behind me who are local Philadelphia authors who have gotten a lot of -- and illustrator who have gotten a lot of attention with their book on the national level.

    Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown said you must come out. We give away a thousand books, a thousand brand new books of our guests, authors, and illustrators, promotional materials. We give away books to educators to leave that room with books to use in their classroom. Our mission is about getting people to read, but it's also encouraging people to enjoy reading and taking books into their home, because a book does open up a world of opportunities. And, once again, I see Melanie Lassiter here. She came to me three years ago and enabled us to have the PECO Literary Salon this year, which we'll have a cartoonist, we'll give away books, and someone who wrote a book on crocheting, who will instruct the children on crocheting, and they get a book. And I can't express my great appreciation to people like her, Lynette Brown-Sow, people like Comcast, who are all a part of making this a special, special day.

    Thank you. And I pass the mic to Nancy Devard and Kathleen Wainwright, who is an educator, who brought her students.

  • Hello. Good morning. I want to say thank you to Councilwoman Brown and Councilwoman Blackwell, Councilperson Jones, Councilman Jones, and Kenyatta Johnson. Thank you very much, and all of the other members of City Council for sponsoring this fair.

    As an illustrator, I generally don't have the opportunity to make a location specific. Usually if I'm illustrating something, I have to make a city general. I'm lucky that I was able to work with Kathleen and make this book specifically about Philadelphia and in particular West Philadelphia. So the perspective of the book is about a bunch of children in West Philadelphia who are just having a wonderful summertime in the City, and I'm so thankful for Kathleen for picking me and allowing me to do this book for her.

    Thank you very much.

  • (Applause.)

  • Good morning, everyone. I would like to thank Councilwoman Reynolds Brown for inviting me to be here today and everyone else on the Council as well. I am Kathleen Wainwright and a proud teacher in the School District of Philadelphia. I am here with three of my students from Overbrook Educational Center. They were with me here today. Because I wrote this book, I am a super hero in the classroom.

    I am just honored to have an opportunity to share my story, not with just my students but with all of the students in Philadelphia and really across the world. We've had book sales all over. So I am loving this experience and the journey that this book has taken me on. I have a new book coming out later this spring, and I am honored to be able to participate in the African American Children's Book Fair. In the past, I have gone to buy books, and now I get to share my story with the people who attend.

    So thank you, and have a good day.

  • (Applause.)

  • I would like to thank the Council for this honor and in particular Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell. They have been very supportive of my mission of informing children that one-tenth of Washington's Army was composed of men of color. And my book fortunately was -- a grant was given by the Daughters of the American Revolution, which was matched by my sorority by $10,000, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, to place the book in all of the school libraries in the Philadelphia area. That includes the public schools, the non-public schools, and the charter schools.

    Thank you very much.

  • (Applause.)

  • The name of the book is Patriots of African Descent in the Revolutionary War. Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • And you all have a copy of the book on your desk.

  • Thank you.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

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

    Mr. Decker, would you please read those messages.

  • There are no messages from the Mayor today, Mr. President.

  • Thank you. Do you have any additional messages?

  • I have none, Mr. President.

  • Thank you so much.

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

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one bill and two privileged resolutions that I'd like to be heard today.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 19-1800 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "School Tax Authorization," by providing for a temporary tax amnesty program pertaining to the Net Income Tax authorized by this Chapter.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution authorizing the Committee on Public Property and Public Works to hold public hearings to investigate the current condition and status of all firehouses and police district buildings after multiple reports of unsafe and unhealthy conditions.

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

  • And a privileged resolution honoring the life and achievements of Thomas J. Gola, a life-long Philadelphian, former City Controller and a Philadelphia basketball hero and legend.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

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

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

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

  • An ordinance amending Title 10 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Regulation of Individual Conduct and Activity," by allowing the granting of permanent licenses for guide dogs for the blind, handicapped persons, or government-owned dogs used for law enforcement.

  • 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 Eighteenth and Twenty-Eighth Wards of the City of Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

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

  • Thank you, 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 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 Springfield Avenue (extended), 58th Street, Lindbergh Boulevard, 60th Street, Elmwood Avenue, 77th Street (extended), and Cobbs Creek.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have one non-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 Seventh, Nineteenth, Thirty-First, Thirty-Third and Thirty-Seventh Wards of the City of Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I introduce one bill on your behalf co-sponsored by all members of City Council.

  • Thank you so much, Councilman.

  • An ordinance amending Title 20 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Officers and Employees," including Chapter 20-600, entitled "Standards of Conduct and Ethics," by prohibiting certain gifts, adding and modifying certain definitions, establishing penalties and making technical amendments.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Brien.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have one bill for introduction today, and after the Clerk reads the title of the bill, I would like to be recognized for brief remarks.

  • An ordinance amending Title 4 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "The Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code," by amending Subcode F (The Philadelphia Fire Code), by adding certain provisions related to fire safety and prevention and inventory of vacant building or structures; by adding certain provisions related to databases and website information of vacant properties; by adding certain provisions related to the creation, powers, and duties of a vacant property task force; by adding certain enforcement powers; and other related items.

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

    At this time, the Chair recognizes Councilman O'Brien.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Fires at large vacant buildings are killers in more ways than one. Not only do these blazes cause more firefighter injuries than any other property classification, they also damage nearby homes and businesses and destroy the fabric of the community.

    Whether the buildings are abandoned or vacant, more than 70 percent of fires occurring in them are incendiary and suspicious. They're targets for kids, vandals, drug users, and the homeless. Abandoned large buildings put firefighters at extra risk. Stripped of wiring, pipes and other components for scrap, they often contain open shafts or pits, becoming mantraps, allowing fires to spread rapidly.

    On April 9th, 2012 at 3:13 a.m., a fire broke out in an abandoned six-story hosiery warehouse at York and Jasper Streets. The warehouse covered more than half a block. The Philadelphia Fire Department pulled five alarms, and the fire was placed under control after a little more than two hours. Twenty-nine minutes after the fire started, four firefighters battling an extension of flames into an adjoining furniture business became trapped in a collapse. Lieutenant Robert Neary, 60, and Firefighter Daniel Sweeney, age 25, both of the Fire Department's Ladder 10 station, died when a wall collapsed and buried them. The two other firefighters survived, but were injured. Lieutenant Neary's wife, Diane, is here today. Firefighter Dan Sweeney's mom, Miriam, and dad, Captain Dave Sweeney, are here. Also President of Local 22, Joe Schulle, is here and has participated and reviewed this draft.

    Each year an average of 100 firefighters die in the line of duty. To address this problem, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH, started the Firefighters Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program. NIOSH conducts independent investigations of firefighter line-of-duty deaths and issues substantive reports with recommendations.

    The recently released NIOSH report found eight contributing factors to the deaths of Lieutenant Neary and Firefighter Sweeney. One, multi-alarm fire in a vacant, abandoned structure; two, dilapidated building; three, high winds; four, collapsed zone maintenance; five, fire ground communications; six, personal accountability; seven, training on fire ground operations; and finally, eight, situational awareness.

    Today I introduced an ordinance that will take steps to reduce firefighter, other first responder, and community risks, but presented by items one and two. I seek to amend the Philadelphia Fire Code by providing requirements to create a vacant property task force charged with compiling an inventory and database of such properties. It calls for an inspection team with specific responsibilities when evaluating abandoned and vacant buildings, structures, and premises.

    Sadly, I talked with the Administration on numerous occasions over the last year and a half about the troubling fact pattern surrounding the April 2012 fire. I attempted to engage them in a collaborative effort to learn more from that tragedy and make substantive change to save lives and protect our communities. Unfortunately, that request was not responded to.

    The District Attorney's Office currently has a grand jury looking into this matter, and we are all anxious to hear the findings. I'm confident their presentment will be absolutely scathing. I am certain it will be full of meaningful recommendations and challenge us to be better, and I am also certain the Administration missed an opportunity to be proactive.

    I believe this ordinance is a sorely needed and proactive step in the right direction.

    Thank you, Mr. President. Again, I would like to recognize President Schulle and the families of our heroes in the back of the Chamber.

    Thank you very much, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • 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.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one resolution co-sponsored by members Quinones-Sanchez, Bass, Tasco, Jones, and Blackwell. Thank you, Mr. President.

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

  • That will be on the Final Passage Calendar today.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one bill and four resolutions, one co-sponsored by Brown, Johnson, Blackwell, Bass, Sanchez, and Tasco.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 20-300 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Compensation and Benefits," by providing for the salary of the Majority Deputy Whip of Council.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution proclaiming and designating the month of January 2014, as "Poverty in America Awareness Month" in Philadelphia and encouraging citizens to learn about the City's efforts to strategically combat pervasive poverty by focusing effort and resources on the five comprehensive goals of the City's Shared Prosperity Plan.

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

  • And a non-privileged resolution calling upon the Philadelphia Public Health Department to form a Strategic Planning Committee for the purpose of increasing the use of telemedicine options in City health centers and remote healthcare provisions through co-location at public-owned facilities in Philadelphia.

