June 23, 2012 |
These are schizophrenic times for Mayor Nutter. One day, he's in Philadelphia, unable to stop City Council from taking a flamethrower to his signature 2012 plan, the property-tax reform known as Actual Value Initiative. The next, he's in Orlando, basking in the applause of peers from across the country who elevated him to the presidency of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Pilloried in Philly, then feted in Florida, all within 48 hours. The split between Nutter's dual realities - one on the local stage, and the other played out nationally - is growing wider by the day. Nationally, between his new post and his steady stream of television appearances as an Obama surrogate and spokesman for urban America, Nutter is becoming a Democratic star, a slightly lower-voltage version of his "frenemy," Newark, N.J.'s Cory Booker.
June 17, 2012 |
ORLANDO, Fla. — Vice President Biden calls Mayor Nutter "one of my best friends in public life. " Michelle Obama addressed the mayor as "my dear friend" the last time she came to Philadelphia. Democratic pundit Donna Brazile wants Philadelphians to know that she has Nutter on speed dial. "Michael Nutter is a breath of fresh air. He likes to bring people together," Brazile said Thursday at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting here, where Nutter was inaugurated as the organization's new president Saturday.
June 1, 2012 |
Competition for regattas heats up The Schuylkill Navy is heartened that rowing has grown in popularity at the high school, college, and recreational levels, and that new venues such as the Cooper River in South Jersey are emerging ("Moving up quickly," Sunday). The question "Does the future belong to the Cooper?" highlights the attractions of the enhanced Cooper venue, but also the financial challenge of putting on regattas in Philadelphia. Some regattas, wanting to avoid city-imposed fees, have decamped to the Cooper.
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.