Mayor John Lazar attends the Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors as his predecessor, Curt Andre, did also. Over 250 Mayors attended this annual event. This year the event was surrounded by the historic Presidential Inauguration celebrations.
Here is Mayor Lazar’s report that he has sent to the City of Turlock Interim Manager Gary Hampton.
Mayor John Lazar:
As a result of my recent attendance at the 77th Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, I have prepared the following report regarding the items of discussion.
I feel my participation in this conference is beneficial to our entire City and to me, personally, as I perform my duties as Mayor. It is my hope our City staff will continue to utilize the USCM as a resource and take advantages of the many opportunities it provides.
– Economic Stimulus Funding for Infrastructure: The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) continues to press its case in Congress and with President Obama for rapid and direct economic stimulus funding of infrastructure projects in cities using existing federal formula programs. If approvied, those that are shovel ready will get consideration. I was pleased that our staff submitted Turlock’s list of proposed projects, including infrastructure needs for the new public safety facility. I also forwarded a copy of our request to our federal representatives. It is USCM’s belief that we can get “buy in” from the administration to bypass the state and bring federal dollars directly to local government. I was impressed that the President sent his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, and other senior advisors to address the mayors. The most encouraging news was from the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, James Oberstar. He is committed to creating local jobs through infrastructure projects. I want to commend staff for working with me in forwarding the projects list which has put Turlock in play for these federal dollars.
– U.S. Metro Economics: An overview of the current economic climate was presented and what can be gleaned from the presentation is the new administration wants to be aggressive in addressing financial markets, particularly at the local level. A discussion of recovery and reinvestment plans possibly could be achieved by jump-starting the economy and setting the stage for strong future economic expansion through targeting metro areas of the country, including Central Valley cities. The Chair of the Ways and Means Committee has introduced a bill in Congress that will encourage bank investment in municipalities through tax credits to stimulate more funds for local municipality capital projects. Recognizing that the financial system meltdown of last fall is unresolved, the new administration is poised to propose unprecedented initiatives to shore up the economy.
– Pickens Plan: We heard from T. Boone Pickens and his call to rebuild America by investing in transportation and environmental infrastructure. His call was to wean America off foreign oil and develop new energy sources (primarily wind, solar and natural gas), and expand and modernize the national electrical grid to transport renewable energy to homes and businesses. One of his goals, which sounded achievable, was to get all large transportation vehicles converted to natural gas usage (which we have an abundance of in the U.S.).
– Expanding Broadband in Cities and Communities: I don’t know if Turlock could benefit from this with our recent agreement with ATT, but this was discussed as a potential economic stimulus for local government, particularly, partnering with a company such as Benton Foundation (Attachment 1) wherein the city is compensated for expansion of broadband in the community.
– 2016 Chicago Olympics and Olympic Day in Each Community: Mayor Daley wants to send Olympic athletes to our community in May to call attention to their quest to get the Olympics to Chicago in 7 years. I think it would be very positive for our community to be involved in this. We need to go online and register if we intend to pursue this project.
– USCM City Livability Award Application: I’d like to see if our City can submit an application and obtain a grant. (See Attachment 2.)
– Playful City USA: It may be something to work toward, but I believe our City can attain this distinction. (See Attachment 3 – Five commitments laid out in the program.)
– Strategies to Address Gang Crime: You may already have these publications, but I visited and brought back some information from the U.S. Justice Department. (See Attachment 4.)
– Mayor’s Healthy Cities Campaign: This may be something to participate in with little or no effort. We could work through our Parks and Recreation Commission to promote the benefits of regular exercise and healthy eating, particularly among lower income individuals and racial/ethnic minorities. (See Attachment 5.)