ARE YOU READY for Mayor Nutter, take two?
With yesterday's primary victory, Mayor Nutter appears poised to coast into his second term. Sure there's the general election, but a Republican candidate is unlikely to make a dent in a city where Democrats enjoy a 6-to-1 voter-registration advantage.
So, let's look ahead to Nutter's second term. After sweeping into office on a platform of reform, Nutter's first term has been defined by managing a massive budget crisis. He has overseen a drop in crime and has moved some key initiatives, like making the city more environmentally friendly, but he has struggled to maintain relationships in City Council and has been criticized for lacking a clear agenda.
Now, Nutter's clock is ticking. A second-term mayor loses power as time passes and the city looks ahead to the next election. Nutter must move quickly and focus on some key issues before lame-duck status overcomes him.
Expect to see Nutter seek help from some of the Council candidates he endorsed in the primaries. Among Nutter's endorsements were: Mark Squilla, who won the 1st Councilmanic District; Kenyatta Johnson, who was leading in the 2nd District last night; Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who held her seat in the 7th; and Cindy Bass, who won in the 8th District. If Nutter can maintain those votes during his second term, he may have more success pushing an agenda forward.
What are Nutter's likely top second-term priorities? He wouldn't say, but based on a series of conversations with administration insiders, here are our best predictions:
Crime: Nutter is likely to continue his effort to push crime rates down in his second term. He just expended huge energy - and no small amount of money - to keep his popular Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey in town. He's going to want to cash in on that investment.
Education: Undoubtedly, the public schools - currently in the throes of a financial crisis - have risen to the top of the city's problem list. Nutter has consistently made educational attainment a priority and will likely seek to improve the schools in his second term, although that's nothing if not an uphill battle. Might he even seek to bring the state-supervised city schools back under local control?
Greening the city: One big theme that has emerged in Nutter's first term has been the citywide efforts to make Philadelphia a more environmentally friendly city, with more bike lanes, green space and green jobs. With projects under way to create more parkland and plant more trees, expect more of the same in term two.