Rivalry renewed: Former Philly mayor takes swipe at successor, says he’s not a ‘black mayor’

Monday, September 27, 2010

Old rival takes racial swipe at Philadelphia mayor

PHILADELPHIA — A longtime feud between former Philadelphia Mayor John Street and his successor has been renewed with racially charged comments from Street, who told a newspaper that Mayor Michael Nutter was “not a black mayor … just a mayor with dark skin.”

The two men, both black, have sparred for years, dating back to when both were on City Council. When Nutter ran for mayor in 2007, he focused much of his campaign on Street, even though Street was term-limited and could not run again.

In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday, Street questioned whether Nutter — who faces re-election next year — was black enough for the city’s African-American community.

He is “not a black mayor,” Street told the newspaper. “He’s just a mayor with dark skin.”

Nutter called the statement “undignified” and questioned “these very personal” attacks.

The feud between the two began boiling recently, in the midst of controversy over the Philadelphia Housing Authority, which Street chairs.

Last week, the board fired its executive director, Carl Greene, after allegations he used public money to settle sexual-harassment complaints and coerced top employees to pay into a slush fund.

Street, who has long held great support in the city’s black community, has spawned racial controversy before.

In 2002, he galvanized opponents by telling an NAACP conference: “Let me tell you: The brothers and sisters are running the city. … Don’t you let nobody fool you; we are in charge of the City of Brotherly Love.” He later apologized.

Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, www.philly.com

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