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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.

Washington Mayor and
US Congress at loggerheads
over cannabis legalisation

Washington DC, 1 March 2015:
Republican members of the US House of Representatives have warned Washington DC’s mayor that the city faced repercussions if it didn’t repeal a new law that allowed residents to possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana. On 26 February, the US Federal District joined states like Alaska, Washington and Colorado to legalise small quantities of cannabis for personal use.

The change of law followed a citywide vote on 4th November last year, which approved the legalisation by 65 to 30 per cent. The measure (initiative 71) allowed residents to grow six or fewer marijuana plants in their homes and possess up to 60 grams of the drug for their own use. But buying, selling and smoking cannabis in public remains illegal.

The Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which oversees legislation passed by Washington’s city council, has now written to Mayor Muriel Bowser warning her that the city faces cuts in federal aid and allegedly even said that she might go to prison. Washington DC, whose legislative programme requires Congress approval, last year received some US$670 million in federal funding to support its $11 billion budget. Republican members of the House of Representatives, which has to approve the federal grants, have now indicated that they would find some areas where perhaps they have been too generous with the citizens of Washington DC. “That will all come with time,” they warned.

Commentators said Congress could try to weaken the Districts tough gun laws or reduce funding for specific programmes such as school construction and HIV prevention.

During last year’s election campaign, Muriel Bowser said she would try to strengthen the city’s co-operation with Congress but the fight over legalising cannabis has probably put an end to that. Nevertheless, the Mayor tried to remain conciliatory but stressed that she was not backing down. “My goal is not to defy Congress but to honour the will of the voters,” she told journalists.

The man who forced
Obama’s favourite mayor
into Chicago run-off

Chicago, 27 February 2015:
At the end, neither money (loads), powerful connections, media endorsements and even the backing of US President Barack Obama were enough to secure Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel outright victory in the first round of the city’s mayoral elections. Instead, even though the results put him 10 points behind the incumbent, it was the Mexico-born underdog Jesus "Chuy" Garcia who was celebrated the winner. When he entered the race three and a half months before election day, after the leader of the Chicago Teacher Union withdrew her candidacy because of illness, Garcia was virtually unknown to most Chicagoans. Announcing his intention to run, he said it seems mad trying to challenge the US President’s favourite mayor but we are not living in ordinary times.

Jesus Garcia was born in the State of Durango in north-western Mexico and moved to Chicago, aged ten, after his father had gained permanent residency under the war-time bracero programme. One of his first jobs, while studying for a degree in political science at the University of Illinois, was with Chicago’s Legal Assistance Foundation. Supported by Chicago’s first black mayor Harold Washington, Garcia was elected to the city’s council in 1986, an office he held until he gained a seat in the Illinois Senate in 1993. However,he lost the 1998 Senate primary elections after the then Chicago Mayor Richard M Daley threw his support behind Antonio Munoz, who went on to win Garcia’s senate seat in the general election later that year.

After his defeat, Garcia founded the Little Village Community Development Corporation, now known as Chicago Enlace, “to making a positive difference in the lives of the residents of the Little Village Community by fostering a physically safe and healthy environment in which to live and by championing opportunities for educational advancement and economic development.” Under his leadership, the organisation grew to 27 employees with an annual budget of US$5 million. Since 2010, Jesus Garcia has been an elected member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Politically, Jesus Garcia belongs to the left-leaning wing of the Democratic Party. He admires Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren rather than former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. By forcing a run-off, Garcia, who was out-spent 12-to-1 by Emanuel in the first round, has started to attract the support of progressive organisations such as the consumer group US PIRG and the public advocacy group The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which advocates for progressive policy responses to national and local political issues, emailed a plea to its one million members asking them to "show him some love" by donating $6 to help Garcia defeat "one of the worst corporate Democrats in America." Thom Serafin, a Chicago-based political consultant, told journalists that Garcia’s campaign could now become a rallying cry for labour and a new focus against the ‘1%’.

Both, Rahm Emanuel and Jesus Garcia are now seeking the endorsement of African-American businessman Willie Wilson, who, with some 10 per cent of the vote, came third in the first round. With Emanuel expected to be the favourite of white voters and Garcia’s popularity in the Hispanic community, the black vote will be crucial to both candidates. The run-off election will be held on 7 April.

