THREE QUARTERS of the city's voters reaffirmed a likely second term for Mayor Nutter.

The bad news: One quarter voted for a stunt candidate who owes the government more than $1 million in back taxes.

Still, Nutter now has a choice: to make it a second term in which he has lots of free time because he can't get anyone to do anything . . . or a second term in which, having nothing left to lose, he lets it rip. We prefer the latter. Here is our advice:

The mayor should forgo green and eat more red meat: Nice Mike should acquire a taste for blood. He did have to grapple with tough economic issues when the economy tanked, but confronting numbers, while complex and brain-breaking, is not quite the same as confronting unions and underfunded pensions. Those may require hand-to-hand combat, which Nutter has not shown a taste for. But he now no longer needs to do the re-election dance: He can get into the ring and throw a few punches. He might even like it.

He should take a stand . . . even if he changes his mind later. The ethics mayor was silent amid controversey involving Wilson Goode Jr. and his aide. He was silent on the PHA disaster when he could have blasted the board - including his own appointment - for its lack of oversight of the runaway train of Carl Greene. He has so far been silent on SRC Chair Robert Archie's possible role in the Martin Luther King charter selection. He likes to wait and see, but now he can afford to be a little reckless in his pronouncements, and shoot from the hip. He has good instincts. He should trust them, and us.

Get stuff done: Nutter achieved the structural reform of the Board of Revision of Taxes, but the change to full value is where the heavy lifting is. Yet fear and ignorance is keeping this mired in political quicksand. He should push to finish this, and lobby Council to complete tax reform and grapple with the city's role in the school district. *