Mayors Bring New Agenda for America's Cities to Washington, DC for 68th Winter Meeting

President Clinton, Hill Leaders, Cabinet, Drugs/Meth Session, President of Colombia, Public/Private Partnerships Headline Agenda

By Ed Somers

In the first national meeting of local-elected officials in the new millennium, and as the first state primaries and caucuses are held, Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb will lead over 250 mayors to Washington, DC on January 25-28 for the 68th Winter Meeting of The U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The mayors will discuss policy priorities with top administration, congressional, international and business leaders over the course of the meeting in plenary sessions and committee and task force meetings, including a meeting with President Clinton in the White House on Friday, January 28.

To download a copy of the complete agenda, please go to /68thWinterMeeting.

Tuesday, January 25: Reception

A reception will be held at the Capital Hilton Hotel from 6:00 to 7:30pm for mayors and other registered participants in the 68th Winter Meeting.

Wednesday, January 26: Task Forces, Drug/Meth Session, President Pastrana, Committee Meetings

Task force meetings on Wednesday morning include Electronic Commerce and Internet Technology, Electric Utility Deregulation, Fair Housing/Group Homes, and a Joint Meeting of the Brownfields and Mayors and Bankers Task Forces.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors will then host a national conference on the "Drug Crisis in Cities and Rural Communities." The major focus of the meeting will be on the methamphetamine crisis. Boise Mayor H. Brent Coles, Vice President of the Conference and Co-Chair of the Drug Control Task Force, has championed the need for this special conference to focus on the rapidly emerging issue of meth in America, discuss the unique needs of smaller and mid-sized communities to deal with the crisis, and develop prevention, treatment and interdiction strategies for meth which can then be applied to cities of all sizes as the methamphetamine crisis spreads across the nation.

The Conference of Mayors and Joseph A. Califano, Jr., President of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), will release a national report commissioned by the Conference on drug addiction in mid-sized cities and rural communities, with a particular focus on meth, during the meeting.

Attorney General Janet Reno, Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Barry McCaffrey, Nelba Chavez, Administrator of the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Donnie Marshall, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration will participate in the meeting.

In addition, His Excellency Andrés Pastrana Arango, President of the Republic of Colombia, will address the luncheon on Wednesday. President Pastrana, the former mayor of Bogotá, will discuss the importance of increased cooperation and collaboration between the United States and Colombia in addressing illegal drug production, consumption and trafficking, and the scourge this trade presents to both societies.

Following the drug meeting, the Standing Committees on Jobs, Education and the Workforce, Criminal and Social Justice, Membership and Urban Economic Policy will meet from 2:00 to 3:30pm. From 3:30 to 5:00pm, the Energy and Environment, Health and Human Services and Community Development and Housing Committees will meet. A list of important speakers and agenda items to be covered are listed on the draft agenda.

Both the Republican Mayors and Local Officials and National Conference of Democratic Mayors will meet late on Wednesday afternoon.

Following a general reception co-hosted by the Conference of Mayors and District of Columbia Mayor Anthony A. Williams, the Advisory Board Dinner will be held, hosted by Advisory Board Chair Mayor Marc H. Morial of New Orleans.

Thursday, January 27: "A New Agenda for America's Cities" to be Released

Mayor Webb will unveil the final version of the Conference's "New Agenda for America's Cities" during the opening plenary session, a 10-point plan which calls on the next President to address issues such as public safety, refocusing government, building affordable housing, investing in kids and schools, promoting arts, culture and sports, recycling land and preserving open spaces, investing tax cuts in challenged neighborhoods and working families, workforce training, modernizing infrastructure, and increasing access to affordable healthcare. The New Agenda will serve as the Conference's guide through the presidential elections of 2000.

