In Anthony Phillips, Council News, Curtis Jones, Jr., Darrell L. Clarke, James Harrity, Jannie Blackwell, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Quetcy Lozada by PHL Council

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Freshman Councilmember Quetcy Lozada (7th District) isn’t waiting to take on perhaps her district’s greatest challenge: Kensington.

Kensington has been beset by multiple social problems and ills for many years: Industrial disinvestment and abandonment, crime, and above all, rampant drug abuse. Persons addicted to drugs come from many different locations to find and use drugs in Kensington. Mayors, Councilmembers, police have all vowed to clean up and restore a sense of peace and public safety in Kensington. Yet the problems remain.

On Thursday, Councilmember Lozada introduced a resolution to hold a public hearing to examine the many different facets of Kensington’s problems. Lozada states in her Resolution the urgent need to develop a “Marshall Plan” for Kensington, a reference to the famous plan to rebuild Europe following World War II.

“This Council calls on the City of Philadelphia to establish a “Marshall Stabilization and Recovery Plan” for Kensington, a community that has been underserved and under siege for decades. This plan will bring together leaders from across the city to stand together, work together, develop solutions together, and ensure that the investments into the community go where they are most needed and most effective.

“These issues must be faced head on by a variety of stakeholders to ensure every voice is represented. City Council, Mayor Kenney, community stakeholders, anti-violence partners, rehabilitation centers, SEPTA, housing organizations, the Police Department, Public Health, Behavioral Health and Disability Services, the District Attorney’s Office, and the Defender Association must work together to solve this crisis. The intersection of these organizations presents a unique way to collaborate on solutions.”

“The time for action is now. Kensington cannot wait for these problems to fix themselves. The neighborhood needs bold actions and investment to redefine the issues, determine well thought-out solutions in partnership with community residents, bring the relief that the residents of Kensington deserve, and hold each entity accountable.”


Council this week introduced legislation that would change the Home Rule Charter to establish a new Office of the Chief Public Safety Director for Philadelphia, with the responsibility of ensuring public safety by coordinating resources within various city agencies, including Police, Prisons, Recreation and other departments.


The legislation to create an Office of Chief Public Safety Director was co-sponsored by Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District), Majority Leader Curtis Jones, Jr. (4th District), and Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District).

The resolution accompanying the legislation details how other cities, such as Chicago, Newark NJ, and Columbus, have established similar public safety directors in an effort to facilitate more collaboration between safety-oriented city agencies. Public safety directors typically oversee the budget, operations, plans and development of city departments, providing coordination, guidance and approvals. These directors increase efficiency, communication and equity among these related agencies.

Under the legislation, the Chief Public Safety Director would be appointed by the Mayor, subject to the advice and consent of a majority of City Council. The Chief Public Safety Director “shall be a law enforcement professional and have at least five years’ experience as the head of a municipal or state government law enforcement agency,” according to the Resolution introduced Thursday.

Because the legislation entails a Charter change to establish the office and position, it must be approved first by two-thirds of Council, and then by the voters of Philadelphia in the May Primary.

Council President Clarke said the idea for a Chief Public Safety Director for Philadelphia arose in part from trips that Councilmembers have taken over the last several years to see how other jurisdictions are coping with rising gun violence in their communities. When a Council delegation visited Trenton several months ago, Councilmembers learned how Trenton agencies work closely together, across departments, to communicate and coordinate that city’s response to violence. Trenton has experienced a significant reduction in gun violence over the last year.

“We know we need better coordination and collaboration in how Philadelphia departments and agencies respond to gun violence,” Clarke said. “A Chief Public Safety Director – whose chief responsibilities include fostering better collaboration among all relevant agencies in our city – is a policy initiative well worth trying.”


Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson’s (At-Large) legislation, Ordinance No. 220733 and Resolution No. 220743, amending Home Rule Charter to change the requirements for contributions of the Budget Stabilization Reserve, was passed out of City Council this week. The measure heads to Philadelphia voters for the May election.

“I would like to thank my colleagues, Mayor Kenney’s Administration, and the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) for supporting my legislation that will not only strengthen Philadelphia’s Rainy Day Fund, but ensure that our City is more financially prepared for any economic downturns or unexpected emergencies,” said Councilmember Gilmore Richardson.

“If there’s one thing that we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that we must put measures in place to protect Philadelphia’s workforce, service delivery, and borrowing capabilities. By working to make larger deposits into our Rainy Day Fund, we are doing just that.”

The legislation would make the following changes to the Rainy Day Fund:

  • Determine the threshold for deposits by using projected year end General Fund balance for the current year as of Feb. 14 (Q2) instead of the projected year-end General Fund balance for the upcoming fiscal year;
  • Cap the Rainy Day Fund at 17% of projected General Fund revenues for the end of the current year as of Feb 14 (Q2);
  • Make the start date for the updated threshold be FY25; and
  • Use an approved scale to determine when deposits are made and the size of deposits.

The challenge that the City has traditionally faced with making deposits in its Rainy Day Fund is that the City’s reserve policy is currently dependent on projections for the upcoming fiscal year. Previous studies have ranked Philadelphia 16 out of 18 when comparing its Rainy Day Fund balance to other cities such as Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles.



Councilmember Johnson Offers Resolution Honoring Paul Levy for 33 Years of Service to Center City. The resolution recognizes the prodigious work of Paul Levy, the founder and driving force behind the Center City District since its inception in 1991. Levy’s organization has had much to do with the revival of downtown, from the revitalization of Dilworth Plaza and LOVE Park to the street-cleaning crews that work daily to make Center City a clean and safe place to work. Levy is stepping down from his leadership roles at the end of the year.

Councilmember Harrity Honors the Life of Tommie St. Hill. Councilmember Jim Harrity’s (At-Large) resolution recognizes the career of Tommie St. Hill, a former journalist for the Philadelphia Tribune who went on to an array of jobs and duties representing various organizations doing business at City Hall. Mr. St. Hill was a fixture at City Council Meetings for several decades. Former Councilmember Jannie Blackwell returned to Council today to read from the resolution, and then introduce some of St. Hill’s family members, who spoke of their loved one and thanked City Council for the honor.

Councilmember Phillips Introduces Legislation to Support Installation of Traffic Calming Measures near Schools. Increasingly, motorists are speeding with reckless abandon, endangering pedestrians, including students near schools. The intent of this bill is to ensure the Streets Department has the necessary tools to mitigate unnecessary risks to the safety of student pedestrians.

“It is my hope that this legislation will allow the Streets Department to more easily, and more readily, install traffic calming measures around all schools — public, charter, and private — in our city,” said Councilmember Anthony Phillips (9th District).


Committee on Public Property and Public Works 2-15-2023

Stated Meeting of Philadelphia City Council 2-16-2023

Committee on Transportation and Public Utilities 2-16-2023

The next Stated Meeting of City Council is scheduled to take place on Thursday, February 23, 2023 at 10 a.m. in Philadelphia City Hall, Room 400 and will air on Xfinity Ch. 64, Fios Channel 40 and stream at www.PHLCouncil.com/watch.

Featured Photo: Jared Piper/PHLCouncil

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