When a dignitary like Pope Francis shows up to their city, any mayor wants to come off as decisive, caring, careful and successful.
That may explain the brief fit of pique of Philadelphia’s Michael Nutter in a papal visit post-mortem.
“I think that in some instances you all scared the s— out of people,” an exasperated Nutter told reporters who pressed him on why the crowd estimates of 1 million to 1.5 million didn’t come close to the actual number of people attending the weekend’s papal events.
He then stepped back and clearly realized he’d fallen short of exhibiting the sort of tolerance preached by Francis during his weekend stay.
“I want to thank you all very, very much,” Nutter said during yesterday’s press briefing inside City Hall. “I want to apologize for my intemperate remark . . . I’ll more than likely get a very timely and terse email from my mother.”
Just looking at the facts, the city seemed to have done fairly well.
Mass transit got good grades, “ushering thousands of people in and out of the city with ease. More than 20,000 people attended the World Meeting of Families Congress, the largest ever.” There were only three arrests tied to all the events, including of one “complete idiot” who was toting a bag of illegal drugs as he sought to get through a security checkpoint.
The city had figured that about 1,500 cars would have to be towed. That number was under 600.