Northeast Times

Much to do for Nutter’s Part 2

The may­or starts his second and last term with an in­aug­ur­al ad­dress short on dreams and ob­ject­ives — a sharp con­trast to the tone four years ago.

Phil­adelphia May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter takes the oath of of­fice dur­ing a ce­re­mony on Monday, Janu­ary 2 at the Academy of Mu­sic. Kev­in Cook / for the Times

Start­Frag­ment

When May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter de­livered his in­aug­ur­al ad­dress last week at the Academy of Mu­sic, he offered few de­tails, though he did men­tion that 120 new po­lice of­ficers will be on foot patrol by the sum­mer.

Nut­ter, 54, took of­fice in 2008 and, in his in­aug­ur­al ad­dress that year, prom­ised to slash the murder rate by 30 per­cent to 50 per­cent in three to five years.

The murder rate has gone down. There were 392 hom­icides in 2007, com­pared to 320 in 2011.

But the may­or has not reached his goal. In fact, Phil­adelphia had by far the highest murder rate among the na­tion’s 10 biggest cit­ies in 2011.

Nut­ter prom­ised that, in the near fu­ture, the city would un­veil a new ap­proach to get­ting il­leg­al guns off the streets. Eighty-three per­cent of the murders last year were com­mit­ted by hand­guns.

The ini­ti­at­ive will tar­get the sup­pli­ers and the people who re­ceive the weapons. There will be a re­ward for those who make the right choice.

“We must show them that if you put the gun down, we’ll work with you to put a book in your hands, to put some work and a job in your hands, to put a paycheck in your hands,” he said. “We’ll work with you to put your fu­ture back in your hands.”

Nut­ter de­scribed some of the young people ter­ror­iz­ing neigh­bor­hoods as “them­selves just frightened kids.” He ad­ded that the kids wer­en’t born to be bad, only that they lack op­por­tun­ity and be­lieve they have no fu­ture.

The may­or spoke of a re­cent vis­it to the ju­ven­ile pris­on on State Road, where he met a 17-year-old named Kent. The teen­ager had a 3.6 grade point av­er­age at John Bartram High School, scored 1400 on the SAT and is re­ceiv­ing let­ters from col­leges. But he was sen­tenced to sev­en to 20 years in pris­on for four armed rob­ber­ies that net­ted him $2,000.

“He’s our kid, and he, all the ju­ven­iles up on State Road, and every oth­er young per­son in this city are part of the fu­ture of Phil­adelphia,” Nut­ter said.

Nut­ter, who lives in Wyn­nefield with his wife and daugh­ter, spent the rest of the week vis­it­ing com­munit­ies to high­light pri­or­it­ies.

The may­or dis­cussed jobs with res­id­ents of Pro­ject HOME, toured Temple Uni­versity to em­phas­ize the im­port­ance of col­lege and at­ten­ded the open­ing of a com­puter cen­ter in Frank­ford.

Nut­ter, who served in City Coun­cil from 1992 to 2006, be­lieves that the high crime rate in many neigh­bor­hoods is one is­sue hold­ing back Phil­adelphia. The oth­er is a short­age of qual­ity pub­lic edu­ca­tion op­tions.

The may­or vowed to turn around the low­est-per­form­ing schools in the School Dis­trict of Phil­adelphia.

“If they can’t be turned around, close or re­place them with high-qual­ity al­tern­at­ives,” he said.

Nut­ter, who took the oath of of­fice from U.S. Third Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals Judge Theodore A. McK­ee, was joined on stage dur­ing the Jan. 2 ce­re­mony by his wife Lisa and teen­age daugh­ter Olivia.

In an awk­ward mo­ment, it was an­nounced that Coun­cil­wo­man Mari­an Tasco would present them with flowers. Lisa and Olivia Nut­ter walked to the rostrum, but it turned out that nobody ordered the flowers.

Also join­ing Nut­ter on stage were Phil­adelphia’s four liv­ing former may­ors — Bill Green, Wilson Goode, Ed Rendell and John Street.

Oth­ers tak­ing the oath of of­fice were mem­bers of City Coun­cil, judges of Com­mon Pleas and Mu­ni­cip­al Court, the city elec­tion com­mis­sion­ers, the sher­iff and re­gister of wills.

Traffic Court judges were also sched­uled to be sworn in, but there was an an­nounce­ment that they were not in at­tend­ance.

A day later, it was re­vealed that Christine So­lomon — who won the Novem­ber elec­tion — had failed a ju­di­cial edu­ca­tion ex­am­in­a­tion and would have to re­take it be­fore as­sum­ing of­fice. She’s a Castor Gar­dens res­id­ent and long­time Demo­crat­ic lead­er of the 53rd Ward. ••

End­Frag­ment

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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