Marion Barry, former 4-term mayor of Washington DC, has died at the age of 78.
Twin Cities TV station KSTP ran a story alleging that Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges threw gang signs titled "Mpls. Mayor Flashes Gang Sign with Convicted Felon; Law Enforcement Outraged." Shawn King suggests it's an early frontrunner for most racist news story of 2014. Commentator Nekima Levy-Pounds points out that the media went to tired stereotypes instead of telling the actual story of civic engagement. Images tagged #Pointergate have proliferated online. Former Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe refuses to weigh in, saying he "can only deal with one 'gate' idiocy at a time", despite the fact that this one actually is about journalism ethics.
Tom Menino, Boston's 53rd and longest-serving mayor, dies at 71. He had recently published his memoirs, but announced last week that he was suspending both his book tour and his cancer treatments. "Because of his leadership," current Mayor Marty Walsh said in a released statement, "Boston is a better place today." That is an understatement -- some polls showed that more than fifty percent of Bostonians had met him at one time or another; Tom Menino was the People's Mayor. [more inside]
When last we checked in with Toronto mayor Rob Ford, he had just come back from a stint in rehab. The ensuing summer found him apparently clean and sober, although still with an aura of scandal (last weekend he was subpoenaed in an extortion case) and despite great efforts, polls had Ford trailing by more than ten points in the race in August. Earlier this week, things took another shocking turn when he was admitted to hospital with an abdominal tumour. With 2:00 PM today as the deadline for candidates to add or remove their names to or from the ballot, many speculated on how Ford's health concerns would affect the race (the two candidates polling in fourth and fifth bowed out of the race in the last two weeks). This morning, hours before the deadline, Ford announced he was withdrawing his name from the mayoral ballot, but he would be running for city council. He has asked his brother and erstwhile campaign manager, rookie councillor Doug Ford, to run for mayor in his place. [more inside]
Jane Byrne was the first, and, so far, only, female mayor of Chicago, serving from 1979-1983. [more inside]
When Bill de Blasio takes the oath of office on Wednesday to become New York City's mayor, one of the first things on his agenda will be the fight to ban horse drawn carriages in Central Park. [more inside]
Yesterday's debate among the four mayoral candidates in St. Paul, Minnesota had some pretty interesting moments. Current mayor Chris Coleman's facial expressions are not to be missed. Yay democracy!
In a special election to fill the seat of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg, Newark Mayor Cory Booker (Booker previously on the Metafilter) has defeated Tea Party favorite Steve Lonegan. [more inside]
In the aftermath of one of the strangest political scandals ever to plague the mayor of a major North American city, Rob Ford oversees the unveiling of a high-profile portrait of himself by a sitting councilor, made at the request of Ford's mother. The artist describes the piece as complex, but a lot remains unsaid regarding the weight Ford's personality carries into the realm of portrait.
"So, after reading all his sexts and stuff, it’s basically impossible for me to not hear every single thing Anthony Weiner says as some sort of horrible half-assed double entendre sexty come-on. So I cut together a few of his recent public statements to demonstrate why I laugh every time he speaks." (SLYTP)
After gossip site The Dirty posted explicit Facebook chats between NYC Mayoral frontrunner Anthony Weiner (previously) and a young Democratic organizer who initially wrote to castigate him for his original scandal, he was forced to acknowledge that "his habit of sending racy messages to women had persisted long after his resignation." The New York Times has called for him to drop out. So has the Wall Street Journal. So have his opponents, somewhat predictably, for obcuring the issues with "a never-ending sideshow." His support is dwindling, but a lingering question is: will (and should) voters even care?
The race for one of the worst jobs in America took a sharp turn this week as Mike Duggan was removed from the ballot for the Detroit mayoral election. [more inside]
Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin’s Post-Scandal Playbook (Spoiler: The disgraced Congressman is likely running for Mayor of New York City. SLNYT, Via)
"He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith. He fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people. Above all, he loved his country, the United States of America, in whose armed forces he served in World War II." - a self-written epitaph by the former 105"Hizzoner" passed away on Friday morning at the age of 88, and the New York Times City Room blog spent the day collecting and posting stories about him. [more inside]
thMayor of New York City: Edward Irving Koch.
Don't look now, but Toronto mayor (and perennial Metafilter favourite) Rob Ford may be kicked out of office due to a conflict of interest charge. [more inside]
During his tenure as Mayor of New York City, "public health autocrat" Michael Bloomberg has attempted to regulate trans fats, smoking and sugar-filled sodas. Now, he has a fresh target: moms who don't breastfeed. Beginning September 3, NYC hospitals participating in a new, voluntary program: Latch-On NYC (press release / posters / FAQ -pdf-), will make formula less accessible, to encourage moms of newborns to breastfeed instead of using formula. [more inside]
Not The Onion: Cat Mayor celebrates 15th Year in Office. Stubbs (C-AK) is not the first or only non-human elected mayor of an American town; two dogs and a goat have shared the same honor.
