Month: March 2013

State of the Cities 2013: Strategically Balancing the Books

This is the sixth post in a seven-part series on trends and themes in local leadership. The National League of Cities’ 2012 City Fiscal Conditions report  projected a sixth year in a row of declining revenues for cities, and a 25 percent decline in ending balances (reserves) over the last four years. It’s clear that

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State of the Cities 2013: Infrastructure Connects the Dots

This is the fifth post in a seven-part series on trends and themes in local leadership. On February 4, 2013, Mayor Anthony Foxx left his constituency with a final message about the state of their city, Charlotte, N.C.. In a speech that was both reflective of the past and hopeful for the future, Mayor Foxx

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State of the Cities 2013: Investing in Education Today for a Better Tomorrow

This is the fourth post in a seven-part series on trends and themes in local leadership. In his 14th State of the City Address delivered at a local high school on Columbus, Ohio’s south side, Mayor Michael B. Coleman stood before fellow city leaders, school district officials, nonprofit and business leaders and residents, passionately calling

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State of the Cities 2013: Expanding the Reach of Public Safety

This is the third post in a seven-part series on trends and themes in local leadership. Atlanta, Ga. Mayor Kasim Reed announced in his State of the City Address that the Atlanta Police Department recruited more than 700 new police officers last year, and now has a force more than 1,940 strong, making it the

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State of the Cities 2013: As the Economy Goes, So Goes the City

This is the second post in a seven-part series on trends and themes in local leadership. Every year, economic development accomplishments and future goals feature prominently in mayors’ State of the City Addresses. It’s easy to understand why; as the economy goes, so goes the city. Constituents want to know that their mayor is doing

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Building for the Future in an Uncertain Present: State of the Cities 2013

“Synergy is when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When applied to finding new solutions to the challenges we face in building a community, this requires an inclusive process that seeks input and ideas from many people. In doing so, we can generate new and better ways of doing business.” On

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General Dempsey: Trust Runs From the Battlefield into Cities

During his presentation at the Congressional City Conference last week, the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey, walked nearly 1,200 attendees through multiple aspects of a photo (below) showing two soldiers from Afghanistan. The General underscored the importance of veterans in communities and the need for local leaders to ensure

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“My job is to make sure people are safe.”

When was the last time you saw public officials representing Americans of all backgrounds having a reasonable discussion on how to prevent gun violence? For the mayors addressing a standing-room only crowd of municipal officials visiting Washington, D.C., for NLC’s Congressional City Conference this morning, the impact of gun-related deaths and injuries is personal, immediate, and demanding of a pragmatic and sensible response.

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Local Food Systems Strongest with Local Leadership

The 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga River  has gone down in history for causing a nationwide outcry that compelled the federal government to clean up and ensure the safety of our waterways. This, amongst other efforts, resulted in the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the creation of the Federal Government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Through rulemaking

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Losing a Youth Development Icon

I know that some municipal officials devote their entire lives to public service.  In Boston, Tom Menino has served as mayor for nearly 20 years, and spent almost a decade before that as a member of the City Council.  Richard Daley dominated Chicago’s City Hall and political life for a generation, as his father had

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