The Brief: Mayor Nutter Says the Candidates “Need to Get It On”

And lists a few things he's left undone. Plus, big plans for 30th Street Station and dark days for Rob McCord.

The mayor has some advice for would-be successors. | City Council Flickr

The mayor has some advice for would-be successors. | City Council Flickr

Mayor Nutter made his final address at the Chamber of Commerce annual luncheon yesterday, taking the dais just as the Jim Kenney goodbye party was winding down in City Council. The chamber address is always a big speech, the mayor’s best chance to enlist the business community’s support for his agenda. Nutter, for instance, made selling PGW a feature of his past two chamber addresses (funny how it didn’t come up yesterday).

The speech served a somewhat different purpose this time. A lot of it was given over to legacy-fluffing and victory-lapping, as you’d expect from a mayor serving out his final year in office. But Nutter, who took the stage to the strains of “Run This Town” by Jay-Z and Rihanna, also (gently) threw down the gauntlet for his would-be successors. From his prepared remarks:

Mayoral leadership cannot be short-sighted or self-motivated. The best interest of our great citizens must be our first interest. That takes character.

The next mayor will meet with presidents of corporations and countries, international delegations and local unions, national developers and everyday Philadelphians. The next mayor will need to be a coalition builder and a partner to the business community, the neighborhoods, the political community, the non-profit sector and so many more.  That takes leadership.

The next mayor will need to capitalize on the good government practices that the leaders before him left, as well as the challenges. That takes knowledge.

This job takes heart. It takes compassion and empathy. And, it takes skill.

Hard to argue with any of that. Nutter also acknowledged what’s left in the inbox for the next mayor. Little stuff like “the highest poverty rate of the top ten largest cities in America;” and an education system on track to churn out 600,000 Philadelphians who “will lack the basic skills needed to compete in the global economy by 2030;” and “the tragic and potential elimination of nearly an entire generation” of young black men to street violence.”

Sobering stuff. Points to Nutter for acknowledging, and not for the first time, all that remains undone.

Who in the field has the traits Nutter talked about above? Who can take on the challenges he cites? Nutter told the Inquirer’s Chris Brennan that he wasn’t ready to endorse any of the contenders. “I’m just going to let it play out,” Nutter said. “We’ll see what happens as we get closer to election day. But they need to get it on.”

Don’t Miss…

  • The whole PGW mess is going to be fine, because a City Council committee is now on the job.
  • Is Rob McCord in trouble? He abruptly resigned his post as State Treasurer yesterday, and hours later reports swirled that he was facing a federal investigation.
  • There are lots of huge, amazing ideas out there about the future of 30th Street Station and the blocks that surround it. PlanPhilly’s Jim Saksa reports that the time has come to settle on a future for a section of the city with boundless potential.

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