In the midst of a city and state budget crisis and numerous trips to Harrisburg, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter stopped at Penn to speak to students.
Nutter spoke about his proposed five-year plan, also known as Plan C, Sen. Arlen Specter's reelection campaign and his own experiences as a Penn student, among other things.
Unless Pennsylvania's state legislature approves House Bill 1828 - a measure to increase the local sales tax and defer City pension contributions - by Friday, Nutter said he will be forced to implement Plan C.
The plan would abolish the City's court system, close all 53 Free Library branches, reduce trash collection and cut 3,000 government jobs, including almost 1,000 members of the police force.
"We just don't have the money," Nutter said. "And if you don't have the money, you can't pay for the services."
Countering claims that Plan C was devised as a scare tactic to compel state lawmakers to pass HB 1828, he said the proposal "is, unfortunately, 100 percent real."
"There was no effort to scare the public," he said. "On Friday, if we don't have action, we will have to deliver nearly 3,000 layoff notices."
Nutter attended a fundraiser Tuesday in support of Specter, a recent convert to the Democratic party. President Barack Obama also attended the event.
"Regardless of his affiliation, [Specter] has done a good job," Nutter said, praising the Senator for his "service and dedication and commitment and loyalty and being a stand-up person."
Nutter invited students to get involved in politics and elections on all levels of government.
He acknowledged that local campaigns might not be as exciting as that of Obama, but the actions of local politicians "are going to have an impact on your life."
"I want to encourage you to always think of elections as important," he said.
Nutter also spoke of his time at Penn, highlighting his difficulties trying to transfer to Wharton.
Despite less-than-stellar grades and repeated rejections, he was able to graduate as a Wharton student.
"Don't let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do," he said to the crowd of almost 100 students.
The event was hosted by the Penn Democrats, which Nutter credited as the first organized group to endorse his candidacy in 2007.
"We wanted to welcome the freshmen to Philadelphia," said Penn Dems President Jordan Levine, a College junior and former Daily Pennsylvanian advertising representative. "Who better than the mayor and a graduate of Philadelphia?"
College Senior and Penn Dems Events Director Michael Abboud was the one responsible for bringing the mayor to the University.
"Since Obama, everyone's been almost done with politics," Abboud said. He said he wanted to introduce students to Nutter, whom he called "the most important politician in Philadelphia."Comments powered by Disqus
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