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

  • And a privileged resolution honoring and recognizing Ricardeau Scutt, business owner in the 4th Councilmanic District, for his hard work and success which proves the American Dream is still achievable when immigrants are given an opportunity at success.

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

  • And a privileged resolution authorizing the Committee on Commerce and Economic Development to conduct hearings to examine the minority participation goals and strategies for workforce inclusion by applicants pursuing a casino license in Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

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

  • An ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property, on behalf of the City of Philadelphia to enter into a lease agreement with the Philadelphia Municipal Authority to lease from the City of Philadelphia the premises commonly known as the Chalfont Recreation Center, for further sublease.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property, on behalf of the City of Philadelphia to enter into a lease agreement with the Philadelphia Municipal Authority to lease from the City of Philadelphia the premises commonly known as the Junod Recreation Center, for further sublease.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer one 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-First Ward of the City of Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

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

  • A 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 Eleventh, Twelfth and Thirteenth Wards of the City of Philadelphia.

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

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

  • I just wanted to add that the one resolution is co-sponsored by yourself, Council President, as well as Councilman Mark Squilla, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, and Councilwoman Cindy Bass. Thank you very much, Mr. President.

  • A privileged resolution recognizing 2014 as the "Year of the Veteran in Philadelphia" to highlight and celebrate the accomplishments as well as continue to raise public awareness of issues related to veterans and the ongoing initiatives to serve those who have served.

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

  • And a privileged resolution authorizing City Council to hold public hearings on the state of collections of licenses and permit fees and delinquent real estate taxes owed the City and School District of Philadelphia.

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

    That concludes our introductions of bills and resolutions. We will now get reports from committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones for a report from the Committee of the Whole.

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

  • Thank you, sir.

    Mr. Decker, please read that report.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, the Committee of the Whole, to which was referred Bill No. 130685, entitled "An ordinance amending Title 4 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'The Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code,' amending Subcode A, entitled 'The Philadelphia Administration Code,' by adding a new Chapter on site safety; amending Title 6, entitled 'Health Code,' by increasing penalties and requiring notices for asbestos projects; and amending Title 9 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Regulation of Businesses, Trades and Professions,' by adding conditions for site safety monitor licensing"; and

    Bill No. 130688-A, entitled "An ordinance amending Title 9 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Regulation of Businesses, Trades and Professions,' by adding new rules and obligations pertaining to construction licenses and renewals of those licenses; creating demolition licenses and increasing fines for expediters that falsify information"; and

    Bill No. 130691-A, entitled "An ordinance amending Title 4 of The Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code, by amending Subcode 'A,' (The Philadelphia Administration Code), and Subcode 'B' (The Philadelphia Building Code), and Title 20 entitled 'Officers and Employees,' all of The Philadelphia Code, by adding certain provisions related to construction and demolition, special inspections, contractors, stop work orders, fees, fines, ethical violations and penalties"; and

    Bill No. 130698-A, entitled "An ordinance amending Title 4 of The Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code of The Philadelphia Code by amending Subcode 'A,' (The Philadelphia Administrative Code) by adding new definitions, enforcement powers, a separate permit for demolitions, and training requirements for Licenses and Inspections code officials"; and

    Bill No. 130847-A, entitled "An ordinance amending Title 4 of The Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code by amending Subcode 'A' (The Philadelphia Administration Code), Subcode 'F' (The Philadelphia Fire Code), and Subcode 'PM' (The Philadelphia Property Maintenance Code), all of The Philadelphia Code, by further amending construction and demolition practices, including but not limited to the following: adding new enforcement and inspection powers for the Fire Department at construction and demolition sites, requiring sharing of information amongst the City's departments to ensure compliance with all aspects of the code, establishing worksite public safety requirements, requiring evidence of training compliance by construction and demolition workers and new signage requirements," respectfully reports it has considered the same and returns the attached bills to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • With a special thanks to you, Mr. President, and members of the Demolition Committee, I move that the rules of Council be suspended so to permit first reading this day of Bill Nos. 130685, 130688-A, 130691-A, 130698-A, and 130847-A.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bills No. 130685, 130688-A, 130691-A, 130698-A, and 130847-A.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

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

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman Goode for a report from the Committee on Appropriations.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The Committee on Appropriations reports one bill with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you, sir.

    Mr. Decker, please read that report.

