By Alex Lloyd Gross
Jim Kenney was sworn in as the 99th Mayor of Philadelphia today, January 4, 2016. The ceremony, held at the Academy of Music was by invitation only. Kenney, proved to be popular in November, winning a landslide victory and becoming the 99th Mayor of Philadelphia. The ceremony held today also featured the election of Darrell C. Clarke as President of City Council. City council is welcoming a newcomer, Al Taubenberger, who is well known in Northeast Philadelphia. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for Mayor against Kenney’s predecessor, Michael Nutter.
Kenney is full of ideas and now he has to put them to work. He will find that being mayor is not all it’s cracked up to be. He must convince city council that his ideas have merit and that it’s wise to implement them. One such idea which he jumped on, was to hold a fundraiser to benefit the School District of Philadelphia. That was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center at night. There was also a block party, featuring some music from Jerry Blavat. That was free, and there were seven food trucks that were giving away food. Admission was by invitation only.
Kenney knows the old joke about being in politics. First you get sworn in, then you get sworn at. Not every decision he will make will be popular. One of his first decisions to make Philly a sanctuary city again has caused an outrage on social media. In order to be successful, he must balance the needs of the city and that may mean disregarding his own commissioners and staff to do things need to be done. Kenney made one surprising remark during his speech,when he said “Black Lives Do matter”. Of course they do, but all lives matter. Singling one class or race of people can have dangerous consequences and he can wind up alienating people inadvertently.
Most of Kenny’;s administration is in place with the exception of the office of Fire Commissioner. The mayor would only say “We’re looking into it” when asked if Derrick Sawyer might stay, or if he would be replaced.
Mayor Kenney was supposed to walk up Broad street to City Hall. That did happen, but Kenney made a beeline for his office, not stopping more than a handful of times to meet people. He opted for the sidewalk when the cops closed the street for him. For the first 100 days in office, it’s called a honeymoon time for any new politician. We will see what happens,if he can keep his popularity in a year or two.
For freshman Councilman At Large, Al Taubenberger, his victory was a longtime coming. He unseated incumbent Dennis O’brien . No one saw that coming. Taubenberger was the president of the Northeast Chamber of Commerce for at least a decade. When he resigned that post to concentrate on his campaign, it paid off for him. He has been involved in politics all of his life.
Kenney, a South Philadelphia native was a councilman but resigned abruptly and focused on a campaign for mayor. He risked it all. gambled and drew a 21. He will be Mayor of Philadelphia for a term of four years. If he is successful, and does not alienate the media, the constituents and does the right thing, when his four years are up, he can decide to keep at it.