Nutter Says He’s No Lame Duck

Mayor Michael Nutter

Photo | Jeff Fusco

His big policy initiative — the sale of Philadelphia Gas Works — has just failed. His relationship with City Council and its leadership, never a public strength, appears to have hit a new low. And the public’s attention is increasingly focused on 2015’s election to replace him.

So is Mayor Mike Nutter a lame duck? You won’t be surprised to know he rejects the label. KYW reports the mayor’s comments on the topic:
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Nutter Joins Mayors Backing Obama on Immigration

Nutter

Mayor Nutter has joined with mayors of two dozen other large American cities to offer President Obama support in his efforts to reduce deportations of immigrants residing illegally in the United States.

Cities United for Immigration Action announced its existence today.

“The president’s action on immigration will strengthen our cities. It will keep families together, grow our economies and foster additional community trust in law enforcement and government,” the coalition said in a statement. “We are ready — and together we’re rolling up our sleeves to turn this policy into a better reality for millions of hardworking people in the communities we serve.”

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Task Force Recommends Paid Sick Leave for Philly

Saying it would “make a significant and honorable contribution to our quality of life,” a task force today formally recommended to Mayor Michael Nutter that the city pass a bill requiring Philadelphia employers to offer paid sick leave to workers. (See the report below.)

The recommendation had been expected since Mayor Nutter reversed course over the summer — after vetoing two sick leave bills — and said he would support such a measure, pending a report from a task force on the topic.

“I do not want to put Philadelphia at a competitive disadvantage. However, our city’s economy continues to grow and is stronger than it has been in a long time,” Nutter said in a press release accompanying the task force report. “It was the right time for a comprehensive review of the likely impact of paid sick leave employees, businesses and the entire city.”
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Paid Sick Leave Report Due Soon

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

When Mayor Nutter reversed course this year and said he was suddenly in favor of mandating that Philly businesses offer paid sick leave to employees — a policy he had vetoed twice in recent years — he didn’t just sign one of the bills he previously punted: He sent the idea to a task force for examination.

That task force is just about complete with its work KYW reports. But familiar divisions remain over the issue.

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Team Nutter on the City Hall Parking Lot

cityhallparkinglot

Philly Mag published a story this morning explaining the role of the Mayor’s Office in managing parking on the sidewalk/apron on the northern edge of City Hall. We didn’t have any comment from the Nutter administration then. This evening, we got responses to questions emailed to press secretary Mark McDonald on Monday (McDonald says he did not get that or several subsequent emails, and did not see the questions until after our story ran). Here they are in full.

Philly Mag: What is the administration’s policy on City Hall apron parking?

Nutter Administration: City Hall is both the seat of government and a large office complex. Apron parking is provided on a case-by-case basis, often related to visiting guests, deliveries being made, on-going building repair and servicing and instances where a person with a disability is accommodated. With limited space available, these requests are handled on a daily basis. There is also an authorized parking list, with a number of individuals who have had temporary parking while Dilworth Park was under construction. The Park has reduced perimeter street parking. Those with temporary apron parking will be reassigned to street parking when the parking lanes have been repainted and spaces are reconfigured.
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PGW Sale Hopes Dim

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

The proposed sale of Philadelphia Gas Works to a private Connecticut company — a sale long considered on life support, at best — is one step closer to outright death.

UIL Holdings said Thursday that it is ending its pursuit of the Philadelphia utility; it will not renew its option to buy when that agreement ends at the end of December. The announcement came after Thursday’s City Council meeting, considered the last chance to jump-start the process to result in a sale by year’s end.

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UIL Says It’s Not Done Pursuing PGW

At this point, UIL Holdings — the Connecticut company that wants so badly to buy and privatize Philadelphia Gas Works — resembles the old guy from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Yes, he’s in bad health. Yes, the future is dim. But he’s hanging on. “I’M NOT DEAD YET!” he screams.

Despite City Council’s unequivocal rejection of the sale, the company said late Monday afternoon it’s not ready to terminate its purchase agreement. According to a press release:
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Mayor: Council Is Fibbing! Council: Nuh-Uh!

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

So City Council has just released a rebuttal to a rebuttal to a letter summarily rejecting the sale of PGW. At least, I think that’s where things stand. It seems like everyone has a lot to say. Maybe — and I’m just spitballing here — a hearing on the proposed sale would have been a good place to air some of these issues out?

There will be no hearing on the sale, of course, which is at the root of this dysfunctional display. After two years, $21.3 million spent by the leading bidder, and two expensive reports from different analysts, Mayor Nutter figured he would at least get a Council hearing on the potential sale. Council President Darrell L. Clarke and the rest of council leadership — in what increasingly looks like a big political misstep — figured if council didn’t want the deal, why waste time with hearings?

You’ll find Council’s latest salvo below, as well as the Nutter administration’s effective, if dense, six pages of spin on the sale, which was first published last week by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

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PHOTOS: City Announces Plans to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Nation’s First LGBT Protests

Barbara Gittings at an Annual Reminder in 1966.

Barbara Gittings at an Annual Reminder in 1966.

A lot of folks may not know this, but the nation’s first LGBT protests happened right here in our City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. The occasion is considered by many to be the birth of the LGBT civil rights movement.

It all started on the Fourth of July in 1965 when LGBT leaders Barbara Gittings and Washington’s Frank Kameny marched in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell shouting calls of equality for LGBT people. The protests, nicknamed “Annual Reminders,” continued every Fourth of July until 1969.

Pretty cool, huh?

City leaders certainly think so. They think it’s so cool, in fact, that Mayor Nutter and Equality Forum are teaming up to put together a four-day celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Reminder, which will kickoff on July 2, 2015 and continue through the 5th. Plans for the festivities were unveiled at a press conference yesterday, attended by Mayor Nutter, Equality Forum Executive Director Malcolm Lazin, members of the Philadelphia and Los Angeles Gay Men’s Choruses, among others.

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