  • The Committee on Appropriations, to which was referred Bill No. 130906, entitled "An ordinance authorizing transfers in appropriations for Fiscal Year 2014 from the Grants Revenue Fund, the Director of Finance - Provision for Other Grants to the General Fund, the District Attorney," respectfully reports it has considered the same and returns the attached bill to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bill No. 130906.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bill No. 130906.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

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

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman Squilla for a report from the Committee of Streets and Services.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The Committee on Streets and Services reports 12 bills with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you, sir.

    Mr. Decker, would you please read that report.

  • The Committee on Streets and Services, to which was referred Bill No. 130909, entitled "An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Kater Street, south side, 7th Street to 6th Street"; and

    Bill No. 130910, entitled "An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Winton Street, north side, 10th Street to 11th Street"; and

    Bill No. 130911, entitled "An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Kimball Street, south side, 7th Street to 6th Street"; and

    Bill No. 130912, entitled "An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Federal Street, both sides, 11th Street to 12th Street"; and

    Bill No. 130913, entitled "An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Cross Street, south side, Dickinson Street to Passyunk Avenue"; and

    Bill No. 130914, entitled "An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Passyunk Avenue, south side, Wharton Street to 9th Street"; and

    Bill No. 130915, entitled "An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Wharton Street, north side, Passyunk Avenue to 9th Street"; and

    Bill No. 130916, entitled "An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on 9th Street, west side, Wharton Street to Passyunk Avenue"; and

    Bill No. 130917, entitled "An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Wharton Street, both sides, 7th Street to 6th Street"; and

    Bill No. 130918, entitled "An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Bainbridge Street, south side, Juniper Street to 13th Street"; and

    Bill No. 130919, entitled "An ordinance establishing a parking regulation on Manton Street, south side, 7th Street to Dead End street"; and

    Bill No. 130951, entitled "An ordinance amending Section 9-204 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Sidewalk Vendors in Center City,' by eliminating previously designated vendor locations in Center City; and by revising and adding to the list of locations that shall not be designated for vending," respectfully reports it has considered the same and returns the attached bills to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit the first reading this day of the 12 bills that were just read into the record.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended this day so as to permit first reading at our next session of Council.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

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

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

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The Committee on Commerce Economic Development reports two bills with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Mr. Decker, please read that report.

  • The Committee on Commerce and Economic Development, to which was referred Bill No. 130744, entitled "An ordinance amending Chapter 17-1300 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Philadelphia 21st Century Minimum Wage and Benefits Standard,' by further providing with respect to the granting and revocation of waivers of the requirements of the Chapter"; and

    Bill No. 130853, entitled "An ordinance amending Chapter 19-2600 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Business Income and Receipts Taxes,' by revising the number of businesses that may obtain a credit against business income and receipts taxes upon contributing to certain nonprofit intermediaries engaged in neighborhood economic development activities within the City of Philadelphia," respectfully reports it has considered the same and returns the attached bills to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bills No. 130744 and 130853.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended this day so as to permit first reading of Bills No. 130744 and 130853.

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

    As there are no additional bills on our First Reading Calendar today, the Chair recognizes Councilman Goode at this time for a motion regarding Bill No. 130744.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit an amendment to be offered to Bill No. 130744 at this time.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. All those in favor signify by saying aye.

  • (No response.)

  • And, again, the Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to offer an amendment to Bill No. 130744. A copy of the amendment has been circulated to all members of Council. I move for the adoption of the amendment.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. All those in favor of the motion will signify by saying aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Bill No. 130744 has been amended, and Bill No. 130744 will be placed on our Final Passage Calendar for the next session of Council.

    The Chair now recognizes Councilman Jones for the purpose of calling up bills and resolutions on our Final Passage Calendar today.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The following resolutions and bills are being called up from Second Reading and Final Passage Calendars today: Nos. 140021, 140023, 140029, 130958, 130715-A, 130701-AA, and all other resolutions and bills are being held, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, sir.

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

    If you are interested in speaking on a bill or resolution that's on the Final Passage Calendar today, you must register at the table to my left. If you've already done so, there will be a podium in the middle of the Council. It has a device on it. That device has a light. That light will turn green when it is your time to speak. It will turn yellow when you have 30 seconds to conclude your remarks, and when it turns red, I'd ask that you please conclude your remarks and adhere to the guidelines that we have established.

    At this time, I would ask Mr. Decker to please read the name of the first individual who is interested in testifying today.

  • Thomas McGahan III, commenting on 140021.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning.

    MR. McGAHAN: Good morning. My name is Thomas McGahan and I've been a maintenance mechanic for the Philadelphia School District and a member of SEIU 32BJ District 1201 for the last 19 years, and I live in Wissinoming.

