John F. Street
John Street became Philadelphia's 97th mayor on January 3, 2000. Born 56 years ago in rural Norristown, Pennsylvania, he grew up in a house without electricity or indoor plumbing. He graduated from Conshohocken High School and worked his way through Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, where he majored in English. In 1975, Street earned his Juris Doctorate from Temple University Law School.
Street was a clerk for Common Pleas Court Judge Mathew W. Bullock, Jr. and with the United States Department of Justice. He then taught English at an elementary school and Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center.
After practicing law for some years Street started his career as a community activist and a public servant. He advocated for fair housing for the poor, and for the Philadelphia School Board to cut back on administration and more on actually educating students. He also worked to forge greater connections between the police and communities.
Street was first elected to Philadelphia City Council in 1979, assuming office in 1980. He represented the city's Fifth Councilmanic District for nearly 20 years. In 1992 and again in 1996 Street was chosen unanimously by members of the council to serve as president. Together with former Mayor Edward G. Rendell Street worked to turn a $250 million deficit into the largest surplus in city history and counteract the 30 year trend of job loss from Philadelphia. A liquor-by-the-drink tax passed during his council term made it possible to have all day kindergarten for every child in Philadelphia.
Mayor Street retired from Philadelphia City Council on December 17, 1998, to run for mayor of Philadelphia.
Street is married to his wife Naomi, and has four children: Sharif, a lawyer with the Philadelphia firm Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen; Rashida, an architect currently working towards her master's degree at the University of Pennsylvania; Lateef, a sophomore at the University of Maryland and Akeem, who attends Philadelphia's Masterman Middle School.