WATCH: Mayor Nutter Joins Inky Staff for Air Guitar Video

Here’s the Inquirer staff — joined by an incredibly game Mayor Nutter — playing air guitar to a classic ZZ Top song.

The video is part of the Rock Out Brain Tumors Challenge to raise money and awareness for brain tumors. You can make donations to the National Brain Tumor Society here. The Daily News started the wave of air guitar videos last week, when it made its own to honor Gar Joseph, the paper’s city editor who is being treated for such tumors. Read more »

Mayor-Elect Kenney Picks Finance, Commerce Bosses

Jim Kenney | Photo by Jeff Fusco

Jim Kenney | Photo by Jeff Fusco

Mayor-elect Jim Kenney revealed on Monday the members of his administration who will be in charge of finance and commerce.

He named Rob Dubow, the current finance director for Mayor Michael Nutter, the city’s chief financial officer. It’s an interesting pick, given how much Kenney’s former colleagues on Council have grilled Dubow during past budget hearings. Then again, Kenney has praised Nutter for keeping the city afloat during the Great Recession, and Dubow was a huge part of that.

Kenney chose another Nutter official, budget director Rebecca Rhyhart, to be his chief administration officer, a new cabinet-level position that will “focus on improving the way the city allocates resources, acquires goods and services, and the way it hires, trains and compensates employees,” according to a press release from Kenney’s team. Read more »

Nutter, Kenney Back Wolf’s Welcome of Syrian Refugees

Jim Kenney and Mayor Nutter. | City Council Flickr

Jim Kenney and Mayor Nutter. | City Council Flickr

The cause of Syrian refugees has become controversial in the wake of last weekend’s terrorist attacks in Paris, but Philadelphia’s incoming and outgoing mayors both say they would welcome such refugees to the city.

Mayor Nutter joins Gov. Wolf in supporting the relocation of refugees from Syria to Pennsylvania and Philadelphia,” spokesman Mark McDonald said today in response to a Philadelphia inquiry.

Lauren Hitt, a spokesman for Mayor-Elect Jim Kenney, noted that Kenney had offered a statement supporting Wolf early in the week.  Read more »

Gender Neutral Bathroom Bill Signing at Fergie’s Pub a Major Crossroads

Fergie's Pub

When a bill is signed into law, most ceremonies are invitation only and take place in government buildings. That’s why today’s signing of Philadelphia’s gender neutral bathroom bill is such an interesting twist. The ceremony is taking place at Fergie’s Pub, a location that isn’t necessarily the first to come to mind when thinking about the transgender community, despite it being located pretty much in the Gayborhood.  Read more »

The No-Bullshit Guide to Sanctuary Cities

Immigration has been a long-debated issue in American politics, especially in the past decade. However, upon Donald Trump announcing his candidacy for President and calling Mexican immigrants “drug dealers” and “rapists,” the already controversial topic has grown even more contentious.

Most immigration policy is the province of the federal government. But not all. Take sanctuary cities. Loosely defined, these are cities that have decided not to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, or to cooperate at least a little less than the feds would like.

Philadelphia is a sanctuary city. Or at least, it has been one.

The status of sanctuary cities has become a point of debate in the presidential contest, particularly on the GOP side. Louisiana Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal said that mayors of such cities should “absolutely” be arrested.

Now, six weeks before he leaves office, Mayor Michael Nutter is thinking about rolling back Philly’s status as a sanctuary city. But what exactly does the term mean, and what are the details? Here’s everything you need to know. Read more »

Pro-Immigration Groups Rally Against Nutter’s Proposal to Reverse “Sanctuary City” Policy

Photos by Holly Otterbein

Photos by Holly Otterbein

More than 50 people gathered at City Hall Monday to condemn the Nutter administration’s proposal to reverse an executive order that limits cooperation between local law enforcement officials and federal immigration agents.

