Eagles Won’t Ever Get Super Bowl With Michael Vick

Plus rising city taxes, the state of PA's liquor stores and other year-end reflections and 2012 predictions

It’s the time of year to take stock of what has passed and what is to come. Last year, I wrote a column for the Inky that made five predictions for 2011. Some were on the mark. Others, not so much. Hey, you get what you pay for. It’s time to revisit those calls while making new ones for 2012.

Prediction No. 1: I said the Phillies would win the World Series and the Eagles would not make the Super Bowl. I was half right, but am hoping I was just early with my Phils call. Next fall is now or never for the current group of Phillies.

As for the Eagles, say goodbye to Andy Reid. He had some great years, but his team was lost most of this season. Jeff Lurie can’t be too happy about shelling out big bucks for top talent only to miss the playoffs. But no matter who coaches the Eagles next year, they will not win the Super Bowl with Michael Vick. Like Randall Cunningham, Vick is a great and entertaining talent but not a money quarterback.

Prediction No. 2: Last year, I predicted Mayor Nutter would easily win re-election and almost immediately become a lame duck. That part was correct, though I was wrong to think Tom Knox would challenge him. Should have figured Knox learned his lesson after blowing $10 million in his previous run.

I also never would have guessed that Milton Street, fresh from prison, would challenge Nutter in the primary and get 25 percent of the vote. That says more about Nutter’s tenure than Milton’s campaign. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Nutter to morph into a great mayor in his second term. Even great pols have rocky second terms. Look for more of the same from Nutter: lots of good-guy style and ethics, but little substance at the end of the day—and plenty of behind-the-scenes whining and browbeating by his flack to keep the media in line.

Look for Nutter to keep raising taxes, while blaming the economy and state and federal funding cuts—but not his inability to shrink the inefficient bureaucracy. He will likely make another push to implement the soda tax. But Nutter’s overhaul of the property tax system is going to create the big firestorm of 2012. It will leave many residents asking “Where have you gone, John Street?”

Prediction No. 3: I predicted Superintendent Arlene Ackerman would be gone this year. That was an easy train wreck to see coming. But I didn’t foresee the embarrassing circus or $1 million buyout that would cap a tenure that was the biggest display of arrogance and incompetence from any leader in this city. That is saying something.

Look for the mediocrity to continue this year as the school district makes acting Superintendent Leroy Nunery the permanent boss. Many are tired of outsiders pushing reforms that later blow up. Nunery appears to play the insider’s game well, so Nutter and the School Reform Commission will disregard that he was one of Ackerman’s chief enablers and keep muddling along.

Prediction No. 4: Last year, I predicted the controversial DROP initiative would result in at least three City Council members retiring or getting voted out of office. That would have been a major shakeup in a body where turnover usually only occurs via indictment or death. But I underestimated the amount of voter anger aimed at City Hall. Instead, of three departures there were six.

That is a seismic change, though it remains to be seen if the new bums will be any better than the ones who were thrown out. Electricians’ union boss John Dougherty will wield the most influence on Council since he supported several new and existing members, including incoming President Darrell Clarke. That could be the most interesting story line to follow in the coming year in an otherwise mostly petty and unimaginative City Hall.

Prediction No. 5: Last year, I predicted the stars were aligned for the sale of the State Stores. Didn’t happen, though I’m hopeful this was another case where the prediction was early. As feared, the union flexed its muscle and offered incremental change in an effort to cling to power and keep the liquor ministry resembling something from Vladimir Putin.

I’m now less hopeful the State Stores will ever be privatized. Though, I’d be happy to be proven wrong.