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Obama and Clinton tell
US mayors to stand up
against gun lobby

San Francisco, 23 June 2015:
In the wake of America’s most recent massacre, which cost the lives of nine black church goers in Charleston, South Carolina, both President Barack Obama und presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called for stricter gun controls. Speaking in San Francisco at the annual meeting of the US Conference of Mayors, the US President called on city leaders to use their influence to shift public opinion and put pressure on an intransigent Congress. He told his audience of mayors that despite the lack of action by Washington’s parliamentarians they must not ignore a problem that took the lives of 13,000 Americans in 2013 alone.

Hillary Clinton, the wife of former US President Bill Clinton and secretary of state in the first Obama administration, acknowledged that gun ownership was a cultural mainstay in many US states but, if elected President, she would make common sense gun control one of her early priorities. “How is it still possible that we allow guns to fall in the hands of people whose hearts are filled with hate,” she asked. She added that massacre after massacre makes the urgency of passing gun control legislation clear.

President Obama last tried to tighten gun control laws in the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. A measure that would have expanded background checks during gun sales gained bipartisan support, but ultimately failed to surpass a Republican filibuster in the US Senate.

Earlier this month, Texas passed a law, which allows students to carry concealed weapons on public university campuses.

Republican mayoral
candidate wins surprise
victory in Florida

Miami, 21 May 2015:
Visibly shocked, Jacksonville’s Democrat Mayor Alvin Brown conceded defeat after his Republican challenger won 51 per cent of the vote in Tuesday’s mayoral election. It is a rare event for Republicans to win in large US cities and even rarer for them to defeat an incumbent who, by all accounts, had done reasonably well. But by focusing his campaign on the city’s difficult financial situation, Lenny Curry, the mayor-elect and an accountant by profession, was able to convince voters that he was the man to balance the books. Jacksonville owes some US$1.6 billion to its police and fire pension fund.

Curry is now one of a small group of Republicans who lead large US cities. Two cities larger than Jacksonville - San Diego and Indianapolis - have Republican mayors. Other large cities where Republican control City Hall include Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Fresno and Mesa. But some commentators pointed out that Jacksonville is much more conservative-leaning - registered Democrats only outnumber Republican by a small margin -  than cities like Houston, New York or Chicago. The latter has not had a Republican mayor since 1927.

During the campaign both mayoral contestant elicited the support of some big names in American politics. Former governor of Florida and presidential hopeful Jeb Bush appeared in a television commercial for Lenny Curry, while former US president Bill Clinton shared an election platform with the outgoing mayor Alvin Brown.

Lenny Curry, a native Floridian, worked as an accountant for PricewaterhouseCoppers’ Jacksonville office before he co-founded a management consultancy firm, which provides accountancy and recruiting services. He is also a former chairman of the Florida Republican Party.

New book explains
why so many mayors
in Canada ‘went bad’

Toronto, 18 May 2015:
When in 2013 Benjamin Barber published his book ‘If Mayors ruled the World’, Canada recoiled under a series of scandals in local government. Following the resignation of Montreal’s Mayor Gerald Tremblay over allegations of corruption in November 2012, his successor Michael Applebaum was indicted on charges of fraud in June 2013. One month earlier, Gilles Vaillancourt, the Mayor of Laval, was arrested and charged with gangsterism. Roughly at the same time, the shenanigans of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford became public knowledge. Philip Slayton, a Canadian lawyer, has now published ‘Mayors Gone Bad’, a book that should be read alongside Benjamin Barber’s work.

In a recent interview, Philip Slayton, who in 2007 published ‘Lawyers gone Bad’, said that he got the idea for the book when he realised that there weren’t just one or two mayors who were messing up but a large number of them. In addition to Toronto’s Rob Ford, Slayton mentions former mayors of Brampton, London and Halifax as well as the ‘roguish’ ex-mayors of Montreal and Laval.

