1.09.2008

It's a New Day

I was coming out of a meeting at City Hall yesterday afternoon when I saw the motorcade carrying Mayor Nutter barreling in my direction.  Yesterday, his first full day in office, he open the doors to his office from 4 to 8 to greet any and all visitors.  A line snaked around City Hall of people intending to take him up on the offer.  When I got back to my office, I went to the City's website to look up something for a report I'm working on, and the banner announced Nutter's open door invitation. 

The cynics will say that however long Mayor Nutter's honeymoon period is, when it's over, he has some tough, and some would say impossible, work to do.  The causes of crime won't go away in four years, union contracts are up for renegotiation, pension and benefits represent a huge suck on City finances, and we've starved key infrastructural resources over the last decade to the point that I wouldn't be surprised if a bridge collapsed by the end of winter.  The cynics, in other words, will say that for all the optimism and inspiring words, it's a hard slog ahead.

I am usually a cynic.  But I realize that when it comes to running a ship as large and messy as the City of Philadelphia, optimism and inspiring words are sometimes all you need to get going in the right direction.  If we set big hairy audacious goals, like Mayor Nutter has about crime and education, we can all summon enough enthusiasm and confidence to get working on them.  And if it's hard to get a heavy ship going, that also means that once it gets going it's hard to stop.  So here we go, Philadelphia: it's a new day, and a new chance at greatness.  Let's do this.
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