With six new members and a first-year president, Philadelphia’s City Council formally, and jovially, commenced its 2012 legislative session with a meeting that lasted less than an hour Thursday morning.
Two of three Northwest Philadelphia council members were returning — albeit in different leadership positions — but it was Eighth District Councilwoman Cindy Bass’s first meeting there.
Council President Darrell Clarke told the new legislators that “you are in for one heck of a ride” during a pre-session meeting and then gaveled the session to order at 10:05 a.m.
What they did at the meeting
Returning Ninth District Councilwoman Marian Tasco introduced resolutions honoring Sonia Sanchez, who was named the city’s first poet laureate last month, and Robert R. Jennings, the 13th president of Lincoln University. Both were approved, though there was limited opposition to the Sanchez resolution.
Tasco also introduced a measure to ban truck parking on Front Street between 65th and Godfrey avenues in East Oak Lane. It was referred to committee.
As majority leader, Fourth District Councilman Curtis Jones introduced six bills and four resolutions, though four of the bills and one resolution were on behalf of Clarke.
They included moves to amend the zoning code to sell advertisements on municipal property, permit the posting of temporary signs on street poles and signs, rename the Robin Hood Dell East as the “Georgie Woods Entertainment Center,” clear the way for the RDA to sell municipal property, create the North Central Neighborhood Improvement District, deem Jan. 26 to be “Thank Your Mentor Day” and call for hearings to discuss how best to help returning veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq acclimate to the job market.
The oft-verbose Jones also noted, at the end of the meeting, that he would “say more by saying less” this session. Asked afterward if he thought he was capable of doing so, he said, “It’ll take discipline to say less, but it puts the shine onto [the freshmen council members]. I’ll lead by example.”
Her first session in council chambers
Among those freshmen is Bass, who introduced two resolutions during the session.
One called for Parks and Recreation Committee public hearings to examine whether the city’s namesake department can help alleviate some financial strain on the School District of Philadelphia by sharing fields, music programs, facilities or other offerings.
The other, which passed unanimously 45 minutes into the meeting, called on Council to honor the city’s co-ops like Weavers Way, from which a representative spoke during the public-comment session. She noted that it was exciting to have shifted from campaigning to legislating.
“Despite differences between some council members, hopefully people will see that we’re working together, that it’s a fresh start, a new beginning for all of us,” Bass said after the meeting.
As for the co-op bill being her first bit of council-work which passed, she added, “It is important that that was it. Co-ops are something that are important in the district and increasingly so throughout the city as it deals with hunger, food shortages, providing fresh food for those who might not otherwise be able to find it. It’s more than just ceremonial.”
Council’s next session is scheduled for Feb. 2.