MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former three-term New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg got rock star treatment from more than 300 mayors Monday at the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Miami Beach. He came bearing gifts to help cities cope with issues he says Washington is ignoring.
Bloomberg said it will fall to cities to solve national and world problems.
“We’re in the middle of an era defined by partisan paralysis, and nowhere is it worse than in Washington D.C.,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned Republican-turned Independent, did not support Donald Trump for president, instead endorsing Hillary Clinton.
Most big city mayors lean left and feel left twisting in the wind by the Trump administration on issues ranging from climate change, to crime, to immigration, health care and more.
“On nearly all the big issues, Washington has been AWOL, and as further budget cuts loom, the situation is going to go from bad to worse,” Bloomberg told the conference.
The mayors know they’ll have to work to effect change on issues such as immigration, as an anti-immigrant sentiment is propelled by the Trump administration.
“We’ve got to get along. We don’t kick people out, we welcome people in. We share our diversity, which actually brings us together,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell of Honolulu.
With gun control not in the sights of leadership on Capitol Hill, cities are going to have to be innovative to deal with crime.
“Economic development, housing policies, parks programs, officers, training; we have to look at everything to keep communities safe,” said Mayor Oliver Gilbert of Miami Gardens.
The outlook from Bloomberg?
“As the dysfunction in Washington has grown even worse, the need for bold city leadership has grown more urgent,” he said.
With that, Bloomberg announced his charity will spend $200 million, seed money to cities to help deal with global warming, fight crime, provide health care, improve education and a host of other issues.
Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative program will dole out of the money to cities that develop innovative, effective plans to make improvements.
Cities will compete for grants, with the best ideas getting the money.
“The fact that Mayor Bloomberg, who I call the Mick Jagger of mayors, has come through with this program shows that people understand the importance of mayors,” said Miami Beach’s Philip Levine.
The “Mick Jagger” of mayors wowed a roomful at the Fontainebleau, interrupted frequently by applause and receiving several standing ovations.
“President Trump was invited, repeatedly, to address the conference of mayors, but did not respond to the invitations,” according to Levine.