Thursday, January 27: Technology Session, Shuster, Herman, Babbitt, Barshefsky, Committees, Women Mayors

Wednesday will begin with an important plenary breakfast for all mayors and private-sector members of the Mayors Business Council to continue discussions regarding the topics of technology and e-commerce. The discussion will feature Mayors Anthony A. Williams of the District of Columbia, Jerry Brown of Oakland and Ron Kirk of Dallas, as well as Mr. David Gragan from the Oracle Corporation. There will also be an announcement by Akron Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic

The opening plenary will feature Rep. Bud Shuster (PA) and Labor Secretary Alexis Herman. National Association of Counties President C. Vernon Gray of Howard County (MD) will bring greetings, and the mayors will hear from the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The Conference will also release the third-annual Best Practices compilation covering issues such as urban park and land preservation, art programs for youth at risk, skill shortage needs, breast cancer awareness, promoting tolerance and respect for diversity, and reducing homelessness.

The Conference will honor successful public/private partnerships between mayors and corporate leaders during the luncheon on Thursday.

The mayors will also expect to hear from House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (IL), and will hear from Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and U.S. Trade Representative Charlene B. Barshefsky.

In addition, Seattle Mayor Paul Schell will preview the 68th Annual Conference of Mayors to be held this summer in his city, and there will be greetings from Duane Meek, President of Nationwide Retirement Solutions.

Following the luncheon, the Standing Committees on International Affairs, Arts, Culture and Recreation, and Transportation and Communications will meet. In addition, the Executive Committee of the Conference will meet in the afternoon, as well as the Women Mayors.

Thursday, January 27: Gun Safety, School Violence, Affirmative Action, Regionalism and Smart Growth

Mayor Webb has decided to hold four major concurrent sessions on Thursday, January 27 on the topics of gun safety, preventing school violence, challenges to cities' affirmative action programs, and regionalism and smart growth. The concurrent sessions will be held from 10:30 to 12:00 noon, between the opening plenary and the luncheon session.

The Conference will also release an updated survey on gun deaths in cities since the tragic shootings at Columbine High School, which will be visually displayed on a massive wall listing the names and dates of victims.

Thursday, January 27: Arts Gala, Harry Belafonte, State of the Union Viewing

The third-annual Mayors Arts Gala, honoring leaders and legends in the arts, will be held on Thursday evening. This is a black-tie event sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Americans for the Arts. All registered mayors and one guest each will be invited to the gala, and sponsorship and ticket purchase opportunities are available for others interested in attending (see page ... for more information).

This year's "Legend Award" is being presented to Mr. Harry Belafonte, who will be attending the gala.

The other award recipients include: Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr., Local Leadership Award; Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, State Leadership Award; Utah Senator Robert Bennett, Senate Leadership Award; Connecticut Congresswoman Nancy Johnson, House of Representatives Leadership Award; and John Brademas, Ph.D., Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition, viewing facilities will be available at the site of the Gala for the mayors and other participants to watch the State of the Union Address.

Friday, January 28: President Clinton, Gephardt, Cuomo, Browner

President Clinton has once again invited the mayors to the White House for a meeting on Friday morning, January 28. President Clinton will deliver his State of the Union Address on Thursday evening, and the mayors will be the first group to meet with the President following this important national event. Prior to the morning meeting, there will be a breakfast in the White House with members of the Cabinet in attendance. Only pre-registered mayors will be invited by the White House to attend this important meeting.

Following the meeting with the President, House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (MO), HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo and EPA Administrator Carol Browner will speak before the meeting during the closing luncheon.

Also on the agenda for the closing luncheon are greetings from National League of Cities President Bob Knight of Wichita.

In addition, the Conference will announce the winners of the Arts Award for Programs Reaching Youth at Risk, and announce a new petition drive to end hunger.

Conference President Wellington E. Webb

President Bill Clinton

Conference Vice President
H. Brent Coles

Speaker of the House
J. Dennis Hastert

Colombia President
Andrés Pastrana

U.S. Representative
Bud Shuster

Harry Belafonte