Darrell L. Clarke

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Darrell L. Clarke
President of the Philadelphia City Council
Assumed office
January 2, 2012
Preceded byAnna Verna
Member of the Philadelphia City Council
from the 5th District
Assumed office
May 18, 1999
Preceded byJohn Street
Personal details
Born (1952-09-17) September 17, 1952 (age 68)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political partyDemocratic

Darrell L. Clarke (born September 17, 1952) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party. He is the President of the Philadelphia City Council, where he represents the Fifth District, which encompasses North Central Philadelphia, Strawberry Mansion, Lower Hunting Park, Ludlow, Yorktown, West Poplar, Fairhill, Brewerytown, Francisville, Spring Garden, Fairmount, Logan Square, and parts of Northwood, Fishtown, Northern Liberties, and Center City.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

A native of North Philadelphia, Clarke grew up in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. He graduated from Edison High School. He later attended the Community College of Philadelphia but did not graduate.[1][2]

Political career[edit]

He was elected as a committeeman himself and became an aide to John Street,[1] who represented the Fifth District for nearly three decades and eventually became Council President.

Election to city council[edit]

In December 1998, Street resigned as a member of the City Council to run for mayor and endorsed Clarke for his seat in the 1999 special election held.[3] Clarke won by only 140 votes over Julie Welker and Dorothy Carn. Welker filed a lawsuit alleging election fraud. The case was decided in Clarke’s favor.[4]

City council tenure[edit]

Clarke is a former Majority Whip and is the Chair of the Fiscal Stability and Public Property Committees and Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee.[1] He was elected to the position of Council President after the office was vacated by the retiring Anna Verna.

One of Clarke's legislative actions was his introduction of the bill to end the City-subsidized lease on the 80-year-old headquarters building of the Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America over their ban on gay scouts.[5] After a protracted legal battle, the bill was overturned in Federal court and the City of Philadelphia was ordered to pay nearly a million dollars in legal fees to the Boy Scouts.[6]


In 2014, Darrell Clarke single-handedly stopped the sale of PGW for $1.8 billion without any public discussion.[7]

In 2015, City Council President Darrell Clarke approved 1,330 private properties for the Philadelphia Housing Authoirty (PHA) to seize through eminent domain.[8][9][10]

In 2018, Darrell Clarke stopped housing from rising on a vacant city lot and helped his landlord[11]

In 2019, the Inspector General stated that Philadelphia developer backed by Council President Darrell Clarke ‘took advantage’ of flawed city process for ‘private gain’[12]

Personal life[edit]

His father, Jerry, was involved in politics as a party committeeman. His mother, Ruth, was employed by the Veterans Administration.

Clarke has one daughter, Dr. Nicole Bright, and a grandson.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Councilman Darrell L. Clarke - 5th District, Majority Whip". City of Philadelphia.
  2. ^ "Shedding light on Council President Darrell Clarke". Philadelphia Inquirer. 2012-01-26.
  3. ^ "Verna Sure of Support, Primary Leaves Her With Votes to Continue as Council Pres". Philadelphia Daily News. May 20, 1999.
  4. ^ "WELKER 99 v. 99". Findlaw.com. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  5. ^ Slobodzian, Joseph A. (2007-06-01). "Council votes to end city lease with Boy Scouts". Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29.
  6. ^ "Philadelphia would sell building to Boy Scouts under proposed settlement - philly-archives". Articles.philly.com. 2010-11-18. Retrieved 2016-04-29.
  7. ^ https://thephiladelphiacitizen.org/the-shame-of-our-city/
  8. ^ https://aldianews.com/articles/politics/housing/property-owners-phas-eminent-domain-could-be-imminent-loss/39378
  9. ^ https://www.inquirer.com/philly/news/local/20151210_In_Sharswood__Blumberg__residents_facing_eminent_domain_want_to_fight_back.html
  10. ^ https://www.phillyvoice.com/pha-seize-1330-properties-redevelopment/
  11. ^ https://whyy.org/articles/how-city-council-president-darrell-clarke-stopped-housing-from-rising-on-a-vacant-city-lot-and-helped-his-landlord/
  12. ^ https://www.inquirer.com/news/shawn-bullard-philadelphia-land-deal-temple-darrell-clark-rd-20191120.html

External links[edit]