First-round results with pre-election forecasts in brackets
Rahm Emanuel: 45.4% (48.3%)
Jesus C Garcia: 33.9% (26.5%)
Willie Wilson: 10.6% (15.2%)
Bon Fioretti: 7.4% (6.8%)
William D Walls: 2.8% (3.3%)

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),,,

The killing of two officers
widens rift between NYC’s
mayor and the police

New York City, 22 December 2014:
New York City’s largest police union accused the city’s mayor of sharing responsibility for the killing of two police officers who were shot dead on Saturday. Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, told journalists that blood on the hands starts at the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor. The union leader’s remarks followed weeks of rising tension between the city’s police force, NYPD, and City Hall after Mayor Bill de Blasio criticised a grand jury verdict that cleared a police officer who had caused the death of Eric Garner, a black suspect, by holding him down in an illegal chokehold earlier this year.

The mayor described the jury’s verdict as a national moment of pain and added that that racial profiling and distrust between African Americans and the police was a problem for all New Yorkers. “It is a problem for all Americans. It's all our problem.” The New York verdict came nine days after a grand jury in Ferguson (Missouri) decided not to indict a white police officer, who had shot dead an unarmed black man. New York’s police were further infuriated when the mayor, whose wife is black, allegedly told a journalist that he had advised his teenage son to take special care in any encounter with police officers.

During last year’s election campaign, Bill de Basio accused his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, of allowing the NPYD too much of a free hand. But, although he halted ‘stop-and-frisk, a practise which predominantly targeted young African Americans, Mayor de Blasio acted supportively towards the city police force during his first year in office. He repeatedly praised officers for their handling of the city-wide protests following the Ferguson and Garner grand jury verdicts.

Supporters of the mayor, many of whom believe that statements made by union leaders are not representative of the views of many ordinary police officers, have told the NPYD that the mayor’s efforts to rebuild the trust of the black community in the police force does not constitute a vilification of the police. Even former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, whose zero tolerance policies endeared him to the police, said the police union had gone too far in blaming the mayor for last Saturday’s death of two officers.

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

Two African-American
mayors cause furore
with Ferguson comments

Sacramento / Rochester, 27 November 2014:
Two African-American mayors were criticised by their own police forces after they condemned the decision by a grand jury not to indict a police offer who had shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, in August. Sacramento (CA) Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is also the current president of the US Conference of Mayors, called the grand jury’s decision a sad day for America. “When you think about injustice and all the things that have happened over the history of time. This one just doesn’t feel right.” In a Facebook posting Rochester’s (NY) Mayor Lovely Warren wrote that the Ferguson shooting was about a “young, unarmed black man and an authority figure who had little regard for this young man's life.”

The head of the Sacramento police union said that his members were upset with the comments made by Mayor Johnson. He described the mayor’s remarks as a slap in the face to law enforcement across America. “The mayor shouldn’t be disappointed, he should be relieved that the grand jury did not find Wilson (the officer who killed the teenager Michael Brown) acted in a heinous fashion.”

As president of the US Conference of Mayors, Kevin Johnson offered a more measured response to the grand jury verdict, asking the prosecuting attorney to release the full transcript of the grand jury proceedings. But he also repeated that justice would have been better served by an examination of the evidence in a court of law. “America’s mayors strongly believe that there should have been open-court proceedings in the case of the officer-involved shooting of Michael Brown so that the evidence could have been presented in a public forum and a verdict could have been rendered by a jury.”

In Rochester, Mayor Warren’s Facebook posting caused furore with critics asking the mayor that she, as an attorney, should support the judicial system. The brother of a Rochester police officer killed on duty in September was particularly scathing. He asked the mayor whether she stood by her officers or “the animal that murdered his brother”.

On 9 August the black teenager Michael Brown was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. According to eyewitnesses, Officer Wilson pursued Michael Brown after an altercation and fired 12 shots, with six hitting the teenager. On Monday, 24 November, an St Louis grand jury decided there was not enough evidence to prosecute the police officer.

Grand juries, which originate in medieval English law, were thought a useful legal tool when private individuals could still bring criminal charges in 18th century America. Jurors would decide whether there was enough evidence to bring an accused to court.

Research by the Washington Post shows that the number of justified police killings in the US has increase from 2.63 per 10,000 violent crimes in 2001 to 3.38 in 2012, even though violent crime fell from 1.9 million to 1.2 million incidents during the same period.

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

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

Washington Mayor and Congress at loggerheads over cannabis legalisation

The man who forced Obama’s favourite mayor into Chicago run-off
(Photo: Jesus Garcia campaign button)

US mayors back President Obama’s immigration reforms

American cities with tech and energy industries performed best in 2014

US police forces find it hard to recruit from ethnic minorities

The killing of two officers widens rift between NYC’s mayor and the police

American mayors form action coalition to push for immigration reform

Two African-American mayors cause furore with Ferguson comments

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