tv U.S. Conference of Mayors Press Conference CSPAN January 24, 2018 8:15pm-9:02pm EST
biannual meeting. we will bring you scenes from the meeting and visit to the white house. later, senators hold a hearing to examine emerging innovations in the automotive industry. several democratic mayors declined an invite to the white house. cnn reports that at least the mayors of three cities that received justice department letters were meant to attempt the -- attend the meeting. otherree and several democrat mayors responded at a press conference. here is a look.
>> all right, mayors. mayors of america, welcome and thank you for joining us for our winter meeting. think to welcome and mayor stephen benjamin, brian ornette, fellow mayors from across america representing 85% of the americans who live in this country. we are thrilled to be here in our winter meeting. this week we are here to learn from each other and share best practices and also to help the folks in washington to understand cities and present ourselves as a willing, constructive, able partner in governing the united states. we are here to engage and lead.
this week we have already met with members of congress from membersties, business and civil rights leaders. we just finished a great meeting with the business community and mayors across america. conversationshard about what it takes to solve washington cannot begin to touch on them. detailed discussions about infrastructure. how it helps all americans and how we can all go forward together. the same issues with jobs, health care, immigration, security, safety is our first priority. and of course equity because if we do not go forward together we can't go forward at all. on these issues, i would lay ads -- odds that if we put five republican and democrat mayors
in a room, they would come up with a law that is bipartisan fast enough to make your head spin. in a way that grows our economy with the respect they deserve. american citizens are the backbone of this country. population,f the theof the gdp, hold 88% of country's jobs. we do this in concert with and with great respect for our brothers and sisters who live in world areas and we in fact depend on each other for our lives and values and way of life. on this issue and others, america's mayors have stood up for what is smart and right. we do not have the luxury of cherry picking any individual issue.
they all happening -- they all happen on the streets at the same time. one pushes the other and it circles back and hits you. chaos, confusion coming from washington and it causes anxiety. working families want their leaders to work on solutions that will lead to better up to -- better opportunities for their families to succeed. in realave to govern , based inn reality fact. sometimes even in spite of what is happening in washington dc. spend time we will with the women's mayor alliances on pertinent issues and we look forward to that conversation. we are not just having conversations, we are going to work. we have a united group of bipartisan mayors and are
modeling exactly how public service can impact communities and we are working with each lives and we are trying to show constructive leadership and hope to find partners in washington willing to get the job done. are ensuring the safety and security of all our communities. first priority. fixing our crumbling infrastructure in a meaningful way that gives people hope and freedom. expand our workforce so that everybody participates in a growing economy. opportunities for all. on the infrastructure bill, we have to talk about what it is in cities big and small there is a $5 trillion infrastructure deficit that makes us
uncompetitive with some competing international partners. we have to talk about making sure that the money gets to the people who know how to make it well, on time, on task, and under which it. that is the individuals standing behind me today. they do it every day. day it is of the important that we all work together. that we display courage and that we have one accord with the american people. i am proud to be standing with the best leaders in america, and i hope over the next few days we can engage in difficult discussions so that america can be free and proud. now i want to call up steve benjamin. thank you so much. mayor benjamin.
[applause] >> i just want to thank you and our leadership team and tom cochran for convening us this week. it is hot here and it is packed. it is not going to get left hot or less fact. -- less packed. america needs to see what we have assembled here. to be inays a pleasure the company of all of these men and women who are getting things lines,ross party consistently showing up to do the work of the american people. i want to welcome all of our newly elected colleagues. you will see dozens of men and of both-- men and women parties across this country who are excited to get the work of
america done. as a nation, we are living in turbulent times. but cities and the people who live in them, we cannot sit idly by while washington decides what it wants to do and who it wants to do it for. so whether we are talking about nearly 800,000 dreamers who deserve a more certain future and opportunity to work in our cities, whether we are talking about our efforts to address infrastructure and infrastructure needs across this country to make sure we remain the strongest and most powerful nation in the history of the world, gun safety, climate change, mayors every day get the job done. as far as politics and divisive rhetoric, we all pay the price.
