Stalled portrait has one former Philly mayor dishing on another

Former Mayor Ed Rendell is the most recent Philadelphia mayor to have his portrait hanging on the walls of City Hall.  John Street left office in 2008

Former Mayor Ed Rendell is the most recent Philadelphia mayor to have his portrait hanging on the walls of City Hall. John Street left office in 2008

Nearly nine years after he left office, there is still no portrait of former Philadelphia Mayor John Street hanging in the mayor’s reception room in City Hall, the traditional place for the likeness of past mayors.

Street’s portrait is ready, but hasn’t been mounted yet, apparently because of a longstanding beef between Street and his successor. 

“Street’s not up there yet, he was waiting for me,” said Mayor Jim Kenney, referring to the many portraits of former mayors adorning the ceremonial reception room on the second floor of city hall.

Kenney wouldn’t say directly that Street refused to have his portrait hung while Mayor Michael Nutter was in office.

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“I have no comment. I can’t confirm or deny that,” he said.

Asked for comment, Street didn’t directly answer the question about why his portrait wasn’t yet hung. But he said via email that he “doesn’t really like or respect Nutter” and that his portrait “will be hung in due time.”

Two messages sent to Mayor Nutter offering him a chance to respond were not returned.

Street and Nutter may not get along, but Kenney says Street has been good to him since he’s taken over in City Hall.

“I’ve come full circle with him. We certainly were adversaries when I was in Council and he was the mayor, but as time went on he’s been very helpful to me good on advice,” Kenney said. “[He] gives his advice, privately texts on a regular basis, and tells me to thank him later.”

The full text of Street’s e-mail is below:

Good evening 
How bout we put a period at the end of the sentence on the Nutter thing. 
Mayor Nutter is unique in the modern era of Philadelphia Mayors. 
Governor Rendell is too polite and politically correct to admit he didn’t like Nutter as a councilmen or mayor. 
Congressman Brady tried to help Nutter only to be rebuffed and privately criticized. 
Mayor Nutter had zero friends on city council for most of the time he occupied the 2nd floor of city hall. You have to work hard to achieve that feat. 
Nutter has managed to offend mayor Kenney and virtually every elected official in any Philadelphia delegation. Business people are too polite to say publicly how they really feel. 
I have regular conversations with Mayors Green, Goode and Rendell despite our many differences. Rendell didn’t support my [1991 City Council] re-election or my Council presidency. We became great partners. 
I had major disagreements with all the mayors but we maintained a fundamental respect for each other and the magnitude of the office. 
Mayor Nutter proved to be a petty, incompetent micromanager.  I don’t really like or respect him. 
I stand ready and willing to help Mayor Kenney, city council or any Philadelphia elected official  in any reasonable way. You might remember Kenney and I were not exactly in the same political camp. 
Mayor Kenney is working hard to represent the best interest of the city. 
He’s willing to accept constructive criticism. He’s not perfect but certainly a breath of fresh air when compared to his predecessor. 
The portraits will be hung in due time. 
Have a great evening 
Former mayor jfstreet


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