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That “brotherly love” thing only goes so far.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says he’s a fan and friend of Mayor de Blasio, but as the two cities compete for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Nutter’s admiration has its limits.
The Democratic National Committee site-selection committee visits both cities next week, and the way Nutter sees it, Philly makes much more sense to play host in 2016.
“Philadelphia is the birthplace of freedom and liberty for the United States of America,” Nutter told the Daily News.
“There is only one city in this country where the Declaration of Independence was created. There is only one Liberty Bell,” he added. “It’s in Philadelphia. Those are just facts.”
Nutter even suggested that as a “second-term, big-city mayor,” he has more experience than does de Blasio to pull off a great event.
“We have a well-experienced team that’s been together in our city government for, in some instances, six years,” he said. “We know how to handle these events.”
While Nutter said he’s sure de Blasio will make a great pitch, “I know he’s very, very focused on governing —- he’s in his first year.”
Nutter pointed out that when he was a freshman mayor, he decided not to even compete for the 2012 convention, choosing instead to “focus on the primary functions of the government.”
De Blasio has proposed holding the actual convention at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, although he said the gathering would be a citywide event.
The Democrats’ site-selection committee is scheduled to visit New York next Monday and Tuesday, before spending the following two days in Philadelphia.
Nutter ticked off what he considers Philadelphia’s clear advantages.
“Philly is a big town, [BUT]with a warmth,” he said — not to mention a Democratic stronghold in a crucial swing state in 2016.
Plus, Nutter added, “The ease of getting around [I]think does in fact set Philadelphia apart… [AS]opposed to New York City in general or Brooklyn in particular.”
Hinting at a possible weakness in de Blasio’s goal of holding the convention in Brooklyn, Nutter repeatedly played up “the wealth of hotel rooms” in downtown Philadelphia and their proximity to the 20,000-seat Wells Fargo Center.
In contrast, the de Blasio administration says only 3,500 rooms will be available in Brooklyn by convention time. Most visitors would be expected to bunk down across the East River in Manhattan, with some placed in airport hotels in Queens.
“New York City is the best city for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, with five remarkable boroughs, all with world-class event venues, attractions, hotels, and restaurants, and the biggest transportation system in the country,” said de Blasio spokeswoman Marti Adams.
New York and Philadelphia are among five cities vying for the 2016 Democratic convention. The others are Birmingham, Ala., Columbus, Ohio, and Phoenix.
Kathryn Wylde of the Partnership for New York City, a business group, said that after attending a recent meeting with de Blasio about the convention, it appeared that City Hall believes a “Brooklyn-branded” approach could be a winner.
Wylde shared some of de Blasio’s confidence.
“It sounds like our main competition is Philadelphia,” she said.
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell “is leading that bid, and he’s a pretty well-connected guy,” Wylde conceded. “But [I]don’t think that they have any chance of mobilizing the kind of business and private-sector support that we can.”
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