Mayors take out the pitchforks
William Alden of Huffington Post writes about a “testy” encounter between mayors and federal officials. The federal dollars for municipalities from the American Recovery Act have basically ended and revenues for state and local governments remain weak. We should expect to see more of this.
The federal officials on stage were speaking in broad, theoretical terms. But the mayors wouldn’t stand for that. They knew what needed to get done, they said. What they wanted from Washington was the dollars to do it.
“We should not be expecting or depending on top-down permission from the White House or Washington to have us advocate for this stuff,” said R. T. Rybak, mayor of Minneapolis, who stood up and addressed the other mayors. Earlier, [Philadelphia] Mayor [William] Nutter had complained about the seeming hypocrisy of federal lawmakers who go to ribbon-cuttings and ground-breakings, even if they never supported the legislation for those projects. Rybak heartily commiserated.
“I’ve seen those guys at the ribbon cuttings. And it pisses me off,” he said. “But I go out and organize at election time and tell people exactly who delivered and who did not.”
Douglas, of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said federal officials are doing what they can to help. But political gridlock can muck up the process.