Morning Headlines: Anonymous Developers Have Opinions on Darrell Clarke

Plus, video from the Convention Center's burst steam pipe and Revel auction date set.

Photo via Google Maps.

Photo via Google Maps.

This morning, Sean Collins Walsh and the Daily News have dropped a hefty report on City Council President Darrell Clarke and his relationship with developers in the fifth council district. An analysis by the People Paper showed that at least 42 percent of the cash Clarke raised during his last re-election year (2011) came from developers. The data analysis doesn’t stop there.

From January 2011 to early 2014, a majority of significant sales of city-owned land that Clarke green-lighted have involved either longtime donors or people who recently started giving to his campaign, according to an analysis of records from the city Redevelopment Authority and the Vacant Property Review Committee that were obtained through a Right to Know Act request.

The article does a nice job of describing councilmanic privilege, the unwritten rule by which Council defers sale decisions on city-owned land to the representative from the district in question. The Redevelopment Authority has some data on that:

Clarke uses prerogative to place holds on properties in his district more than any other member of Council, according to data from the Redevelopment Authority. Many of those parcels are in the rapidly gentrifying areas surrounding Temple University and in Francisville.

Anonymous developers (and others) with business in Clarke’s largely North Philly district spoke to Walsh without attaching their names to claims. Walsh characterizes those conversations thusly:

In dozens of interviews, developers who work in Clarke’s district, lawyers and lobbyists who help them navigate City Hall, and bureaucrats who process city land transactions consistently described a process in which Clarke throws up unexplained roadblocks to projects and creates a culture in which it is assumed, and sometimes suggested, that you have to pay to play.

The piece includes anecdotes from the neighborhood, pairing developers and their donations to projects throughout the fifth district. Clarke declined to comment on any of the examples but his spokesperson – another familiar name – did release a statement:

Clarke campaign spokesman Dan Gross said, “Council President Clarke has not, does not and will not direct anyone to solicit contributions or fundraisers from those who wish to develop in his district.”

The whole piece is worth a read.

Darrell’s developers: Love him, hate him, donate to him [Daily News]

Cool video from burst steam pipe near the Convention Center [CBS3]

Mid-year check-in on transportation predictions, Dilworth Plaza [PlanPhilly]

Revel auction tentatively set for Aug. 6 [Inquirer]

Nine projects win inaugural “Rouse” award [Philly Business Journal]