Five things I learned about Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter watching his NBC 10 ‘Ask the Mayor’ program [VIDEO]

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter gave an hour of his time this week to answer resident questions that came to host NBC 10 by way of email, Twitter and Facebook, as we reported on Technically Philly in sharing video of the event.

Nutter has already been praised for use of Twitter — a move we had asked him about during a Q&A in July 2010 , a few months before the city imported communications director Desiree Peterkin-Bell, who had helped transform Newark Mayor Cory Booker into an urban political social media star.

The Ask the Mayor event — prompted by NBC 10 social media hire Lou Dubois and Bell — was unique, interesting and compelling. NBC 10 deserves credit for only sharing a single softball question — about cheesesteaks, of course — and Nutter and his team deserve praise too for participating in something new and relatively open. It was clear and admirable that Nutter hadn’t been prepared for the questions.

Granted, none of those questions amounted to public affairs journalism, but many did seem to represent the perspective of Philadelphians. Watch the five video segments of the event here or watch the first below and see what I learned about Nutter watching them.

Continue reading Five things I learned about Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter watching his NBC 10 ‘Ask the Mayor’ program [VIDEO]

White House Urban Entrepreneurship Forum: speaking on public-private partnerships

White House Urban Entrepreneurship forum Better Together panel, featuring (from left) moderator Kathleen Warner from Startup America; Doug Rand from the White House Office of Science and Technoogy; Sherryl Kulman from the Wharton Program for Social Impact; Prof. Youngjin Yoo from Temple University's Fox School of Business; Jane Vincent from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Dept and, behind the camera, me.

One of seven White House Urban Entrepreneurship forums across the country was hosted at Temple University in Philadelphia Monday, and, in addition to Technically Philly being a media sponsor, I served on one of a dozen panels.

Find the Livestream and Technically Philly coverage of Philadelphia Mayor Nutter’s address here.

I was on a panel called “Better Together: Public-Private Partnerships to Accelerate Urban Entrepreneurship and Startups.”

Unfortunately, our time was truncated due to a late start, so I spoke briefly once and answered one question.

I spoke about Technically Philly involving itself in connecting startups and entrepreneurs with the city, by way of Philly Tech Week, the Open Data Philly initiative and further fostering collaboration in various corners of the region’s technology community.

White House officials are holding these forums, from Newark to New Orleans, to connect and discuss ideas with local business leaders and entrepreneurs. Philadelphia’s forum coincided with a meaningful minority business event. The forum was co-hosted by the White House, The Office of Mayor Nutter, U.S. Departments of Commerce, Energy, Labor, Treasury, Education, and several federal, state, and local agencies.

‘Barrel of a Gun’ Mumia Abu Jamal documentary premiere thoughts

The middle of the center section on the lower level of the Merriam Theater Tuesday night seemed well-acquainted.

Across rows, middle aged men with ruddy cheeks talked about seeing each other last on trips to Key West, sneaking a six-pack into the historic theater and shared the kind of general chatter of people who knew each other well a long time ago.

The lights came down around 7:15 p.m., too early to know exactly how well or from when they knew each other. It would only be a guess that they all came from the same neighborhood, but that was how the audience felt last night at the world premiere of the ‘Barrel of a Gun,’ the feature-length documentary from Tigre Hill meant to finalize the 30-year-old controversy around Mumia Abu-Jamal’s convicted killing of police officer Daniel Faulkner in December 1981.

Continue reading ‘Barrel of a Gun’ Mumia Abu Jamal documentary premiere thoughts

Metro: Babette Josephs down on ‘Secure Communities’ initiaitve

A city-state-federal policing partnership criticized as threatening the civil rights of immigrant populations in Philadelphia was the focus of a short brief I had in today’s Metro, following a brief interview with state. Rep. Babette Josephs following a press conference in City Hall.

Read it here.

I wrote a fairly large profile of Josephs for the Inquirer last summer. Fair or not, a group of self-labeled reformers in Harrisburg called Josephs a mythological three-headed dog.

I was unable to include a brief interview I had with City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez on the matter, portions of which you can see after the jump, in addition to quotes from Josephs that were cut, more from the Nutter administration, other sources and one interesting concept of the story that didn’t make it into the piece.

