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Gun Safety Day - Washington, D.C. September 9 - Webb Sends the Call

Washington, DC
August 9, 1999

The shootings continue in the workplace and in our schools. As US Mayor goes to press, the trauma and pain of the victims in Atlanta remain. The nation applauds Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell for his professional and sensitive leadership during the summer of killings in his city. And in the middle of this week, another city is hit. This time it is a Los Angeles Jewish community center full of our most precious, our little children, so beautiful and so innocent. And when it happens, no matter when it happens, the mayor comes forward to inform, to calm, and to wipe away the tears with his or her words. This time it's Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. In the near future probably -- it could be and it will be one of you.

Our President, Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb is as fed up as all of you - and he's doing something about it. Mayor Webb is asking for your help. He has proclaimed September 9, Thursday, to be a National Gun Safety Day for the nation's mayors and he wants you to come to Washington and he wants you to bring your police chief with you in uniform. Our goal is to push Congress for the instachek at gun shows and other gun safety measures now before Congress.

President Clinton has agreed to meet with us at The White House on the morning of September 9th and we will go to Capitol Hill for a rally/event there with our supporters in Congress. We are specifically asking for a meeting with the Speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert and top House leadership officials. We also will meet with the Senate leadership.

Our adopted Conference policy on gun safety - keeping guns away from children, the mentally ill and criminals is very strong. In New Orleans, you gave us a clear message on gun safety through your resolutions and Mayor Webb is taking it seriously. The mayors and the police chiefs throughout our history have come forth to quell the violence and talk common sense to the American people. President Clinton has been a bold leader against the gun violence occurring in our homes, our workplaces, and our places where our most precious children gather to learn and play. These are our places because these are in our cities - both large and small - in rural America, suburban America and urban America. This is a national problem, a national disgrace and a national shame.

We need you in Washington September 9. We need your police chief with you. Mayor Webb needs your help. Please come on September 9th. Lets continue to do everything we can to stop the killing. Schools are about to open across our nation and Congress will be coming back in September to tell Washington what is happening in our homes, on our streets, in our workplaces and in our schools throughout our nation. They will be talking about tax cuts and God knows what. We need you to tell the story of what's happening in our country. It's not a happy story - but it's the truth. Today when we see the mayor and the police chief appear on the CNN screen, we know it's not going to be a pretty story. It's one of pain, sadness and tragedy. It shouldn't be happening in our country now. We are economically on top of the world. Mayor Webb recognizes what each of you and your chief can do as we bring the common sense message of gun safety to the nation's Capital. We need you with us September 9th. Notices have been sent. Our lead staff person is Ed Somers. If you have any questions, please call Ed (202) 861-6706 or me (202) 293-2354.

Denver Meeting To Focus On Campaign 2000

As we approach the 2000 Presidential and Congressional campaign, Conference President Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb

is appealing to other organizations to join us in a unified stand. In New Orleans at our Annual Meeting two months ago, Mayor Webb asked for your support in developing a bipartisan political document, reflecting your views, to be presented to Presidential and Congressional candidates. During the past two months since New Orleans, Mayor Webb has taken his call for a new alliance to the National Association of Counties in St. Louis, the Democratic Leadership Council in Baltimore, the Rainbow Coalition in Chicago and the National Urban League in Houston. As I reported earlier, he also spoke publicly to his citizenry about his call for a unified alliance in Campaign 2000 when he gave his inaugural address in Denver last month.

Since New Orleans, Conference Staff and I have provided our written comments for the proposed bipartisan document to Mayor Webb's staff in Denver. We based our suggestions on policy adopted by the nation's mayors over the past five years. This period reflects a dramatic change in our political culture, a period when the image of tin cup begging mayors changed to a more bravado one, that of CEO type officials stating to the nation and the world that USA mayors are responsible for metro economic engines that drive the USA economy to be number one in the world.

In New Orleans, Mayor Webb announced that his plan calls for us to center on three areas as we go forward: smart growth, competitive cities and working class families. He also said we must build on four "cornerstone" areas where we have done so much but must do more: public schools, public safety, liveable cities -- especially parks and open space, and economic development and justice for all.

The document is being written and it will soon be sent to our leadership who will come to Denver in September and work with us in further shaping this policy statement. The challenge, of course, is to make certain that the average voter can understand what we put into the document. As Mayor Webb told us when we met with senior staff at our headquarters last month in Washington, "We must put a face on each of our issues." I believe the best persons to breathe political live into the document are mayors. That is why we must have full leadership participation in Denver, September 23-25. We need you there... so call Carol Edwards at (202) 293-7330 and join us. Your personal attention and contribution to this effort at this time will be appreciated.

To bring the business community to the table, I have met with a working group of The Mayors Business Council over the past few weeks and we have agreed to devote a large part of the Denver Business Summit engaging the corporate officials to help us draft the document to be presented to the mayors the following day. Babette Penton, Vice President, Marketing at Lockheed, former Director of Corporate Relations for the Conference of Mayors, came to the meeting on July 29, 1999 and presented her vision and plan. It was unanimously accepted. The Mayors Business Council representatives will not only help us in drafting the policy; they will also spend time in helping us in developing an implementation strategy. Conference President Webb welcomes this new infusion of thought into our political message because he knows, as all mayors know, that the business community gives us political strength as we move forward.

Following our Thursday, September 23rd sessions with the business representatives, mayors will meet alone all day Friday in give and take sessions. We want the mayors to give us their undivided attention during these sessions. As mentioned above, we must put faces on the challenges and issues we confront and our statements on any given subject of concern to cities must be understood by the average person.

On Saturday, the last day of The Leadership Meeting, we will work on strategies to implement the plan. Some mayors are eagerly asking - once the document is adopted - what do we do? To answer this question, Conference staff is preparing a calendar of political events. We trust this roadmap for the year 2000 will be helpful for the implementation and strategy sessions.

Again, we need your help. Please - be with us in Denver September 23, 24, and 25.

Haron Nicholas Battle. 1948-1999

On July 24, a number of us paid our respects in Gary, Indiana to a most capable and dedicated public servant, Mr. Haron Nicholas Battle. Haron was a key staff person on housing policy for the nation's cities and counties. While he was at the National Association of Counties, he belonged to all of us. Haron was brilliant. He excelled at Oberlin College, at the Yale Divinity School in New Haven and Northwestern Law School in Chicago. Religion, justice, the law, and politics were all a part of him. His appreciation for the arts, for beauty in all things and his sense of humor is a gift he gave in part to me and his spirit will be with me always.


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