    I urge City Council to reject the dangerous handy-work legislation that the out-of-state special interest groups are pushing in Harrisburg. As a maintenance mechanic, we are responsible for the heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing systems of the School District buildings. Every day we consistently and reliably maintain the buildings to keep our children safe.

    Being a part of the union gives me the voice for the students. My union gives me the protection to speak out to make sure the jobs are done right for the safety of the kids. Keeping our school buildings safe is important to me, for I am a parent of two of the students.

    My union helps me keep Philadelphia students safe. I'm proud to pay my dues. I get a say on how my dues are spent, and I am in fact a member of the advisory board of my union, and I choose to give to the union's political clubs to help us have a voice.

    I am outraged that such useless bills are being pushed by parts of a manufactured crisis by out-of-state concerns. There is no public outcry that prompts these bills. This legislation is not designed to protect union members. This legislation is designed to protect corporate special interests like the Koch brothers. The main motive of these attacks are the Commonwealth Foundation and the Koch brothers founded ALEC. These are two extreme right-wing groups with dangerous agendas.

    We have seen the story before. These groups are the strong supporters of Governor Corbett. They are the same groups that fund the efforts to privatize Social Security and Medicare and oppose -- or support the elimination of a minimum wage.

    Philadelphia families have been struggling to make ends meet in the worst economy since the Great Depression. Under Governor Corbett, Pennsylvania is 47th in job creation, but in Harrisburg, the state legislation is following the lead of shady interest groups who want to destroy unions instead of working together to have our economy get back on the right track.

    As a union member, School District employee, taxpayer, and parent, I urge Council to take a stand against destructive legislation which will make it harder for us to keep our schools safe.

    I would also like to thank Councilman Kenney for taking the lead on this resolution and to my Councilman, Henon, and the other co-sponsors, Councilwoman Reynolds Brown, Councilwoman Blackwell, Councilman Greenlee, and Councilman Squilla, and thank all the Council for standing with the thousands of maintenance workers, nurses, teachers, and public safety workers whose rights are under attack.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you for your testimony, sir.

  • (Applause.)

  • Christopher Wight, commenting on 140021.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning, Mr. President, Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez, Councilwoman Blackwell, and all the co-sponsors of this bill. Before I go on, I want to honor a great statesman from the State of New York, my grandfather, Charles Wight. He would have been outraged with this bill, and in his spirit, so am I.

    Every one of us owes a debt of gratitude to every municipal employee, especially those who put their lives on a daily basis at risk for our protection.

    Nothing can bring back a fireman who has given his life for this city. Nothing can bring back a member of law enforcement who has died in the line of duty, and these special interest groups want nothing more than to take the power away from organized people. Organized people is what organized labor always has been.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you for your testimony.

  • (Applause.)

  • Judith Robinson, commenting on 130958.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning. Greetings to all. If I could sing, I would be singing "no more backwards thinking, time for thinking ahead" regarding Resolution 130958.

    Whenever I go down to PHA Board meetings, I ask about two areas of my concern, the 5H program, which is a program that was supposedly set up for long-term tenants in scattered sites to be able to purchase properties that they reside in. This hasn't been a very effective program unfortunately. And in addition, I ask about the pre-apprentice program, which has been in place by now -- these tenants who approve through this program should be journeymen and women, because the tenants is what PHA is really all about. That's what brings these millions of dollars into our city.

    But I want to be clear. PHA is the gentrifying agency, moving mostly black women and children out of the City to areas like Pottstown, Phoenixville, and other parts unknown. Our area in North Philadelphia has the Bloomberg Project, which is going to be imploded. Two of our area schools were able to be shut down because tenants were moved out of this area, the Reynolds School and the Vaux School, which are now proposed to be adaptive reuse for housing.

    So I'm asking you all as leaders, focus your attention on the tenants. Focus on the reason why this money comes. Help those folks who live in long-term and scattered sites buy houses before you do a bundle sale to developers, which gave you less money than when you did them individually.

    Focus on those youth who are most likely to be in poverty through this pre-apprentice program. Help them get uplifted out of the muck and the mire. This is a great opportunity that you all have to do that. This is an opportunity without any fanfare where you can help a substantial amount of, just so happened to be, African Americans, women, and mostly children who have resided in PHA for a very long time. Use your power, please.

    Thank you very much.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you for your testimony.

  • Joseph Schulle, commenting on 140021.

  • (Witness approached podium.)

