Jim Gardner One-on-One with Mayor Michael Nutter: Tenure, papal visit

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Jim Gardner sat down with Mayor Michael Nutter for a one-on-one at City Hall to talk about the past, present and future.

This is Part 2 of my One-on-One interview with Mayor Michael Nutter. Click here to view Part 1.

Mayor Michael Nutter and I were looking at a pictorial exhibit of his eight years in office this week at City Hall, and I do believe he showed a hint of nostalgia and pride.

He said to me he'd like to think people have seen him as a strong leader.

But I wanted to know where he also felt vulnerable.

Where did Michael Nutter fail? What is your greatest sense of disappointment as you now look back?

"Sure. I want a student-weighted funding formula to provide state education funds for the children of this city to get a high-quality education," said Nutter. "That is a state matter, it's the General Assembly, it's the governor, but I put a lot of time and effort and focus on that, and I wanted that to happen passionately and it didn't."

"We may be on the verge of that happening if the state ever has a budget, but that's certainly something closer to home.

"As proud as I am of the significant reduction in homicides in Philadelphia, about a 36-37 percent reduction, it's not enough.

"So I want our kids to get a better education and I want fewer people hurt or injured or killed in this city," said Nutter.

Looking back do you think you and your lieutenants may have dissuaded some people from coming into Philadelphia to take part in the visit of the pope by virtue of some of the things you said and the way you said them on television leading up to that visit?

"No. There was never a moment where dissuasive or frightening language was used. I think the timing of and how we were able to share certain information combined with the characterization by some in the news media was not the best mix.

"So, for instance, Philadelphia Daily News' front page had a picture of a woman like this (demonstrates), and I don't even know what the font size was, I mean, the letters were maybe 2 or 3 inches tall - 'God Help Us.' I didn't create that front page," said Nutter.

A member of City Council, a Democrat, who was not pleased with your stewardship has used the words to me "aloof" and "condescending" in describing you. Can you imagine why said person would use those words?

"I really can't. No, I'm neither of those traits," said Nutter. "I can be forceful. I am serious when I'm serious about something, and at the same time I think you and the viewers and others have seen me, you know, be as self-deprecating and, you know, at least attempts at being fun and engaging as anyone else."

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Watch Jim Gardner's entire interview with Mayor Michael Nutter.


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