One of the most popular City Hall topics in recent years has been Mayor Nutter's relationship with City Council and its 17 varied personalities and motivations.

Mostly, the conversations boil down to who's winning and who's losing the political game.

Last week, Council sought out a new arena where the combatants could wage this particular warfare. The challenge to Nutter and his administration arrived in a missive from Majority Leader Curtis Jones Jr.

It read:

On this day: the 10th of July,

We extend this challenge, and anticipate your reply.

The gauntlet is thrown, the game is set.

On the softball field, your team will be met.

It is your privilege to name the place and the time.

City Council and staff will field with nine.

To the victor: the spoils; fortune and fame.

It just wouldn't be summer without America's game.

We cornered the mayor to ask whether he would take the bait (and whether he would enlist any ringers, as Council claims he did for a basketball game last year).

Nutter deftly deflected the topic, saying he had just seen Jones' letter. But he did note the majority leader's rhyming skills and suggested that to one-up Council he probably would respond with a haiku. - Troy Graham

Doughnut-shop stop leads to arrests

Philadelphia Police Officer Brian Levinthal normally has the relatively sedate task of providing security to Managing Director Richard Negrin.

But on Tuesday, Levinthal's prework stop at the Dunkin' Donuts at Fox Street and Abbottsford Avenue led to a heroin arrest that appears to be linked to robberies that have brought guns into the city.

A fellow customer told Levinthal that some people were doing heroin in a car in the parking lot. Levinthal called for backup, and Gia Weil, 24, of Pottstown, was arrested on a narcotics charge.

Police also apprehended two men but aren't releasing their names because evidence in the car led to a broader investigation of robberies in Pottstown and other cities in which guns were stolen and then sold here, a Philadelphia police spokesman, Lt. Ray Evers, said. - Miriam Hill

Tax-plan delay hits parks agency

For approximately the gazillionth year in a row, the city's Parks and Recreation Department came thiiiiiis close to getting more funding.

Council had budgeted $2 million more for the department, which needs more money to keep facilities clean and safe and to prevent small problems from growing into expensive ones.

So why didn't the department, which basically operates on the same amount of money, $48 million, as it did four decades ago, not get the money this time?

Blame it on the failure of the Actual Value Initiative, the property-tax overhaul. No AVI, big budget problems, less parks funding.

- Miriam Hill