The Board of Directors for ADA Southeastern Pennsylvania voted unanimously at its February meeting to support Bill No. 140001, which was introduced by Councilperson Jim Kenney and would authorize Philadelphia police to issue a summons for the possession of modest amounts of marijuana.
This conforms with the current policy of the District Attorney to not prosecute possession of modest amounts. President Obama has recently cited the disproportionate effect marijuana laws have on minority communities. In Philadelphia, according to Kenney, 89% of arrests for possession of marijuana involved minorities.
ADA bases its support for the Kenney bill on the following:
- There is an inherent racial bias in enforcement.
- Law enforcement resources would be freed up to counter more serious crimes.
- Our criminal justice system could have lowered costs and heightened efficiency.
We commend Councilperson Kenney for his efforts to reform Philadelphia’s approach to this issue.
At its October meeting, the Board of Directors for Americans for Democratic Action of Southeastern PA endorsed two progressive bills introduced by Councilperson W. Wilson Goode.
The first – #130585 – expands restrictions on the ability of campaign donors and their ability to receive “no bid” contracts from the City of Philadelphia, during the term of the officeholder to which they contributed.
The second – #130586 – provides additional, annual funds to Philadelphia public schools by reducing the current 10 year, full tax abatement, for purchasers of newly constructed homes, to 45%.
This bill will increase city revenue and restore the historical proportion that previously went to our schools. ADA also sees this bill as an important step towards greater tax fairness in that this real estate abatement benefit is almost solely available to upper income residents.
We also reaffirmed our support for the explicit extension of “living wage” legislation to include subcontractors on contracts issued by the City of Philadelphia. The “living wage” bill is another Councilperson Goode initiative.
Bill #130585 has been referred to the Committee of the Whole (City Council itself). ADA urges its members in Philadelphia to contact members of City Council and ask that that Bill #130585 be referred to a Council committee for consideration. A council committee is more likely to consider this measure and make a recommendation to Council. Because of opposition to the initiative the Committee of the Whole may dismiss the initiative without careful deliberation.