|To The Mayor
From The Executive Director
March 19, 1999
CDBG-25th Year Celebration
San Francisco, May 25-26, is the site of the first United States Conference of Mayors political event celebrating the 25th Anniversary of CDBG - the HUD $4.750 billion Block Grant initiative that is a mainstay to many cities throughout America.
I met this past week with Mayor Willie Brown as we planned the San Francisco two-day celebration. We will begin with a reception in San Franciscos famous City Hall. This City Hall is unlike any City Hall in America. It resembles a state capitol with its marvelous dome but is more like a European palace. Millions were spent making the structure earthquake proof and the face lift and refurbishing makes the structure gleam.
Mayors will join us on the second day with a number of political notables. Mayor Brown, along with our President, Mayor Deedee Corradini, has invited Vice President Al Gore, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo, Former HUD Secretaries and President Gerald Ford, the 38th President of our nation. It was President Ford who signed the CDBG legislation after President Nixon had helped us pass the legislation. The new bill, creating the block grant initiative came to President Fords desk after the Watergate crisis drove President Nixon to resign in August 1974.
National and local CDBG awards will be given for exemplary local initiatives in cities and counties.
Letters inviting mayors to attend our event have been sent. Please contact Gene Lowe at (202) 861-6710 for further details. Plan to be with us as we discuss our history and what we have done - but even more important - we will show the promise of CDBG, what it is doing now, and in the future to make our cities and neighborhoods stronger and better places for people to live and work.
April 20. Local Parks Day in Washington
Mayors will be coming to Washington April 20th to join with the National Association of Counties in pushing the Congress and the Administration to support a more balanced approach from the federal government for local parks. The Presidents Budget provides a start but mayors and county officials believe that the most important park is the one in your own neighborhood or community.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund was established in 1965 and has provided over $3 billion in assistance to state and local governments since it became law. The Urban Parks and Recreation and Recovery Program has provided over $200 million in direct funds to cities. During the Reagan years these monies were given to reduce our budget deficit. Budget deficit reduction was not the reason we required these fees for offshore drilling. The original purpose for the use of the funds was to restore some environmental balance through improved parks and open space to offset the damage to our globe from offshore drilling.
Now that the budget deficit is gone and there is a surplus, we believe that some of the funds should be turned back to improve our parks throughout cities and counties in the nation.
Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe has been a champion for us on this issue. As Conference President, he spent a great deal of the time he served in promoting a return of the funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to improve local parks. The National Association of Counties and The U.S. Conference of Mayors have commissioned a national public opinion poll concerning citizens attitude and support for local parks and it will be released at the Senate Hearing on these programs and discussed at a major press event to be held on the Capital steps here in Washington April 20th.
Presidential Candidates/ New Orleans in June
Please follow through and send the letters supporting the invitation from Conference President Deedee Corradini, Vice President Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and Advisory Chair Boise Mayor Brent Coles to all the Presidential candidates to be in New Orleans for our 67th Annual Meeting. We are receiving calls from a number of candidates already but we need to keep the pressure on the candidates to get them in New Orleans to address the mayors. Thats where they belong. It is our chance to hear from each of them as to how they would partner with the mayors to further strengthen our cities and our nation.
Mayor Corradini will be meeting with me and my staff next week to firm up in more detail our plans for what will be a great political event in New Orleans for the nations mayors and other national leaders. Sign up now. If you have not registered, please contact Carol Edwards now at (202) 293-7330. We need you in New Orleans June 11-15. Its right around the corner and you need to be with us.