Press Release

December 3, 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

Webb Builds Support for "Agenda for America’s Cities"
at Gathering of 5,000 Local Elected Officials

Denver Mayor/USCM President receives enthusiastic support at
Congress of Cities for "new partnership" between federal government and cities

Los Angeles– Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb, who serves as the President of the United States Conference of Mayors, stood before thousands of local elected officials gathered in Los Angeles for the National League of Cities, to issue a challenge to the 2000 presidential candidates. The challenge: to embrace a sweeping 10 point urban agenda designed to "transform the relationship between the federal government and local municipalities throughout the country."

"If states have been given authority [by the federal government] for the Child Health Insurance Program to provide health care for kids who can’t afford coverage but aren’t eligible for Medicaid, but they just let that money sit in state coffers while millions of kids go without, I say give it to the cities—we can provide the care our kids need."

"If states want to let TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] money pile up, while we could use it to support the working poor in our cities, I say send the money to us—the people who need it are in our cities."

In his remarks Mayor Webb scolded Congress and the states for designing and implementing policies that inhibit metropolitan growth and fail to meet local needs.

"I like to use a military metaphor" in describing the relationship between Congress, states and cities, Webb told the crowd. "The states are like the navy, only worrying about protecting their borders, making sure nobody infringes on them. The Congress is like the Air Force, dropping bombs on our cities without understanding how they affect those who they hit—bombs like unfunded mandates," Webb quipped.

"We local elected officials are the infantry—the foot soldiers. You are the ones that defend your cities and towns to assure their safety. You are the ones that when tragedy or unrest occur, the people turn to. You’re where the rubber hits the road," Webb told the audience.

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.

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 and local elected officials that are the CEOs of their cities – they are the ones promoting economic development, building arenas, enticing businesses and creating jobs."

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.

For a copy of the Mayor’s 10 point agenda, go to: or