Connecting state and local government leaders
Mayors are increasingly concerned with income, transportation and housing disparities affecting minority communities.
The fourth Big Ideas for Cities, starting Monday in San Diego, will focus on top-down inclusion in civic decisionmaking.
Hosted by the National League of Cities, the program will highlight innovations spearheaded by five member mayors from California: San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer in his keynote and Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas, Menlo Park Mayor Kim Keith and Mountain View Mayor Ken Rosenberg during a panel discussion for smaller, suburban municipalities.
Big Ideas for Cities gives these mayors the chance to tell their stories of how they created unique policies or programs, at a time when distrust in local law enforcement and government is high.
“As the economy is recovering from the most recent downturn, it’s not recovering in very equitable ways,” said Jess Zimbabwe, the NLC’s director of urban development and leadership. “Income disparities are getting worse, communities are separated by poor infrastructure and there’s a need for cohesive civic conversations, so we’re trying to find a way to facilitate those.”
Add to that picture huge affordable housing gaps in cities, and the role of local government in engaging new immigrants, minorities and women and ensuring their economic success is more important than ever.
As cities become more concerned with that work, the five cities being showcased share many of these challenges in addition to unique issues.
The event feeds into the subsequent 2017 NLC University Leadership Summit Oct. 3-5, which will also delve into how leaders can make their cities more inclusive in the form of workshops.
“I predict there will be more conversations on taking a more proactive role,” Zimbabwe said. “On making sure everyone is engaged in decisions cities are making.”
Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.