Philadelphia, June 23, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter was selected to co-chair the newly created ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Task Force and asked to serve on the newly created USCM ‘Cities of Opportunity’ Task Force during the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ (USCM) 82nd Annual Meeting in Dallas, TX this past weekend. Also during the meeting, the City of Philadelphia was awarded a 2014 City Livability Outstanding Achievement Award for the Department of Licenses & Inspections (L&I) Anti-Blight Initiative.
The USCM “My Brother’s Keeper” Task Force will support President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative in efforts to implement practical, results-driven strategies that ensure young men and boys of color are on equal footing with their peers and have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. The USCM “Cities of Opportunity” Task Force will develop an action plan and share best practices to empower cities to make equity a central governing principle; explore how municipal powers are best used to advance an equity agenda; and catalogue potential tools – budgeting decisions, purchasing power, regulatory controls, and procurement policies – to drive greater equality and opportunity for citizens.
L&I’s award-winning Anti-Blight Initiative makes strategic use of new powers afforded to Pennsylvania municipalities through the 2010 Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Law (Act 90). L&I identified about 25,000 vacant and blighted properties, cited the properties for violations & identified the owners, and partnered with the Law Department and the First Judicial District to develop a “Blight Court” to compel owners to repair their properties or face fines. The Initiative’s ultimate goal is to increase property values and quicken the pace of re-development in transitional neighborhoods to improve quality of life for residents across the city.
In response to his selection to co-chair and serve on two new Task Forces and Philadelphia receiving the City Livability Award, Mayor Nutter issued the following statement:
“As the Mayor of Philadelphia, co-founder of Cities United and a member of USCM, I stand with President Obama and my fellow mayors in pledging to do all that I can to tackle inequality at all levels in America’s cities.
“I am eager to get to work with my fellow co-chair on the ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Task Force, Mayor William Bell (Birmingham, AL), to find solutions to aid young men and boys of color who are disproportionately affected by high rates of violent crime, incarceration and unemployment. I am also looking forward to working with Mayor Bill de Blasio (New York City, NY) and Mayor Kevin Johnson (Sacramento, CA) to develop a national common equity agenda cities can use to address issues like creating a higher minimum wage, expanding the supply of affordable housing, and universal access to Pre-K.
“The City of Philadelphia is engaged in efforts to promote increased livability and equity in all neighborhoods, and I am honored that we were recognized by USCM this year for L&I’s Anti-Blight Initiative which seeks to address these issues. Through this and other City-run initiatives, the City of Philadelphia will continue to provide high-quality services to residents. And through our partnership with USCM, we will continue collaborating with cities across the country to advance a national agenda that promotes opportunity for all.”