Miami Mayor Urges Rescue of Cities [National Press Club]
by Hope Katz Gibbs
The National Press Club
Aug. 4, 2008
At a packed National Press Club luncheon on Aug. 4, Miami Mayor Manny Diaz challenged the next president of the U.S. to invest in solutions to the growing problems that threaten America’s cities.
“Is this country still willing to provide the tools necessary for advancement?” said Diaz, a lawyer born in Cuba who immigrated to Florida on a “freedom flight” at age 6, spoke not only as a second term mayor — but also as the new president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
“Is America still willing to invest in its people? Does a 6-year-old child today have the same access to opportunity that I did, or that any of us did?” he added. “This is a time when Washington has lost its values, lost its principles, and lost its sense of purpose. It no longer invests in its cities; it no longer invests in its people. Plain and simple, Washington has abandoned us.”
Diaz’ comments were greeted by rounds of applause and, at the end of the 30-minute speech, inspired several provocative questions including: How realistic is it for the federal government to spend money on cities?
“It’s not an issue,” Diaz insisted. “It simply has to be done. When I see kids running around Miami with weapons of war it’s impossible to not thing we have a problem. Why should crime, especially among youths, get worse before we do something about it?” — Hope Katz Gibbs