Finalizing a city energy authority and better empowering the city to fight blight are the two top resolutions in 2011 for Councilman Darrell Clarke, he told residents at the Northwood Civic Association meeting Tuesday night.
To a crowd of roughly 12, perhaps limited by clouds and rain, Clarke spoke at length of those two focuses:
1. “In the next two weeks,” Clarke said, the five unpaid board members could be named for the Philadelphia Energy Authority, which he helped create in June to serve as a lobbying block for cheaper energy rates once so-called electricity rate caps are removed in 2011.
2. With the likely approval of state Senate Bill 900, which is portrayed as an anti-blight measure by empowering city officials to, among other things, supplement liens on poorly maintained properties to other owner assets, Clarke wants to make the most use of it. He said he and other City Council staffs are working with the city’s municipal court to create something of a “housing court,” which will feature judges with expertise in such matters to act more swiftly and knowledgeably.
Clarke also referenced work [Youtube] with the School District of Philadelphia and various trade unions on an innovative job training initiative to match the underemployed with sought-after skills.
“I don’t want to promise anything I can’t deliver,” he said. “So I won’t speak too specifically in public yet.”
In his opening address [Youtube], Clarke spoke about fears surrounding another looming city budget crisis, but now one that will come from a $500 million state budget deficit. Watch his opening address below.
“I hope this time, a lot of campaign promises aren’t kept,” Clarke said, referencing statewide candidates who ran on cutting taxes. Clarke used no names, but newly elected Republican Governor Tom Corbett ran many TV advertisements touting his ability to cut taxes and reduce spending.
Also at the meeting:
- State Rep. Tony Payton Jr. Chief of Staff Jorge Santana said that his office is part of a new concerted effort to bring Frankford-area resident groups together to work toward common goals, beginning with a stakeholders meeting in December, he said. He also said City Managing Director is looking into create Public Service Areas, modeled after the Police Patrolling Service Areas, by localizing city services. More details to come for both, he said.
- Northwood Civic Association President Barry Howell announced that an appeal by Clear Channel to receive a zoning variance to put up a 120-foot antenna up at 4640 Large Street was denied, thanks to resident support at the hearing, Howell said.
Watch Howell discuss the antennae.