MEDIA: Mayor Nutter Butter Meets The Gray Lady

Michael Nutter, who takes office in January, offered plans to declare crime emergencies in Philadelphia’s most violent areas.

Published: November 23, 2007

PHILADELPHIA — The day after Michael Nutter won a landslide victory to become this city’s next mayor, he put on a charcoal gray suit and drove to his first public event: the funeral of a police officer shot in a brazen daytime robbery.

Two nights before he announced his choice for police commissioner, two more officers were shot and wounded.

When Mr. Nutter takes office on Jan. 7, he will face a crime wave that has left at least 355 people dead so far this year and that gave Philadelphia the highest homicide rate of any big city in the country last year, with 406 killings — more than even New York City, which has six times the population.

Crime is clearly the biggest challenge facing the new mayor. It is also the reason for his surprise victory.

Just 12 months ago, Mr. Nutter, a 50-year old former city councilman, was a little-known candidate with a controversial plan to reduce crime who was working 20-hour days, handing out Nutter Butter cookies to voters in a desperate effort to climb out of fifth place in a five-man race.

Now, he has been called the Seabiscuit of this year’s urban politics, having beaten two congressmen, a veteran state legislator and a billionaire businessman in the Democratic primary in May before taking the general election on Nov. 6 by a four-to-one ratio, the largest the city has seen since 1931. MORE

[Photo by Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times]

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