Continue reading Metro: Babette Josephs down on ‘Secure Communities’ initiaitve

Metro: Nutter warns of a Doomsday Plan C budget

A photo I took of the police district headquarters where Mayor Nutter spoke yesterday.
A photo I took of the police district headquarters where Mayor Nutter spoke yesterday.

For free daily newspaper Metro Philadelphia, today I covered a press conference and related fallout from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter warning of the Plan C budget he says he’ll be forced to introduce if two provisions aren’t passed by the state legislature.

I wrote a main brief on Nutter’s use of political theatrics: framing the legislative fight by a fight over cops and firefighters, groups that are taken very seriously in the part of the city he made the announcement.

Mayor Michael Nutter surrounded himself with police officers — and the Northeast Philadelphia residents that lean on them — to continue sending his message to Harrisburg yesterday that the city will be in dire straits without action from lawmakers.

Read the rest here. I also wrote a small sidebar item on some reaction from neighborhood onlookers.

Read the related story I wrote for

Below see some extra material that didn’t make it into either story.

Continue reading Metro: Nutter warns of a Doomsday Plan C budget

TP: Editorial on Philadelphia CIO call for tech support

Allan Frank, Philly CIO
Allan Frank, Philly CIO

After announcing the birth Technically Philly, I haven’t more than briefly mentioned the news site for Philadelphia’s technology community, even though I’ve been writing there sometimes more than seven times weekly.

Today, we ran an editorial that I particularly liked, so I thought I’d share. My two co-founders and I share the stance and both helped a great deal, but I took the lead on writing this one. I’m eager to see how our readers react — if they will at all.

Here’s a test.

Just how innovative and influential, forward-thinking yet practical is the technology community in Philadelphia? Because you’re being challenged.

We’re still reeling from a presentation that Allan Frank, the city’s chief information officer, gave at a meeting of Refresh Philly Monday night. Read the rest here.

Check below for a couple grafs that didn’t make it in.

Continue reading TP: Editorial on Philadelphia CIO call for tech support

NYTM: Barack Obama makes racial politics go away

From left: Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia; Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina; Representative John Lewis of Georgia; and Representative Artur Davis of Alabama. (Nigel Parry for The New York Times)

Interesting, if already well-circled, story in the recent-most New York Times Magazine, entitled “Is Obama the End of Black Politics?”. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter got some face time in its main graphic, as seen above, and in a large portion of the story, briefly excerpted below. A beginning excerpt that stuck with me:

Obama was barely 2 years old when King gave his famous speech, 3 when Lewis was beaten about the head in Selma. He didn’t grow up in the segregated South as Bill Clinton had. Sharing those experiences wasn’t a prerequisite for gaining the acceptance of black leaders, necessarily, but that didn’t mean Obama, with his nice talk of transcending race and baby-boomer partisanship, could fully appreciate the sacrifices they made, either. “Every kid is always talking about what his parents have been through,” Rangel says, “and no kid has any clue what he’s talking about.”

Continue reading NYTM: Barack Obama makes racial politics go away

Bank of America gives $1 million to Constitution Center

Interview and article prepared for the Philadelphia Business Journal, as filed last week, without edits, to run in tomorrow’s edition.

Mayor Michael Nutter was on hand to watch Bank of America award a $1 million grant to the National Constitution Center earlier this month.

“As the leader of our city, it’s very appropriate,” said Tom Woodward, president of Bank America Pennsylvania. “So much of what we’re doing speaks to augmenting education in the region and our city.”

Nutter, just three months into his term, has named a more learned Philadelphia among his highest priorities, so supporting a sizable funding gift to the Constitution Center was sensible, Woodward said.

“They do so much with students and educating our kids in what it really means to have civic responsibility and be an American,” he said. “The educational component is an absolute priority in what we want to fund.”

Much of the funding will go to developing programs for the Constitution Center’s newly named Bank of America Family Theater, beginning with the reopening of “Living News,” which displays constitutional issues that affect the daily lives of everyone.

“When you go through the Constitution Center, whether you are an American or from somewhere else, you leave with an appreciation of freedom,” he said. “This really is about trying to make Philadelphia and the region a better place.”

See other reporting by Christopher Wink here.

Photo courtesy of Bank of America public relations. Depicted from left, Joe Torsella, CEO of the National Constitution Center; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Kenneth D. Lewis, chairman and CEO of Bank of America, and Tom Woodward, president of Bank of America Pennsylvania