2 Years After Philadelphia’s Big Anti-Poverty Push Began, Little Has Changed

Photo credit: Liz Spikol

Photo credit: Liz Spikol

In 2013, Mayor Nutter launched “Shared Prosperity Philadelphia.” It was his administration’s first comprehensive anti-poverty initiative, and though it was arriving later than many advocates hoped for, the plan itself was well-received.

At the time, circumstances were particularly bleak: 28 percent of residents were living below the federal poverty line, making Philly the poorest of the nation’s 10 biggest cities.

Two years later, the poverty rate is down slightly to 26 percent. But nobody is cheering. Philadelphia remains the poorest of the nation’s 10 largest cities, and 12.3 percent of city residents grapple with “deep poverty,” which is annual income that’s below half the federal poverty line. In the past two years, the city’s deep-poverty rate has declined a mere .6 percent.

Shared Prosperity published its two-year progress report today. The report’s release coincided with the “Uniting to Fight Poverty” summit, a congregation of government officials, nonprofit leaders, and philanthropists who met Friday. They talked about what they achieved (325 new slots added to early childcare facilities, six new counseling centers to teach those eligible for public benefits how to access them, and seven new counseling centers to teach folks how to decrease their debt, raise their credit scores, and increase their personal savings).

But mostly, they discussed the long road ahead. Of the 23 target metrics identified by the group last year, just three were met or exceeded. Read more »

SEPTA, City Unveil Fancy New Bus Shelter Design

Photo | Sandy Smith

Photo | Sandy Smith

Mayor Michael Nutter, City Council President Darrell Clarke, SEPTA general manager Jeff Knueppel and Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities director Denise Goren all gathered at the northeast corner of Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia at 11 a.m. this morning to take the wraps off what may be the most useful and attractive piece of street furniture ever to grace Philadelphia’s streets.

That would be the new bus shelters that Intersection, an “urban experience” firm formed by the merger of urban technology design firm Control Group and the Titan advertising company, will install and maintain at more than 600 bus stops across the city. Read more »

Mayor Nutter and Philadelphia Police Welcome New LGBT Law Enforcement Organization

Philadelphia Police

A new LGBT policing organization is shaping up in Philadelphia that will provide out officers the opportunity to create change within the force.

The Greater Philadelphia Gay Officer Action League, or GOAL, has been a project long in the making, but after a Monday organizational meeting, the new law enforcement organization is ready to launch, and it will be a historic moment for both the city and the nation. Read more »

Nutter on My Brother’s Keeper: Progress, but More Work to Do


From left: Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Mayor Christine Piven, Mayor Michael Nutter, assistant to President Obama Broderick Johnson and Superintendent Dr. William Hite. Photo | Fabiola Cineas

Philadelphia is standing up for young men and boys of color.

Statistics have long identified the plight of black men across the country — on average, one in three black men will have some level of contact with the criminal justice system at some point in their lives. In Philadelphia, 75 percent of homicide victims and about 80 percent of the known perpetrators arrested for violent crime are young black men.

These figures were at the crux of Mayor Nutter’s announcements yesterday about the city’s ongoing efforts to improve the lives of young men and boys of color. At City Hall he was joined by Broderick Johnson, Assistant to President Obama and Chair of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force; Christine Piven, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Mayor and My Brother’s Keeper Philadelphia’s Project Director; Superintendent Dr. William Hite; Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey; and Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel.

“One shooting, or one homicide is one too many,” said Mayor Nutter, “we have work to do.”

Nutter’s words came on the day after his successor, Jim Kenney, was officially selected. Yet Nutter made it clear that his support for initiatives around helping young men and boys of color wouldn’t dwindle even after his term. Read more »

Mayor Nutter Says It’s Time to Disband the School Reform Commission

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter walks down a blocked off Market Street, with City Hall in the background, in Philadelphia on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, before Pope Francis' trip. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(Editor’s note: This is a developing story that will be updated.)

In a major education policy address, Mayor Nutter called today for the dissolution of the School Reform Commission, the state-created board that has overseen the School District of Philadelphia for the last 15 years.

“In my opinion and based on my experience – it is time to end the SRC.,” Nutter said. “It’s time for it to go.”

