Philadelphians offer some early indications on the mayor’s chances of re-election.
Nutter ran for election promising to implement a controversial stop-and-frisk policy, where police stop and search people on the street with “reasonable suspicion.” The American Civil Liberties Union sued the city earlier this month over stop-and-frisk after finding that only eight percent of stops lead to arrest, arguing that the policy amounts to little more than racial profiling of blacks and Hispanics—72 percent of those stopped in 2009 were black. Nutter continues to support stop-and-frisk despite the lawsuit, claiming it has helped keep guns off the street by making criminals think twice before carrying.
Manley: I know a friend of mine who got stop and frisked and he spent the weekend in jail for having a blunt on him. He never had a criminal record. He smokes weed, so what?
Taburello: I think this is a slippery slope. Police officers can search individuals without a just cause seems like a privacy invasion. Also seems like a gateway to more violence toward officers. This liberty given to the wrong police official can lead to more corruption and abuse of authority.
Armour: They have more lawsuits going on now because the cops have been harassing people.
The mayor has raised taxes two years running, bumping up property taxes last spring after increasing the sales tax in 2009.
Jones: I don’t feel like you should have it all and other people don’t have anything. There have been plenty of people in this city, owned plenty of things and don’t pay no taxes. But they want to clamp down on the other people, clamp down on the small people who have been working or trying to make it, they want to come take everything you have.
William Brown, 52, U.S. Gymnastics Federation, Southwest Philly: Put some money back into the city and stop taking money from the city. That’s the whole thing. He taking money from everybody. He taking money from police, fire departments, this, that, this, that. So it’s convenient for him and inconvenient for everyone else.
Vote for Nutter in 2011? I know he ain’t gonna make it again. I know that much. He wasn’t a good candidate. He wasn’t a good candidate at all.
Jaffe: I feel he is overly criticized for many taxes he imposes for the city. I see nothing wrong with imposing a soda tax. Unfortunate to have to bring about such a tax that will undoubtedly upset people and cut jobs at corporations that employ millions.
Dani: Just adding more taxes in general is silly.
Philadelphia’s sustainability strategy, aimed at increasing efficiency citywide with measures like buying hybrid cars for the city’s vehicle fleet and adding solar-powered trash compactors to decrease collection trips. The Greenworks program has 15 targets for the city to reach by 2015, among them lower energy consumption, less waste production and more trees in the ground. According to city figures, Philadelphia is already 44 percent along the way toward meeting its six-year goals.
Rubin: I know about the bike lanes. I definitely support that. I know it’s difficult because we don’t have parking on the streets they’ve done it on, but I support it.
DiNenna: The green thing I think is cool, particularly in this city because we had nothing. It was the bottom of the barrel as far as green goes, so you can only go up.
Tamburello: Greenworks is absolutely necessary. Municipal officials using green practices set an example. “Practicing what you preach.” Initiative programs should be used for business that use green practices. Tax cuts would encourage companies to make use of green practices instead of doing things cheaply to maximize profits. The greenworks plan will benefit everyone involved.
Steptoe: Philadelphia needs to make better use of rooftops and abandoned lots for gardens as well as using solar energy through panels and wind turbines. Think we should hold our city to the same sanitation standards as Washington, D.C. Philadelphia above and below ground is filthy. The filth we find underground can be used as a metaphor for the corruption behind closed doors (Politics).
In October, the mayor raised the rainbow flag in front of City Hall in honor of LGBT history month. It was the first time the gay pride colors had ever flown outside a municipal building in Philadelphia. The move was part of a greater outreach program, including hiring Gloria Casarez to be a liaison between the Mayor’s Office and the LGBT community.
brooke JinHeeBae boroughs, 30s, photographer/ archivist for LGBT affairs, Center City: I feel that Mayor Nutter, seeing that he has so many responsibilities to this city and the public, he takes the time and has presence with the LGBT community with Gloria Casarez being his guide in those matters. Showing face, it looks like he really has compassion and sensitivity to our community. Seeing how the flag represents the LGBT community, that’s powerful. I think that with the flag raising and seeing it standing there for a month, whether or not you’re aware of the LGBT community you’re gonna know that the rainbow flag means this and this. As an archivist, I’ll look back on this and think “I was there.” Just knowing that he took part in that.
As we begin to poke our heads out of two and a half years of recessionary rubble, the city’s outlook is starting to look brighter. Threats still remain, but Nutter, odds-on favorite to win election to a second term this year, implores you to have faith.