Quality of Leadership

Fernando Mendez | 7/7/2017, 8:41 a.m.
Quality of Leadership

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says that mayors are not ideological and have to act in real time responding to the needs of people. Maybe the mayor is thinking of himself, because we know that the ideological divide has hit big cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland to name a few. We are politically divided. Somehow the Democrats have ruled Philadelphia for over 60 years with no change in sight. We have had good mayors and bad mayors, but the Democrats are guaranteed to govern this city for the foreseeable future, regardless of the quality of their leadership. Wilson Goode bombed a neighborhood in 1985 by killing MOVE members but won re-election in 1988. Had the attack been under a Republican mayor there would have been national marches begging for his head.

At this time among the top 100 cities, 68 are under democratic control and 28 under Republican rule. We have had Republican governors and Republican presidents, but the Democrats have a firm control of the power here and in other great cities. Much of what happens in Washington has local repercussions because, as Tip O'Neill said, "all politics is local." Since the rise of Donald Trump, the ideological divide has widened. Republicans traditionally want less government and Democrats want the government to play a bigger role in our daily lives. Some issues, such as taxes, health, foreign policy, force the parties to adopt traditional positions. Right now Republicans and Democrats want to see the investigation into Russia's meddling to go ahead and they will debate the issue for days or weeks, but as Mayor Landrieu says, mayors have to worry about school safety, playgrounds , The bumps and the people who go to work. Mayors are trying to innovate and make things happen. While politicians in Washington can endlessly debate and not take action on many issues, mayors live in the moment and must act to solve the multitude of problems of small and large cities. Inevitably, some decisions in Washington have immediate repercussions across the country. If the health bill passes in its current form the health of 22 million people will be affected and a large number are poor and elderly of them live in large cities. If Washington takes any action on taxes, infrastructure rebuilding, minimum wages, and other measures, cities will feel the effect immediately. If Donald Trump's ban on Muslims becomes law, many areas of this country will run out of doctors and industries like technology will suffer. If its wall is built, the lack of immigrant labor will affect states like California, Arizona, and Texas. And if it insists on punishing the cities that have offered sanctuary to undocumented workers, mayors will have to deal with a loss of funds. Perhaps the $ 200 million pledged by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will help ease the lack of funds, but any such measure will only be temporary. The current situation is another reminder that our votes count and that as long as we abdicate our civic responsibilities and we do not vote, we will get the government we deserve.

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