we are attempting to help our communities make sense of what is not happening in washington d c. where have -- we are left having to explain how such an abundantly wealthy country sometimes behaves morally bankrupt. we do not want to shift the burden of cost or cause irreversible damage to our schools or public safety. ,he next few days, i ankara geo you will see problem-solving in action. men and women from across this and as far away as hawaii and alaska working together to address real issues. with renewed commitment to leading our cities and this
great country. i want to thank you for being here and i yield the microphone to the mayor of rochester hills, michigan. [applause] >> good afternoon. i want to thank the leadership of mayor landrieu and mayor benjamin for getting us here and the u.s. conference of mayors and tom cochran for all of the logistical support. it is not as easy as it might look. date -- navigating washington is also not easy. it is not easy for elected mayors. one thing mayors are exceptional at is staying focused on the people we represent. that means focusing on issues like innovation and immigration
and infrastructure. there are no better people, as washington often looks for solutions, then the people i am gathered with here because they understand how to get jobs done on time, delivering results for the people. mayors do not have the luxury for rhetoric that is often so common here in this city. we deal in the world of results. we have to. what we will focus on in the next several days in a bipartisan fashion is making sure those items that draws here together, whether we come from large or small cities, staying at the top of that agenda. to make sure we continue delivering for the people who elected us. it is my privilege to continue working with these mayors and i think you will see some good
things happen over the next two days. as washington looks for solutions, i tell you those solutions are standing behind me. thank you. [applause] washington looks for solutions and sometimes they look away from them. i want to thank everybody for being here. none of us can afford a government shutdown. our residents would not allow us to have that. building a about future and one of the conversations we just had was about inclusive economic growth. chicago, we are going from a kindergarten to high school model to a pre-k to college model. you're going to have to start earlier in life and go longer to succeed. we cannot have an economy or city with one future if not everybody has the educational tools to succeed in that economy.
you can be proud of your statistics, but if you do not have a passport to that economy, which is an education, it is not an economy that embraces your inclusion. we are now on our way in chicago , if you get a b average in high school, community college is free. if you keep that average, you to 40% offered 25% tuition. -- we are on our way to universal pre-k. component is a key and we will be talking about how that through your education and you have a passport to the future. in that spirit of inclusiveness, a welcomingalways
city. theher you traveled atlantic, pacific, rio, or mississippi, you saw the promise that your children could have a better life and through sacrifice and struggle, you gave it to them. the chicago public scholarship is open to dreamers. only one in the country. actuallythat you would -- chicago was the only city in the civil war that did not participate in the fugitive slave act. it was the first welcoming city in the united states. and chicago will not turn its back on people who believe for their children that america is still a place of promise.
and the idea that the president would arrest any of us for believing in our ideals is wrong. fundamentally wrong. [applause] >> mayor emanuel: how to find solutions to problems. put people on edge. [applause] mayor garcetti: thank you so much for your powerful words. thank you mitch for all that you have done. i am so excited to be here. whenever i see it as mayors, i get very excited.
mayors are engaged in practical work. reflect the day, we values of this country and have the trust of americans. trust because people know local leaders cannot fix everything overnight. they will not make magic in a single day but we are interested as residents in those very same immunities. -- communities. if this was a conference in washington 30 years ago, people were leaving cities and cities were even burning. the opposite is happening. people are coming back to cities in america. -- myage to washington message to washington is very clear. we are here to save you.
