Because Michael Nutter has got game: he speaks in complete paragraphs, with subsections A., B., and C. and attendant footnotes, which also have their own subsections A., B., and C. He has run a campaign of ideas — smart, principled, and aspirational — for solving just about every problem this city faces, while his opponents have offered the usual empty sloganeering, racial semaphore and coded entreaties to their respective bases. If that makes you a wonk or a nerd — well, you can call me Potsie.
Because Michael Nutter is the only Democrat running for mayor whose child attends a Philadelphia public school, that alone makes him the only candidate with a truly enlightened self-interest in reforming the school system, and a willingness to put his own flesh and blood on the line to prove it. Because fixing the school system is the key to transforming Philly into a 21st Century city. Because it’s easy to talk about improving the public school system while writing the tuition checks to Germantown Friends but it’s another matter entirely to put your kid in the mouth of the lion while you are trying to tame it.
Because he believes the casino issue has been bungled terribly and Harrisburg essentially railroaded the city with the legislation that made it possible. Because he believes citizens have a right to fight the casinos. Because he wants to revise the zoning code to include things like realism and best practices, instead of the usual no-bid nepotism, purchased patronage and and pay-to-play kickbacks.
Because he wants to put 500 more cops on the street over next four years AND he gets Stop Snitchin, as councilman he spearheaded a number of initiatives for improving police/community relations. Both are badly needed; the combination of the two is absolutely crucial. Because Nutter has been the only candidate courageous enough to state the obvious: That Philadelphia is in the grip of a “black genocide,” as self-inflicted from within as it is aggravated from without; that it is simply a statistical fact that black people do most of the shooting and most of the dying in this city. It only perpetuates the crisis to pretend otherwise in the name of political expediency or white liberal guilt.
Because what’s really tearing apart this city isn’t race, it’s class — the yawning chasm between the minority who want for nothing and the ballooning majority who want for everything. Because when the legitimate economy can’t sustain the populace, an illicit economy takes its place, transforming vast sectors of the city into hives of casual criminality where the biggest gun on the block is the boss. Because the vast majority of the 140-dead murder rate are instances of the have-nots killing each other over what little they have — usually a patch of drug turf, but sometimes it’s over something as stupid as a pair of sneakers or an Iverson jersey. Because that’s as appalling as it is embarrassing.
Because for the rest of us to go about our hip, happy Center City lives with our unlimited Wi-Fi and our bottomless lattes, blissfully ignorant of the carnage or reassuring ourselves that ‘that kind of thing doesn’t happen here’ is, quite simply, immoral. Because Michael Nutter is the only candidate with the courage to stand up and say: THIS MUST STOP. Now is the time for all good men and women to stand up for Michael Nutter. Because Michael Nutter will be remembered for being on the right side of history in an election pitting the corrupt and contented against the agents of change. Because he is The One to lead us out of the Matrix of our own bullshit. — JONATHAN VALANIA, November, 2008