Obama's Urban Policy Gets Going

It's not getting much attention here in Washington, with all eyes on the Sotomayor hearing, but President Obama's Office of Urban Affairs held ...
by | July 13, 2009

02carrion01-600 It's not getting much attention here in Washington, with all eyes on the Sotomayor hearing, but President Obama's Office of Urban Affairs held its first big meeting today.

Mayors, governors and policy experts gathered to meet with Adolfo Carrion, the office's director, as well as the secretaries of Labor, HUD, Transportation and Education. Obama is scheduled to drop by to cap off the daylong meetings.

"It's great to have an urban president," Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell told the Associated Press. "This is the first urban president we've had in a long time. And we've had no policy directed at American cities for the previous eight years. There were zero policies."

We'll have to wait and see whether any concrete policies come out of such discussions, but today's event is being touted as just the start of a long-term effort to prepare for an increasingly urban and metropolitan future.

And the fact that Carrion and his office are finally doing something is news in and of itself. I wrote a long feature for Governing in April, touting the promise of this administration for cities and metros. Since that time, however, there's been little discernible action.

Some of the cabinet departments have been unusually collaborative, but Carrion and his team had done nothing public to suggest that this was at all an administration priority.

Just last week, Politico ran a long piece suggesting that urban affairs was very much on the back burner.

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