Helping young people, ending violence: Philly City Council members set goals for 2022

This spring, Jones is opening the Fourth District Container Village. It will be a flea market using recycled and refurbished shipping containers that will open in West Philadelphia in the Parkside neighborhood, allowing vendors to sell merchandise.

At-Large board member Isaiah Thomas looks forward to keeping his promise to put young people first in 2022.

“The priority I have campaigned on, and will always be my top priority, is the quality of life for young people in Philadelphia,” Thomas said in a statement. “From our schools to out-of-school time and general well-being, we have to constantly raise the bar for our young people. “

Thomas said he wanted to continue work on the bills he passed in 2021. For example, his Keep It Local bill (public procurement reform) encouraged the conduct of the local economy using and advocating for local commercial use. And its equal driving legislation (improving police-community relations) which was signed to limit what is considered a primary reason for stopping a vehicle and what should be considered secondary, was legislation historic and the first of its kind.

“I also look forward to working to make Philadelphia a better business city for every neighborhood; this will be our best way to attract new residents and tourists, ”said Thomas.

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At-Large board member Allan Domb said in 2022 that leaders must be dedicated to ending violence in Philadelphia.

“We must remain committed to solving the epidemic of violence – there is nothing more important than reducing and preventing gun violence in our city,” Domb said in a statement.

He said city officials need to think outside the box and use all the tools available.

“This includes using our academic experts to help us evaluate our efforts, deploying technological surveillance and being smarter than those causing problems, and examining innovative DNA analyzes to help solve crimes and help prosecutors, ”Domb said.

He is also pursuing legislation that reduces Philadelphia’s tax burden to help the job market.

“In addition, we must continue our work to provide quality services to all Philadelphians, including much-needed support to create 21st century schools that will help our city compete with residents regionally, by exploring innovative systems of garbage collection and expanding outdoor dining options. It’s equal and fair to everyone, ”said Domb.

City council chairman Darrell Clarke said his goals for 2022 focused on reducing poverty, providing hope and economic opportunity and, most importantly, reducing gun violence.

“Our $ 400 million neighborhood preservation initiative is underway and it will provide more affordable housing, first-time home support, employment opportunities, neighborhood revitalization and eviction protections – most of all. a city’s great investment in historic neighborhoods in Philadelphia, ”Clarke said. “And we need everyone to be on the same page – the mayor, the Philadelphia police, the district attorney, the courts and the city council – working together to reduce gun violence and make our city a better city.” safe for everyone. “

Council member Mark Squilla, from District D-1, said he wanted to focus on crime and illegal drug use in 2022.

In 2021, drug overdoses in Philadelphia increased by 10%. Squilla said he intends to pursue innovative programs to help people who are homeless and addicted to drugs. He is a big proponent of re-establishing drug and community courts and has worked with all the stakeholders trying to do so.

At-Large board member Derek Green said he was focused on making sure 2022 is not a repeat of 2021. Green said all public agencies need to be on the same page this year to a substantial decrease in armed violence.

Beyond addressing gun violence as a whole, Green said he would continue to hold hearings on the link between poverty and gun violence.

Additionally, Green said he hopes to get past COVID-19 and return to in-person meetings.

“Well, what I look forward to most besides having a safer city, a city where we can hopefully come together beyond the two dimensions of Zoom, Skype and WebEx, but be much more in person, ”Green said. “I hope in the first trimester of next year you learn more about the omicron variant which will have diminishing effects. And I hope we don’t have a new variant in 2022 that causes problems and that we add more and more people getting vaccinated so that we can try to get back to the life we ​​had before the pandemic. “

Council member Jamie Gauthier, from District 3 of D, passed legislation to help Philadelphians access affordable housing in his area of ​​jurisdiction in West Philadelphia in 2021.

She said her goals and points of interest for the new year are to make sure the city is well prepared for this legislation to come into effect within six months.

“First and foremost, my office will use the next six months to ensure the city is ready to successfully implement the mixed income neighborhood overlay and that it can be implemented with integrity,” Gauthier said.

She said she looked forward to a hearing on the expiration of affordable housing contracts in all housing developments in the city.

“We hope that the hearing will lead to tangible next steps in terms of interventions that can be taken at all levels of government to address this urgent concern,” said Gauthier. “In addition, we will work to secure our community land trust legislation – which would give grassroots community groups a head start in the competition to acquire city-owned land for community service purposes, such as housing.” affordable or community gardens – all the way. line.”

Gauthier will also focus on the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative, a $ 400 million Council investment that will support affordable housing, prevent evictions and more.

City Council Member Kenyatta Johnson, District D-2, as chairman of the Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention, said he was looking to expand the Office of Victims’ Advocates.

“This is an office that was created with legislation that I brought forward with city council to create an office to stand up for those who have lost loved ones to gun violence,” Johnson said. “And so this office will be a hub and work in partnership with our district attorney’s office, the Philadelphia Police Department and other victims of violence organizations to give a voice to those who have lost loved ones.” because of gun violence. ”

In December, Johnson’s legislation to hold a hearing to examine the link between domestic violence and gun violence was approved. Shootings motivated by domestic violence increased in 2021.

“We will be holding a hearing to examine the interconnection between domestic violence and gun violence here in the city of Philadelphia,” Johnson said. “We have seen a significant increase in the number of women losing their lives as a result of mindless gun violence. So we want to see how we can do more and protect women, and most importantly, make sure they don’t fall victim to mindless gun violence here in the city of Philadelphia.

Towards the end of the year, a report from the US Surgeon General issued an advisory on trauma and mental health issues in young people. Johnson has said he wants to hold hearings examining youth trauma and the connection to violence.

“I don’t believe a young person is born with the mentality of shooting and murdering another individual. So we want to deepen and examine the behavioral and mental health issues that impact young people and their correlation with the significant gun violence that we see here in the city of Philadelphia, ”Johnson said.

In addition to that, Johnson will hold hearings to address diversity regarding government contracts in Philadelphia.

“Currently, less than 20% of the city’s contracts have been awarded to minority companies, but regardless of minority companies, especially African Americans receive less than 9% of those contracts,” Johnson said. “And so we want to make sure that we are supporting black and brown businesses here in Philadelphia, making sure they have a seat at the table when it comes to the contracts that are being handed out.”

Brian Saunders is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.

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