MAYOR NUTTER made the last of his endorsements for City Council yesterday in a push to stock that branch of government with new allies after rough relations there during his first term.

State Rep. Kenyatta Johnson called a hurry-up news conference outside City Hall to accept Nutter's endorsement in the 2nd Council District, which covers parts of South and Southwest Philly and Center City. That seat is open because of the retirement at the end of this year of Council President Anna Verna.

Nutter also endorsed in open-seat races Mark Squilla in the 1st District, which hugs the Delaware River from South Philly to the lower Northeast; Marty Bednarek in the 6th District (Northeast Philly), and Cindy Bass in the 8th District (northwest Philly).

"What I'm looking for most are people who are thoughtful, who are independent, who obviously care and are creative but also flexible and practical and understand what it means to be part of a team," Nutter told us.

Johnson will cite the endorsement in mailers to voters, and the mayor will be out shaking hands in the district before the May 17 primary election.

Squilla tells us Nutter is coming to his district for a trolley tour and door-knocking effort. He's also mulling having Nutter record a "robo-call" to voters.

Bass is matching up her campaign events to coincide with Nutter events in the district.

Nutter is expected to give each of the candidates the maximum contribution - $10,600 - allowed by a political-action committee.

Stenographic caper solved

One of the two stenographers employed by Council found this week that their equipment had been stolen when she showed up to transcribe a hearing Monday. The stenography machines, valued at $5,000 each, were kept unlocked in Council's fourth-floor City Hall chambers.

A quick review of security video identified a suspect, a transgender woman known to visit Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell's office for help.

The suspect, Rica Hughes, 38, was discovered Wednesday in JFK Plaza, also known as LOVE Park, across the street from City Hall.

Hughes had left the stenography machines at her social-worker's office, Blackwell said.

Blackwell was relieved to have the issue resolved because the machines, which belong to the stenographers, are expensive.

"We're just so grateful," she said. "I felt so bad."

The machines will now be kept in a locked cabinet in Council's chambers.

The Clout Line: Mayor 2011

We ask five locals who toiled on Democratic and Republican mayoral elections to estimate candidates' chances for the primary elections.

This continues to be an odd election cycle. Former state legislator and ex-con T. Milton Street has gained 5 points on Nutter since our first Clout Line poll in mid-March, perhaps because two of the four city employee unions have endorsed him. Or because Street survived a Nutter effort to bump him from the ballot.

In the Republican Party, former Democratic Committeewoman-turned-GOP-endorsed candidate for mayor Karen Brown has maintained a 10-point lead on John Featherman, despite revelations that she declared bankruptcy four times and had five mortgage foreclosures.

This week's chances:


Mayor Nutter: 77.28 percent

T. Milton Street: 22.2 percent


Karen Brown: 55.4 percent

John Featherman: 44.6 percent


 "There are a lot of people who deserve credit. President Obama is a small part of that."

- Tom Ridge, former governor and first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, telling a supporter at a GOP fundraiser this week who should get the credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Staff writer Catherine Lucey contributed to this report.

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