UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

June 19, 2009

OBAMA DISSES MAYORS

DMI Blog - American mayors, as Politico puts its, are "steamed" about the White House's decision to pull hundreds of administration officials out of last weekend's annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Ostensibly, the administration's decision resulted from a policy not to cross picket lines, in this case picket lines assembled at the Conference because of a 10-year-old union dispute between a Providence firefighters' union and Providence Mayor David Cicilline.

Unfortunately, the Conference of Mayors, an organization created during the New Deal to lobby for the interests of mayors and cities at the federal level, had planned the event around the attendance of administration officials: the four-day event was originally designed to focus on implementation of the stimulus package. An American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "resource center" was to hook mayors up with federal officials so that they could learn the technical details of applying for and implementing stimulus funds. After all, it's not every day that the mayor of, say, Hendersonville, Tennessee has the chance to get technical with a federal official.

But now the mayors are crying foul. Miami Mayor Manny Diaz scolded that the "administration is setting a very dangerous precedent" and Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi noted "a certain arrogance" in the administration's treatment of the mayors. . .

The USCM could certainly function as a formidable administration ally in promoting the successes of the stimulus, just as it promoted passage of the package by Congress. Thus, a "steamed" USCM - who up until this weekend was extraordinarily cozy with the administration - is probably not what the administration wants at this moment when the very merits of the stimulus are being questioned (and when 45% of Americans want to "cancel it", whatever that actually means). . .

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