City Council President Darrell Clarke laid out a plan last week to help fund Philadelphia’s cash-starved schools: He wants to sell liens on commercial properties, which he says could raise “millions of dollars” a year.
Clarke also suggested lien sales would give residents more faith in the city’s tax collection efforts. Currently, Clarke said, “This city cannot say with full confidence that it is doing everything it can to collect from those who owe.”
Tax lien sales have both major pros and cons. As the debate on education funding moves forward, let’s consider a few of them. First, the potential upsides:
Why it matters: Well, that’s an awful lot of money, and it’ll buy a lot of TV time. It’s a particularly big figure in a campaign where the candidates themselves seem to have struggled raising cash. Some people wonder why Tony Williams is seen by many political pros as the favorite in this race, even if he’s not the current frontrunner. This is a big chunk of the reason why. Read more »
City Council President Darrell Clarke—and by extension City Council as a whole—is showing in both words and deeds that Council intends to play a huge, perhaps dominant, role in city government now and in the future, no matter who is elected mayor. Read more »
Lucky for them, that debate won’t take place until after the May 19th primary, in which 15 of 16 Council members are up for reelection. That’s because Council has scheduled its hearing on education funding for May 26th.
During the interview, I found Oliver to be energetic and honest and passionate about the city. But he was also stunningly vague at times, and perhaps more surprisingly, unapologetic about his lack of specific proposals to fix the city’s problems. Toward the end of the Q&A, I told Oliver I thought the mayor’s race in general has suffered from a dearth of ideas. (You can watch the full exchange above.)
As a candidate who has pitched himself as someone with “fresh eyes,” I asked him what his big idea is for the city. He doubled down on being vague.
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission approved five out of 39 applications for new charter schools yesterday night at the tail end of a meeting that featured four arrests and lasted five hours. The decision appeared to please no one. One prominent national ed reformer called on SRC Chairman Bill Greento resign, for not approving enough charter applicants. Pretty much simultaneously, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingartencondemned the decision to approve any new charter schools. Gov. Wolf issued a statement saying his administration “continues to believe that the district’s financial situation cannot responsibly handle the approval of new charter schools.” We haven’t heard yet from Republicans in the General Assembly, but you can bet they would like to have seen more new charters than the five the SRC authorized. Read more »
Believe it or not, Philadelphia did not have an official Veterans Parade until now.
That’s right: The city where American democracy got its start did not have a citywide parade to honor its veterans. U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, philanthropist/Inquirer owner H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, City Council President Darrell Clarke, City Councilman David Oh and other city officials announced Wednesday morning that that will change this year.