Press Release

November 29, 1999

Andrew Hudson
, Spokesman for Mayor Webb
(303) 640-2722
(303) 640-0780 Pager

Jubi Headley, Public Affairs
(202) 861-6766
(202) 744-9337 cell

Mayor Webb Challenges Presidential Candidates To Embrace Urban Agenda

Denver Mayor/USCM President Says New President Should Create Domestic Policy Czar to Address Challenges, Opportunities of Local Government


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb, who serves as the President of the United States Conference of Mayors, today issued a challenge to the presidential candidates to embrace a sweeping 10 point urban agenda designed to "transform the relationship between the federal government and local municipalities throughout the country." Mayor Webb delivered his comments as the invited speaker of the National Press Club’s Newsmaker Luncheon speaker series.

The Mayor’s 10 point agenda ranged from job training, education, affordable housing and healthcare to smart growth, safety, arts, culture and economic development. He also called for a new federal "domestic policy Czar" to help restructure the relationship between the federal government and local government.

"There is a strong belief, shared by mayors and local government officials throughout the country, that the basic relationship between cities and the federal government has not substantially changed or matured over the past several decades," Mayor Webb said. "This, despite the fact that the management of American cities and the capabilities of local government have undergone a massive transformation over the past twenty years."

"The perception of mayors and cities is far more positive than it was a generation ago, even a decade ago. Back then, our urban areas were seen as dysfunctional communities plagued by crime, high taxes, and bloated bureaucracies.

"Now things are very different. Mayors are being praised as the "New Reformers". Our focus on sound governance and quality of life issues has generated national and international recognition. The new conventional wisdom is that we're efficient, close to the people, result-oriented, pragmatic problem solvers.

"Cities are, once again, being seen as a place to live, work and shop, as centers of commerce and culture and sports and entertainment.

In his remarks, Mayor Webb scolded Congress for failing to pass reasonable gun legislation during their session that ended last week.

"Failure to pass reasonable federal gun control legislation during the recent congressional session was a major disappointment and one of several contrasts between the beltway crowd and the average American," Mayor Webb said, pointing to surveys that indicate the American public supports gun control legislation.

"The federal government has an important role to play. Because we can do in Denver all the things that we've done, but we need the federal government's assistance to prevent the flow of weapons coming from other jurisdictions.

"If the proposal for expanding background checks is to achieve its objective, it has to apply to all sales, including transactions on the Internet and through classified ads.

"If the current ban on assault weapons is to be effective, it needs to be extended and broadened to include assault weapons already in circulation, like the criminal's weapon of choice, the TEC-9 that was used in Columbine.

Mayor Webb also reminded the Presidential candidates that the American economy is not being driven by the federal government or the 50 states for that matter – but by local economies. He pointed to a recent study completed by Standard and Poors for the USCM and the National Association of Counties that found that 317 "metropolitan economic engines" are comprised of core cities, neighboring suburbs, surrounding counties and the businesses within them which account for approximately four out of every five Americans.

"Metro economies quite often exceed entire state economies," Webb said. "And it is the mayors that are the CEOs of their cities – they are the ones promoting economic development, building arenas, enticing businesses and creating jobs."

"The challenges cities face at the turn of the century requires that the fundamental relationship between the federal government and our cities must be restructured. Restructured in a manner that produces a true partnership…that will allow for federal resources and expertise to be creatively packaged at the community level…by city officials and delivered to Americans with maximum efficiencies…maximum benefits…and maximum impacts."

The U. S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,100 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor.

Mayor Webb’s 10 point agenda is attached to this press release.

For a copy of the Mayor’s National Press Club Speech, go to: or


For a copy of the transcript of Mayor Webb's appearance at the National Press Club Speech, go to: