No Comment on Guns, Infrastructure Task Force, an Urban Primary

Survey of Presidential Candidates’ Positions on Illegal Guns Ignored

A campaign by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition to get presidential candidates to focus on the issue was totally ignored. The coalition, which is made up of 270 mayors and was co-founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, had distributed a survey to all the candidates in both major parties, asking where they stood on such issues as access to gun data, the toughening of penalties for illegal firearm activities and the prohibition of assault weapons. None of the candidates filled it out. John Edwards asked for an extension, although he never followed up. And Ron Paul responded with a statement on the Second Amendment, but did not fill the questionnaire out.

Coalition Formed to Advocate for Nation’s Infrastructure

On Friday, a bi-partisan coalition announced the creation of a task force called “Building America’s Future” to advance federal support for “a renewed federal commitment to funding America’s infrastructure needs with state partners.” The coalition was formed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell. Its first efforts will be to “work with presidential candidates and the platform committees of the national political parties to ensure that the next president understands the enormity of the infrastructure crisis and is committed to increasing federal funding.” After the elections, the task force will become a think-tank.

Throwback: CityVote, the Urban Primary

In 1995, a dozen cities across the country got together to host non-binding presidential preference primaries on the same day, collectively called CityVote. The idea was to get candidates to campaign in cities, and create a showing of what urban voters want from a candidate. The event was coupled with a series of televised debates. “It will give the candidates an opportunity to re-focus and to address issues that are important to cities, big and small,” Larry Agran, who headed the project, told the New York Times. “There will be winners and losers, and there will be press coverage.”

Editorials Call for Discussion on Cities in Election

A number of editorialists have been banging at their keyboards, hoping the reverberations around the Web will result in attention to the plight of cities in this year’s election.

“The country has not had a serious and sustained urban policy for 40 years,” the Detroit Free Press editorial board said this weekend. They called on the presidential candidates for a “comprehensive revival program” for the nation’s ailing cities. On the eve of Michigan’s primary vote earlier this month, the paper decried the state’s relegation to a triviality by the major parties. (The Democratic National Committee has stripped the state of its primary vote and the Republican National Committee watered it down by half over a scheduling dispute for the primaries.) The Kalamazoo Gazette also wanted to hear how the candidates would revitalize decaying urban areas. “The presidential candidates could start telling us what they’d do to turn Midwestern cities into thriving metropolises again,” the paper suggested.


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Insight News, a magazine for black consumers, signaled out Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards for the efforts in addressing the plight of African Americans, but chastised the rest for their lack of attention. However, a platform is being created, the magazine notes, by a coalition of black leaders called The National Policy Alliance. The group hosted a summit last week to create policy recommendations for the next president and federal officials. Errol Louis, a columnist for the New York Daily News says, “It’s a Big Mistake to Forget Cities.” He laments the lack of attention to urban issues by the candidates, but puts some of the blame on journalists “for walking the candidates through the same dreary paces in every debate and town hall meeting.” But he signals out Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for not even including the subject on their Web sites, a comment his readers quickly took him to task for. Edward Glaeser, a columnist for the Boston Globe, took a more nuanced approach. While he called out the GOP candidates for not addressing urban issues, he took a look at the Democratic front-runners’ plans for cities and found something to like (and criticize) in all. But he concludes that even the Democrats’ have only “barely sketched urban policies,” and calls on voters to demand more.

Tags: infrastructuredetroit2008 presidential election