Is Jim Kenney Setting a Low Bar for Philly?

Photo | Jeff Fusco

A few hours before a gunman laid an ambush on a 33-year-old policeman late Thursday night, aggressively thrusting Jim Kenney into his first major crisis, I visited the brand-new mayor in his second-floor office in City Hall.

He was leafing through a stack of papers, his legs propped up on a chair and a pair of glasses resting snugly on his nose. “I’m reading about violent school incidents,” he said calmly. “They’re down 6 percent.”

Then he leapt up and energetically showed me the paintings and photographs plastered on his walls, all of which fit him perfectly. There’s a print of Rembrandt’s “The Return of the Prodigal Son.” He says it makes him think of “prison reentry, of bringing people back to life.” There’s an illustration of Pope Francis, a nod to his Catholic upbringing as well as, it turns out, his tight bond with the city’s LGBT community. “That was a gift from Mark Segal,” he says, referring to the publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News. There’s a framed stamp in commemoration of Irish immigrants. “It just reminds me of where I came from, which is not here,” he says. “So many people in this country forget that’s the case.”

In that moment, Kenney was all those things that his fans say he is: warm, compassionate, a man who cares deeply about oppressed people. But when he looked around him and took it all in, he seemed ever-so-slightly uncomfortable. “It’s a big room,” he said, “a big room.”  Read more »

Nutter Aide Lands Gig With Philly Tech Startup

Luke Butler with Mayor Michael Nutter.

Luke Butler with Mayor Michael Nutter. (Photo courtesy of Luke Butler. Copyright City of Philadelphia. Photograph by Kait Privitera.)

With the Michael Nutter administration officially coming to a close on Monday, one of his top aids has landed a new gig.

Luke Butler served as the chief of staff to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development since April 2012 and was with the Nutter administration for its entire eight-year tenure. On Monday, Butler announced that he’s joining Curalate — a Center City based digital marketing company. He’ll serve as strategy and operations manager.  Read more »

7 Big Shots on Jim Kenney’s Speech

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Brand-spanking-new Mayor Jim Kenney delivered a concise and warm inaugural speech on Monday, which praised police officers and the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as longtime Philadelphians and recent transplants, alike. (You can read our full story on Kenney’s inaugural address here, and check out photos of the ceremony here.) We asked seven boldface-name Philadelphians, from Kenney ally Johnny Doc to Kenney foe Bill Green, what they thought of his speech. Here’s what they said: Read more »

Jim Kenney: The Anti-Nutter?

Photographs by Jeff Fusco

Photographs by Jeff Fusco

I RAN INTO Jim Kenney one summer evening outside City Hall. This was in July 2014, back when he was a councilman who wanted to be mayor but didn’t think he could win.

He was feuding with Mayor Nutter. That wasn’t unusual, but the bad blood between them was thicker than normal. Kenney had gotten a big marijuana decriminalization bill through Council a month earlier. It was a marquee accomplishment for a guy considering a mayoral run, and a reform that he fervently believed in. The hitch? Nutter. The Mayor hadn’t signed the bill, and he was threatening a veto. In the meantime, 264 people had been charged with marijuana possession, a fact this magazine had reported that very day. Read more »

Audit: Philly Firefighters Often Late to the Fire

fire department

Updated with comment from Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer.

City Controller Alan Butkovitz’s farewell present to outgoing Mayor Michael Nutter? A reminder of the ugly early years of Nutter’s administration, when recession-driven belt-tightening forced unwanted — and unpopular — choices.

One of those choices? The “brownout” policy, implemented in 2010, that cut the Philadelphia Fire Department budget by shutting down three fire companies per shift per day, and rotating firefighters away from their usual stations to fill in at other locations. It was only in 2014 that the administration began to back away from the policyRead more »

Trump Fires Back, Calls Nutter “Crude Dope” “Who Is Doing a Terrible Job”

Donald Trump | a katz / Michael Nutter | Jeff Fusco

Donald Trump | a katz / Michael Nutter | Jeff Fusco

Yesterday, Mayor Michael Nutter had a few choice words for Donald Trump during a news conference concerning the desecration of the Al-Aqsa Islamic Center mosque in South Kensington.

They included “asshole,” “madman” and “danger to society.”

Seems that word of the mayor’s remarks reached Trump via one of his followers on Twitter, a fellow named Jeff Schick who posts as @mysteriousLoser. He sent this message to The Donald: Read more »

Mayor Nutter: Trump Is an “Asshole,” a “Madman” and a “Danger to Society”

nutter mosque attack

[Updated with news of hate crimes reward announcement.]

On Tuesday afternoon, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Mayor-elect Jim Kenney as well as other officials and local religious leaders gathered at City Hall to respond to the pig head left at a North Philadelphia mosque on Sunday night.

Nutter also used it as an opportunity to deliver a blistering tirade against Donald Trump, who this week suggested closing the borders to Muslim immigrants entirely. Read more »

Mayor: I Wish I Could Ban Donald Trump from Philly

No Trumps Allowed

Photo Illustration | Dan McQuade

Mayor Michael Nutter doesn’t like Donald Trump. And after Trump’s Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., he had some strong words for the businessman/mogul/frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

“If I had the power,” Nutter said, “the only banning that would be done is that I would ban him from Philadelphia. We don’t have any room for that kind of stupidity here.” Nutter also called Trump’s comments “flat-out ignorant.” Read more »

On Pope Visit Costs, Mayor Nutter Insults Our Intelligence One Last Time


So this is how Mayor Nutter is going out: By insulting Philadelphia’s intelligence.

We were going to have a sour taste in our mouths anyway after discovering in today’s Inky that taxpayers will pay $8 million in costs associated with the September visit of Pope Francis to the city. Most of us had understood that the costs of the visit would be borne by the World Meeting of Families.

Turns out there were some caveats. Read more »

Michael Nutter Looks Back

Clockwise from top left: Winning the election in January 2008 (photo: AP); November 2015 (photo: Adam Jones); during the September 2008 financial collapse (photo: AP); meeting President Obama in October 2010 (photo: AP); after the June 2013 building collapse at 22nd and Market (photo: Matt Rourke/AP/Corbis).

Clockwise from top left: Winning the election in January 2008 (photo: AP); November 2015 (photo: Adam Jones); during the September 2008 financial collapse (photo: AP); meeting President Obama in October 2010 (photo: AP); after the June 2013 building collapse at 22nd and Market (photo: Matt Rourke/AP/Corbis).

On January 4th, Mayor Michael Nutter’s eight-year run as Philadelphia’s 98th mayor will end. He’ll be replaced by Jim Kenney, an old friend and schoolmate of Nutter’s who in more recent years developed into an on-again, off-again antagonist. Nutter has no shortage of those. The political class has been eagerly awaiting his departure for years. And while he’s more popular with voters than are many mayors, Philadelphia never fell for Nutter the way it did for Ed Rendell. Yet Nutter leaves Philadelphia safer, more populous, better educated—at the collegiate level, anyway—more ethical and more financially stable than he found it. That’s in spite of a Great Recession that knocked his administration to the ground his very first year in office. Read more »

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