May 30, 2012 |
When the possibility of prohibiting discrimination against transgender people comes up, opponents often raise concerns about bathroom usage, of all things: "What about the men's and ladies' rooms?" It seems like a frivolous basis for denying an entire group of citizens their civil rights, but all too often, that's the tenor of discussions about legal protections for transgender individuals. It places little stock in our ability to assimilate, sympathize with, and simply deal with people whose experience of the world does not match our own. Fortunately, the experience in Philadelphia has been different.
March 4, 2012
It's that time of year for citizens to fight fraudulent signatures, ferret out carpetbagger candidates, and, in general, stand up for democracy. In reality, of course, when people challenge a candidate's nominating petitions, there's often some cynical political maneuvering. "Heard in the Hall" is not sure which category two recent challenges fall into. The question of where T. Milton Street Sr. lives seems to crop up every time he runs for office. The former state senator, onetime hot dog vendor, and ex-con is best known as the brother of former Mayor John F. Street.
January 31, 2012
In 2007, on the night he was elected mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter began his acceptance speech with a moment of silence for Police Officer Chuck Cassidy, who had been killed a week earlier at an Oak Lane doughnut shop after walking into a robbery in progress. Nutter let the silence stretch for a good, long while. Then he said: "It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day. It's a new day. " Those were the words the city needed to hear. Though the final death toll that year wasn't as apocalyptic as feared, for much of 2007, Philadelphia felt like a metropolis on the brink.
January 17, 2012 |
IT WAS a cheeseburger, not a cheesesteak, that helped mold Michael Nutter into the man he is today. Gino's, during the company's heyday in 1960s and '70s, wasn't just shelling out burgers and chicken. The burger giant was a major contributor to the Catholic school system in Philadelphia, and the reason Nutter was able to attend St. Joseph's Prep. "It was a total big deal," the mayor told the Daily News last week. " The scholarship was tremendously helpful. Going to St. Joe's Prep turned out to be one of the greatest learning experiences for me and, ultimately, set me on the path for what I do today.
January 15, 2012 |
You probably missed it, but Esquire anointed Michael Nutter one of six "Patriots of the Year. " Nutter made the list not for enacting a soda tax or exacting a bold contract with city workers. He wowed the nation as a "no-nonsense truth teller" after scolding young black flash mobbers, "You damaged your own race. " Last week, Nutter made headlines again, calling a gunman charged with killing three teenagers an "asshole" on live TV. It wasn't the first time the mayor so described a criminal suspect.
January 3, 2012
Four years ago, when Michael Nutter was first sworn in as mayor, Philadelphia was awash in irrational exuberance, and it was Nutter who had opened the floodgates. Remember the thousands who encircled City Hall just to shake the man's hand? Or the preposterously ambitious goals Nutter outlined in his buoyant inaugural address? Double the college graduation rate! Halve K-12 dropouts! Cut homicides by 30 percent to 50 percent! "It's a new day," he said, too many times to count. Monday, in his second inaugural address, Nutter did his best to take back those promises, set them on fire, and throw the ashes into an unusually strong easterly wind.
January 1, 2012
A year into Michael Nutter's first term, I interviewed several dozen civic leaders as part of a project I was working on. These were people with serious bona fides in government, politics, and public policy in Philadelphia. Nutter wasn't the subject of the project, but at the end of each interview, I would turn off my recorder and ask this additional question: What do you think of the job Nutter has done so far? Some sighed. Others rolled their eyes. Some sadly shook their heads.
November 9, 2011 |
Mayor Nutter swept to a second term Tuesday, easily besting Republican Karen Brown by a 3-1 ratio. With more than 96 percent of the precincts counted, Nutter had trumped his GOP rival and independent candidate Wali "Diop" Rahman. Introduced by his teenage daughter, Olivia, to a crowd at the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel, Nutter said: "It is with great pride and humility that I say thank you. Tonight is not a night for satisfaction but for impatience. . . . We have in fact begun the renaissance of this great city, but we're not done yet. " When asked about capturing 24 percent of the vote, Brown said, "It says Michael Nutter should start listening to the little guy. We ran this race with no support, no money - not even from our own party - and we pulled this off. " Rahman, who won about 3 percent of the vote, called his campaign "a victory for the people," especially "the historically oppressed black and Latino communities.
November 8, 2011
Endorsements Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D.) City Commissioner Stephanie Singer (D.), Al Schmidt (R.) City Council (Contested races only.) District 10 Brian O'Neill (R.) District 2 Kenyatta Johnson (D.) District 8 Cindy Bass (D.) District 6 Bobby Henon (D.) District 3 Jannie Blackwell (D.) At Large Dennis O'Brien (R.)
November 6, 2011 |
Four years ago, Michael Nutter was a former maverick City Councilman who had bested the political establishment to become the surprise winner of the mayoral race. He promised to make Philadelphia safer, smarter, more prosperous, and less corrupt - goals he says he has achieved, to one degree or another. "We did those four things and a bunch more," Nutter said recently. "We never lost focus from the things we talked about in the campaign. " No doubt crime is down and school test scores have risen.