  • Good morning. I don't have anything prepared, but I know my brothers in organized labor are here speaking against House Bill 1507, and I wanted to spend a quick moment reiterating their concerns.

    This is a transparent and blatant attack against public organized union labor across the state, and this is the first step. They're going to come after the public unions and they're going to come after the private-sector unions, and they're going to come after us. So they excluded the cops and firefighters this time around, but this is only the first step for these guys, and they're coming for us. They don't want the democratic party to have a word and they don't want organized labor to have a word. It's absolutely unconscionable that they're doing this. As I said, it's an egregious attack on organized labor.

    On 1210 every three seconds you hear this commercial on 1210 right now, and it's a complete falsification of what's going on. They're saying it's a payroll protection act.

    Pennsylvania is a hard-money state. Our union dues cannot go to support a political candidate. They cannot go to support a political candidate. So that's nonsense.

    They're saying state and local money is being spent to deduct union dues. It doesn't cost the state or local government any significant amount of money, and it's negotiated. Your taxes are deducted from your payroll. Charities are deducted from your payroll, garnishments, child support. All these things are already deducted from your payroll. The idea that they're hiding behind this is a defense for this ridiculous bill. Council has to stand up and say no way.

    Thank you very much.

  • (Applause.)

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

  • Thank you very much, Mr. Decker.

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

    Mr. Decker, would you please read the title of 140021.

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

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move the adoption of the resolution and would like to speak briefly.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    I would ask that the Councilman speak now.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Whether you're pro-union, anti-union or you're ambivalent and don't have an opinion, this bill should worry you. Just like voter ID, when a certain segment of our country cannot win with the merits of their argument, they try to change the rules. Voter ID is a perfect example of that. Let's stop people from voting because we can't convince them of our opinion, so we'll take away their franchise.

    The Koch brothers, Koch brothers, however you pronounce their name, and the Commonwealth Foundation, who they're funding, doesn't have to disclose who is giving the money. We understand there may be as much as $12 million in this effort to have these two bills passed. They don't have to disclose. We as elected officials, PACs, and other organizations that are active politically -- as a matter of fact, tomorrow we'll be filing our disclosure forms. The Commonwealth Foundation doesn't have to disclose anything. The Koch brothers/Koch brothers don't have to disclose anything.

    They can't win on the merits of their argument, so let's diminish the ability for the other side to get their message out. And this is what these bills are about. As Joe Schulle from Local 22 so eloquently stated, it's not a burden on the Commonwealth or any other government to take deductions out of people's payroll checks. It's done by computer. It's done automatically. Individuals who -- when the dues are not permitted to be taken out, those unions still have to represent those people individually that refuse to pay the dues, and they have to go around administratively and chase them. This is the most streamlined, effective way of getting the dues money into the union. And as Joe said also, it's a hard-money state. So this crap about it being used for politics is just that, crap.

    They want to change the rules because they can't win their argument, and this state, despite the fact we have a republican governor and a republican House and Senate, tends nationally to trend on blue's side, and that drives some people crazy. If their arguments made sense, they could convince people regularly to vote for their views, but they can't, so they try to change the rules. And I think these two bills are really, really a terrible message to the rest of the Commonwealth that somehow when we can't win, we're going to check for your ID so you can't vote and we're going to take your dues money away so you can't have a message or a voice. And I urge my colleagues to support these.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes --

  • (Applause.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you, Council President. And I too just want to echo some of the sentiments that our speakers had here today in the public comment as well as Councilman Kenney in his brief comments. I mean, this is an outright assault on the basic principles of working families in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

    When certain groups, interest groups, add political process when they don't get their way and they go home, or it's my party and I'll cry if I want to, they take it to the court, and they're going to continue to take it to the court like with this paycheck protection.

    This is a voluntary system. This is collective bargaining. And if somebody does not volunteer to pay union dues, they still get represented, because it's about the workers. This is about workers' rights. This is about human rights. And the rights are being taken away and litigated in court to keep us on our toes so a certain group of America can have their political way, and we're not going to stand for it, especially in this economy. This is about the workers, this is about their families, and this is about the future and the sanctity of collective bargaining agreements. We don't get what we want, we take it to court. We can't allow that anymore.

    So I urge this Council and I urge the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to overwhelmingly shoot it down for the members that elect them and the members that they serve in their respective districts.

    Thank you.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The resolution has been moved and properly seconded.

    All in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Resolution 140021 will be adopted.

  • (Applause.)

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

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Resolution 140023 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 140029.

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

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Resolution 140029 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 130958.

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

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Resolution 130958 is adopted.