The author of ‘Mayors Gone Bad’ believes one of the reasons for such a large number of scandal-prone mayors is that Canadian cities are almost impossible to run. “Canadian mayors have neither the political power nor the financial resources to do their jobs,” Slayton told the Toronto Star. He explains that mayors from some of the largest cities in Canada deal with trivial matters such as raccoon-proof garbage bins instead of addressing the big questions.

“The mayor of Toronto, a very large, wealthy metropolis, seems to end up dealing with issues that are essentially trivial and there is no discussion of issues that are very far from trivial,” Slayton argued in the Toronto Star.

In an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press, Slayton, when asked why Canada ended up with so many bad mayors, said that his book tried to make a connections between each spectacularly bad mayor and the nature of the office, which did not confer a great deal of power. “If the mayoral job carries a lot of expectations from the people who voted for you, but you have no ability to fulfil those expectations, you're doomed to disappointment. So no politically savvy person who had other options available to themselves would take the job.”

He continued to explain that while every job was different, the reason why Canada had so many second-rate mayors is that it is a second-rate job. “People of political consequence don’t want these jobs.”

Philip Slayton bemoans that nowhere in the Canadian Constitution cities are given any kind of independent standing, power or recognition. He cites as an example that the Province of Prince Edward Island, with a population of considerably less than the City of Brampton (Ontario) has revenue tools that cities do not. “In most Canadian provinces, if you extracted the major cities you are left with a quaint rural hinterland,” Slayton told Brian Bethune from Maclean.

Philip Slayton was also asked about the seemingly competent western mayors such as Calgary’s Naheed Nenshi, Vancouver’s Gregor Robertson and Edmonton’s Don Iveson. He fears that the western ‘triangle of mayoral goodness’ may not last. Referring to Naheed Nenshi, who was awarded the 2014 World Mayor Prize, Slayton fears that his best days as mayor might be over. “He had that tremendous moment during Calgary's flood, but I think the cold reality is setting in. He's at the mercy of the province. He's started complaining bitterly about that. I think he is destined to leave Calgary.”

The author of ‘Mayors Gone Bad’ is pretty gloomy about the future of Canadian cities if no substantial changes are introduced. “Really, if we were rebuilding Canada from scratch, we could give cities substantial constitutional status and allow them to raise their own taxes and develop their own revenue streams. But we're not going to be able to do that. What's essential is everyone in the country wakes up and realizes this is a big issue. Otherwise, our cities are going to continue to decline,” Philip Slayton warned in his interview with the Winnipeg Free Press.

‘Mayors Gone Bad’ is published by Viking Publishers and available now in hardcover.

Baltimore Mayor fails
to find the right words
after two days of rioting

Baltimore, 29 April 2015:
Baltimore’s mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has been accused of tolerating rioters after she apparently said the police was given instructions “to give space to those who wished to destroy”. She made the comments at an interview following last Saturday’s riots. Although the mayor’s office issued a ‘clarification’ the next day, the damage was done, with conservative radio and television commentators claiming the mayor had been happy to leave parts of the city ‘undefended’. On Monday, after renewed violent disturbances, she was asked whether her words might have encouraged rioters to have another go.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake called the media reports a “very blatant mischaracterisation of her words”. Addressing journalists she said that she was just explaining how property damage could happen during a peaceful protest. “It is very unfortunate that members of your industry decided to mischaracterise my words and try to use it as a way to say that we were inciting violence,” she added. The mayor admitted, however, that rioters exploited police tactics to allow peaceful protesters space to demonstrate. “I did not instruct police to give space to protesters seeking to create violence. In giving peaceful demonstrators room to share their message, unfortunately, those who were seeking to incite violence also had space to operate.”

Some Baltimore residents also resented the mayor describing rioters as thugs. At yesterday’s meeting with church leaders, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake backtracked, insisting there were no thugs in the city. “Sometimes my own little anger translator gets the best of me.”

Saturday’s and Monday’s riots followed the unexplained death of Freddie Gray in police custody. Gray, a 25-year old black man, was arrested on 12 April and by the time he arrived at the police station was unable to breathe or talk. He died on 19 April from spinal injuries apparently suffered while in police custody. Police authorities were not able to explain why Gray was arrested. A spokesman for the police said none of the officers involved in the arrest used force. “And yet Freddie Gray was fatally hurt while in police custody,” wrote David Graham in the Atlantic Magazine.

