Dear fellow Philadelphians,
On Tuesday, I swore an oath as Philadelphia’s 100th Mayor and the first woman to hold the office in 341 years. I did so with humility, with respect for the 99 who came before me, and with a solemn promise: we will make Philadelphia the safest, cleanest, and greenest big city in the nation with economic opportunity for everyone.
One Philly, a United City.
Philadelphia is an incredible city. We have world-class educational institutions and healthcare facilities—our “Eds and Meds.” We have a thriving downtown, an amazing and diverse food and restaurant scene, world-renowned museums, and great arts and culture. We have wonderfully vibrant neighborhoods that are the lifeblood of our city. These are all strengths we will build on in the years ahead.
We face real challenges as well—in public safety, stubbornly high poverty, quality-of-life concerns, housing availability, burdens on local businesses, and shortcomings in our educational system.
These challenges now fall on my administration, and I look forward to addressing them. Even as we continue our unprecedented transition process, with hundreds of our neighbors producing fresh ideas to make Philadelphia better, I want to give every citizen my own Action Plan and share my vision for a Safer, Cleaner, Greener Philadelphia, with economic opportunity for all.
In our first 100 days, my administration will announce specific plans to increase the number of Philadelphia police officers on our streets—with a focus on community policing citywide. We will declare a Public Safety Emergency and expeditiously get every available resource into neighborhoods struggling with the scourges of crime, gun violence, drugs, and addiction. Our Police Commissioner will deliver plans for those crises and for crimes—like car theft, shoplifting, and illegal ATV use—that diminish the quality of life in our city.
Clean and Green
We will launch a new approach to addressing quality-of-life issues, like illegal short-dumping, cleaning up litter and graffiti, fixing potholes, and removing abandoned cars—starting by focusing on the hardest-hit neighborhoods. We will expand a successful neighborhood commercial corridor cleaning program, PHL Taking Care of Business (PHL TCB). and we will create a Clean and Green Cabinet to organize government, community, and business collaboratively to reduce waste, increase recycling, and continue to work towards a more sustainable future —all with an eye towards environmental justice for underserved and under-resourced communities.
We will create a “One Front Door” opportunity for residents to access city-run home improvement programs in one place. We will develop a vision of “affordable luxury”—affordable homes with high-quality fixtures and finishes for homeowners and renters; preserve and build more affordable housing; and provide more support for small landlords. We will order a top-to-bottom review of the city’s Land Bank to better understand the challenges of developing vacant, city-owned properties—and work to significantly improve that process.
Within our first 100 days, our “PHL Open for Business” initiative will reduce the red tape that makes it hard to do business in our city by requiring every city department to submit to my office a suggested list of unnecessary permits and regulations we can eliminate. We will continue to remove college degree requirements for many City of Philadelphia jobs where it is unnecessary and spread the word about current job opportunities in city government—opening the door for more Philadelphians to access good-paying jobs. We will appoint a team focused on Minority Business Success to bring together local and national investors to generate investment support for diverse businesses and convene a Business Roundtable focused on growing the economy of Philadelphia.
We will develop a comprehensive strategy to provide meaningful out-of-school programs and job opportunities for students outside regular school hours. We will prepare a strategy on school building modernization and work closely with the School District on its own plan for school facilities. Our outreach will allow me and my team to hear directly from teachers, counselors, and principals on how best to attract, retain, and support them. We will seek out committed citizens to serve our students as members of our School Board.
We will create and operationalize Roundtables with a focus on business, faith-based, and intergovernmental efforts, whose missions will be to solicit and develop better ideas for how City Hall can serve all the different constituencies and needs of our diverse city. We want everyone’s ideas for how to improve Philadelphia, and we’re going to be a government that truly listens to people.
All this we promise Philadelphia and more
I believe in a city government that our citizens can see, touch, and feel—visible actions that help people at the neighborhood level. We want a government that can scale impact—take a solid program, expand what works, tweak what doesn’t—and serve more Philadelphians. And I want a revival at City Hall that brings out the best of Philly—a more efficient government, one that hears people, is an employer of choice, and relies on intergovernmental collaboration to bring more resources to our city. There will no longer be a Tale of Two Cities in Philadelphia.
I cannot do this alone. We’ve spent the last year traveling across Philadelphia, getting to know Philadelphians in their neighborhoods, their places of worship, and their workplaces. They gave me their support and brought me to this moment. Now I’m asking for their help — and yours—again. Your voice will join those of the 500-plus people from all walks of life serving on our transition subcommittees. We will share their insights about how to make Philadelphia a better place to live and work in the New Year.
Will you join me and get involved to help make Philadelphia safer, cleaner, and greener, with economic opportunity for all? Read my Action Plan, go to www.transition2023.org, give us your ideas, join our team, and be part of our vision: One Philly, a United City. Let’s get to work!
Cherelle L. Parker
City of Philadelphia