January 21st, 2010
04:21 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama promises stronger federal focus on cities

The president and vice president addressed the U.S. Conference of Mayors at the White House Thursday.

The president and vice president addressed the U.S. Conference of Mayors at the White House Thursday.

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama promised the country's mayors Thursday that his budget for the upcoming fiscal year will include a series of investments meant to spark a long-term economy recovery in metropolitan areas.

"We're working every day to get our economy back on track and put America back to work, because while Wall Street may be recovering, you and I know your main streets have a long way to go," Obama said in a White House address to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

"The budget that I'll present next month ... (will reflect) our strategy to build economically competitive, environmentally sustainable, opportunity-rich communities that serve as the backbone for our long-term growth and prosperity."

Noting that unemployment in cities remains "far too high," the president laid out a three-pronged approach for new urban growth.

First, Obama said, the administration will focus on building "strong, regional backbones" for the economy by "coordinating federal investment in economic and workforce development."

Second, the White House will turn its attention to the creation of "more livable" and environmentally friendly communities.

"When it comes to development, it's time to throw out old policies that encourage sprawl and congestion, pollution, and ended up isolating our communities in the process," Obama argued. "We need strategies that encourage smart development linked to quality public transportation that bring our communities together."

Third, the president said, the federal government will focus on creating what he referred to as "neighborhoods of opportunity."

"Many of our neighborhoods have been economically distressed long before this crisis hit," he said. "So we'll invest in innovative and proven strategies that change the odds for our communities."

Obama cited the example of the "Choice Neighborhoods" program, which focuses on alternative affordable housing programs that vary according to a community's specific needs.

The president is scheduled to release his fiscal year 2011 budget in February.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Krystal

    You mean similiar to the wonderful job he did in creating more slums and crime in Chicago? Denying children charter school vouchers? Yes he certainly knows how to create prosperity in a city..just look at Chicago.

    January 21, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. File under "Sarcasm"

    The usual liberal agenda; give us, the government, your tax dollars and we'll create a new bureaucracy to spend it to help those who need help because we know better than you who they are and what they need.

    Fix the economy by reducing taxes and providing incentives to business to create jobs not by creating new social welfare programs!

    January 21, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. Sea.gem

    uh-hu...didn't he promise themthe same thing last year when he had them come to the White House for a "Summit"...funny, watching Obama fall victim to his own hype...and he still doesn't get it!

    January 21, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. Mark

    In other words a lot more money will go to HUD neighborhoods instead of the neighborhoods of the people who pay taxes.

    January 21, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. Showtime - Tampa

    "Just words" – yes.

    January 21, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. John D.

    This promise is a repeat of previous lies. Get it together, pleaseeeee! Promises made to your voter base is not going to help. Especially if you expect me to pay taxes so you can send more money to the Welfare inner City Crowd. I have a novel idea. Make them get a job and work for a living. No, why don't you try and force that on them like you tried forcing healthcare takeover on the taxpayers of this country.

    January 21, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. Lisa, MA

    I believe the president. If he hadn't been saddled with the failures of the previous administration, he could have fulfilled a lot of his promises. He's also saddled with the fact that people just hate him because he's different. This is not about the Govt., and it never was.

    History will prove that this president was the right man at the right time. I would vote for him again today because the alternative was a man, or adulterer who said the "fundamentals of the economy were sound".

    Obama/Biden 2012

    January 21, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Chad from Tampa

    So in other words reward your left base.

    January 21, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. E

    i look forward to hearing it Obama, too many people throw away urban centers and ignore the inequities in schools and housing that continue to make it almost impossible for people to rise above such crippling poverty.
    Pay teachers a living wage, broaden programs that have proven to help, like that one in NY that helps teach parents how to break free of the harmful patterns of the past. Fill stores with decent foods at affordable prices and force landlords to follow the laws so people aren't living with rodents and no heat. Give the children growing up in crowded crime filled places a chance to see another life, to hope for something better and have the tools to get there.
    Too many people just throw away whole populations of people because they cannot afford to break out of poverty and find a better life.

