It was never much of a secret that former Mayors John F. Street and Michael A. Nutter didn't get along.
And clearly, the acrimony remains. The two former chief executives of Philadelphia aired their animosity publicly on Friday.
Street opened by calling Nutter a "petty, incompetent micromanager." Nutter fired back by saying the difference between the men was "honesty and integrity," suggesting Street was lacking in each. He called Street an "unhappy, reclusive person."
The mayoral flame war started in response to a request for comment from Street to remarks made by Mayor Kenney at a news conference Thursday that suggested Street still harbored resentment toward Nutter.
At a dedication ceremony for a second portrait of former Mayor James H.J. Tate, Kenney was asked about the status of Street's portrait, which has yet to be hung in City Hall with those of other past mayors.
"He was waiting for me," Kenney said of Street, suggesting Street had no interest in sitting through a portrait ceremony conducted by Nutter.
Late Thursday, Street sent an email response confirming he had not wanted the portrait to go up during Nutter's tenure. He did not stop there.
"How bout we put a period at the end of the sentence on the Nutter thing," Street wrote.
"I had major disagreements with all the mayors but we maintained a fundamental respect for each other and the magnitude of the office. Mayor Nutter proved to be a petty, incompetent micromanager. I don't really like or respect him."
"That's one big difference between him and me, honesty and integrity," Nutter wrote. "I can't even imagine having the FBI bug probe to deal with while governing, since governing is hard enough."
Nutter said Street had "some unresolved anger issues and possibly feels underappreciated."
He ended a series of insults by saying he would follow his mother's advice: if you can't "say anything nice about someone, it's just best to say nothing about them at all."
Nutter and Street have sparred for decades, dating back to when both were on City Council. Nutter's campaign for mayor in 2007 was mostly focused on condemning Street's time as mayor. Street had previously criticized Nutter, most recently in 2010 when he questioned whether Nutter was black enough for African American communities. Street told the Inquirer that Nutter was "not a black mayor. He's just a mayor with dark skin."
As for the portrait of Street, it was completed several years ago and sits in storage.
Nutter said there had been plans late in his first term to hold a ceremony to hang it with the other mayoral portraits in the Mayor's Reception Room. It was canceled on Street's end, however, and never rescheduled.
Kenney said he was ready to have a ceremony whenever Street would like.
"I'd like to put it up there. I've come full circle with him," Kenney said Thursday. "We certainly were adversaries when I was in Council and he was the mayor, but as time went on, he's been very helpful to me - very good on advice."
Speaking of mayoral portraits, Nutter has yet to have one done himself.
"I don't have one. You have to find an artist, sit for it, it's not the main thing on my mind right now," he said. "It's kind of been a busy year."
Full text of Street's email:
Full text of Nutter's response: