More from the DN editorial page about what crises the mayor needs to deal with now that the fiscal crisis is (perhaps temporarily) over:
CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The city was going to shut libraries and recreation centers - both of which combined spend about $70 million - but one area was never threatened: prisons. Our prison system costs about $220 million annually and that figure has steadily increased every year for the last 10.
If Nutter is serious about saving money, he needs to take a hard look at how to reduce the prison population, while keeping hardened criminals off the streets.
How? An analysis of the prison population in 2007 by former city Prison Commissioner Leon King found that nearly 61 percent of inmates were locked up for low-risk crimes. Most of these were drug-related, the majority nonviolent.
We need to reassess the "tough on crime" mentality that leads to the lockup of too many people for crimes that could be better dealt with through community service, treatment and education.
The city also needs to beef up probation, explore alternatives to incarceration and increase funding for programs that rehabilitate prisoners.
On the bright side, the city's homicide rate has declined 24 percent this year as compared with last. That's well on the way to the 30 percent by the end of his first term that he promised in his inaugural address.
PARKS & REC: Consolidating the city's park system and recreation department is only the start of a long process of managing the city's recreational and natural resources. Even hiring the best guy for the job of running the new department, Michael DiBerardinis, doesn't get us all the way there. The parks need to stay high on the list of mayoral priorities - including budget priorities, since unmaintained parks, broken equipment and unsafe rec facilities need a commitment to banish them forever. That's right: forever.
On a related note, Nutter should be continuing to push for the expansion of the city's public spaces, especially on the Delaware. The Central Delaware plan is well-positioned for federal and stimulus dollars - if we're organized about getting them.
POVERTY: Philadelphia has many problems, but none may be more difficult to tackle than our staggering poverty rate. A full 25 percent our population lives below the poverty line, which is $22,000 for a family of four. This is nothing short of a public emergency. It's incomprehensible that so many of our fellow citizens live so close to edge.
Poverty is more than a social ill, it's a budget-buster. Low-income individuals require more services than the average citizen, and they cost big bucks. In fact, there are so many programs that it's nearly impossible to track the full cost. Despite these efforts, the city lacks a citywide strategy to deal with poverty and give people the tools to build a better life.
And the impact is bigger than fiscal.
Poverty is barrier to economic development, since few employers want to locate in a place where so many lack basic skills.