White police officers
resign after Missouri
town elects black mayor

St Louis, 21 April 2015:
The US state of Missouri is in danger of gaining a reputation for small-town racism after almost the entire white police force resigned when the town of Parma elected its first female black mayor. Tyrus Byrd, a Christian missionary and former city clerk, defeated the incumbent mayor two weeks ago. Almost immediately after her victory and even before she was sworn in, five of the town’s six police officers quit their jobs. Parma’s city attorney, water treatment supervisor and clerk also walked out. In similarly worded resignation letters, all departing employees cited ‘safety concerns’ as reasons for their decisions.

Race relations in small-town Missouri became the focus of a national debate when, last August, a white police officer shot dead an unarmed black man in Ferguson. The case inflamed racial tension and sparked protests in many parts of the US, particularly after a grand jury declined to indict the police officer. While the US Justice Department decided not to prosecute the officer, it published a scathing report accusing the town’s police department for racial bias and profiling.

Two days ago, a memorial tree planted for the Ferguson victim as a ‘symbol of peace, comfort and hope’ was vandalised less than 24 hours after it was panted. A stone placed at the memorial was also stolen.

Meanwhile back in Parma, the newly elected mayor said she was unaware of any safety issues and asked why the officers had not raised their concerns under the leadership of the town’s outgoing mayor. One commentator explained that two things were abundantly clear: “The new mayor is black and the police officers and town employees who resigned are white.”

Parma, in southeast Missouri, has a population of 750, with more than one third of residents living below the poverty line.

Re-elected Chicago
mayor will now have to
solve city's crime and debt

Chicago, 8 April 2015:
Now that Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel has won re-election in yesterday’s second round of voting, he will have to prove that he can solve the city’s most pressing problems, namely crime and debt. While in many US cities crime violent crime has declined this century, it has remained stubbornly high in Chicago. During the past four years, under Mayor Emanuel’s watch, homicide rates remained above 430 per annum, while in New York, a city almost four times the size of Chicago, the number of murders fell from 515 to 328.

According to the Illinois Policy Institute, an independent research organisation, Chicago’s debt stands at US$63 billion, or more than $23,000 per Chicago resident. Unfunded pension liabilities of the City of Chicago and municipal organisations such as Chicago public schools and the Chicago Transit Authority amount to $29 billion of the debt. The Chicago-based investment research firm Morningstar Inc reported last month that the city had the worst funding ratio and the highest per capita pension liabilities among the 25 largest US cities.

Adding insult to injury, the rating agency Moody’s Investors Service downgraded debt to Baa2, only two grades above ‘junk’. The city has $8.3 billion in taxpayer-backed bond debt, thanks in part to its expensive habits of putting off principal payments and using debt to close budget gaps. The Moody’s downgrade could trigger penalties of $58 million on interest-rate swap contracts tied to the city's bond issues. Excluding Detroit, Chicago now has the lowest credit rating of the major US cities. In 2010, one year before Rahm Emanuel took office, Moody’s rated Chicago’s debt at Aa3, five notches above its current rating.

Supported by US President Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton and after having spent millions of dollars on TV and radio commercials, Rahm Emanuel defeated his challenger Jesus Garcia by 56 to 44 per cent of the vote. Garcia, who belongs to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and whose policies have much in common with those of New York’s mayor Bill De Blasio, surprisingly forced the Emanuel into a run-off following the first round on 25 February. Yesterday, on 7 April, Emanuel received 55.7 per cent of votes cast against Garcia’s 44.3 per cent. While crime and debt have deteriorated under Emanuel’s leadership, most voters still believe he is better able to fix the problems. But voters concerned with education favoured Garcia.

