A Renaissance for Cities? MayorTV Hits Miami for U.S. Conference of Mayors Meeting
The U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting kicked off in Miami today with workshops on digital literacy, women mayors, and, yes, catastrophic storm recovery tools to replace downed trees. The Conference sets the mayors’ collective policy agenda and is an effort both to attract national attention to urban issues and to encourage federal policymakers to develop a national urban agenda. This year, the mayors have tackled some difficult issues in resolutions to be voted on first in standing committees and then in the plenary sessions that set Conference policy. Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles has proposed a resolution calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to limit severely its workplace enforcement raids, while Mayor David Coss of Santa Fe (whom MayorTV will interview tomorrow) gets even tougher in his resolution, calling for ICE to cease and desist all raids that are not related to national security. Other resolutions deal with federal energy tax credits, a national cap-and-trade system, and national health care. You can find all of the resolutions here.
The mayors – from cities as varied as Anchorage, Alaska and Pocatello, Idaho – were also treated to, as the mayors’ itinerary states, “the result of one man’s dream of bringing the Italian Renaissance to Miami.” This, of course, refers to Vizcaya, a villa-turned museum built by James Deering in the early twentieth century. A police caravan escorted the 207 mayors through, as one mayor put it, the “roller coaster” highways that wind throughout tropical Miami. (Miami ranked 30th in a recent Brookings analysis of the carbon footprint of metropolitan areas.)
As we rode to Vizcaya, the mayors spoke about the Miami skyline. One quickly critiqued its tall buildings as too homogenous. Another defended the city: “Everything’s glass. That’s just the style here.”
Tomorrow, Senator Obama will address the group, giving the keynote at a luncheon awarding the “Twenty-ninth Annual City Livability Awards.” Senator McCain will be in Canada, but Florida Governor (and potential McCain running mate) Charlie Crist will serve as his surrogate.
Also tomorrow, Republican Mayors and Local Officials, a Republican caucus within the Mayors Conference that is headed by Mayor Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City, will meet alongside the National Conference of Democratic Mayors, led by Mayor David Cicilline of Providence. MayorTV is scheduled to interview both mayors before the end of the Conference.
Check back for updates to see if Senator Obama calls for a national urban agenda.