Northeast Times

Henon is ready to get to work in the 6th district

Phil­adelphia City Coun­cil Pres­id­ent Dar­rell L. Clarke greets City Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on dur­ing a oath of of­fice dur­ing a ce­re­mony on Monday, Janu­ary 2 at the Academy of Mu­sic. Kev­in Cook / for the Times

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Bobby Hen­on served for 12 years as polit­ic­al dir­ect­or of In­ter­na­tion­al Broth­er­hood of Elec­tric­al Work­ers, us­ing the uni­on muscle to help elect nu­mer­ous can­did­ates.

Hen­on made his first bid for of­fice last year, and it was a suc­cess­ful one. He won the 6th Coun­cil­man­ic Dis­trict seat.

He of­fi­cially took of­fice Monday morn­ing dur­ing a ce­re­mony at the Academy of Mu­sic, when he was sworn in with 16 oth­er mem­bers by Com­mon Pleas Court Pres­id­ent Judge Pamela Pry­or Dembe.

“I’m ex­cited about get­ting to work,” he said. “I’m go­ing to hit the ground run­ning.”

Hen­on, an East Tor­res­dale res­id­ent who’ll turn 43 on Jan. 11, is re­pla­cing the re­tired Joan Kra­jew­ski, who en­dorsed Marty Bed­narek in the Demo­crat­ic primary.

The new coun­cil­man’s of­fice is in Room 484 City Hall, the former of­fice of new Coun­cil Pres­id­ent Dar­rell Clarke.

Dur­ing the swear­ing-in ce­re­mony, Hen­on “proudly and with great hon­or” nom­in­ated Clarke for the pres­id­ency and es­cor­ted him to the rostrum after his elec­tion.

“It was a pleas­ure nom­in­at­ing Dar­rell,” he said later.

Coun­cil­man Curtis Jones is ma­jor­ity lead­er. Coun­cil­wo­man Blondell Reyn­olds Brown is ma­jor­ity whip.

The 6th dis­trict of­fice phone num­bers will re­main the same as Kra­jew­ski’s, 215-686-3444 (45). The fax num­ber is 215-686-1935.

Fol­low­ing the ce­re­mony, Hen­on held an open house in his of­fice that fea­tured Phil­adelphia fa­vor­ites such as soft pret­zels, Tastykakes and Pea­nut Chews. His wife Jill and sons Matt and Zach were among the fam­ily mem­bers and friends who gathered in the rather large of­fice.

So far, he has made five staff hires.

The group in­cludes Lisa Dee­ley, who worked 18 years for Alan Butkovitz when he was a state rep­res­ent­at­ive and in his cur­rent po­s­i­tion as city con­trol­ler. She’ll handle com­munity out­reach is­sues, deal­ing with re­cre­ation cen­ters, seni­or cit­izen groups and civic as­so­ci­ations.

Also on staff is Chris Creel­man, an old Hen­on friend who’ll be chief of con­stitu­ent ser­vice. He is the only hol­d­over from Kra­jew­ski’s staff.

While Kra­jew­ski did not have a dis­trict of­fice, Hen­on cam­paigned on a pledge to open one so con­stitu­ents wouldn’t have to travel to Cen­ter City.

“I’m still look­ing, try­ing to identi­fy a place and work­ing things out with the city,” he said.

Hen­on ex­pects to open the of­fice in Ta­cony, per­haps on the strug­gling Tor­res­dale Av­en­ue com­mer­cial strip.

“One of my longer-term goals is re­vital­iz­ing Ta­cony,” he said.

Hen­on will serve as chair­man of the Pub­lic Prop­erty Com­mit­tee. He will also serve on, among oth­er com­mit­tees, Parks and Re­cre­ation, Rules and Ap­pro­pri­ations.

“With Fair­mount Park and all the boys and girls clubs, I’m happy with the as­sign­ments,” he said. “I’ll be on ten com­mit­tees. I’ll be busy.”

Coun­cil won’t be es­pe­cially busy for the next few weeks, as mem­bers voted to ad­journ un­til Jan. 26 fol­low­ing Monday’s ce­re­mony.

Hen­on re­mains a “proud card-car­ry­ing Loc­al 98 mem­ber,” but will no longer serve as polit­ic­al dir­ect­or, as the uni­on looks to fo­cus more on busi­ness de­vel­op­ment.

“I’m go­ing to be a full-time coun­cil­man,” he said.

There are at least two is­sues that dom­in­ate talk in the dis­trict.

The Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment has still not ruled on an ap­peal by neigh­bors op­posed to a de­cision by the De­part­ment of Li­censes and In­spec­tions to grant per­mits to a group that plans to open a meth­adone clin­ic at Frank­ford Av­en­ue and Dec­atur Street.

Some neigh­bors are ex­plor­ing the pos­sib­il­ity of al­low­ing the clin­ic to open in a more re­mote loc­a­tion, such as State Road.

“I’m op­posed to both loc­a­tions,” Hen­on said.

Also, the former Lid­don­field Homes hous­ing pro­ject site re­mains va­cant.

Hen­on has met with com­munity lead­ers. One prom­ising plan in­volves a mixed use that would in­clude NCAA-ap­proved ath­let­ic fields for Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity.

The coun­cil­man hopes the ap­proved plan in­cludes ten­ants that will cre­ate jobs and serve as a good neigh­bor and part­ner to the Up­per Holmes­burg area.

“Sev­er­al de­velopers have in­terest, but the com­munity groups I’ve talked to tell me they fa­vor Holy Fam­ily ex­pand­ing its foot­print,” he said. ••

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You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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