politics dividing itself fromat they can take away the american people and what they can do to divide us. we judge our success by what we add or how we multiply our successes. we share the stories. i am excited to bring the summer games back to america for the first time in 30 years and los angeles. while washington is finally talking about infrastructure, we have been passing 250 billion dollars worth of infrastructure and our cities on our own. it is time for washington to match us. sure our tax dollars come back to our cities. today,ove forward here
we may see some people who send out tweets, but we are fixing the streets. we are going out there and taking politics seriously. we want to see things get done. we have often helped each other out, sometimes even build each other out. eachother out. these threats are nothing short of a distraction. when you're threatening people with things that are not going to happen, if you do not listen professionals, if you are to pro-economy to stop , then sure,s distract this country from your
lack of work but the mayors are getting back to. estamos aqui. aqui.mucho [indiscernible] mucho gracias. [applause] mayor for your leadership. you have heard from all of the mayors who have spoken to what we are here to do in washington. we come together because we are a nonpartisan organization and we are here to help each other. we are here to stand with one another. you have heard about all of the
challenges that we face. we will take it up because that is a we do as mayors. we solve problems. we make things work for our people. all of those people who live in our communities, all of us, came to this country as immigrants. exceptd every one of us, for the native americans. countryrateful for this and for being welcomed by the native americans. addressing an be issue that is of great importance to our nation. that is about women. women's voices. it is time that the women of the u.s. conference of ayers and our colleagues who stand with us, our male colleagues who stand with us, and say yes, women's voices need to be heard.
i am proud to be part of that movement. i am proud to be part of supporting the voices of women. leadershipn excel at in elected office, in the suite of america, in the boardrooms of america, in nonprofit organizations. we have something to offer. women, bring something different to the table. together, we can make great things happen. both the patriarchs and matriarchs of this nation. we stand together because we are mayors, proud mayors, and we know how to get things done. we balance our budgets. sure, i am a minnesota
mayor and i know how to clean streets. we make sure the snow removal vehicles are out on the streets because otherwise, we will hear from our constituents. washington does not know that. we are 24/7. when something happens in our community, they do not call washington. they do not call the legislators. i'm soll the mayor's proud to be cup -- standing here with my colleagues for the good of the people that we serve. for each and every person who lives in this great country of ours, god bless america and god bless america's mayors.
>> think you for all of your comments. there is an elephant in the room and i will address it now. oft people that the people america should understand very clearly, about the people standing around me, is number -- therepresent we totality and diversity of america. we represent every corner of this great nation. the second thing is this, mayors run through the fire. we never run away from the fire because people's lives depend on it. the white house decided to engage in what is going to be a total distraction. you will watch the mayors of america get back to work and figure out solutions to problems. let me say a couple of things.
everybody knows by now that the department of justice has just raising theter, issue of century cities once again. they have threatened cities in the united states of america with funds for law enforcement, homeland security, and any other funds that they may have. ever recall a time in the history of america when this is happened. i can never recall a situation where someone professes to want to work with other people, punches them in the face first, and says, now i would like to talk to. we are at the conference of mayors. almost every year, we are invited to the white house. this year, it did not happen.
we were supposed to go to the white house this afternoon at 3:00. some mayors will attend and some will not. we all do not agree in this realm on the pathway forward on immigration. it is worth noting however it that if the president of the united states would do his job, we would not be having this discussion at all. reformensive immigration would make this country better. [applause] we find ourselves standing in this moment at a very awkward place. it is worth noting just for a second about how we got here and why. if we had an issue like this amongst us, we would meet in a room and hash it out respectively. we would certainly not invite somebody to our house for lunch and then export the eight them on the front porch. my mom taught me better.
haveas we stand here, we 23 of our mayors that are now under threat of prosecution because of something that the president has called sanctuary cities. for those of you in this room that have followed this issue, you know there is no definition and federal raw -- law for a sanctuary city. it is impossible to violate a law that does not.exist secondly, it is the priority of every mayor to make sure that their citizens are safe. public safety is our number one priority. there is not a mayor in america that would not put a person who has committed a violent criminal act in jail. the third thing that i would like to know is that under this administration, and with what congress has recently done, they
have recently cut funds to homeland security taking a harder for us to protect our cities. we are very interested in having that discussion every day, all day. what we are not willing to do is to stand idly by when it you threaten the mayors of america for following the constitution of the americans -- united states. it is very important for the president and congress to understand that. i have personally met with the attorney general at least, three times on this issue and the departments have not come forward with a constructive way to solve this particular problem. i am sorry mr. president that you and congress cannot figure out how to handle the daca issue last week. is last thing you should do put it on the head's the mayors of america. job to save lives and
we think we do it well. with that, i will call on anyone who may have a question. >> what does it tell you that after meeting with the justice department that they have gone this route? will you comply with the subpoenas? i am going to let a number of mayors on that list speak to. >> they are wrong about the city of new orleans. with the be clear people of the united states of america, with the department of justice is acid is to do is to violate the constitution. the mayors of america want to comply with the constitution. of america and every police chief, the number one priority is to make the streets of america safe. that is what we have been doing. we will take up this issue in a forthright way.
