Regardless of their general opinion of Pennsylvania Democratic politician Michael Nutter, the people of Philadelphia undoubtedly agree overwhelmingly that, as their duly elected mayor, he should be able to address the city council without being drowned out by a mob. But government union bosses and their fanatical followers clearly don’t think so.
As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported last week (see the link below), on March 14, Mayor Nutter “entered Council chambers . . . to give his budget address, setting off a deafening response of whistles and chants from a packed house of angry [government union bosses and their zealous supporters] . . . .” The mayor “proceeded to read the speech despite being drowned out.”
Do citizens who disagree with Big Labor about budgetary matters have the right to air their views in a public forum unimpeded? In the City of Brotherly Love, the government union hierarchy says, “No — not even if that citizen is the mayor”:
Council President Darrell L. Clarke tried to restore order, and then appeared to call a recess, as the union members chanted, “No contract, no peace.”
Clarke and Nutter huddled briefly, and then Nutter resumed reading the speech, louder this time, though still inaudible.
The mayor’s senior staff and members of Clarke’s staff huddled until mayoral chief of staff Everett Gillison nodded toward Nutter. The two talked and Nutter left the chamber.
The union members chanted, “Hey, hey, goodbye.”
Clarke later officially recessed the meeting until “the call of the chair,” meaning at his discretion. The union members, upset at working four years without a contract, chanted, “We won’t go.”
Councilman Bill Green, one of the few members remaining in the chamber, said he didn’t think the meeting should have been recessed.
“This is outrageous,” he said. “Michael Nutter is the mayor of the city of Philadelphia. I don’t care what you think of him, you have to give the office respect.”