In addition to choosing a mayor, district and at-large City Council members, City Commissioners, Register of Wills, and multiple judges on May 21, voters will also vote on four proposed charter changes. Here are our recommendations.
Shall The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to change certain gender specific references (such as “councilman,” “councilmen,” and “Councilmanic”) to gender neutral references (such as “councilmember,” “councilmembers,” and “Council”)?
Philadelphia’s home rule charter was written in 1951. It refers to “councilmen” on multiple occasions. While Philadelphia is still far from parity — current Council is 35 percent female — over the decades many women had served and led on Council. Earlier this year, Council member Derek Green introduced a bill to replace “councilman” to “councilmember” and “councilmanic” to “council.”
There is no reason for gender to be a part of the way we describe the leadership in our city. We recommend that you vote YES.
… establish and define the functions of the Office of Immigrant Affairs, headed by a Director of Immigrant Affairs?
In 2013, then-Mayor Michael Nutter signed an executive order to establish the Office of Immigrant Affairs to serve the immigrant community in Philadelphia. Mayor Jim Kenney has continuedthe office. Since the office is already established, this would not have an immediate impact on the budget.
About 15 percent of Philadelphia is foreign born, a number that continues to grow. This constituency deserves an advocate. We recommend that you vote YES.
… call on the General Assembly to either increase the Pennsylvania minimum wage now, so that it reaches $15 an hour, in stages, by 2025; or allow the City of Philadelphia to itself provide for a decent, family sustaining, living wage for working Philadelphians?
The minimum wage in Philadelphia is $7.25 an hour. State law preempts the city from setting its own minimum wage, though Philadelphia has increased it for those who work for the city. Republicans in Harrisburg oppose efforts to increase the wage. The measure is symbolic and nonbinding.
We recommend that you vote YES.
… require the establishment of “Public Safety Enforcement Officers” to assist the Police Department in regulating the flow of traffic; to enforce and assist the appropriate City officers in the enforcement of ordinances relating to the quality of life in the City’s neighborhoods; and to perform such other related duties as the Managing Director or Council may require?
Traffic congestion in Center City is bad and getting worse. In the fall, Council President Darrell L. Clarke proposed creating a new class of civil officers who would help navigate traffic, enforce civil violations, and assist police with special events. This question mostly pertains to establishing the authority to create this class of officers. In the fall, Clarke estimated that there would be 100 new officers. There is no budget yet for such a plan. Opponents argue it is in violation of state law.