i just want to set this out clearly for the people of america as a watch what just happened. what could have happened was, would you guys please come to the white house so we could have a constructive conversation about immigration reform and by the way, we would like to talk about security cities. -- sanctuary cities. "do ts the way that we, higns". do ishink that we never invite people to a comfortable space and then somehow, out the front throw a bomb so the conversation starts off on a negative way. that is not the way to get to a couple answer for the american public. we are not just talking about how you model behavior and leadership and courage, we are putting the issue itself aside.
on the issue itself, we are going cap mayors of america who have now had a bull's-eye on their back, come up and speak specifically about what their thoughts are. i have a sneaking suspicion that mayor emanuel will be the first up. >> will new orleans comply? >> we are not on the list. mayor emanuel: first of all, you should know that we filed a suit against the justice department. just last friday, it was in front of the appellate judge. chicagong is related to being a welcoming city. it is actually, of national importance. it is not just reflective of chicago.
the opportunity that through sacrifice and struggle, your kids can have a better future. kidsl never allow those and their families to note that the city is not behind them and their future and their sacrifices. law and is clear on its , we is even more damaging all operate with community policing. we build a relationship between the law enforcement community, the residents, and we work together to reduce public safety threats and work together to build trust. do that if you-- drive a wedge between the immigrant community and law enforcement. it is contrary to public safety. it is contrary to the values of our nation and it is contrary to the ideal of the law that we
have established. the idea that you are also going to take leaders, mayors and put them in legal and criminal jeopardy because there is a disagreement, whereas the course of party ruled in our favor, it is really an amazing take for the attorney general to disregard what the court system has already said uniformly, from , applies.oast each one of the mayors appear, there's more about the public safety of our people than anyone living outside of our cities. >> there is not a single layer in this country that says, if your criminal, come over. this is a mess. it is pure politics. let us be clear about what this is.
it is the politics of distraction and disruption. this president is very obsessed with a gang called ms-13. we have cut crime by half in los angeles. thatve built the trust mayor emanuel mentioned, every single one of these mayors have to do every day with her immigrant community. ironically, this administration cut the grant and is set to further cut grants that we literally use to fund the cops that go after ms-13. taking the money away from our police to do that does not make sense. as police officers, the worst call to get is for a police
officer to be shot. a korean woman dreamed of becoming a los angeles police officer. she was at a traffic stop when someone leaned out of their window and shot nine bullets towards them. luckily, it hit her in the leg. because she is strong, she is out of the hospital today. we got that would be cut killer in minutes because there was trust with a highly immigrant community in the area just west of downtown los angeles. many of him probably undocumented. listen to police officers, they know what works. you can threaten subpoenas, you can threaten arrest, and we will keep abiding by the constitution
and keeping our people safe. [applause] >> before we get off this topic, i want to stress that not every mayor in this conference is on the same page as it relates to immigration. differenceay have a of opinions but we are not far off in how we feel about treating this issue. i do want to give a chance to any other mayor that wants to speak on this specific issue right now because i know we have other questions. anybody else? >> i am the mayor of louisville. my name is greg fisher. i want to emphasize people trusting each other in hopes of a better tomorrow. -- this trust,t, we are going to have to fight every day.
we also expect a certain level of competence drum elected officials. insist thattoday people send proof that they are in compliance with federal law. i would bet that many of us here have already done that. perhaps, the mailbox of the doj should be checked so that they can see that the mayors of america have been doing their job and responding when required. >> steve adler from austin texas. we are not on the list and i think that is because we are involved with court action with our state on a recently adopted statue in texas. is onesident, there additional messaging point that i think is really important for the media to understand.