    Mr. Decker, 130715-A. And let me note that this particular resolution requires a two-thirds vote.

  • A resolution proposing an amendment to the "resign to run" provision of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter so that City elected officials may become candidates for nomination or election to public office without first resigning from their City office.

  • Thank you.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • 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, and the motion passes.

    Mr. Decker, 130701-AA.

  • An ordinance providing for the submission to the qualified electors of the City of Philadelphia of an amendment to The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to permit City elected officials to become candidates for nomination or election to public office without first resigning from their City office.

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

    Mr. Decker, do you have any additional resolutions.

  • A resolution authorizing the Committee on Public Property and Public Works to hold public hearings to investigate the current condition and status of all firehouses and police district buildings after multiple reports of unsafe and unhealthy conditions, introduced by Councilman Kenney.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • I move the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution honoring the life and achievements of Thomas J. Gola, a life-long Philadelphian, former City Controller and Philadelphia basketball hero and legend, introduced by Councilman Kenney.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that we honor this iconic Philadelphian with a standing yes vote.

  • Thank you.

    Those voting aye, please stand.

  • (All members standing.)

  • Thank you. That resolution is adopted with a standing vote.

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

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution proclaiming and designating the month of January 2014, as "Poverty in America Awareness Month" in Philadelphia and encouraging citizens to learn about the City's efforts to strategically combat pervasive poverty by focusing effort and resources on the five comprehensive goals of the City's Shared Prosperity Plan, introduced by Councilman Jones.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Mr. President, I'd like to speak briefly on this matter.

  • We're trying -- this is the last day of January, but I think it's still significant enough of an issue to ask that January be Poverty Awareness Month. A startling statistic I read, that 85 people, 85 individuals have the combined wealth of 3.5 billion of the world's poorest people, 85 individuals. And I'm not an Occupy Philadelphia kind of guy, but it is startling to me that 85 individuals can own that much wealth.

    In the City of Philadelphia, 26 percent of adults live below the poverty guidelines. Thirty-nine percent of all children in Philadelphia live below the poverty guidelines.

    This week, in the same week, President Obama not calling for 9.99, like Herman Cain, called for 10.10 in a living wage for contract workers for the federal government. In the same week, Wilson Goode, Jr. held hearings to look at our practices to establish a living wage of people that contract with the City of Philadelphia, and I was astonished, astonished, astonished to see how many waivers were given to allow people to earn less than what they should.

    According to the Bureau of Vital Statistics, the working poor are persons who spend at least 27 weeks in the labor force working or looking for work, but whose incomes fall below the official poverty level.

    Today I introduced this resolution to bring awareness, and one of the things that ironically we need to be aware of is our municipal workforce. In May last year, Temple University did a study on City workers, and they are twice as likely today as they were five years ago to have incomes that fall below the poverty guidelines for families of four when wages are not adjusted annually. That means the mean salary of 7,500 members of AFSCME District Council 33 earn less than $35,000 a year, as workers of the municipal workforce of 33 and 47 are required to live in the City where everything is going up around them. Gas, food, housing all have gone up, but yet they have not gotten a raise.

    Yesterday on one of the coldest days of the year -- it was 2 degrees Celsius -- a major water main broke three blocks from my house. I got texts all over the place about it. Councilman, what you going to do about that? You know how it goes. I can't fix -- I couldn't weld a pipe if my life depended on it, but when I got to the scene, members of District Council 33 were on the scene in frigid weather handling their business, and I could only feel compelled to say what I'm saying today because of it. They're a valued asset.

    We had the largest snowfall in decades, and we fielded maybe 50 or so calls on streets, and every one of those times -- and the Administration gets credit too, but the people that were out there shoveling those snows and keeping the City of Philadelphia from being Atlanta were members of the municipal union.

    So it's Poverty Awareness Month, but I want to make it a point to say thank you to our municipal workforce, and we need to thank them not only with our words but with our deeds by making sure that they get a fair living wage.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you, Councilman. I know I'm not supposed to say that, but also a good contract.

    It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution honoring and recognizing Ricardeau Scutt, business owner in the 4th Councilmanic District, for his hard work and success which proves the American Dream is still achievable when immigrants are given an opportunity at success, introduced by Councilman Jones.

  • The Chair again recognizes Councilman Jones.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution authorizing the Committee on Commerce and Economic Development to conduct hearings to examine the minority participation goals and strategies for workforce inclusion by applicants pursuing a casino license in Philadelphia, introduced by Councilman Jones.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

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

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

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

  • And a resolution recognizing 2014 as "Year of the Veteran in Philadelphia" to highlight and celebrate the accomplishments as well as continue to raise public awareness of issues related to veterans and the ongoing initiatives to serve those who have served, introduced by Councilman Oh.

