WEEKLY REPORT: MEMBERS RALLY FOR THE PHILLIES, BUT KEEP FOCUS ON BUDGET AND SAFETY ISSUES

In Council News, Curtis Jones, Jr., Darrell L. Clarke, Isaiah Thomas, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, News by PHL Council

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MEMBERS EMBRACE PHILLIES FEVER AHEAD OF WORLD SERIES, PLACE FRIENDLY WAGER WITH HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL

Every day and week, Councilmembers grapple with the toughest issues facing Philadelphia: The threat of gun violence, the crush of poverty, the lack of jobs that pay a living wage. But every now and then, moments of pure joy wash across the City, and Councilmembers seek to embrace them. On Thursday, Councilmembers paused from their work to celebrate the Philadelphia Phillies on the eve of their appearance in the World Series for the 8th time in franchise history.

All Councilmembers wore official World Series hats, and waved red rally towels – just like the 46,000 fans at Citizens Bank Park – to cheer on the Phillies before Game One of the World Series tomorrow evening in Houston. The Chambers was draped in Phillies pride – posters, a banner and placards affixed to every Member’s desk.

“They’d better win!” Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) laughingly said as he led his colleagues in the rally towel moment.

Then, Council Majority Leader Curtis Jones, Jr. (4th District) introduced a resolution outlining a friendly wager between Philadelphia’s and Houston’s City Councils. In the unlikely event that the Astros triumph, Philadelphia Council will send a package of traditional city delicacies to Texas – Cheesesteaks, Tastykakes and the like. In the more likely outcome – a Phillies’ World Series victory – Houston is on the hook to send Texas barbecue, kolaches, and tacos to their Philadelphia counterparts.

“We intend to take what is rightfully ours,” declared Majority Leader Jones. “Let’s go, Fightin’ Phils!”

The Phillies have won two World Series Championships in the team’s 139-year history, in 2008 and  1980.

COUNCIL PASSES RESOLUTION CALLING FOR HEARINGS ON THE COST OF GUN VIOLENCE

Majority Leader Jones also introduced a resolution authorizing Council’s Committee on Public Safety to hold a public hearing examining the true cost of crime on Philadelphia residents.

The resolution notes the ongoing, relentless crisis of gun violence in Philadelphia, with 562 homicides last year (an all-time city high), and over 2,400 shootings. As of October 24, 2022, there has been 437 homicides and over 1,900 shootings.

“This year alone, shootings at recreation centers, schools, and holiday celebrations have rocked the city to its core,” the resolution states, before laying out a series of statistics:

“Each murder costs $1.42 million in medical expenses, lost earnings, property damage and criminal justice costs — 351 homicides in 2018 had an economic cost of nearly $500 million. Non-fatal shootings cost nearly $50,000 in medical expenses and a loss in productivity. A separate report by the Philadelphia Controller found that shootings reduce property values. They also found that a 10% decrease in homicides would boost the amount of tax revenue that the city collects by $114 million.”

“Gun violence cases are severely impacting the youth of Philadelphia,” the resolution continues. “In August of 2022, a seven-year-old was hit in the thigh by crossfire while playing video games on a Saturday night, a 17-year-old girl was fatally shot while she was walking her dog in September, and a 14-year-old was fatally shot following a high school football scrimmage on September 27. According to NPR, in 2020, guns were the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1-19 years of age. The financial impact of gun violence, the emotional trauma it has caused for Philadelphia residents, and the true impact of crime should be further studied and investigated.”

The Resolution concludes by resolving that Council’s Public Safety Committee should hold a public hearing examining the true cost of crime on Philadelphia residents.

AS CITY NEARS FISCAL YEAR MIDPOINT, KENNEY ADMINISTRATION SENDS BUDGET TRANSFER ORDINANCES

It is a time-honored ritual – as the city nears the midpoint of its fiscal year (which runs July 1 to June 30), the mayor proposes mid-year budget transfer ordinances, to account for spending needs that arise during the year, and it is Council’s job to consider these spending transfer requests, make adjustments where necessary, and then approve them.

On Thursday, Council introduced a series of Budget Transfer ordinances at the Kenney administration’s request. The mayor’s budget team will brief Councilmembers soon, as part of a public hearing process.

Council Ordinance Introduced to Create Division of Workforce Solutions within City Commerce Department

Council introduced legislation on Thursday that would create a Division of Workforce Solutions within the city Commerce Department, and make it clearer that promoting workforce development activity is to be a function of Commerce. This legislation requires an Amendment of the City’s Home Rule Charter, so if approved, a question will appear on next May’s Primary ballot. The legislation was introduced today by Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson (At Large) on Council President Clarke’s behalf.

A companion ordinance introduced this week would amend existing city law by adding a new chapter titled “Workforce Development Activity and Reporting.” This would require the new Division to serve as a point of contact for employers interested in hiring Philadelphians. The new Division will coordinate with the Workforce Professional Alliance and other entities committed to workforce development. The ordinance also requires the Commerce Director to provide annual reports to Council regarding citywide employment statistics and workforce development activity.

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IN OTHER NEWS…

Councilmember Thomas Submits Resolution Honoring Black Male Educators.  Councilmember Isaiah Thomas (At Large) introduced the resolution, recognizing October as Black Male Educators Month and honoring Black Male Educators, for their dedication to the recruitment, development, and retention of Black male educators in schools by providing support and mentorship to Black men.

The resolution notes that Sharif El-Mekki founded The Fellowship: Black Male Educators for Social Justice/BMEC with the support of 17 other Black men educators in Philadelphia. The Black Male Educators’ convening was first hosted in Philadelphia in 2015, it brought together 150 participants to elevate the need for more Black male educators and more support for their success which would lead to better student outcomes.

The Fellowship addresses the Black male educator pipeline and works to influence high schoolers and career changers to make sure that recruitment, support and retention of Black men educators rises, Black male educators are coming together and amplifying their voices and those of their students.

“The Center for Black Educator Development continues the important tradition of supporting Black men in education, hosting the 5th annual National Black Men in Education Convening on November 17-19, 2022 in Philadelphia,” the resolution concludes.

OTHER SIGHTS AND SOUNDS FROM THE COUNCIL WEEK

Committee on Commerce and Economic Development 10-24-2022

Stated Meeting of Philadelphia City Council 10-27-2022

The next Stated Meeting of City Council is scheduled to take place on Thursday, November 3, 2022 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.

Weekly Stated Meetings will be in-person for the remainder of the year. Masks will be recommended and provided.

Out of an abundance of caution and with the public’s health in mind, public hearings will continue to be conducted remotely.

Featured Photo: Jared Piper/PHLCouncil

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