immigration debate as you would call it, began with a political and rhetorical effort to make us afraid of one another. it was about dividing us. it was about making us beer one another -- beer one another based on lies -- fear one another based on lies. fear the us to immigrant populations of our communities when in fact, the incidence of crime around the country and in our cities is lower in the immigration communities than in the general public. the criminal records of undocumented is lower than it is among the general population. if you are really serious about lowering the levels of crime in the country, one way to do it
would be to invite in more immigrants because it would actually average down that number. the rhetorical and political devices to make us afraid of one another, is dangerous. thank you. my name is ted wheeler, i am the mayor of portland, oregon. this is one of the most disappointing actions from a white house in my lifetime. is soason it disappointing to me is that it demonstrates the lack of a moral compass and the leadership of the united states of america. that not only insulting the attorney general would send a notice to us here today, knowing that we are coming here,
knowing that there is a delegation going to the white house to have a conversation with the president and the president's senior staffers, it is more than insulting. it is dangerous. it is dangerous for any white house to threaten duly elected leaders for following the law and following the united states constitution. countryle of this should hold jeff sessions and the white house accountable for this action. that this isknow not what the people of the united states of america agree to. this is not the value of america. this is not who we are fundamentally as a people and we will not stand for it. [applause] i am test -- the mayor of
albany, new york. i just want to echo that this attempt to make us fear our immigrant communities is not only wrong but in the city of albany, immigrants are far more likely to be victims of crime than to be perpetrators. if we do not engage in the committee policing that we engage in that encourages that community to come forward, it encourages them to make their fear, heard and not be in our communities will be weaker and more dangerous places. the work that we are doing on the street as mayors with our police chiefs understanding our communities, is incredibly important in keeping those communities safe. i would call upon the white house and the department of justice to sit down and talk to with oure we do work friends in the federal
government. we do want to ensure that our cities are safe. we have a few things that they may be able to learn by simply sitting down and speaking with us. >> hang on just a second. you, we are not going to let president trump or the attorney general keep us off balance or off focus. i am going to say to think's -- two things, then we will turn to questions. , i want you to hear this clearly. we will not be divided and we will not be intimidated. if you congress do their job, you should be a fix this problem. we speak plainly and authentically too. the second thing on infrastructure, go big or go home.
that is our position on infrastructure. hear our position on other issues, let us get back to work. i'm sure courthouses will be full this afternoon. on because editions by threatening duly elected officials who are doing everything we can to keep the citizens of the united states say. -- safe. >> you mentioned infrastructure. the president's infrastructure package is supposed. to be out before the end of the month what it's it that you would like to see in the bill? >> i would like it to work. we have a $5 trillion deficit in a america. the president correctly said when he was running that america is getting beaten all around the world.
drainageer and systems, our ports, airports, they all need a lot of help. our president wants to take it away from funds that otherwise, keep our cities standing. if in fact, you want to solve not just put a band-aid on it, we want to engage in this issue on a constructive way. it is hard to engage in constructive conversations about other issues when you're dealing and a nonconstructive way with this issue. >> i just want to say one thing on this. billion, $200 trillion goal is not real.
i also think, the two issues are related. the president of the united states and his administration purposely, issued the subpoenas today because they do not want to have a conversation about infrastructure. we all see that the emperor wears no close. -- clothes. we cannot do the type of investments we need to do havese he did not want to a serious conversation of how to build roads. we actually have to make that happen and their plans do not actually fund the future of america. >> will you be attending the meeting at the white house? what do you hope comes out of that meeting? not go to that meeting. i was planning on attending.
we have been in communication with some of the staffers. individual members of an invited but the conference is not. typically, the protocol had always been that all of the mayor's are invited. certainly, not more than 40% of us. i think a lot of us intended to go. cannot, in good conscience, go to a meeting under false pretenses to talk about with a whitee house fully new what we were doing and how we were doing it. though not send the right message.
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