A coalition gave Kenney 99 days to make big moves, so how did he do?
After Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney was elected in November, a coalition of various organizations rolled out a petition for eight key policies they wanted to see enacted during the new mayor’s first 99 days in office.
On Tuesday, as Kenney reached the 100-day landmark, Lauren Hitt — Kenney's Director of Communications — offered AL DÍA News a detailed breakdown of the actions taken towards meeting each one of the demands.
1. End the Philadelphia Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy.
The Mayor did keep this promise. He and Commissioner Richard Ross have instituted some of the strongest accountability measures in the country to prevent unconstitutional pedestrian stops – laid out on page 9 of the 100 days report. This is a very complex and confusing issue, since, despite what many activists and Philadelphians may think, there has never actually been a formal, written PPD stop-and-frisk policy. As a result, when the Mayor spoke about ending “stop and frisk,” he was referring to ending biased, unconstitutional stops. This was clearly outlined in a policy paper the Mayor released during the primary campaign. Since this is such a complex and confusing issue, the Mayor and the Commissioner will be joining community activists at the end of the month for a town hall on “stop and frisk,” and to discuss how Philadelphians can work together to strengthen community-police relations and public safety.
2. Re-establish executive order No. 1-14 in order to limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents.
We did this on our very first day.
3. Support more funding for affordable, accessible housing through the Housing Trust Fund and ensure diverse community representation on the boards of housing agencies and the Land Bank.
The Cabinet of Planning and Development was just established in January and, by Charter law, won’t be fully funded until next year. It’s currently just a 3 person office. Over the next year it will be taking stock of how the City can support more affordable, accessible housing. It would be premature to announce anything after 100 days given this office just came into existence 100 days ago. We also have not yet made appointments to Land Bank or housing agency boards. We are doing a thorough search to ensure our appointments are diverse and representative.
4. Launch a study on the health impacts of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refinery in South Philadelphia, which has been hit with dozens of environmental violations and community backlash.
Administration officials, including Deputy Mayor for Public Engagement Nina Ahmad and Director of Sustainability Christine Knapp met with the 99 Day coalition to discuss their requests. As a follow-up, Knapp met on-on-one with Action United to learn more and to discuss a baseline study that would be a first step on a health impact analysis. Our office is now awaiting information from Action United on specific information they would like to see collected in a study and on the potential area to be studied.
5. Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for all city workers.
We’re looking at what’s been done in other cities, and doing an analysis of the effect of the city’s current minimum ($12), so we can figure out the best way to phase in an increase over the next several years. That kind of analysis and budgetary change takes longer than 100 days to assess.
6. Create a Direct Care Worker’s center for “workers employed by seniors and people living with disabilities.
We’ve requested additional information from the coalition on what they envision this center providing in terms of services. We’re awaiting that information.
7. Turn the three elementary schools (Cooke, Huey and Wister) that the Philadelphia School District has proposed to turn into charters, and instead turn them into community schools.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the City doesn’t have local control of the District, so the Mayor doesn’t have control over the District’s decision with regards to converting schools into charters. The Mayor has publicly called for a moratorium on charters until state charter reimbursement funding is restored, and he publicly opposed the School Reform Commission’s decision to go against Dr. William Hite’s wishes that Wister remain a District school.
8. Implement the historic digital inclusion, worker, and technology education provisions of the new Comcast franchise agreement by working with the Office of Innovation and Technology and City Council, and establishing robust oversight over the franchise and its side letter provisions from key stakeholders, including low income communities.
“The Department of Innovation and Technology, under CIO Charles Brennan, continues to work diligently with Comcast and partners in City Council to finalize all outstanding issues, particularly the construction of an Institutional Network (I-Net), a fiber network that will connect municipal sites and provide network services to support city services. Already finalized are a host of digital inclusion opportunities, including a new low-income broadband access opportunity, and expansion of Internet Essentials for low-income seniors. The administration remains committed to full implementation of the franchise agreement and all necessary oversight”