79th Annual Conference Preview
Mayors Continue Push for National Jobs Agenda
By By Ed Somers
June 13, 2011
As the nation’s mayors gather in Baltimore for their Annual Conference, the primary focus will be the ongoing need for a national agenda that helps create and save jobs – particularly in the private sector.
Under the leadership of Conference President Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth B. Kautz, mayors have been advocating for a domestic investment agenda that targets resources to programs proven to leverage private investment, and for a reduction in unfunded mandates that fail to account for local priorities.
While much of the debate in Washington now centers on the debt ceiling and deficit reduction, polls continue to confirm what Kautz and the Conference of Mayors leadership have been saying since the early days of the recession: promoting job creation must be the top priority for every level of government.
From community and economic development through CDBG, to encouraging energy independence through the Energy Block Grant, to smart transportation investment that leverages local investment and creates private'sector jobs, the Conference of Mayors has been pushing Washington to move more resources directly to cities – where funds can be spent quickly to create jobs and improve livability.
Incoming Conference President Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa – who will be inaugurated on Monday in Baltimore – has pledged to push the jobs agenda forward by elevating the roll of cities in the national dialogue.
- HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan (Friday morning)
- HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Friday lunch)
- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Friday lunch)
- Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (Saturday morning)
- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Saturday morning)
- Alaska Senator Mark Begich (Sunday morning)
- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue (Monday lunch)
- Kabul, Afghanistan Mayor Muhammad Younus Nowandish
- Istanbul Turkey Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Kadir Topbas
- And many more….
Orientation – Friday
Many new mayors and first-time attendees will be in Baltimore. There will be a special orientation breakfast on Friday morning at 8:00am that all first-time attendees are encouraged to attend.
Best Practices/Special Forums
In an era of reduced resources at all levels of government, cities are relying more on themselves - as well as on public-private partnerships – to reduce costs, improve services and promote sustainable development.
To help in this effort, the Baltimore meeting will feature a number of best practice sessions featuring mayors, national experts, and private'sector leaders:
- Building a smarter city through leadership and information (Friday afternoon)
- Healthy, vibrant cities in an aging America (Friday afternoon)
- Cloud computing (Saturday afternoon)
- Deploying natural gas to save money and improve air quality (Saturday afternoon)
Additional special forums or discussions include:
- Creating small business/franchise jobs in cities, moderated by President Kautz (Sunday morning)
- Education reform (Saturday morning)
- Innovative ideas for creating jobs for women (Friday morning)
The Host City has also arranged two informative workshops:
- Baltimore Food Policy Initiative: An Innovative Model for Translating Research to Public Policy (Monday afternoon)
- Raising the Bar on How We Teach: How Baltimore local, state and union leaders established a groundbreaking teacher’s contract that will transform City Schools (Monday afternoon)
The Annual Conference is the one time a year that the nation’s mayors gather to adopt policy resolutions.
The ten policy committees will meet on Friday and Saturday afternoon, and then the body will debate and adopt final policy on Monday morning during the business session.
All resolutions submitted for consideration have been posted to usmayors.org.
The Baltimore conference will also include the following task force meetings:
- Council for the New American City (Friday morning)
- Mayors Climate Protection Council (Friday morning)
- Mayors Water Council (Friday morning)
- Comprehensive Immigration Reform (Sunday morning)
- Community and Military Relations (Sunday morning)
- Census (Monday morning)
The Annual Conference will allow mayors to learn about award programs, many of which come with cash grants for cities. The award programs highlight innovative practices that can be replicated back home:
- City Livability
- Climate Protection ($40,000 in Awards)
- City Water Taste Test ($15,000 Award)
- Lead-Safe for Kids Sake ($375,000 in Awards)
- Childhood Obesity Prevention Grants ($445,000 in Awards)
- DollarWise Financial Education Innovation Grants ($40,000 in Awards)
- DollarWise Summer Youth Campaign Grants ($20,000 in Awards)
- Cans-for-Cash ($5,000 Awards)
Villaraigosa Inauguration – Sunday Night/Monday
There will be a special event at 10:00pm on Sunday night at the Baltimore Hilton Hotel to welcome the 69th President Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, and celebrate the leadership provided by the 68th President Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth B. Kautz.
Villaraigosa will present his agenda to the mayors during the Monday morning business/plenary session.
Baltimore Host City Events
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has developed a fantastic program of host city events for mayors, their families, and all meeting participants:
- Dinner and Music on Baltimore’s Historic Waterfront: The Frederick Douglas-Isaac Maritime Park
- Up for a Little Late Night Bocce and Dessert in Little Italy?
- A Star Spangled Night: Oh Say Can You See – It All Started Here! Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Special Performance: O’Malley’s March)
- Silo Point: Ever Envision Living in a Grain Elevator?
- Fit Family Workout with Celebrity Fitness Expert Monte Sanders (Morning at Hotel)
- Renaissance City: An Evening of ReVision – Celebrating a New Urban Living
- Baltimore’s Cuisine: Nationally Renowned, Locally Grown
- Wasn’t Hair Spray Filmed in Baltimore: Wild, Wacky, Wonderful Baltimore. The American Visionary Arts Museum
More information on these events, as well as spouse/children activities, can be found online at usmayors.org.