Broad Street Brief: City Council President Clarke Calls for Special Elections to Fill District Seat Vacancies
September 19, 2022
September 19, 2022
This morning, City Council will be reconvening with 13 members following the resignation of four members over the past month. On Friday, City Council President Darrell Clarke announced that special elections would be held in November to fill the City Council seats in Districts Seven and Nine, which had been held by Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and Cherelle Parker, respectively. The former councilmembers recently stepped down in order to officially launch their respective mayoral campaigns. While former At-Large Councilmembers Allan Domb and Derek Green also recently resigned — the former to explore a potential mayoral run and the latter to launch his mayoral campaign — there are currently no plans for special elections to fill these vacancies.
In June, Republicans in Harrisburg established a panel to investigate Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s job performance — particularly as it pertains to the city’s escalating gun violence crisis — in a search for grounds for impeachment. Now, following a unanimous recommendation by the committee Tuesday morning, the Pennsylvania House has voted to hold the district attorney in contempt. The action was prompted by the district attorney’s refusal to cooperate with a subpoena the committee issued in August soliciting documents pertaining to an officer-involved shooting case in Philadelphia. District Attorney Krasner had recently spoken out against the investigation, saying it may constitute a violation of the constitutional rights of the Philadelphians who voted him into office.
In recent years, the rate of gun violence in Philadelphia has been top of mind among residents and public officials alike. The city’s spending on gun violence prevention to combat this increase has risen in tandem — this year’s spending reflects an approximately 35% spending increase over last year’s — though questions remain as to whether taxpayer dollars are being allocated toward solutions that have the greatest potential for impact. Over the weekend — in the wake of the tragic death of Mill Creek Recreation Center employee Tiffany Fletcher — Mayor Jim Kenney, District Attorney Larry Krasner, and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw held a press conference imploring community members to join the fight against illegal firearm ownership and use.
Terrill Haigler, a 33-year-old Philadelphia native who has garnered much attention on social media as “Ya Fav Trashman,” declared his candidacy for an at-large City Council seat last week. The former Philadelphia sanitation worker’s platform will focus on the same issues that gained him notoriety, namely creating a cleaner and safer city. In addition to having worked as a community liaison, Haigler is also a children’s book author and nonprofit founder.
Cofounder and former Political Director of Reclaim Philadelphia Amanda McIllmurray filed paperwork to run against current First District Councilmember Mark Squilla in 2023. While McIllmurray is still in an “exploratory phase” and has not officially begun campaigning, Councilmember Squilla has served for three terms and is expected to run for reelection. The First District includes parts of South Philadelphia, Center City, Chinatown, Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Kensington, and Port Richmond.
It is no secret that Philadelphia is a heavily Democratic city. But many of the city’s Black Republican ward leaders remain determined to advocate not only for representation, but for what they see as potential solutions to Philadelphia’s poverty, crime, and chronic health issues, among other perennial problems. Tyler Ray, Talmadge Belo, David Rose, and Calvin Tucker spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer about what drew them to the Republican party and their respective experiences being among Philadelphia’s political minority.
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