He called for a transition to a local school board comprised of nine members, five directly appointed by the mayor, four picked by the mayor from a list of 12 nominees prepared by City Council. And he proposed making the shift by September, 2017.

Why? Nutter cited two reasons. City control of its own schools will, he believes, increase community commitment to the district. Second, “Local control also eliminates confusion over who is responsible for what,” Nutter said. “Over the last 8 years, we’ve seen a revolving door of leadership everywhere but our local government – three governors, five Secretaries of Education, five School District Superintendents, six SRC Chairs and 17 SRC members.”

“Returning to local control means the voters of this city know who to hold accountable for educational outcomes – the Mayor.” Read more »

Poll: Pennsylvania Public Split on Mayor Nutter’s Handling of Papal Visit

Pope Francis | neneo / Shutterstock.com. Mayor Nutter | Jeff Fusco

Pope Francis | neneo / Shutterstock.com. Mayor Nutter | Jeff Fusco

A plurality of Pennsylvanians approved Mayor Nutter’s handling of Pope Francis’ September visit to Philly, a new poll from Public Policy Polling reveals.

Forty-six percent of those surveyed approved of Nutter’s performance, compared to just 14 percent who disapproved. Another 39 percent were unsure.

The polling’s methodology may contribute to the seeming ambivalence: Roughly a thousand voters from across Pennsylvania were surveyed by PPP — it’s possible that people outside Philadelphia and its confines may not have had much opinion about the event.

Read more »

Nutter: DNC Attendees Will Eat Out

salmon nutter

Salmon, left. Mayor Nutter, right.

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know this morning:

Preparations for the Democratic National Convention in 2016 begin now. And officials say attendees will probably eat at local restaurants.

Democratic Party officials announced the opening of their Philadelphia office on Thursday, and promised the Summer 2016 event will pump $350 million into the economy. Some of that money will even go to restaurants, which will presumably be able to sell every slice of pecan-crusted salmon they can produce. (Last time we make that joke. Promise.)

“There’s no question, I would anticipate during that week virtually every, any kind of serious restaurant or other business to pretty much be sold out,” Mayor Michael Nutter said. The convention is expected to attract 50,000 people. (CBS3)

Read more »

Nutter: If You Want to Be Loved, Don’t Be Mayor

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

These are Mayor Michael Nutter’s final few months in office, but he’s not the only long-serving big city boss who’s stepping down. The mayors of Houston, Columbus, Akron and Charleston are also wrapping up their terms (Akron mayor Don Plusquellic has already left office). Between them, they’ve got 98 years of experience running big U.S. cities.

Governing magazine interviewed each of these outgoing mayors, looking for nuggets of wisdom. The whole thing is worth a read. But Nutter — who has plainly entered the I’ll-say-whatever-I-damn-well-want phase of his mayoralty — had the best quips and most interesting thoughts. Read more »

PHOTOS: Mayor Nutter Helps Raise New Philadelphia LGBT Rainbow Flag This Morning

flag raising

There were a variety of emotions this morning as members from Philadelphia government and the LGBT community met outside of City Hall to raise the City’s brand new LGBT rainbow flag for the first time.

In some regard, it was an event of remembrance for the late Gloria Casarez, the City’s first Director of LGBT Affairs, who was extremely passionate about the flag raising ceremony and carried out the tradition for five years. This year is the first year Ms. Casarez is not present for the celebration of the LGBT community after her untimely death due to cancer. Read more »

Did Mayor Nutter Win the War on Soda?



Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today.

The FBI has warned Philly-area colleges about a threat of violence today.

Philly Mag’s Victor Fiorillo reports: On the weekend following the deadly campus shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, the FBI has warned Philadelphia-area colleges and universities of a potential for violence on Monday, October 5th, according to an alert from Drexel University.

“The FBI has notified all Philadelphia area colleges and universities about a recent social media posting threatening violence at a Philadelphia area college or university on Monday, October 5,” reads the alert, which was posted on Sunday. “Since the shooting last week at a community college in Oregon, the FBI has seen similar social media postings throughout the country.” Philly.com reports the posting was made at the same site where threats were posted ahead of the Oregon shooting.

Read more »

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