“I am deeply disappointed,” said Rabbi Linda Holtzman. “I thought I lived in a city where a mayor might keep his promises. Shame on you, Mayor Nutter.” Read more »

Philly’s Political Elders Lament the Lack of Millennials Running for Office

Photo by Bradley Maule

Photo by Bradley Maule

Mayor Michael Nutter is in that glorious final phase of his tenure where he’s calling things exactly as he sees them. With seven weeks left in office and very little to lose, he’s taking on everyone from mega-restaurateur Stephen Starr to elections chief Anthony Clark to the School Reform Commission.

One of his most intriguing targets has been millennials. Over the last few months, he’s been shouting from the rooftops that too few young people are running for elected office in Philadelphia. “Where are younger people?” he asked at Philly Mag’s ThinkFest last week. “Are they even thinking about running for office?”

He’s even gotten mean about it: “I’m increasingly concerned that many young people are just finding other avenues. And, you know, having 9 million followers on Twitter is not your level of political engagement.” Read more »

Op-Ed: Join the Grassroots Movement to Support Philly’s Neighborhood Schools

Students from Kearny Elementary School wave Philadelphia civic flags and dance during a ceremony in Philadelphia. | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Students from Kearny Elementary School wave Philadelphia civic flags and dance during a ceremony in Philadelphia. | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

(Editor’s note: This is an opinion column from guest writers Christine Carlson, Jeff Hornstein and Ivy Olesh.)

Mayor Michael Nutter said in a recent policy address that Philadelphia needs “more parental and community involvement in our schools” and the “formal establishment of School Advisory Councils at every neighborhood school.”

As leaders in a growing citywide network of friends groups emerging to support our neighborhood public schools, we wholeheartedly support the intention behind the mayor’s proposal: to establish robust, community-driven support structures for every school, composed of stakeholders that include parents, teachers, community members and businesspeople working to ensure a quality education for every child in our city.

But what Nutter has proposed is already happening from the ground up. A number of community-organized groups have evolved organically over the past five years or so, thus far largely following the trajectory of gentrifying areas of the city. Additionally, there are numerous long-standing communities where families have for many years supported their schools. Read more »

ThinkFest Recap: Mayor Nutter Says Jim Kenney Can Be “Even Better Mayor Than I’ve Been”

Philly Mag deputy editor Patrick Kerkstra and Mayor Michael Nutter at ThinkFest.

Philly Mag deputy editor Patrick Kerkstra and Mayor Michael Nutter at ThinkFest.

Did you miss ThinkFest live? Watch it here.

Mayor Michael Nutter said Friday that Jim Kenney can do an “even better” job than he did by expanding upon recent gains in the city, such as the uptick in the high school graduation rate and the decline in homicides.

“He can build on that foundation,” he said, “and be an even better mayor than I’ve been.”

During a wide-ranging discussion with Philly Mag deputy editor Patrick Kerkstra, the topic of the next mayor naturally came up a lot. Nutter said he believes Kenney will be a good leader because he “has that passion for the city.” He said he was able to see what Kenney can do “up close and personal” on City Council. He also praised St. Joseph’s Prep, where the two men went to high school and learned “fundamental core values.” Read more »

City Hall Has a Rough Deal With Comcast — Here’s What You Need to Know

Photo by John Murdock via Instagram

Photo by John Murdock via Instagram

The proposed deal between Comcast and City Hall was finally unveiled today.

In case you haven’t been following along at home, the cable giant has been negotiating a new 15-year franchise agreement with the city so that it can continue accessing streets, poles and other public property in Philadelphia in order provide cable and Internet service to local residences and businesses.

Cities typically have precious little leverage over giant telecom companies like Comcast. But when franchise deals expire and new ones must be negotiated, cities get a rare chance to extract some concessions from cable providers because they can theoretically tell the Comcasts of the world to pound sand (though federal regulations make that tricky).

City Councilman Bobby Henon introduced a bill Thursday that highlights the broad outlines of Philadelphia’s proposed deal with Comcast and provided supplemental information about it to reporters afterward. The agreement is very much a work in progress. What was released today totals five pages in all; the final legislation is expected to be hundreds of pages long.

Still, it’s important and it’s a doozy, so we’ve broken it down for you. Here are 10 things you need to know about the proposed agreement:
Read more »

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