Friday, July 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

With Bill Green leaving Council, who will fill his shoes?

He has often put policy ahead of politics.

Candidates for City Council at-large. Forum Democrat Bill Green at the WHYY studios,  Monday, October 17, 2011. ( Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer  )
Candidates for City Council at-large. Forum Democrat Bill Green at the WHYY studios, Monday, October 17, 2011. ( Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer ) Steven M. Falk

Governor Tom Corbett announced Friday morning that he would appoint At-Large Councilman Bill Green to the top seat at the School Reform Commission, a move that will require Green to leave City Council.

Green’s tenure on the SRC, if confirmed by the state Senate, could transform the Philadelphia School District. Clues to what that potential transformation might look like can be found in Green’s education policy papers, but that’s an issue best left to others.

Here in planning land, the departure of Councilman Green has other implications.

In his first term on City Council, Green was instrumental in developing a new zoning code and building political support for it among his colleagues, essentially forcing the consensus that got the code adopted shortly before six new Council members took office.

Since then—though he’s had other priorities—Green has held the line on zoning reform, at times siding with the Nutter administration and planning staff over his fellow Council members. He voted against Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell’s changes to the code’s RCO process, and opted not to override the Mayor’s veto of a bill banning new medical offices in Northeast Philly.

He’s talked about the need for remapping the city quickly so that developers can build projects that fit into neighborhoods without having to go through lengthy zoning processes. And, for better or worse, he’s shown at least some stomach for putting policy considerations ahead of political ones.

Who will fill those shoes? And when?

That’s up to the local Democratic and Republican parties, the voters, and Council President Darrell Clarke.

If President Clarke chooses to hold a special election for Green’s seat, nominees will be chosen by Democratic and Republican ward leaders.

Clarke could also choose to leave the At-Large seat empty until the next election in 2015.

For more on that process, read this story from KYW’s Mike Dunn: Democratic Party leader Bob Brady is already flooded with phone calls from would-be nominees.

Jared Brey PHILLY.COM
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