US mayors back
President Obama’s
immigration reforms

New York City, 26 January 2015:
More than thirty US mayors have come out in support of President Barrack Obama’s plans to reform immigration by filing an amicus brief* in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit. Last December, Texas together with 16 other US states brought a lawsuit that seeks to block the President’s executive action on immigration which would give an estimated four million people, who are currently illegally in the US, the chance to gain work permits and remain in the country. The state governors maintain that their lawsuit is not about immigration but about presidential power and the rule of law.

The amicus brief, organised by the mayors of New York City and Los Angeles, argues that the public interest across the US is served clearly and overwhelmingly by implementing immigration reform by executive action. The brief also argues that blocking executive action with a preliminary injunction would stall desperately needed changes to the federal government’s immigration policies. The cities represented by the amici mayors together account for approximately 28.2 million people, including 7.5 million immigrants.

This joint effort to offer the court the crucial perspective of American cities is an outcome of the December immigration summit hosted by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the organizing efforts of the Cities United for Immigration Action (CUIA) coalition. By submitting this ‘friend of the court’ brief, America’s mayors are hoping to make a strong statement in support of the US President’s plan to grant administrative relief to over four million undocumented children and adults.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said President Obama took a bold step in the right direction by easing the burden for some of those who currently lived in the shadows. “I am proud to stand with mayors De Blasio, Garcetti and many others in support of the President’s executive action on immigration,” she added.

*An amicus brief is a document that is filed in a court by someone who is not directly related to the case under consideration. The additional information found in such a document can be useful for the judge evaluating the case, and it becomes part of the official case record.

US states party to the lawsuit against the US government:
• Texas; • Alabama; • Georgia; • Idaho; • Indiana; • Kansas; • Louisiana; • Montana; • Nebraska; • South Carolina; • Texas; • Utah; • West Virginia; • Wisconsin

Mayors who have signed on to the amicus brief
• Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City, New York; • Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles, California; • Mayor Kasim Reed, Atlanta, Georgia; • Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore, Maryland; • Mayor Byron Brown, Buffalo, New York; • Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago, Illinois; • Mayor Steve Benjamin, Columbia, South Carolina; • Mayor Nan Whaley, Dayton, Ohio; • Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver, Colorado; • Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington, D.C. ; • Mayor Pedro Segarra, Hartford, Connecticut; • Mayor Annise Parker, Houston, Texas; • Mayor Steven Fulop, Jersey City, New Jersey; • Mayor Paul Soglin, Madison, Wisconsin ; • Mayor Ras Baraka, Newark, New Jersey; • Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; • Mayor Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; • Mayor Charles Hales, Portland, Oregon; • Mayor John Dickert, Racine, Wisconsin; • Mayor Tom Butt, Richmond, California; • Mayor Lovely Warren, Rochester, New York ; • Mayor Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City, Utah; • Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco, California; • Mayor Gary McCarthy, Schenectady, New York; • Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle, Washington; • Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis, Missouri ; • Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Tacoma, Washington; • Mayor Mike Spano, Yonkers, New York; • Mayor Karen Majewski, Hamtramck, Michigan ; • Mayor Virg Bernero, Lansing, Michigan; • Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; • Mayor Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis, Minnesota; • Mayor Greg Stanton, Phoenix, Arizona

American cities with tech
and energy industries
performed best in 2014

Los Angeles, 9 January 2015:
American cities whose economies are strongly linked to technology and energy have performed best in the 2014 Milken report, which measures job and wage growth as well as the concentration of high-technology industries. Even though San Francisco removed Austin from the nation’s number-one spot, Texas still had five of its cities ranked among the top 10. No East-Coast cities featured among the top 25. The authors of the ‘Best-Performing Cities’ report said that technology and shale energy were the biggest factor behind America’s booming cities. Technology centres captured 13 of the top 25, with metros containing both creative- and scientific-based industries performing best.

San Francisco achieved the top rank for the first time in the 15-year history of the index. Propelling the gains: the city's number-one finish in wage growth over both the past five-year and one-year periods. "Young, technology-skilled workers are flocking to San Francisco, driving up wages and driving down unemployment in these sectors below two per cent," said the report.

