Earlier this week, Mayor Michael Nutter and Gov. Ed Rendell, one of Nutter’s predecessors in the mayor’s office, appeared together at City Hall to throw their endorsement behind Sen. Hillary Clinton’s bid for the U.S. presidency.
The scene was somewhat typical – establishment democrat mayor and governor praising the establishment democrat senator. Besides, Sen. Barack Obama supported U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in the city’s mayoral democratic primary last year.
But it seems that was about the last collaboration of city and state that we’ll see from the Nutter administration. While it took him a few days to get settled in Room 215, this week, the new mayor has dropped two major bombs on the State House in as many days.
On Thursday, he revoked a crucial license granted to the SugarHouse Casino. Nutter argued that the Street administration gave the SugarHouse Casino riparian (waterfront) rights way too early, in a major, but temporary, victory for anti-casino supporters. The casino issue has been debated several times before the State Supreme Court, with most decisions coming down on the side of the casinos. Plus, SugarHouse is Ed’s favorite slots parlor to kick it with.
Also last week, Nutter announced he would ignore the predominantly-republican State House and allow City Council to establish its own gun laws for the city. State Rep. Dwight Evans and the rest of the Philly caucus have been pushing this one for a while, but in a republican-dominated house, it’s been tough.
Rendell has to be saying a prayer, not for us, but for the fragile coalition he’s managed to establish in Harrisburg, mostly by spending the vast political capital he earned here in Philadelphia. The worst part about it is that waterfront casinos were part of Rendell’s vision for Philadelphia when he still was praying for us.
It could be a while before we see the governor going for any more photo ops with Nutter.