Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

Thank you, Mr. President. This has been a long journey and a long battle. As many of you know, we got involved in this issue because community groups came to me about City Planning legislation that came out of the Zoning Code calling for registered community organizations and all that it implies. Certainly after we introduced a bill and it was passed, the Mayor vetoed it and all of you, along with myself, overrode the Mayor's veto. So we thought we were fine, until my colleague decided to introduce a bill fighting what Council had just passed.

You have heard all those who have testified today. I agree with what they have said. When it comes to Mantua, which has now been declared a Promise Zone, it wasn't declared that because life is well. It was declared that because one of the areas that qualifies it is its 51 percent poverty rate. When Mantuans' taxes go up, these are people from great-grandparents on down to great-grandchildren, their taxes go up so that what universities couldn't do in terms of expansion, this bill does, the Zoning Code does, and AVI does and all of these things, Philadelphia 2035. All are opportunities for people to gentrify our neighborhoods, and that's what's at the core of all of this.

This bill -- and there have been many meetings around the City. This bill violates civil rights under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act as well as Title VIII that deals with federal housing laws. We've asked that all of these things be considered, but we understand -- I accept the fact that the minority will have its say and the majority will have its way, but I also always do what I think is right.

To have changed the bill to now include special service districts, I have a special service district that includes at least four other community organizations who are RCOs, maybe six. So it even made larger entities. It was initially supposed to be, they told us, areas, organizations for small community groups to be involved, but they included everything, neighborhood improvement districts, special service districts. So that means -- I won't use my area. Let's say Center City District. They have a vote. What about all the areas they include?

There's so much unfairness in this bill. The registration rules is not applied equally. Boundaries for RCOs is not applied equally. Selection of coordinating RCOs, it's still back in here that the District Councilperson has to decide who the developer wants to work with. So if you have a big institution against a small group, maybe a small group has ten members and you have a big RCO that includes a big area, then the Councilperson is supposed to choose. Well, I want all my RCOs included as all registered community organizations, and that's what I will recommend.

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