The Brief: Mayor Nutter Rapped With The Roots in an Epic Performance

He's actually pretty good.

Mayor Nutter performs "Rapper's Delight" with The Roots. | Screenshot via 6ABC

Screenshot via 6ABC

1. Mayor Michael Nutter performed “Rapper’s Delight” with The Roots at the Philly 4th of July Jam this weekend.

The gist: You remember when Mayor Nutter did it at his 2008 inaugural ball. And then at his 2012 inaugural gala, too. Well, he performed “Rapper’s Delight” again this weekend, and it was his best delivery yet. I mean, he was backed up by The Roots and he dropped the mic at the end of the rendition, for Christ’s sake. Check it out on 6ABC. Something tells us this is his favorite karaoke song, too.

Why it matters: It doesn’t. Clearly.

2. L&I’s Commissioner unilaterally approved a demolition without any permits.

The gist: The Inquirer’s Alfred Lubrano has written another disturbing story about the city’s Licenses & Inspections department. This time, Lubrano reports that L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams “intervened in the demolition of a Point Breeze building in 2014, allowing the structure to come down without required permits.” Williams would not comment on the matter, but his chief-of-staff said he got involved because the building was extremely dangerous.

Why it matters: This doesn’t look good. For one thing, Williams isn’t talking to the press about this. For another, L&I inspectors had labeled the property as merely “unsafe” in the department’s computer system — that is, until Williams met with the contractor in the demolition. Then its status was suddenly changed to “imminently dangerous,” according to the Inky. The contractor also had applied for a permit, but did not receive it because he hadn’t supplied a safety plan, insurance materials and other documents. Oh, and neighbors complained that the demolition looked unsafe when it took place. Citified wonders: If Democratic mayoral nominee Jim Kenney wins the general election as expected, will he keep Williams on as the L&I chief after this and other recent criticisms of his department?

3. Here’s one reason why special elections suck.

The gist: You might feel like you just cast a ballot yesterday, but August 11th is Election Day again in Philadelphia. That’s because a special election has been scheduled to fill three vacant seats in the state legislature. NewsWorks’ Dave Davies had a thought: Could special elections actually be a place where a person could “start a political career really cheap by jumping into an obscure, low-turnout special election and somehow mobilizing a few hundred voters at the right moment?” That would be kind of exciting, right? Especially since most special elections in Philadelphia aren’t competitive because Democrats outnumber Republicans by a gazillion to one?

Why it matters: The answer: Of course not! Davies looked at the total number of votes in recent special elections to see if it’s possible:

I found there are more votes than you might think. In the special election to fill U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle‘s northeast Philly state seat in March, more than 6,300 votes were cast.

State Rep. Maria Donatucci won a February, 2011 special election in South Philly with just 1,679 votes, but it was a one-sided contest, while the Boyle seat was a hotly-contested race with personal grudges in the mix and labor unions deeply involved. It also gave Philadelphia its second Republican state representative, Martina White.

So while the numbers are aren’t large, the results suggest that even in the most obscure election, insiders care about a state house seat, and if it’s contested, they’ll fight for it.

So there you have it. Just when you thought special elections might have the potential to be something more than a battle among insiders … it turns out you’re wrong.

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