Highlights: October 6 City Council meeting
Of all the interesting things that happened at the City Council meeting yesterday, two seemed of particular relevance to the community. (A complete agenda can be found here). First, Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez presented a resolution acknowledging and celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, which goes from September 15 until October 15.
“Hispanics make up a significant portion of the labor force, working as elected officials, CEOs, small business owners, entrepreneurs and homemakers who provide leadership, guidance and support of the values which strengthen our economy,” says the resolution, which Quiñones-Sánchez read aloud with a colleague.
“Hispanics in the City of Philadelphia are unique leaders and exceptional role models in all professions and have distinguished themselves as smart and wise business owners, creating jobs, paying wages and demonstrating that they are a positive force in our local communities and neighborhoods,” it continues.
Hispanics in the City of Philadelphia are unique leaders and exceptional role models in all professions and have distinguished themselves as smart and wise business owners, creating jobs, paying wages and demonstrating that they are a positive force in our local communities and neighborhoods.
As Latinos own more than 600 restaurants in the city, and the Restaurant Association was involved in the passage of the resolution, representatives from the food services industry were also on hand to give comment. The CEO of Garces Group passed along the appreciation of founder José Garces, and Judith Suzarra-Campbell, the proprietor of Sazón, spoke to her own experience as a Venezuelan entrepreneur.
The second item of note was the passage of Resolution No. 160850, which condemns the Trans-Pacific Partnership on the grounds that it would hurt workers and prioritize corporate over public interests. The resolution was introduced by Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson following discussions with Reclaim Philadelphia, a progressive group.
Members of the group highlighted concerns about the environment and the costs of pharmaceuticals, exemplified by Mylan’s recent price-hike of Epi Pens. Interestingly, they also seized on the part of the deal which deals with “Investor State Dispute Settlements,” a controversial mediation structure which, in small countries like El Salvador, has allowed multinational corporations to ignore local safety, health, land use, and labor regulations.
The debate between council members questioned the intended reach of the condemnation, and whether, as an international treaty, it was really a matter within the city’s jurisdiction. However, the council eventually voted in favor of the resolution to condemn the TPP, joining Seattle, New York, and Baltimore.