    January 21, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. revolution

    entitlements and wellfare don't create jobs, they only create more poor

    January 21, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. Dar

    Your community organizer at work, who's money are you going to steal to pay for all of this?
    You still don't get it do you dumb ass.
    People need jobs before they can pay for a house. And HUD just made it harder for anyone to get a loan. Are you just going to give them a house so they can destroy them like they always do???
    Come on Odumbo, this is just another way for you to gain a vote with the poor.
    The poor need jobs so they are not poor any longer, then they can have insurance and then but a home like all of us do.
    But you dont see that Odumbo, you want to give to them so they can stay poor because they dont have to work.
    Wake up please, show us that you do have a brain and can lead.

    2010/2012 REAL Change is coming

    January 21, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  12. awaitingmoderationby CNN

    How much money have we spent on "cities" since back to the Great Society? I am sure this money, more of our tax money, will go to those wonderful community organizers and union and lets include some more teachers (babysitters with degrees and an NEA card). Maybe he can find some more "rich" people (those of us who work and have 401k's and have a sense of personal responsibility) to tax, so that the dope smoking non working, non taxpayers will continue to vote for the idiot.

    January 21, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. Joe Nations


    January 21, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. Mike in VA

    If the people/businesses in those cities do not already do things for themselves there is no amount of Federal money that will change anything. The Democrats have been pumping money into these same cities for 45 years and it just hasn't worked yet the people there keep voting for the same way.

    January 21, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. American

    So, from the first few negative comments here, it is somehow a horrible thing for the leadership in our country to want to help our American cities with economic recovery??

    Please tell me these posters are not so far removed in their partisan nonsense to project such failure on our country. Sad.

    Godspeed, Mr. President just the same! Praying for OUR success.

    January 21, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. Bpin

    Why? Most cities are dying. Effective leaders have long moved away. Our future economic growth is this country is not going to come from but a handful of cities in this country. Best to funnel the money to the larger suburbs where many of the largest companies are moving to. Many cities are dangerous, unattractive, and have corrupt political leaders that would squander any offered help.

    January 21, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. Promises, Promises

    Lets see.

    He said unemployment would never go over 8 %.

    He said all bills would be available for the John Doe Public to see
    BEFORE it was voted on.

    He promised to show the Health Care debate on C-span.

    He promised to be bi-partisian. But yet has his fellow Democrats holding closed door meetings among themselves.

    He promised Health Care Reform, but yet with the MAJORITY, he could not get it passed, blaming the republicans for obstructing it. But yet, all he had to do was line up his own party. He had the votes for a year now.

    He promised open and honest tranperancy. But yet, his democratic party have bribed and paid thier way to what they want with back room deals and thug like tactics.

    He promised to close Gitmo and end the Iraq war. Instead he offers the terror suspects a civil court trial, move them inside american borders, and then sends more troops overseas.

    Soooo, another promise????

    January 21, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  18. NC

    OUCH, Some of you people need to stop being so negative. It is not good for your health. I hope you have health insurance. I guess you do because you are wasting time at work blogging. Can't reduce taxes too much. Some one has to pay for all the services you and your family use.

    January 21, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. Chris D.

    In this specific space in time that we live in, government must step up it's reinvestment into America........It is the only entity that can do so at this point......We needed big government to intervene in the big crash of 08-09, b/c no other entity had the power to deficit spend (yes I said it). Soon the markets will be at full throttle again, and government will have to cut spending and slowly tread away from the private sector........
    All this government intervention, and investment, was a necessary evil if you will.......Though I don't think the USA government is evil......throgh and through anyway....:-)