Texas claimed five of the top 10 positions among large metropolitan areas. A special Texas blend of technology, energy strength, and a favourable business climate boosted Texan metro economies.

East-Coast and ‘Rust-Belt’ cities fared badly in the Milken Institute report. New York City fell from 34th spot in 2013 to 62nd 12 months later, while Washington DC dropped 39 places to 84th place. The best placed East-Coast metro area was Cambridge, MA, ranked 34th, down from 23rd in 2013, while Boston improved slightly from 46th to 44th place. Detroit, which late last year emerged from bankruptcy was ranked 193rd.

Looking forward to the 2015 ranking, many economist predict that, with oil prices falling to below US$50 a barrel, many cities which rely heavily on the energy sectors for job and revenue growth, will stagnate or see their fortunes reversed. It is widely believed that the exploration of shale oil and gas needs an oil price of above $70 to be profitable.

The three best-performing smaller cities were Fargo (ND), Columbus (IN) and Victoria (TX).

Economic ranking of the
most prominent US cities

2014 rank
2013 rank
San Francisco, CA
Austin, TX
Provo, UT
San Jose, CA
Raleigh, NC
Salt Lake City, UT
Houston, TX
Fort Worth, TX
Dallas, TX
San Antonio, TX
Seattle, WA
Denver, CO
Portland, OR
San Diego, CA
Cambridge, MA
Baltimore, MD
Los Angeles, CA
Boston, MA
Oklahoma City, OK
Atlanta, GA
New York City, NY
Phoenix, AZ
New Orleans, LA
Kansas City, MO
Pittsburgh, PA
Washington DC
Miami, FL
Chicago, IL
Honolulu, HI
Richmond, VA
Philadelphia, PA
St Louis, MO
Rochester, NY
Las Vegas, NV
Memphis, TN
Detroit, MI
Source: Best Performing Cities 2014 by the Milken Institute

US police forces
find it hard to recruit
from ethnic minorities

New York City, 7 January 2015:
Since the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, last August, there have been renewed calls from across the US to recruit more officers from ethnic minorities. Commentators argue that the racial mix of a police force should reflect the make-up of the community it serves. Recent research has shown that white Americans are overrepresented in 68 out of the 75 largest police forces in the US*. The overrepresentation is particularly high in Jersey City, Newark (NJ), Sacramento (CA) as well as in the NY cities of Rochester and Buffalo. Brownsville (TX) and Los Angeles have police forces whose racial and ethnic mix most reflects that of their cities’ populations.

Most of America’s police forces are keen to diversify but find it harder and harder to recruit young blacks. While the percentage of police officers from racial or ethnic minorities has increased from 17 per cent in the 1980s to 25 per cent now, the trend seems to be stalling. Many police chiefs say that despite their best efforts, young black people were just not interested in joining the police. Cedric Alexander, the president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, said even though many police forces were predominantly recruiting in black schools they just can’t get more black officers. He explained that 40 years ago, when he joined the police, young blacks took up police jobs to make things better from within. “Today young bright people have far better opportunities in the private sector,” Alexander added.

US cities where whites are in a minority but are overrepresented in the police
Racial majority*
Estimated overrepresentation of whites in police force*
Jersey City (NJ) Hispanics 28%
Newark (NJ) Blacks 51%
Santa Ana (CA) Hispanics 78%
San Jose, CA Hispanics 33%
Cleveland, OH Blacks 53%
San Bernardino, CA Hispanics 58%
Memphis, TN Blacks 62%
Milwaukee, WI Blacks 39%
Detroit, MI Blacks 82%
Dallas, TX Hispanics 42%
Houston, TX Hispanics 42%
Birmingham, AL Blacks 74%
St Louis, MO Blacks 50%
Miami, FL Hispanics 70%
Baltimore, MD Blacks 64%
Philadelphia, PA Blacks 43%
Washington DC Blacks 52%
New Orleans, LA Blacks 59%
Los Angeles, CA Hispanics 48%
Sources: American Community Survey (2010),,,

American mayors form
action coalition to push
for immigration reform

New York City, 12 December 2014:
Mayors from 43 US cities have joined in a coalition to support President Obama’s recent executive order to legalise the status of some five million undocumented immigrants. The coalition, United Cities for Immigration action, which includes cities such as Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Houston, Seattle and New York, was set up two weeks ago to back the President against the Republican opposition and, more importantly, to create a nationwide framework that will give illegal immigrants the confidence to register with the authorities. There are hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have lived and worked in the US for many years but have never had any dealings with local or state offices.

