Our third national report of how the economic activity of the metropolitan areas of the USA are driving the national economy was released in Chicago this week. We are joined in these statistics with the National Association of Counties. The report reveals how powerful metro areas are in keeping the USA economy as number one in the world.
New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial was asked by our President, Mayor Wellington E. Webb of Denver, to be our primary spokesperson in Chicago. Mayor Richard M. Daley co-hosted the press conference along with Cook County President John Stoger, former President of The National Association of Counties. NACo President C. Vernon Gray helped carry the metro engine report forward.
In his remarks to the Chicago City Club, Mayor Morial challenged both national parties in the Presidential year to look at our metro areas in a different way than before. He referred to the Chicago/Cook County economic partnership as a "role model for the nation and the world." The New Orleans Mayor was very effective in pointing out that if you take the metro economic activity of New Orleans out of Louisiana, the state’s economic power in the nation would slide fast down the rankings. He also emphasized that if you take the economic activity of the USA metro economies out of the national economic activity, we would see our country reduced to a third world economic position on the world’s economic stage.
This city/county economic political message which illustrates our economic strength over states and nations will be very much a part of our strategy and discussion as we enter the dialogue with the Gore and Bush campaigns. Conference President Webb has said that the next Administration must look at us differently and recognize that we are indeed national and economic players. This new political status calls for city and county elected officials to be at the table when economic policies are being designed. Mayor Webb will introduce a resolution next month in Seattle at our 68th Annual Conference of Mayors calling on the Bush and Gore campaigns to commit now and promise, if elected, to have mayors and county leaders involved in the transition process after the November election so that the next Administration policy initiatives will have been developed by the elected public CEO’s who run our cities and counties in our metro areas.
Business leaders continue to identify with mayors and county officials as we move forward with the metro economic engine message. Through the Mayors Business Council and events like the luncheon in Chicago, which over 300 business people attended, we will continue to show that our locally elected leaders, city and county officials together, must be included more in national and state economic policy because politically they are not going away.
Charleston/Riley and His Aquarium
In Charleston this week, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley dedicated his new Aquarium. Even though it is for the citizens of South Carolina, those of us who know him all realize the Aquarium dedicated this week is a 17 year dream of his which he brought to reality. His speech was a soulful and stirring one; he ended it talking about the Aquarium as a gift of the people’s work and sacrifice, "Your precious gift each time, to each child, to each person, will lift their spirit and light their minds, will warm their hearts and touch their souls. And they will never be the same again." See page 23 for entire text of Riley dedicatory speech.
Morial/Jazzland Theme Park
In New Orleans this week another "cultural" and fun addition to the one and only city of New Orleans. The latest Morial addition is a 140-acre entertainment facility named – of course! – Jazzland. The multimillion dollar project is an example of the leadership of Mayor Morial who has led his city to diversify his entertainment assets.
In addition to Jazzland, on June 6, New Orleans will host a world class event when the first ever "D Day" World War II museum will open. Mayor Morial has worked closely with noted author Stephen Ambrose and other New Orleans leaders to make this happen. Congratulations Mayor Morial. New Orleans just keeps on giving us new and exciting surprises for the nation and world visitors to appreciate and enjoy.
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman/Film Commissioners and Mayors.
In Las Vegas last week, Mayor Oscar Goodman helped me kick off a two day meeting with City Film Commissioners. Mayor Wellington E. Webb is announcing a new Task Force, "Mayors and Film Commissioners" and Mayor Goodman has accepted the role as Chair of the group.
Film production on site brings millions in economic development to our cities. One challenge is the so called "runaway production" issue which involves film and TV production going to other countries for their on site shooting. Another issue is skill development for cities for persons needed to work in film production.
In Seattle next month we will continue this discussion and further develop strategies to help cities help other cities increase their capacity to attract desired film production to their cities.
Seattle 68th Annual Meeting
All systems are "go" for a great meeting next month in Seattle. As indicated earlier, Vice President Gore is speaking to us on Friday, June 9th at 2:00 p.m. As U.S. MAYOR goes to press we are still discussing the participation of Governor Bush in our Annual Meeting.
We look forward to seeing you in Seattle for a meaningful, productive and enjoyable 68th Annual Conference of Mayors.
Thank you for a personal note – Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. John Alexander Cochran. Mr. Cochran joined in the state of matrimony to Ms. Teresa Sininger on May 14th. The father of the groom and the best man (that’s me) are/is proud.