City Council: Johnson Call for Commerce Hearing; Gilmore Richardson Celebrates Joanna McClinton

Council to Authorize Commerce Hearing

Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson introduced a resolution authorizing the Committee on Commerce and Economic Development to hold hearings regarding strategies to ignite business and job growth to make Philadelphia a more economically competitive city.

The resolution draws a connection between Philadelphia’s historic deindustrialization and the city’s status as the poorest big city in America. According to the resolution, the city’s current poverty rate is 23%.

The resolution also shows the effects poverty has had on Black and Hispanic households, which report median incomes between $12,000 to $13,000 less than the city’s median. Further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia’s economic recovery has lagged behind the rest of the region. 

Another area of concern mentioned n the resolution is the “challenging regulatory and tax environment” which new businesses must traverse. An analysis by Arizona State University found Philadelphia’s business climate ranked 71st out of 81 major cities. 

McClinton Honored

Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson introduced a resolution honoring State Representative Joanna McClinton on her election as the first Black woman Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The historic election came after an unusual set of circumstances culminating with Representative Mark Rozzi’s short tenure as a compromise Speaker. His resignation came after three special elections that gave control of the chamber to Democrats, thus ensuring McClinton’s election.

McClinton was first elected to the State House of Representatives from the 191st District in 2015, and has focused on issues pertaining to criminal justice reform, voting rights, and racial and gender equity.

Jones Condemns Mosque Vandalism

Councilmember Curtis Jones introduced a resolution condemning the vandalism that occurred Masjidullah Center for Human Excellence on February 24, 2023.

On February 24, a suspect was recorded on surveillance video defacing the site “by painting symbols on the doors of the building.” The suspect was later arrested and charged with institutional vandalism, criminal mischief, and two counts of possession of an instrument of crime.

According to the resolution, “The Masjidullah Center for Human Excellence located in Northwest Philadelphia’s West Oak Lane neighborhood is one of the largest mosques in the region. The Center hosts a mosque, a school, and is community and business center. But most importantly, it is space for members of the Islamic faith to come together and worship.”

Committee Advances Chief Public Safety Director Legislation

Earlier this week, the City Council committee on Law and Government recommended Council President Darrell Clarke’s charter amendment creating the office of the Chief Public Safety Director.

If passed by council, the question of creating the office will be on the May primary ballot via public referendum.

Clarke said a sense of urgency inspired the creation of the legislation.

“If people don’t think that public safety is the number one issue on everybody’s mind, they simply have to pick up the paper and look at what happened in Chicago,” Clarke said, referencing the defeat of incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the first time an incumbent mayor had been defeated in Chicago in 40 years. The primary reason for her defeat, according to exit polls, was the increased level of violence in the city.

Councilmember Mark Squilla said the legislation was critical because there was a lack of coordination happening regarding violence at the top levels of government.

“Nobody wants to see multiple layers of government added,” Squilla said. “(But) if you don’t somebody in charge of it, people are always pointing at other entities (and questioning) why things aren’t happening.”

Legislation Passed by Council on March 2nd, 2023

Resolution No. 230136

Also naming the 5900 Block of Media Street as “James Rice Way”, in honor of James Rice, the owner of Rice’s barbershop, which has served the Carroll Park neighborhood of Philadelphia since 1951.

Resolution No. 230138

Authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to execute and deliver to the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority deeds conveying fee simple title to 1728 Federal Street, 1213 S. Bonsall Street, 2114 Manton Street, 1303 S. 23rd Street & 1148 S. Cleveland Street in the Second Councilmanic District of the City of Philadelphia and further authorizing the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority to transfer to the Philadelphia Land Bank fee simple title to such properties pursuant to Section 16-405 of The Philadelphia Code. Click here to learn more.

Resolution No. 230139

Renaming the 4900 block of Walnut Street “Paul L. Robeson Way” to honor the life and legacy of Paul Leroy Robeson, Esq., Actor Singer, Athlete, Lawyer, Author, Activist, Scholar, Linguist and American Hero. Recognizing and honoring Philadelphia’s Paul Leroy Robeson, on his 125th birthday and his exemplary service to the world with special acknowledgment of his leadership in civil rights, sports, and the arts. Click here to learn more.

Bill No. 220244

Amending Title 21 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Miscellaneous,” by adding a new Chapter 21-3300, entitled “Flag Raisings,” to establish uniform standards for flag raising ceremonies, all under certain terms and conditions. Click here to learn more.

Bill No. 220736

Amending Section 21-1203 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Appointments to Citizens Police Oversight Commission,” by revising prohibited activities for Commissioners, all under certain terms and conditions. Click here to learn more.

Bill No. 220810

Authorizing the Procurement Commissioner to enter into agreements to purchase electricity, natural gas and motor fuel for use by the City in City facilities and vehicles, including agreements that obligate payment for delivery of such energy supplies in future fiscal years, all under certain terms and conditions. Click here to learn more.

Our reporters sit through hours of city council meetings, dig through piles of documents, and ask tough questions other media overlook. Because we’re committed to addressing Philadelphia’s poverty crisis — and challenging those who sustain it. If you think this work is important too, please support our journalism.

We’re counting on readers like you.


We monitor Philly's local halls of power to bring you the news you need to know.

City Council News No One Else Is Covering. 

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.