Earlier this week, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio hosted a summit of mayors to exchange views on how the changes to immigration should be implemented and could be co-ordinated. Mayor de Blasio stressed the need to reach all eligible immigrants through community outreach and public educations and to safeguard immigrants from fraudulent services. The mayor also told his guests that it was vital businesses, faith groups and local community organisations should become involved in the process as early as possible.

"The president's plan to act on immigration reform is crucial to creating a more just country, and the federal government is depending on cities to implement the plan," de Blasio said. "It is critical that we get it right. Mayors are in the trenches and see firsthand the need for comprehensive immigration reform. We will take this opportunity to lay the ground work for a deeper national movement from the grassroots up."

The New York summit of mayors marked the launch of a forum that allows local leaders to swap tips on how to prepare for once the millions of immigrants who qualify for the President’s actions are able to begin the application process, expected as soon as February. Mayors hope to kick off a social media campaign to spur action and awareness across the country. Also in February, elected officials are planning a “Mayoral Lobby Day” for city officials to ascend on Capitol Hill and lobby members of Congress who do not support comprehensive immigration reform.

Some of the mayors who have signed up to United Cities for Immigration Action:
• Christopher Taylor, Mayor of Ann Arbor, MI
• Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, MD
• Don Gerard, Mayor of Champaign, IL
• Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, OH
• Michael E. Duggan, Mayor of Detroit, MI
• Dayne Walling, Mayor of Flint, MI
• Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor of Hartford, CT
• Bobby Hopewell, Mayor of Kalamazoo, MI
• Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, CA
• Betsy Hodges, Mayor of Minneapolis, MN
• Marian McClellan, Mayor of Oak Park, MI
• Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix, AZ
• Kurt R. Metzger, Mayor of Pleasant Ridge, MI
• Charlie Hales, Mayor of Portland, OR
• Gayle McLaughlin, Mayor of Richmond, CA
• Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, CA
• Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, CA
• Francis G. Slay, Mayor of St. Louis, MO
• Vincent Gray, Mayor of Washington, D.C.
• Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta, GA
• Byron Brown, Mayor of Buffalo, NY
• Michael B. Coleman, Mayor of Columbus, OH
• Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver, CO
• Nathan Triplett, Mayor of East Lansing, MI
• Karen Majewski, Mayor of Hamtramck, MI
• Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston, TX
• Virg Bernero, Mayor of Lansing, MI
• Paul Soglin, Mayor of Madison, WI
• Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, NY
• Michael Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia, PA
• William Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, PA
• Michael F. Brennan , Mayor of Portland, ME
• Angel Taveras, Mayor of Providence, RI
• Lovely A. Warren, Mayor of Rochester, NY
• Ralph Becker, Mayor of Salt Lake City, UT
• Ed Murray, Mayor of Seattle, WA
• Marilyn Strickland, Mayor of Tacoma, WA

The vast majority
of America’s largest
cities are liberal

Boston, 11 August 2014:
The vast majority of large American cities are fundamentally liberal-leaning. New research conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of California (UCLA) found that out 51 cities with populations of more than 250,000 only eleven could be described as conservative. Two cities are neutral while the rest are liberal. The researchers named Meza, Arizona, as the country’s most conservative city, while, unsurprisingly, San Francisco emerged as America’s most liberal city. Additional research by City Mayors also showed that while four of the 15 most conservative cities in the US had Democrat mayors none of the 15 most liberal ones were led by Republicans.