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts. Mr. Bloomberg’s proposal requires the approval of the Board of Health, a step that is considered likely because the members are all appointed by him, and the board’s chairman is the city’s health commissioner, who joined the mayor in supporting the measure on Wednesday.
In 2002, the Hartlepool United F.C mascot, H'Angus the Monkey (so named because local fishermen once hanged a monkey in the mistaken belief it was a Napoleonic spy), was elected to the office of Mayor of Hartlepool with promises of free bananas for schoolchildren. In 2010, the man behind the monkey suit, Stuart Drummond, was elected for his third term and has been voted among the ten best mayors in the world. [more inside]
New Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (previously and previously) announced today that he is canceling the Transit City LRT construction plan so the city can concentrate on building subways. The fact that millions of dollars have already been spent and that new subway lines might not be finished until 2020 is apparently beside the point. What matters, according to Ford, is that “The war on the car is over.”
In stark contrast to the recent results of the Torontontian mayoral results, last week, Calgary, the third-largest "municipality" in Canada, elected the country's first Muslim mayor, Naheed Nenshi. [more inside]
As mentioned previously, Toronto's mayoral candidates are almost farcical, with the most boring candidate caught in a sex scandal, another candidate who has the world's worst case of foot in mouth disease, and another who thought that presenting himself as a Mafia Don was a good idea. Thankfully, there's still Steve Murray. Because Toronto deserves something. If only he hadn't missed the registration deadline. [more inside]
Meet Rob Ford, the frontrunner in Toronto's mayoral electoral race. He has complained about city spending on AIDS prevention, claiming that only homosexuals and drug users are at serious risk of getting AIDS. He says he supports the views of a right-wing pastor who thinks that same-sex marriage will "dismantle" civilization.He has called Asian people "Orientals" and suggested that they are taking over, then when rebuked explained that he thought this was a positive thing. He has suggested that Toronto cannot handle any more immigrants and that in a "perfect world" Toronto's population would remain even. He recently suggested banning marathons from public streets. And now, he has released his long-awaited financial plan with a bizarrely bad Youtube video where he stammers his way through a series of savings promises that simply do not add up. So what should we do when Rob Ford becomes mayor? That's easy. Make lots of Photoshop memes.
Richard M. Daley announces he will not run for re-election as mayor of Chicago in 2011. In the past half-century, Chicago has had only 13 years when a Daley was not mayor. Is this fallout from RMD's botched, and, many say, ill advised, Olympic bid? Or just the fact that the city is more strapped for cash than ever? Should be interesting.
Though her nomination was a joke, instigated by a group of men hoping to inhibit the local activities of the Women's Christian Temperance Union by embarrassing female voters, Susanna Madora "Dora" Kinsey Salter surprised the pranksters by winning two-thirds of the vote in the mayoral election of 1887 in tiny Argonia, Kansas, becoming not only America's first female mayor, but also earning the distinction of being the first woman elected to any political office in the United States. Her official notice of election read: Madam, You are hereby notified that at an election held in the city of Argonia on Monday April 4/87, for the purpose of electing city officers, you were duly elected to the office of Mayor of said city. You will take due notice thereof and govern yourself accordingly. Though she only served one term and had no further political ambitions, she became a hero of the early women's suffrage movement. [more inside]
The comic series Ex Machina [PDF preview] was started in 2004, created by Y: The Last Man writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Tony Harris. The main character, Mitchell Hundred, is an ex-superhero who hangs up his jetpack and successfully runs for mayor of New York City in an alternate post-9/11 timeline. The last issue (#50), released this week, concluded the series with a harsh yet wonderfully written view of Hundred's political fate. BKV talks about the final issue with IGN [Spoilers].
Antanas Mockus, a Lithuanian-Colombian mathematician-philosopher and former mayor of Bogota, is running for president of Colombia. As president of the Colombian National University, he mooned the student body. In two terms as mayor, he hired mimes to stand on corners with red "INCORRECTO" banners to humiliate Bogota's legendarily reckless drivers, took a shower on TV to demonstrate water conservation, and instituted a one-night men-only curfew so the city's women could enjoy a single-sex night out (as seen previously on MetaFilter.) Mockus will be the Green Party candidate in the May 30 election, part of a crowded field with no overwhelming favorite. Mockus on Twitter (en espanol.) Mockus campaign commercial (en espanol tambien.) Mockus speaks at Harvard's Kennedy School (in English, long.)
Annise Parker, current City Controller of Houston, has defeated Gene Locke in a runoff election for mayor. She is the first openly gay person to lead a major U.S. city.
