Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Nutter's big appeal to top-income voters

During the mayoral campaign, people in politics liked to joke that Michael Nutter's most ardent support came from starry-eyed yuppies who sipped Starbucks lattes.

During the mayoral campaign, people in politics liked to joke that Michael Nutter's most ardent support came from starry-eyed yuppies who sipped Starbucks lattes.

As it turns out, there is some truth to the perception that Nutter voters tended to be better off. After Tuesday's Democratic primary, Inquirer graphics wizard John Duchneskie did some numbers-crunching, using vote totals and census data to find that Nutter won the five wards with the highest average income - Wards 9, 5, 8, 2, and 15, covering Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy, Center City, and the Art Museum area - and seven of the top 10. Businessman Tom Knox won the other three higher-income wards, in the Far Northeast and Fox Chase.

Calculations were based on 2000 census data, the latest available for comparing incomes among wards. Nutter, of course, also did well across all income and ethnic groups on his way to an impressive 12-point victory.

Out in the cold

It isn't easy to make nice with ward leaders when you're seen as one of the machine's most prominent critics. That's what at-large City Council candidate Marc Stier discovered Tuesday night, after placing a disappointing 11th out of 19 Democratic at-large candidates.

Stier - who cofounded the Neighborhood Networks organization as a refuge for reformers fed up with the party - made it a priority to win establishment support for his Council run. Why? He'd figured there just weren't enough votes in the progressive bastions of Center City and Chestnut Hill to get him elected.

"It was a gamble and it didn't work," Stier said. "We were too new at the ward-leader game to understand how it worked."

Ward leaders back candidates for a variety of reasons, but personal relationships, politcal promises and cash contributions known as "street money" are oftentimes part of the agreement. Stier said ward leaders didn't ask him for "street money" until after they'd committed to supporting him, and he downplayed the role it played in his campaign. Still, he was disappointed to discover that a few of the ward leaders he had paid gave him little-to-no help on election day.

"In some areas of the city there were ward leaders who took my money and then did nothing," he said. He declined to identify those ward leaders.

Had Stier been backed by a party bigwig, ward leaders might have treated him better. But what sort of stick does an independent reformer like Stier wield?

- Patrick Kerkstra

At least one more appointment to make

After Tuesday's primary win, Michael Nutter may be gearing up to measure the furniture he'll install in the mayor's office, but Mayor Street is hardly ready to budge.

Among his remaining duties: pushing through his nominee to fill a vacancy on the Philadelphia Board of Ethics.

The spot opened in March, when the Rev. Alyn E. Waller resigned.

Waller and the board's four other members were sworn in late last year. Soon after, Waller missed a meeting or two, along with the considerable amount of e-mail generated as the new board was getting up and running. As interim chief Shane Creamer Jr. put it: "This is a very active board. . . . Board members put in 20 hours just last week alone."

Waller's time was crunched by his role as senior pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, which has more than 7,000 members.

The person Street wants to fill the spot: Temple University law professor Phoebe Haddon. Mayoral spokesman Joe Grace said Friday her name had been forwarded to City Council. If Council confirms her, Haddon would take over Waller's three-year appointment.