Tonight mayors from all over the country will be playing bocce in Baltimore. Surely, these political leaders will appreciate the relative ease of aiming balls, compared to the larger tasks that make up their jobs.
Mayors are gathering at the 79th Annual Conference of Mayors. Their discussions reveal the unique challenges that mayors are facing today. Mayors are invited, for instance, to join the Climate Change Task Force to learn more about retrofitting buildings in respect to climate change. They will also learn about how young people struggle to find work in part because of the baby boomer generation’s monopoly on jobs.
Mayors are also invited to utilize technological advances that most recruiters are familiar with at this point. For instance, Microsoft is hosting a panel called “Understanding the Costs and Benefits of Cloud Computing for Your City.”
But the conference is not just about learning. The conference is also the site of political action. At today’s meeting, Burnsville, MN Mayor Elizabeth Kautz will introduce a resolution calling to end the Afghanistan War and re-direct spending for job creation. Mayors will be able to discuss this proposal over the weekend and vote on it on Monday, the final day of the meeting. They will also release an employment report for 363 metro areas, published in conjunction with Global Insight.
Unemployment is an issue that political leaders must face on the local level. Mayors are certainly among those overwhelmed by the loss of jobs and heavy unemployment. Their connection of lack of funds for community development to military spending is a familiar argument. It will be interesting to see if mayors of different political backgrounds will agree that ending the war could be helpful in creating more opportunities for their constituents.