The MIT/UCLA research examined the average policy preferences of residents in the 51 US cities with populations exceeding 250,000. The researchers then compared them to the policies of those cities to see if political leanings were reflected in tax burdens and other city operations. "The policies enacted by cities across a range of policy areas correspond with the liberal-conservative positions of their citizens on national policy issues," the authors wrote.

Mesa, a Phoenix-area suburb with a population of about 468,000, easily grabbed the top spot for most conservative city in the country. Oklahoma City and Virginia Beach followed as the next most right-leaning. The research confirmed the status of San Francisco, Washington DC and Seattle as cities as trail-blazing liberal cities.

There has been some criticism of the study’s methodology. Some analysts commented that the research did not urban structure into account. Many of the most conservative cities on this list (e.g. Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Omaha, Oklahoma City, Colorado Springs) are in traditionally mono-centric urban areas, but in the middle of the 20th century annexed large portions of what would be suburban municipalities in other metro areas. Others are purely suburban municipalities (e.g. Mesa, Aurora, Anaheim) that just happen to occupy more land than suburbs usually do. “What would be more interesting is to look at the primary core cities (as defined by the Census Bureau) of, say, the largest 50 or 100 metropolitan areas. Oklahoma City would probably win out.”

Americas most conservative cities and their mayors
Mayor & politics
Mesa, AZ Scott Smith, Republican
Oklahoma City, OK Mick Cornett, Republican
Virginia Beach, VA William Sessoms, Republican
Colorado Springs, CO Steve Bach, Independent
Jacksonville, FL Alvin Brown, Democrat
Arlington, TX Robert Chuck, Independent
Anaheim, CA Tom Tait, Republican
Omaha, NE Jean Stothert, Republican
Tulsa, OK Dewey Bartlett, Republican
Aurora, CO Steve Hogan, Republican
Forth Worth, TX Betsy Price, Independent
Fresno, CA Ashley Swearengin, Republican
Corpus Christi, TX Nelda Martinez, Democrat
San Antonio, TX Julian Castro, Democrat
Nashville, TN Karl Dean, Democrat

America’s most liberal cities and their mayors
Mayor & politics
San Francisco, CA Edwin Lee, Democrat
Washington, DC Vincent Gray, Democrat
Seattle, WA Ed Murray, Democrat
Oakland, CA Jean Quan, Democrat
Boston, MA Marty Walsh, Democrat
Minneapolis, MN Betsy Hodges, Democrat
Detroit, MI Mike Duggan, Democrat
New York, NY Bill de Blasio, Democrat
Buffalo, NY Bryon Brown, Democrat
Baltimore, MD Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Democrat
Chicago, IL Rahm Emanuel, Democrat
Portland, OR Charlie Hales, Democrat
St Paul, MN Chris Coleman, Democrat
Austin, TX Lee Leffingwell, Democrat
St Louis, MO Francis Slay, Democrat
Philadelphia, PA Michael Nutter, Democrat

Source: MIT and UCLA with additional research by City Mayors

Less than 20 per cent
of America’s cities are
led by women mayors

New York City, 9 July 2014:
Less than 20 per cent of America’s city mayors are women. Following mayoral elections across the US last November, data shows that of 1,351 cities with more than 30,000 inhabitants, only 249, or 18.4 per cent, were led by women. The share of women mayors among very large US cities is even lower. Houston’s Annise Parker is the only woman governing a city with more than one million people. Twenty of America’s 150 largest cities have women at the top (13.3%). Nine of them belong to the Democratic Party, seven are Republicans, while four mayors are non-aligned.

The longest-serving mayor from the group of top-20 female mayors is Laurene Weste from Santa Clarita, California. Mayors, who assumed office this year, include Betsy Hodges (Minneapolis) and Lovely Warren (Rochester).

In 2010, Susan Carroll and Kira Sanbonmatsu presented a paper to Midwest Science Association, which investigates the backgrounds of women mayors and their decision to seek municipal office for the first time. The authors found that while it was generally assumed that women fare well in local politics, the number of women mayors in larger cities had not increased over time.

