DARRELL L. CLARKE is the President of City Council and represents the 5th Council District which includes North Central Philadelphia, Strawberry Mansion, Lower Hunting Park, Ludlow, Yorktown, West Poplar, Fairhill, Brewerytown, Francisville, Spring Garden, Fairmount, Logan Square, and parts of Northwood, Fishtown, Northern Liberties, and Center City.
Since taking office, Council President Clarke has advanced a progressive legislative agenda that includes initiatives enhancing job creation, increasing public safety, promoting economic and neighborhood development and protecting consumer interests.
Increasing employment opportunities for all Philadelphians is at the forefront of Council President Clarke’s legislative agenda. In this regard he championed legislation establishing the City’s first Jobs Commission whose mission is to crate a blueprint for job creation for Philadelphia. To help ensure diversity in contracting and employment he passed legislation requiring Economic Opportunity Plans on all City-let contracts and subsidized projects. Further, the Councilman has been a major facilitator of development projects throughout the City which have created thousands of area jobs. He also sponsors the “Restart Philadelphia” conference series, providing access to valuable job readiness and business development for job seekers and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Council President Clarke maintains a strong commitment to improving city neighborhoods and commercial corridors. Among the several revitalization projects Council President Clarke has championed are the Avenue North retail and Entertainment Complex (the first of its kind in North Philadelphia), expansion of the Free Library main branch, construction of the Barnes Museum and new Mormon Temple on Ben Franklin Pkwy, and numerous developments along the Avenue of the Arts North. All told, Council President Clarke is directly responsible for over $150 million in support for these projects. The Council President is also on record pace for housing production in his district with hundreds of affordable and market rate housing units constructed or currently undergoing construction. Council President Clarke also sponsored the Revitalizing Urban Neighborhoods Conference where community experts from across the region discussed best practices for revitalizing Philadelphia communities.
From the inception of his public service Council President Clarke has staunchly advocated increased public safety in Philadelphia. Towards this end he initiated a groundbreaking lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the NRA (currently in the PA Supreme Court) in an effort to give the City the ability to pass local gun violence prevention laws. He also passed legislation closing the loophole that allowed residents previously denied gun permits from purchasing them out of state, as well as requiring the reporting of lost and stolen firearms. Other legislation passed include laws prohibiting the possession of firearms by persons subject to protection from abuse orders and requiring the removal of firearms from persons judged to be a risk to themselves or others. Council President Clarke is also responsible for initiating the city-wide Public Safety Video Camera program overwhelmingly passed by ballot referendum. He subsequently earmarked $5 million in resources for its implementation throughout the City.
Consumer protection is another of the Council President’s focuses. He is directly responsible for the creation of the City’s Office of Consumer Affairs, established to protect city consumers against unfair business practices. He passed the City’s first Used Car Lemon Law which allows used car buyers to return vehicles unable to pass inspection or found to have undisclosed major structural defects. The Council President further passed legislation preventing owners of recovered stolen vehicles from being charged towing and storage charges within 24 hours of their cars being found. Council President Clarke is former Chair of the City’s Auto Insurance Task Force, which was successful in lowering auto insurance rates for Philadelphians, and he more recently sponsored legislation crating the Philadelphia Energy Authority to help guide the City, its businesses and residents regarding smart energy purchasing and usage.
The enhancement of the Quality of Life of all Philadelphians is a primary concern for Council President Clarke. Due to his efforts hundreds of unsightly illegal billboards are being removed throughout the City. In addition, he passed legislation prohibiting alcohol advertising within 1000 feet of schools, playgrounds and other places frequented by children. Other quality of life legislation includes laws making it easier to remove abandoned automobiles from Philadelphia’s streets, and mandating that take out establishments located on residential blocks close at decent hours to reduce late night loitering and noise in neighborhoods. Council President Clarke has also sponsored legislation shielding the city’s long time residents from being forced out of the city due to increasing development. To that end, measures aimed at reducing property tax burdens for the city’s low-income long time owner occupants, and that allow citizens eligible for the State’s PACENET program to participate in the low income property tax deferral program have been key. These initiatives provide peace of mind to current residents while also allowing for continued community revitalization.
Prior to his election, Council President Clarke served as an experienced public servant in municipal government for nearly twenty years. Initially hired by City Councilman John F. Street as a constituent service representative, during the later years of his employment with City Council, Clarke had sole responsibility for overseeing legislative, housing and economic development initiatives throughout the 5th Council District.