Nutter blinks

A political loss for Mayor Nutter?

: A stumble for the mayor [Daily News]

The result: A stunning political loss as Nutter gave up yesterday on his plan to raise property taxes for two years and embraced instead Council's proposal to raise the city's sales tax for five years.

The lesson: A mayor needs a working relationship with Council and must carefully pick his battles when that isn't enough.

Nutter nudged an often fractious Council into solid opposition of his plan, starting with his 53-minute budget address on March 19. In that speech, among other sharp rhetoric, Nutter said: "This is a time for all of us to either stand up and be counted or sit down and be quiet." That speech included references to Council members who drive city-issued cars and participate in the controversial Deferred Retirement Option Program. Council's fury resounded for weeks.

Nutter yesterday said he was "constantly working" on how his words might be received in Council.

"I think in the political environment, any one of us can be much more mindful of what we say and the impact that it has," he said.

Councilman Jim Kenney, a staunch Nutter ally, said there was "some dysfunction" in the mayor's relationship with Council that could be cleared up with better communication and timing.

Councilman Bill Green, a frequent Nutter critic, said the mayor tried to put public pressure on Council to approve his plan. "I think the lesson learned here is that's not going to work," Green said. "He's going to have to work with us and we're going to have to work with him."