Nutter, Clarke Spar Over Death of PGW Privatization Deal

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Despite some glimmers of last-minute hope a few weeks ago and Doug Oliver’s endorsement of a sale earlier this week, Mayor Michael Nutter’s proposed deal to sell Philadelphia Gas Works to a Connecticut company for $1.86 billion — already comatose after City Council President Darrell Clarke announced in late October that Council would not touch the matter — has ended not with a bang, but a withdrawal.

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PHOTOS: Barack Obama and Tom Wolf at Temple University

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President Barack Obama was at Temple University yesterday stumping for gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf. Pennsylvania’s Democratic machinery, including State Senator Mike Stack, Mayor Michael Nutter, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah, and Wolf’s one-time opponent for the nomination, former Pa. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary and former chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Katie McGinty turned out.

Jeff Fusco was on the scene, as well as at a Tom Wolf campaign stop at the 52nd Street ShopRite on Saturday.

View the full gallery after the jump »

Nutter Slams City Council Over Rejection of PGW Sale in Inquirer Op-Ed

In an opinion piece published in the Inquirer today, Mayor Michael Nutter ripped City Council over its rejection of the deal to sell PGW to UIL Holdings Corporation, a gas company based in Connecticut.

It’s headlined, “Council, do your job on PGW.”

Nutter is particularly incensed that City Council did not even call for a hearing on the sale of PGW. (“What makes far less political sense was Council’s decision to never give the UIL deal a hearing,” our own Patrick Kerkstra wrote yesterday. “It just looks awful.”)

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Analysis: What the PGW Flop Means

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Philadelphia’s bid to become the nation’s next great energy hub is a stool built on three legs. The pitch goes a little like this.

“Hey petrochemical and energy behemoths, Philly is the city that loves you back. 1) We’re just 100 miles from the Marcellus Shale, the biggest gas reserve in the nation. 2) We’ve got infrastructure! Ports. Rail lines. Refineries. Proximity to markets. 3) The political climate is warm and welcoming. Come on down. You’re going to get those approvals, you’ve got a political class anxious for jobs and economic development. No undue hassles here!”

On Monday, in rejecting the privatization of the city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works, City Council gave a swift kick to that third leg of the stool.

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Nutter Still Wants PGW Sale Hearing

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Though seemingly dead for good after a City Council announcement on Monday, there may still be life in the proposal to sell Philadelphia Gas Works to a private company.

Mayor Nutter, for example, hopes the deal can be resuscitated — saying the proposal should’ve received public hearings before a decision was made.
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Mayor Nutter Taking School Toilet Paper Requests on Twitter

The above tweet, from Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, was sent last night. It’s a laudable idea: Some schools don’t have enough toilet paper, hand soap or paper towels in the bathrooms, so the mayor has volunteered his Twitter page for schools to put out an easy alert when they need bathroom supplies.

It’s also a laughable idea: The mayor has to go to Twitter to ask where best to direct bathroom supplies to schools. This is a city where the Constitution Center just honored Malala Yousafzai for advocating for girls’ education, and we can’t even get enough toilet paper for our schools.

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Meet Mike Whiter, Recipient of Philly’s First Marijuana Citation

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As of this morning, Philadelphia is the largest city in the country to decriminalize marijuana. You’ll now receive a $100 fine for smoking in public and a $25 for possession of up to 30 grams — but you will not be arrested. Pot advocate Mike Whiter called dibs on the first marijuana citation weeks ago, and today, he promptly lit up a joint in City Hall’s courtyard at 8 a.m. with police by his side. One quick puff and one handwritten ticket later, Whiter was the happiest man to pay a municipal fine I’ve ever seen.

On the eve of his marijuana citation, I sat down with Whiter to understand the motivation behind the ceremony, what led to him founding Pennsylvania Veterans for Medical Marijuana, and why he thinks marijuana can help millions with PTSD.

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