Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

Thank you, Mr. President. There's a front-page story, actually it's the lead story on the front page of the Inquirer today and it was online this morning on, and it is basically a negative story about our millennials that we should be very proud of. We've gotten over a hundred thousand of them in six years move into the City, 20 to 34-year-old people, mostly college graduates. And we weren't even on the map for this group prior to that for years, no matter what we did, for doing a whole lot of things right and we're not that far behind Washington and Boston, which are big cities, successful cities for attracting this population. And I think the City Administration and anybody involved in the process of getting more restaurants, better apartments, better zoning, whatever it would be, should be very proud of themselves and be congratulated.

The article focuses on the ones that will leave when they have children particularly and some people looking for jobs. Well, first of all, it's one of those half empty/half full when we've never had the half full story. There's never been a story about all these millennials that was a positive, brag-about-it Philadelphia story, and why, whether it's the Pew study or major newspaper, they would lead with the half empty story is -- it's sad, because it didn't have to be. It could be the Chapter 2, we got to watch out, we still have to improve our schools, we still have to provide for jobs, maybe improve our business climate.

This all happened during a jobless recession, first of all, that is historic in scope and a jobless recovery that we're still in. It's pretty amazing that it's very hard to get an apartment in the City in the areas that are described where the millennials want to live. It also is why we did a lot of things in our Zoning Code that are there and even the amendments we made, considered making sure that we keep this going. But talking about the schools in the District of Columbia and in Boston, just as in Philadelphia, people that are mobile, tend to be higher educated, have a lot of mobility, if they don't like the public schools -- this isn't something the millennials just thought up -- they move. If they can't find a good school in the City, a public school if that's what they're looking for, on the alternative one where they have to pay tuition or now charter school sometimes, it's happening in the other places as well, and it didn't just happen because of the current financial crisis. It happened when we had governors and flush economies in the City very recently, and we were still losing the same number of people because there weren't enough seats in our public schools that were attractive to people who had mobility. And you talk to people in Washington, DC. They'll tell you when your kids hit school age, either move into the one side of Rock Creek Park where all the good schools are or you leave town or find a private school or a charter.

This is not a Philadelphia story. Same problems. DC is on fire, but every city is having job issues right now. This should be a very positive story. Philadelphia has been trying to keep college graduates, attract college graduates for years and years and years and have been unsuccessful. And in six very difficult years, we succeed beyond anybody's imagination to be able to predict it, and it doesn't come across as positive first. That's all.

I just think we kind of shoot ourselves in the foot a lot and kind of smack ourselves when we've actually done something good, because we're just looking for the negative part. And I hope somebody writes a positive story about this, because it's rather remarkable. When you talk to people from other cities, they can't believe that Philadelphia went from zero to a hundred in this race to get this population, which is very good for any city's economy, low service requirements, no children, one or two incomes depending on how many people are in the housing unit. And you can see what it does. Try to get a restaurant reservation in or around Center City on just about any night at a decent time. And that wasn't the case. And we just have more and more restaurants, hotels. We just did a couple of big hotels last week.

The City has gotten the buzz and it apparently started in the latter part of the second Street Administration. So let's be more positive. That's all.

Thank you.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech