March 3, 2000
Bush/Gore Send Top Policy Aides to Mayors
In Key West at our Winter 2000 Leadership Meeting, mayors dialogued with top domestic policy advisors of the Bush and Gore campaign. At the request of Conference President and Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb, Governor Bush dispatched former Mayor Steve Goldsmith of Indianapolis and Vice President Gore sent Elaine Kamarck, now at Harvard, his primary person on his reinventing government initiative and a person who has worked with me, my staff and other mayors for several years. So, we had two people who understand our stuff and as we say “they get it.”
It was indeed encouraging to have this man and this woman there. One a former mayor who is recognized for his innovation in Indianapolis and another who has led the Vice President’s effort to make government more responsive to our citizens.
In the past we have been forced to deal with kids or business types from the Presidential campaigns who didn’t know what CDBG is, thought ISTEA was a drink and CETA was a tree. So at least – Mayor Goldsmith and Ms. Kamarck understand what we are about – when and where we want the feds to help us and when and where we want the feds to get out of our way to get the job done.
Mayor Webb has instructed me to keep an open dialogue with all Presidential campaigns to ensure tht all Presidential candidates appreciate, understand, and take seriously Mayor Webb’s initiative, A New Agenda For America’s Cities, the ten-point plan we are advocating as we go through the Presidential campaign season and transition period after the November election. We are pleased The National Association of Counties has endorsed the ten-point plan.
The beauty of our plan is that it covers over ninety recommendations that came from a diverse group of national organizations. These recommendations were consolidated and presented to our Denver Leadership Meeting last September where officials from The National League of Cities and The National Association of Counties came together for dialogue and input. Following that historic meeting, a team of mayors led by Mayor Webb and staff boiled the many proposals down to a common sense ten-point agenda.
Since its adoption, Mayor Webb used our ten-point plan to: emphasize investment in untapped markets on Wall Street in January, stress concern about sprawl at our smart growth session during our January Winter Meeting, recognize human need for arts that enrich our souls at our Mayor’s Arts Gala, in Washington, D.C., and, finally, demand action for common sense gun safety measures at our “Wall of Death” unveiling in Denver in February. In addition to Mayor Webb’s activities, other mayors are stepping forward to press our message across the county. In Miami February 24th, Cedar Rapids Mayor Lee R. Clancey, along with Miami Dade Mayor Alex Penelas released our third major Brownfield report, Recycling America’s Land, A national Report on Brownfields Redevelopment, which is a most important part of our 10-point agenda.
Mayor Webb will continue to do what he said he was going to do when he took the gavel as President of The President in New Orleans in June: to make sure that all candidates in all parties recognize and accept that mayors and county leaders are leading the Metro engines that are driving this robust national economy. The presence and the listening of Mayor Goldsmith and Ms. Kamarck in Key West was a good beginning.
We must engage the candidates themselves for dialogue. We are asking the Presidential candidates to come before us on separate days during our 2000 Annual June Meeting in Seattle. Before then, mayors will have private meetings in hotel rooms, airport greetings, head table assemblies, in a car, on a plane, in the restroom – anywhere – with the Presidential candidates. If you happen to meet with one of those who will be in charge next January, please stress that they come to Seattle and please give them the ten-point agenda we have adopted.
As we indicated in Key West, we have copies of our brochure for you. If you want a copy, contact Ed Somers, at 202-293-733 or via e-mail at: email@example.com
CASA, Califano, Coles, Los Angeles
At the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum for Public Affairs in Simi Valley, Former First Lady Nancy Reagan joined former LBJ Chief of Staff and Former Carter Secretary of The Department of Heath, Education and Welfare (HEW), Joseph Califano, Boise Mayor H. Brent Coles, Vice President of The Conference, in an incredible meeting on drugs and substance abuse. Mr. Califano brought his organization, Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), to our Winter Meeting last January. Here in California at the Reagan Library, Mr. Califano brought together the best law enforcement officers, religious leaders, members of the media, doctors and scientists – an array of people that every mayor in the nation would have wanted to hear.
Mayor Coles will continue his national leadership position on drug control when he becomes your President in Seattle. The meeting here at The Reagan Library and Museum with persons from all parties and from all walks of life tell us that outstanding Americans are still with us, even more determined, in their effort to find new solutions to stop the violence and damage drugs do to Americans every day. In Seattle, when Mayor Coles is inaugurated as our new President in June, he will outline his bipartisan plan of action. He will ask you to help America. We are 8 percent of the earth’s population and we consume over 50 percent of all the cocaine. He will also, in the name of this organization, ask our new President, the 43rd President of The United States of America, to help us. Mayor Coles will ask the Governors to help us. He will strengthen our alliance with county officials. He will ask the religious leaders to continue in their efforts with us. He will appeal to schools officials, teachers and children. He will challenge the prisons of America both state and federal on these issues. He will challenge the Congress to help us find out where the billions of taxpayers money is going now to help us with the treatment and resources we need now.
Drug abuse – the violence, death and human damage – in America is a challenge for both parties. Mayor Coles, backed up by Democratic and Republican Mayors, will continue to build our coalition even stronger. Mayors and city officials work each day in our cities against drug abuse. We stand ready to work with a new President and our new Congress to help us who are on the front line. Mayor Coles will take this message forward and he will bring the media with him as we stress the need for America to develop the best preventive initiatives, fair punitive measures, and adequate treatment for so many Americans still suffering from the scourge of drugs in our nation.
Los Angeles Presidential Debates
At the CNN-Los Angeles Times March 2nd Presidential Debate, when asked about taxing e-commerce transactions, Vice President Gore said, “I think we should keep the moratorium on taxing transactions on the Internet while the questions are dealt with by all parties.” In Key West at our leadership meeting, much discussion took place in and out of our sessions about how difficult it has been for us to deal with the parties during the process with the national E-Commerce Commission headed by Republican Virginia Governor James Gilmore. The question now is whether the Commission will go beyond sales tax issues and move into the area of our telecommunication legal financial arrangements we have at the city and county level.
When asked about taxing the Internet, Senator Bradley said, “not now.”
In Key West, Conference President Webb and our point person on telecommunications, Dearborn Mayor Michael A. Guido, discussed the concern about the telecommunication and e-commerce issues expressed by our leadership via phone to Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, a member of the Congressional E-Commerce Commission. Mayor Kirk has been on the inside working with our allies to do the best he can to persuade his fellow members from the government side and the industry side that the recommendations they take affect a precious source of resources that state, county and cities must rely on to provide basic services, roads, schools, etc. As Mayor Kirk says, when you need a fire truck, you don’t want a virtual fire truck, you want a big and bad red one out in front of your house with lots of firefighters and lots of hoses full of lots of water to put your fire out. And that is what this all about, basic taxes and basic services. You can’t have the latter without the former.
The question of how we provide basic services in a tax free e-commerce transition period is a challenging issue that is not going away. In Key West, Mayor Webb charged Dearborn Mayor Guido to work with Conference staff in developing a strategy and backup materials to ensure that every mayor is informed and equipped with the right kind of statistics that can be used to inform the local electorate on the importance of this issue.
Shootings – Wall of Death
As we go to press, the shootings and killings in America continue. In Mount Morris Township, Michigan, a six year old boy shoots a girl in school with a .32 caliber semiautomic gun. An enraged man in Wilkinsburg, PA., kills a maintenance worker who had just finished fixing the shooters broken apartment door and then walked into a Burger King to shoot a second man, then to a nearby McDonalds where he shot the manager in the face and fired on a fourth man through the drive-through window and then shot a fifth. Three more Americans are dead and two more are in critical condition.
It doesn’t stop.