Women mayors among America’s top 150 cities
Mayor since
Houston, Texas
Annise Parker
Fort Worth, Texas
Betsy Price
Baltimore, Maryland
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Las Vegas, Nevada
Carolyn Goodman
Fresno, Californai
Ashley Swearengin
Omaha, Nebraska
Jean Stothert
Raleigh, North Carolina
Nancy McFarlene
Oakland, California
Jean Quan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Betsy Hodges
Corpus Christi, Texas
Nelda Martinez
Greensboro, North Carolina
Nancy Vaughn
Chula Vista, California
Cheryl Cox
Irving, Texas
Beth Van Duyne
Rochester, New York
Lovely Warren
Tacoma, Washington
Marilyn Strickland
Fontana, California
Acquanetta Warren
Columbus, Georgia
Teresa Tomlinson
Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero
Santa Clarita, California
Laurene Weste
Port St. Lucie, Florida
JoAnn Faiella
Dem = Democrat, Rep = Republican, Ind = Independent and non-aligned (Research carried out July 2014)

White Americans are
a minority in most of
the largest US cities

Washington DC, 10 April 2014:
While ethnically America is still predominantly White (2), in many of the country’s largest cities people of European ancestry are in a minority. Overall, White Americans make up 63.7 per cent of the US population, Hispanic or Latino Americans account for 16.4 per cent with African Americans on 12.6 per cent. But in 18 out of the 25 largest US cities, White Americans comprise less than half of the population. The cities with largest African American populations include Detroit (83%), Memphis (63%) and Washington DC (51%). El Paso has the largest share of Hispanic Americans (81%), while San Francisco is home to more Asian Americans (33%) than any other large US city.

In Detroit, Memphis and Washington DC African Americans form the majority, while Hispanic Americans account for more than 50 per cent of the populations in El Paso and San Antonio - in Los Angeles, 48.5 per cent of people describe themselves as Latino. In San Francisco and San Jose, both in California, Americans of Asian origin represent almost one third of the total population.

Ethnic make-up of America’s largest cities
Population (1)
Black (3)
Hispanic (4)
Asian (5)
New York City; New York
Los Angeles; California
Chicago; Illinois
Houston; Texas
Philadelphia; Pennsylvania
Phoenix; Arizona
San Antonio; Texas
San Diego; California
Dallas; Texas
San Jose; California
Austin; Texas
Jacksonville; Florida
Indianapolis; Indiana
San Francisco; California
Columbus; Ohio
Fort Worth; Texas
Charlotte; North Carolina
Detroit; Michigan
El Paso; Texas
Memphis; Tennessee
Boston, Massachusetts
Seattle, Washington
Denver, Colorado
Washington, DC
Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee
(1) 2012 data supplied by the US Census Bureau and compiled by City Mayors
(2) 2010 data: White Americans have ethnic origins in Europe but can include people from the Middle East and North Africa
(3) 20210 data: Black or African American have ethnic origins in sub-Sahara Africa.
(4) 2010 data: Hispanic or Latino Americans have ethnic origins in the Latin-speaking countries of Latin America, Portugal and Spain.
(5) 2010 data: Asian Americans have ethnic origins in the Far East, Southeast Asia and South Asia.

World Mayor 2014
The results of World Mayor 2014 were announced on 3 February 2015

Obama and Clinton tell
US mayors to stand up
against gun lobby

Republican mayoral candidate wins surprise victory in Florida
(Photo: Lenny Curry, Jacksonville's next mayor)

New book explains why so many mayors in Canada ‘went bad

Baltimore Mayor fails to find the right words after two days of rioting

White police officers resign after Missouri town elects black mayor (Photo: Newly elected Parma mayor Tyrus Byrd)

Re-elected Chicago mayor will now have to solve crime and debt

American cities with tech and energy industries performed best in 2014

US police forces find it hard to recruit from ethnic minorities

American mayors form action coalition to push for immigration reform

The vast majority of America’s largest cities are liberal

Less than 20 per cent of America’s cities are led by women mayors
(Photo: Houston’s Annise Parker is the only woman governing a city with more than one million people)

White Americans are a minority in most of the largest US cities