In Praise of Mayor Nutter

Michael Nutter

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Mayor Nutter did a good thing this week.

Really. His decision to come to an accommodation with Councilman Jim Kenney on pot decriminalization will have widespread benefits in Philadelphia. It will save thousands of otherwise-law-abiding young men and women from an arrest record in their future. It might save some dough at the police department. And it’s probably good for his legacy: In 10 years, almost nobody will remember that he fought Kenney to nearly the last possible moment; they’ll just remember that he was the Philadelphia mayor who signed the decriminalization bill.

He even tweaked the bill in a way that improves it: By adding a $100 fine for smoking pot in public, Nutter moved to ensure that pot use will be a closed-doors activity rather than one for the street corners.  Nobody has to worry about young men smoking weed out in front of a grandmother’s stoop anymore.

Good job, Mayor Nutter! You’re going to get kudos and you deserve them!

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Is Mayor Nutter Making Nice on Pot Decriminalization?

It looks as though Mayor Nutter is charting a new course on pot decriminalization.

Newsworks reports that the mayor — who still has several weeks to veto or approve City Council’s decriminalization bill — is now working on his own plan to deal with small-time possession.

What’s more, he’s dropped the sneering tone that accompanied his previous statements on the topic — and seems surprised that anybody thought there was a conflict on the topic.

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5 Reasons Fall Could Be Great for Politics in Philly


All hail the end of summer.

Sure, that means it’s time to stop being lazy and get back to work. But for journalists, that means the dog days are over — actual news will start to happen again, and we can find new things to write and opine about. Hallelujah.

In fact, this stands to be a very newsy fall. And if everything breaks right, it might even be a really good fall, with city and state government finally making some breakthroughs on issues that have needed breakthroughs for a long time.

Here are five things that could make this a very good political fall in Philadelphia:

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‘Crown Prince Emperor’ Found Guilty of DUI of ‘Botanicals’

guy-1024px Crown Prince Emperor El Bey Bagby was found guilty on Tuesday in Bucks County for driving under the influence of botanicals.

Let’s back up.

Crown Prince Emperor El Bey Bagby is known legally as William McRae. The botanicals are marijuana. In 2009, a Lower Makefield police officer pulled over the Crown Prince — I’ll play along here, unless my editor decides I’m not allowed to — for driving a vehicle with a temporary, hard-to-read tag. The officer said he spotted blunt guts in El Bey Bagby’s car — which reeked of marijuana. Judge Wallace Bateman found McRae, 41, guilty of the DUI.

Simple, and not really much of a story except that El Bey Bagby asserts he has the rights to 689,000 acres of the United States, including most of the area that made up the Louisiana Purchase. “We would ask him things and he would go off into pretty much nonsense,” Richard Meehl, a Lower Makefield police officer, testified. In court yesterday, the Crown Prince said he wouldn’t say “marijuana,” calling it a copyrighted word. He said he used “botanicals” for his blood pressure.

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Mayor Nutter’s 3 Worst Arguments Against Pot Decriminalization

Buying pot legally in Colorado — the stuff of Mayor Nutter's worst, most distopian nightmares.

Buying pot legally in Colorado — the stuff of Mayor Nutter’s worst, most dystopian nightmares.

If Mayor Nutter is capable of making a good argument against marijuana decriminalization, he hasn’t shown it so far.

It’s clear by now that the mayor doesn’t want to sign City Council’s marijuana decriminalization bill. And it’s clear the council’s veto-proof majority in passing the bill leaves him precious few methods for putting a stop to it. So Nutter has been dragging his heels and, this week, making the worst-ever arguments against letting the bill become a law.

Here are Michael Nutter’s three worst debating points against marijuana decriminalization:

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