  • The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you, Council President. I failed to mention that Councilman Kenyatta Johnson was also a co-sponsor, and I move for the adoption of the resolution.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. That resolution is adopted.

  • And a resolution authorizing City Council to hold public hearings on the state of collections of licenses and permit fees and delinquent real estate taxes owed the City and School District of Philadelphia, 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 adopted.

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

  • Thank you very much. That concludes our Calendar.

    Are there any speeches on the part of the minority?

  • (No response.)

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

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, Reverend Samuel Kyles when speaking on the assassination of Dr. King said, and I quote, "You can kill the dreamer, but you cannot kill the dream," end of quote.

    Some ten years ago in this very state, a dynamic leader had a dream to fill a void in the communities across this city and state that were healthy food deserts. The facts were grim, with statistics showing a 52 percent higher prevalence for obesity in neighborhoods where convenience stores and fast food restaurants were the only food options as a staggering 23.5 million Americans were without access to supermarkets.

    Equipped with the facts, a fearless leader created the Fresh Food Initiative to bring healthy and fresh food options to communities that were underserved. That dream, birthed in a small office on bustling Ogontz Avenue, has reached an even greater potential than I believe many of us could have ever imagined. Yesterday Congress produced a bipartisan agreement on a five-year farm bill investing $125 million in fresh food initiatives in underserved markets as a result of the Fresh Food Initiative. After two years of wrangling, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the farm bill, and the Senate is expected to pass the $500 billion deal possibly as early as next week.

    What started out as a dream to tackle obesity, diabetes, and other health-related illnesses by providing people with healthy options and access thrust Philadelphia in the national spotlight some years ago when Mrs. Obama visited our city, took an interest in the initiative, and kicked off her nationally renowned campaign Let's Move.

    On today I'd like to congratulate my dear friend, State Representative Dwight Evans, for daring to dream, for being a champion for the least of these, for realizing the economic health and social impact on entire communities when people have options. Thank you, Dwight Evans, for your steadfast leadership for having the courage to see this initiative all the way through after helping American families to bring home the bacon.

    Thank you very much, and we're very proud of our leader who has done an awful lot of work in this state for families and being very thoughtful and creative in coming up with the Fresh Food Initiative.

    Thank you very much.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman. I concur.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • The hour is not yet, Mr. President. I thought we were --

  • Are you just calling for an adjournment? Okay.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Green.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Electronic cigarettes are safer. Electronic cigarettes have fewer toxic effects. Electronic cigarettes are somewhat healthier, safer, and somewhat healthier with fewer toxic effects than cigarettes.

    That's a pretty low bar to clear, don't you think, especially considering these claims are being made about a product that has not been sufficiently studied and that is not meaningfully regulated, especially considering these medical claims are being made by an industry that engaged in the largest, longest, and most expensive public health deceit in American history.

    If we learned anything from the decades-long campaign to reduce cigarette use, it is that we must address the potential public health emergency early on. And why is e-cig use a potential public health emergency? Because early studies show alarming trends in e-cig use. Shockingly, the Center for Disease Control found a doubling of e-cigarette use among children and a doubling of use among adults in just the past few years.

    Additionally, let's remember the changing messages crafted by cigarette manufacturers over the past 60 years. First cigarettes were marketed as healthy, with print advertisements depicting doctors endorsing Lucky Strikes. Next, following release of a series of reports by the Surgeon General advocating a smoke-free lifestyle, tobacco companies contended that the science around cigarette use was inconclusive.

    And, finally, once everyone realized smoking was a public health crisis, tobacco lobbyists shifted course and argued loudly for smokers' individual rights.

    From where we sit today, think about how absurd it would be for cigarettes to be marketed as healthy or how ridiculous it would be to contend that research demonstrating the negative effects is inconclusive. This is exactly where we are with e-cigarettes, and today many of the same people that wailed about the end of the freedom that Philadelphia's endorsed smoking ban would wreak are the same folks who are up in arms about the ability to use the drug delivery system of their choice wherever and whenever they want, as if smoking were a right, like voting.

    We have the benefit of history to inform our treatment of electronic cigarettes. It's clear what we have to do.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    There being no other speeches by the minority or majority, the Chair now recognizes Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, February 6th, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it. Council will be adjourned until Thursday, February 6th.

    Thank you all very much.

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