The term “Councilmanic Prerogative” (CP) is an informal but enduring agreement among Philly’s district council members that gives the district Council Person (where a plot of public land is located) sole authority to decide how to dispose of that land. In other words, the councilperson decides and then all
10 district and all seven at-large council members reliably vote for it. No questions asked. State law and Philly’s city charter does grantCity Council as a whole authority over the sale of most city-owned land. The presumption should be that the 17 City Council members then vote on the land sale. That is generally how a legislative body works. But with CP, the vote is a complete rubber stamp. The District Council member makes the unilateral decision and then the rest of Council votes in support. Oh yeah, and if a council member votes against it, they could forget support or cooperation on any of their proposals moving forward.
CP is one issue where the affordable housing and anti-gentrification contingent, on the one hand, see eye-to-eye with the developers and business community. Interestingly, this appears on both sides of the debate.
The argument for CP is that the district council person knows their neighborhoods and is in the best position to decide what is best for their constituents and the district as a whole. Some feel this can help protect longtime residents or create more affordable housing. And some developers like the expediency of only needing to deal with one person to get a land deal done.
On the other hand, CP enables a system where a council person can base decisions primarily (or solely) on helping political allies and contributors and punishing adversaries. Basically old-school machine politics at its worst, yet sadly, often legal. And there are instances in Philly history where there have been outright bribes or extortion (and jail time for the council person). And far too many examples of improper behavior. It is one thing for council to consider a district council person’s recommendation based on sound policy argument. Quite another for there to be an unbreakable rule that the council person controls their fiefdom, no matter what.
With the May 21st Philadelphia local primary fast approaching, please read, research, and vote. Get to know your District Council Person. If you are not sure, let me know your address and I will tell you. And I think you will find the following articles on councilmanic prerogative helpful.
I would love to discuss this issue further. Love talking Philly politics, sports, neighborhoods, history, restaurants, and of course, REAL ESTATE.
City Hall Photo: M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
Jeff “City” Block
Philly Stuff + More
First Friday tonight. That sounds fun.
Mar 1, 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
First Friday is not just in Old City anymore. It now includes Fishtown and the Art Museum area. First Friday events in some hip Philly neighborhoods draw art-loving crowds looking for eye candy (and maybe some wine & cheese) at participating galleries, studios, shops, and bars and restaurants. Some details here and here. Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia/GPTMC.
All You Needs is Love…and Tickets
Sat. Mar 2 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm
The Flower Show starts tomorrow and what seems really cool is Flower Power After Hours (this year’s theme is ‘Flower Power.’) Grab your tickets here or at the door for this special event that features great music, botanical cocktails, games and get this—access to the Philadelphia Flower Show exhibits without the daytime crowds.
More Modern for Less
Curbed Philadelphia is looking out for those of us who want to add a fresh take on interior spaces at a more modest cost. This recent piece includes a dozen options for where you can find some cool modern pieces that may be perfect for your home. From large statement pieces to whimsical tchotchkes, price points are not through the roof.
Proud to Support PIC Annual sponsorships are an effective way for businesses to make a positive difference in the lives of families living and working in the City of Philadelphia. Based in UCity, The Parent-Infant Center (PIC) envisions a world where all young children, regardless of income or zip code, have access to high-quality learning experiences. It is important to me to be an annual supporter of PIC’s tuition assistance program, which helps provide access to high-quality child care and helps promote social and economic gains across generations of working families.
Local Savvy – National Reach
The Private Client Team @Compass
For me, real estate has always been hyperlocal—providing Expert Real Estate Representation neighborhood-to-neighborhood, block-to-block, and home-to-home.
Yet many of my clients relocate or own properties in several markets. That’s why I recently joined The Private Client Team at Compass–an experienced group of like-minded professionals who are positioned to provide exceptional, local service to my clients wherever they are.
If you or any friends, family, or colleagues are moving to or from another city or region, please let me know, and I will make sure their real estate needs are served by the best of the best in that locale.
Spotlight Property of the Week
1017 South 46th Street
Spruce Hill – JUST REDUCED
4 Bed | 2.5 Bath
This c.1895 University City/Spruce Hill 3-story twin has been totally upgraded over the past few years, while still proudly featuring loads of original Victorian details. It’s a sun-filled 3135 s.f. with 4-5 bedrooms & 2.5 baths, including a huge MBR suite. The rear deck overlooks a super-large yard. Plus, it’s in the catchment area for the high-performing Penn Alexander K-8 grade school (admission not guaranteed).
The following properties are not yet listed on MLS – but they will be next week!
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