    January 21, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    I think the only way to fix our economy completely and for good is to implement some type of economic reform to our country; one part can be to reform the 75-80% of our economy that runs purely on foreign oil, energy, and fossil fuels. That, in my opinion, cannot be sustained for much longer at all, and we need to something about that situation that is currently staring us in the face. Here is some of my idea of which I think we should do:
    1. Develop an effective population-control strategy. This will, at least, require more education of people since literacy and population growth are inversly related.
    2. Completely restructure our energy programs. A sustainable global economy is probably impossible is it is based on use of fossil fuels. New energy plans will utilize the concept of an integrated energy policy, with more emphasis on renewable energy sources, solar and wind for example. Finally, conservation of energy must have a central place in our energy managment plans.
    3. Institute economic planning, including development of a tax structure that will encourage population control and wise use of resources. Financial aid for developing countries is absolutely necessary to narrow the gap between rich and poor nations.
    4. Implement social, legal, political, and educational changes that provide for maintenance of a quality local, regional, and global environment. This must be a serious commetment that all the people of the world will cooperate to achieve.
    If anyone else is interested in helping out with this, please give me more ideas; I am planning to write a letter to congress about this issue. Your imput will be highly appreciated and respected fully. Thank you.

    January 21, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. Mlhall

    File under "Sarcasm"
    I guess you want him to create job without money, you also want him to reduce taxes on every one in the USA, you also want him to give incentives to business to create job. I bet you also know how to get that health care without money also. Oh that right you don’t want health care, someone poor might need it and God forbid we help someone poor because that would be welfare. Why doesn’t someone as smart as you go to Washington and tell all those dumb asses up there how to do this. I hope you loose your Job so you can see how the rest of the world live. What is a social welfare programs, who receive these benefits from these social welfare programs, well you know so much about them maybe you do?

    January 21, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. Aspen Professor

    Obama is right about unemployment in our urban centers being way to high. Three major factors should be considered. 1) The Blue-collar jobs are heading overseas. Answer to that - Obama has it right about taxing the overseas profits of our US companies AS EARNED, not when brought back into the US. We can use those taxes to reduce our deficit AND pour aid into small and creative businesses located in the US, that are competing with the companies sending employment overseas. 2) We must spend government dollars buying goods and services from US based corporations whose corporate earnngs are earned and taxed here in the US. 3) We must find an answer to the extreme high school dropout rate. The undereducated will not find jobs easily!

    January 21, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  23. historian

    I wish someone would pay attention to the storms we are experiencing in Phoenix – With all the layoffs our officials have made, who is going to monitor our flooding, dams, snow runoff, etc? We are undergoing flood warnings in parts of Arizona right now but outlying districts no longer have the manpower as they were laid off. My neighborhood is now a slum area. Water bills are going up 9% and sewage is going up 13%. Our electricity is outrageous. The neighborhood used to be beautiful, but now, roofs are missing shingles, paint is peeling off the homes, yards are dust with no place for children to play. To top it off, the Arizona school system placed 46 out of 50 states. Makes you wonder who to vote for....

    January 21, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  24. Rickster

    Barry, please, you've done enough damage already. Just go to the oval office and find a corner to sit in(that should keep him busy for awhile). We'll let you know when your term is up and then you can pack your things and move on.

    January 21, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  25. ICARE

    Obama is going to need more than just 8 months to put 300 million americans, on his back and climb up Mount Everest.

    We gave the elephants 8 years, let's give the donkeys 8 years to fix it.

    The best we can do in these times is to KEEP voicing common sense policies and make sure it gets heard. It CANT BE tax cuts. We hav done that for 8 years.

    To grow the economy, GASOLINE should be at $1.00. Nobody has a job. There's no reason for it to be at $3.00 or above. We need to club a few oil companies in the knees for price gouging.

    If you reduce gasoline price, the economy will pick up. Peoplewill have more to spend..... then invest heavily in NEW initiatives that will fule new job growth!!! 700 billion dollars should have gone to investing into the future. Instead, 50% went to tax cuts...

    Voters: Dumb sheeps: cant tell an elephant from a donkey = people that constantly remind our govt that they work for the people

    Republi CORP or Republi CON: too smart, cant hear U = in love with
    scrooges = nothing for the people = see past 8 years = creates wealth
    for a few in the form of borrowing = Gives handouts of 1 trillion
    dollars to billionaires = Has great family values and respects it = Likes throwing the economy off a cliff= See last 8 years

    Dumbo CRAT = dumb enough to listen = Usually cleans up after the
    elephants' mess = Willing to set the foundation to revive the economy = Creates wealth for all = Always give something back to the public= creates wealth for the mass = see Clinton years, FDR

    January 21, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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