Why Is Mayor Nutter Getting So Pissy About the Pope Visit?

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

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

On Monday, Mayor Nutter faulted “little people with little pieces of information” for more or less inciting Pope panic in Philadelphia over the weekend.

On Tuesday, in a phone interview with Citified, Everett Gillison, Nutter’s chief of staff and point man on the Pope visit, said one of the big problems is that people are getting too much information. “It’s just the opposite,” Gillison said when asked if the lack of logistical details about the Pope’s visit was undermining public confidence. “They’re getting literally too much, too early, and that’s what’s causing all the angst. They’re getting inundated with what could or could not be …”

So that’s the official line: If anything, the city has been too forthcoming, and the real problem here is an over-competitive press and the uncharacteristic emergence of a mile-wide twitchy streak in too many Philadelphians. Relax, the city says, we got this.

Unofficially, the story is a little more complicated. Nutter administration sources in a number of departments tell Citified that the city very much wants to release more information and to firm up logistical plans sooner, but is being prevented from doing so by the Secret Service, the World Meeting of Families and Vatican security officials. The sources say that this dynamic — which effectively prevents the city from communicating openly with its own citizens — is extremely frustrating, particularly given the growing public clamor for information. Read more »

Mayor Launches Free-Book Program for Low-Income Kids

This afternoon, Mayor Nutter announced the launch of Playstreet Book Club, a pilot program that aims to keep children from low-income families reading while they’re out of school for summer.

“We know that children, particularly low-income children, can lose up to two months of reading skills during the summer, putting them behind before the new school year begins,” Mayor Nutter says in a press release. “By providing children with free books to read during the summer, we hope to instill a lifelong love of reading, help them to build their own libraries at home and give them the skills they to be successful in the classroom. … We know that children need access to nutritious meals, enriching activities and supportive adults all year long in order to reach their full potential. The Playstreet Book Club connects children to all three of these elements at one location during the summer months.”

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Former Narcotics Cops Sue Mayor Nutter, Commissioner Ramsey and D.A. Williams

ramsey nutter williams

A group of Philadelphia Police officers accused — and acquitted — of shaking down drug dealers is now suing Mayor Nutter, Commissioner Charles Ramsey and D.A. Seth Williams for defamation.

Perry Betts, Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, John Speiser and Michael Spicer were all exonerated of federal corruption charges earlier this year. (A sixth exonerated defendant in the case, Linwood Norman, is not party to the suit.) They’re joined by their former supervisor, Robert G. Otto.  The suit was reported Monday afternoon by BigTrial.net.

The lawsuit had originally been filed in a state court, then transferred to federal jurisdiction. An amended complaint (see below) was filed late last week. The suit stems from a 2012 letter from Williams to Ramsey, saying he wouldn’t accept drug cases — or warrants for affidavits — that required the testimony of those officers.

“There was no legitimate or reasonable or colorable basis whatsoever for D.A. Williams’ letter; to the contrary, the letter was written in bad faith and recklessly,” attorney Christopher Mannix wrote for the officers. Read more »

WATCH: Mayor Nutter Physically Restrains Homeless Man

6ABC

6ABC

Mayor Nutter got into a brief physical confrontation with a homeless man Monday outside the Municipal Services Building across from City Hall — and the incident was recorded on cell phone video by an observer.

The video, obtained and aired by 6ABC, shows a man identified as George Creamer walking in the vicinity of the mayor and some staff members. A member of the mayor’s police protection detail then pushes Creamer as he begins to approach the mayor. Creamer tries to brush the officer off, and the two men get fall to the ground. Nutter is heard on the video telling Creamer: “You need to go.”

Creamer then rolls over on top of the protection officer as the two men wrangle on the ground. That’s where Nutter steps in. The mayor moves close, stoops down and firmly — but not violently — rolls the man off of the security officer. Read more »

PHOTO: Mayor Nutter Poses With Jimmy Carter at the Free Library

Jimmy Carter and Mayor Michael Nutter

Jimmy Carter poses with Mayor Michael Nutter, just back from a diplomacy trip to Mexico. The Mayor stopped by the Free Library to welcome the former president, who was on hand to sign his new book, A Full Life: Reflections at Ninetyfor hundreds of people who waited in line to meet him.

Carter’s faith and spirituality are heavily talked about in the memoir. One such belief that made headlines this week came from Huffington Post interview in which the former president revealed that even though he believes Jesus Christ would approve of same-sex marriage, we should respect churches that don’t share the same belief. He said the couple should just find a church that did agree or get married at the court house.

Mayor Nutter Confirms Security Fencing for Pope

Part of Philadelphia is going to get fenced in come September, when Pope Francis pays the city a visit as part of the 2015 World Meeting of Families.

After some speculation that Center City could be entirely fenced in for the Pope’s appearances, Mayor Michael Nutter refuted that notion on Thursday and gave some detail into the plans, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported this afternoon.

“Whoever is saying that somehow all of Center City is going to be shut down, has no idea what they’re talking about,” Nutter reportedly said at a press conference. “There’s never been any discussion with me where the idea of all of Center City being enclosed, encapsulated, shut down, has ever been discussed.”

Mayor Nutter did, however, confirm to The Inquirer that there will be fencing in the various parts of the city where Pope Francis intends to go. The nature of the fencing — height, type, etc. — is still to be determined. Fencing is a usual measure of security for large cities, The Inquirer said, as it helps secure a certain area and funnel the public through screening devices like metal detectors in order to see an important person speak.

“There was fencing out at the July 4 show just the other day … fencing is not a new concept in this city,” Nutter said at the presser.

Despite all the necessary security measures and street closings forecast for the late September event, Mayor Nutter said there is no reason for Philadelphians to escape the city. “The overwhelming majority of the city will be fairly unaffected by what’s going on in Center City. Again, there will be road closures, places that you can’t go and you’ll know all that over the course of the next couple months.”.

The Brief: These Are the Most Ticketed Blocks in All of Philadelphia

philadelphia-parking-authority-ppa-parking-ticket-2

1. Never hope for a parking grace period on the 500 block of S. 2nd Street.

The gist: Inquirer/Daily News data analysts Dylan Purcell and Michelle Tranquilli have taken a swing at the massive release of parking ticket data released by the city last month. Their analysis found that the single most ticketed block in the whole of Philadelphia is 500 S. 2nd Street, where drivers found a staggering 24,695 violations waiting on their windshields between January 2012 and March 2015. That’s the block featuring angle parking in the middle of the street, just south of Headhouse Square. A close runner up was the 100 block of Chestnut Street, where 24,516 tickets were issue. South Street from 2nd to 6th Streets is one big danger zone, as are the big shopping blocks west of Broad on Walnut. Read more »

In Rome, Pope and Mayor Nutter Share a Moment

The Philadelphia delegation to the Vatican this week didn’t really expect to get face time with Pope Francis, even though he’ll be visiting the city in September.

They got a moment — but apparently just a moment, as the pope visited the crowds outside the Vatican today.

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