Meet Justin Nickels, the 22-year-old grocery store cashier and college student who was just elected Mayor of Manitowoc, WI by a margin of 15 votes.
Sam Adams, the recently elected openly gay mayor of Portland, Oregon, has come under fire for lying about a relationship he had with a teenage legislative intern in 2005 named Beau Breedlove. When first asked about the relationship in 2007 during the election campaign, Sam (then 42) claimed he was being a mentor to the young man. Sam recently cut short a trip to DC to return to Portland to publicly apologize and control damage over a new article in which he admits to having a sexual relationship with Beau. It's got the town divided over whether he should resign of if the whole thing is being blown out of proportion.
The recent election season in the US was marked by many firsts. One you might not know about: Silverton, Oregon has elected Stu Rasmussen as their mayor. Stu is believed to be the first ever openly transgender mayor in the United States.
A SWAT team in Maryland raids a city's mayor's house and kills his dogs. Oh, and the warrant was wrong.
The United States Conference of Mayors will take place from June 20th-24th in Miami, FL. The agenda (pdf) includes rising energy costs, housing, water, transportation, street crime, public schools, gangs, health care quality and costs, secure airports and ports, illegal guns, drugs, and immigration with a special focus on climate protection initiatives. Not to mention speakers Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Clinton. [more inside]
Boston Mayor Tom Menino is running for president. Here's why he'd be a better president than Mitt Romney. And he's done vocals for a techno track.
Mayor Ken Williams of Centerton, Arkansas, recently resigned over allegations of identity theft and other weirdness. He claims that a truth serum injection helped him to recognize that he was formerly The Rev. Don LaRose. He runs a website telling the "amazing story" (in 11 chapters) of his abduction by satan-worshippers three decades ago.
He once stopped a school bus on a busy interstate because he “needed a hug” from the kids inside. He’s been known to strap weapons to his chest and leg that he has no authority to carry or conceal, then wear them in public. He once bulldozed an elderly woman’s house, promising to build her a better one. He then forgot to build it. He recruited a team of kids to torch a row of dilapidated shotgun houses, without clearance or first turning off the utilities. Meet The Worst Mayor In America.
"Even the greatest cities have further greatness in them. I will stand for a greater London and for putting the smile back on London's face." Boris Johnson announces his candidacy for Mayor of London, though he is yet to be endorsed by the Conservative Party. Though decidedly right wing in his views (this clip, perhaps more than any other summarises his view on Europe, for example) his very English brand of buffoonery lends him unique appeal (though not universally).
Public gatherings restricted? Check. Shutdown of independent businesses? Check. Lockdown on traffic and transportation in the area? You bet. Lawmakers in Baltimore trying to curb the city's homicide rate (already 108 this year) have come up with some "desperate measures" of questionable constitutional legality, including heightening police presence in order to lockdown streets in "emergency areas." It has been called, "partial martial law" by some, and one has to wonder if the city of Baltimore may not do better to take a page from The Wire's Hamsterdam for a solution to their inextricably linked drug and homicide issues.
Unconventional Wisdom: Vote Local, Impact National? The City of Philadelphia often serves as a test-market for the introduction of goods and services, due to demographics that are sometimes representative of the country as a whole. Many of the usual tenets of political conventional wisdom have not held true in this election. A city still geographically divided by the artifacts of redlining did not have a campaign reflective of the population's breakdown by race (although the results map [PDF] implies a racial deliniation, with a largely-white Northeast Philadelphia preferring candidate Knox). The candidate with the largest war chest and most TV advertising did not win. Incumbents with various amounts of local name recognition (and even the support of a BIG NAME) could not garner a simple majority of the vote. Tremendous Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) efforts by local labor and the party-machine proved fruitless. And save for some swiftboating and alleged dirty-tricks at the end, the campaign was fought cleanly. Given that, the recently completed Primary Election and Great Expectations for the Next Mayor of the City of Philadelphia may serve as an example of newly-evolving voter behavior, where a brainy policy-wonk is the people's choice versus the usual suspects.
An assassin with alleged links to the underworld shot and killed the mayor of Nagasaki yesterday. Nagasaki Mayor Iccho Ito was a tireless anti-nuclear proliferation activist who travelled the world to spread his pacifist message and help serve witness to the horrors of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His comments during bombing anniversaries have criticized the United States as well as North Korea and Iran for contributing to proliferation.
King Mike for Monarch NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg stars in a political ad parody. From the Inner Circle, via YouTube.
London's mayor suspended for four weeks for comparing a Jewish journalist to a concentration camp guard.
Only in Tucson can the Mayor and his wife get rear-ended by a stagecoach. It all happened during the annual Rodeo parade in downtown Tucson. There is a fantastic made for TV video of it attached this story.
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