In Florence, Italy this week we join with the City of Florence bringing together 12 Italian mayors and 12 USA mayors to continue our CITIES/2000 initiative which involves sharing best practices of cities in our given area. In Florence we chose the arts and here in Italy we are discovering there are vast differences in the tax laws of our two nations concerning donations and contributions to the arts. We are also aware here of how the national government takes a much stronger role in preserving, promoting and protecting the arts. This is a learning process for mayors on both sides. In the 80s, I recall, we were in Japan involving USA and Japanese mayors and learning from one another about waste management.
In the 90s, as we head toward the jubilee of 2000, we are witnessing and experiencing huge increases of American citizens visiting American museums. Surveys show today that a higher percentage of Americans are visiting museums in our cities than ever before. Our museum attendance, on a percentage basis, is higher than overall European museum attendance. We must seize this opportunity and continue to do our part to help our mayors serve our people by providing citizens with those amenities, such as the arts, that are competitive assets which give our citizens a higher quality of life and better places to live.
In the last U.S. MAYOR, I wrote on the “best practices” aspect of mayors and how they are relating to arts in their cities. In my column I cited the ongoing controversy surrounding New York Mayor Giuliani and the Brooklyn Museum of Art exhibit as well as examples of other cities in promoting the arts. Some members of the press have interpreted my column as my labeling Mayor Giuliani as a mean man. That is simply not true. I never wrote that Mayor Giuliani is a mean man: I wrote that he “comes across as” one in news reports when he threatens to withdraw funds from the Brooklyn Museum unless it alters an art exhibit. In my 30 years I have often written about how the press portrays a situation with a mayor of a city, and how the mayor comes across to the public in general, as well as how the local press and media react to a mayor’s actions. How a mayor’s actions comes across, and how the press plays the mayor’s actions are all a big part of our “best practices” method in which mayors share and teach one another within The United States Conference of Mayors. My writing about the opinion of others, what they write and present about Mayor Giuliani’s view of art in New York City is appropriate. My writing to mayors telling them that Mayor Giuliani is mean is inappropriate. I did not do that.
Webb Announces New Metro Stats
On November 3rd, Conference President Wellington E. Webb will announce, along with the leaders of the National Association of Counties, our second report on the strength of our metro economies in the nation and the world. This announcement is part of Mayor Webb’s agenda, as our President, to engage policy makers and the American business community to recognize the role of mayors and urban county leaders as they contribute to our national economy.
Some mayors are using our metro statistics to reach out to their own business and academic community. When leaders of Buffalo, New York see that their economy exceeds Hawaii and New Haven’s exceeds Nevada, there is a better appreciation for what Buffalo and New Haven do for their states and our nation.
The metro economies today have the economic engines that drive our USA economy to number one in the world. We will continue to hammer that story until Washington, State Houses and the business community recognize that we are political players in the national and international arena.
Mayor Bost’s House Hit by GunfireAll of us are relieved to learn that Irvington Mayor Sara Bost and her husband Fred are unhurt after their home was sprayed with .45 caliber bullets from an automatic weapon at 2:00 A.M. on Thursday October 15. Mayor Bost is an active member of the Conference of Mayors’ Advisory Board and her husband Fred often comes with her to our meetings. Mayor Bost has also been outspoken against the violence in Irvington and our nation. She says the incident will not deter her, “Its not going to stop me. I’m not going to be chased out of Irvington. I want to make that clear.” Again, we’re just happy that Mayor Bost was not hurt and I know that all mayors will reach out to her as she continues to rid Irvington of the violence that literally came home to her last Thursday morning. Her phone number is (973) 399-6640 and her address is - Civic Square, Irvington, NJ 07111.