Mayor forced to aim a bit lower

PHILADELPHIA. Mayor Michael Nutter came into office two years ago with big plans for growing business, making citizens smarter and kicking City Hall into a higher gear. Now, he’s simply trying to get some people jobs.

Halfway through his term, his expectations for the next two years are tempered — mostly by economic constraints — compared to the wide-sweeping changes he came into office with after years pushing reform on City Council.

“I’m optimistic for the future but I’m also realistic. We do have to manage expectations.,” Nutter said, sitting at the counter of Little Pete’s diner on 17th Street this weekend. “The bulk of 2010 and beyond is all really focused on jobs, jobs and more jobs. … about getting Philadelphians back to work.”

For a politician once more known as a pro-business reformer, he touts his crime-fighting strategy a lot these days — and with good reason. While the economy has gone in the tank on his watch, Nutter’s goals for reducing crime are highlights of his term so far.

Nutter says he’s confident jobs will begin to appear in 2010, especially in the new green economy and he’s spending federal money to train Philadelphians in the growing field of sustainability.

If he’s to make headway in the new year on his priorities, Nutter also must repair friendships with other city leaders, the Committee of Seventy’s Zack Stalberg said.

“He doesn’t go into any issue with any pro-Nutter coalition. There is not a clear voting block he can go to,” Stalberg said. “He’s got to find some way out of that box.”

Time to build a new coalition

If he’s to make headway in the new year on his priorities, Mayor Michael Nutter also must repair friendships with other city leaders, the Committee of Seventy’s Zack Stalberg said.
“He doesn’t go into any issue with any pro-Nutter coalition. There is not a clear voting block he can go to,” Stalberg said of Nutter’s relationship with Council. “He’s got to find some way out of that box.”

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