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.
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.
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.