It's a snow-rainy Friday here in New York, and around the world mayors are doing things worth noting. So let's spy on them together!
Boston gets first new mayor in 20 years: On Monday, January 6, Martin Walsh officially became Mayor of Boston, taking over for Tom Menino, who led the city for 20 years. According to The Boston Globe, the theme of Walsh's 26-minute inauguration speech (see below) was unity: "I will listen. I will learn. I will lead," he said.
As Mary Jander wrote here earlier this week, like many other new mayors around the US, one of Walsh's immediate challenges -- before officially being sworn in -- was dealing with snow. On January 3, Walsh appointed 18-year veteran public works superintendent Michael Dennehy as acting snow czar.
Tough couple of days for Fort Lee Mayor and Chris Christie: Things weren't quite as amicable this week over in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie and Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich have been at odds since news broke that Christie's staff intentionally closed lanes on the George Washington Bridge to punish Fort Lee after Sokolich didn't endorse Christie for reelection.
At first, Fort Lee's Sokolich told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he didn't want a personal apology from the governor, didn't want him to come to Fort Lee, and didn't really believe that he had nothing to do with the lane closures. But after the two met on Thursday, Sokolich's tone changed a bit: "I'm glad he came. I take him for his word, which is he had nothing to do with it," he told CNN. "We in Fort Lee are not rooting for facts to, you know, come about and surface that would suggest in some shape or form that he was involved in it. We take him for his word."
Still, they're hardly the best of friends... It probably didn't help matters that, as part of his defense, Christie said he wouldn't have done this as a political move against Sokolich because he doesn't know him and couldn't even have "picked him out of a lineup." Stay classy, Christie. (See also: For Gov. Chris Christie, Transportation Is Political.)
Seattle Mayor slams police for misconduct: Over in Seattle, after appointing Harry C. Bailey as interim police chief, the city's new mayor, Ed Murray, wrote a two-page letter to the Seattle Police Department insisting on reform. The department has been under investigation by the US DOJ since 2011 for routinely using excessive force. The full letter to the department is available here. Here's an excerpt:
Our Seattle Police Department ought to base its strategies on data and best practices, not merely tradition and instinct. To do that, our department must provide officers with the consistent training, tools and professional supervision and standards to carry out their duties. It must embrace new technologies and methodologies, recognizing that these are multiplier forces in an era when simply hiring more people can no longer be the only solution to every problem. The department is currently working to comply with the Settlement Agreement. But none of us should be satisfied with merely "good enough" in meeting the terms of the agreement.
Baltimore Mayor calls on citizens to curb violence:
And speaking of security, over in Baltimore, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called on citizens to be proactive in helping the city curb violence. "For me, 2014 is about making sure that everybody in their own way contributes to making Baltimore a safer city and the acknowledgment by the collective community that if you're not a part of the solution -- if you are not actively part of the solution -- then you are actively part of the problem," she said. The city saw a rise in homicides in 2013, with a total of 235 killings, according to The Baltimore Sun
And on that light note, we call this a wrap. Did we miss anything? Have any thoughts on the above stories? Please weigh in on the boards below.
Previous Mayor's Desk Updates:
— Nicole Ferraro, Editor in Chief, UBM's Future Cities