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Closing bars later among flurry of Council proposals

Employment, education and crime dominated Thursday's City Councilsession, the first of the year, and spurred a flurry of proposedlegislation.

Employment, education and crime dominated Thursday's City Council session, the first of the year, and spurred a flurry of proposed legislation.

According to Councilman Bill Green, the three issues are inextricably related. “You can say it’s all about jobs; but really, an educated workforce means more jobs. A revised tax structure means more jobs. There are a lot of levers you can pull for more jobs,” he said. “The biggest public safety effort possible is to give someone a job.”

He proposed a package that would require city-funded positions be limited to Philadelphia residents and private companies to interview city residents first for entry-level publicly-subsidized jobs.

As for education, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown introduced a bill that would allow bars to stay open until 3 a.m., with the liquor tax revenue raised to go toward the school district.

She said that the city will have to hold joint hearings with the state first.

New leader outlines his agenda

Newly minted Council President Darrell Clarke said that he hopes to concentrate on neighborhood improvements and community outreach.

He said the economy was No. 1 on his mind. He also hopes to pay down the city’s debt and provide new employment opportunities to residents. “My first priority is figuring out how to create jobs,” he said.

He also outlined rules for a streamlined City Council session.