Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Valid Critique - But its Early!

An interesting criticism of the Obama administration's first 100 days. His promise of aid for urban areas hasn't materialized as some had hoped. It seems the "White House Office for Urban Policy" is leaving something to be desired.

"When the office was officially formed in mid-February, urbanists rejoiced: “It’s past time,” said Elnora Watson, president of the Urban League in Jersey City, N.J., as she walked the halls of Congress recently. “Way past time,” added Ella Teal, another Urban League president from the neighboring city of Elizabeth. “Cities will lead America,” Newark Mayor Cory Booker said at an April speech on city government in Washington. “When it comes to industry, innovation, education and the arts … cities are where it’s at.”"

"But celebrations about the potential triumph of urban policy may be premature. In recent weeks, the Obama administration has begun referring to the office as “urban affairs,” rather than “urban policy,” a small but notable downgrade."

Unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, failing businesses and schools, along with home foreclosures still need the intense focus of Washington, if we are to pull out of this recession. And while the president's efforts to deal with the economy are yielding some results, we can't afford to see him neglect or inadequately tend to our cities.

The Root's Dayo Olopade has a point, "Symbolism alone will not solve all of the pressing issues facing American cities. But many urban interest groups retain high hopes for the new office. “We’re all waiting and watching,” says Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, president of Green for All, which promotes green jobs for people of color. “For issues like retrofitting and weatherization, we need that office to be successful.” Team Obama is rarely shy about advertising its own successes. And the White House will undoubtedly hype several legislative and diplomatic victories during the 100-day sprint. So it’s worth waiting and watching to see if cities are indeed “the solution”—or if substantive, transformational change remains an urban legend."

But let's remember, President Obama has more than 100 days!


Chris said...

Are you sure you're in line for the Urban Policy? There is the housing crisis, car crisis, bank crisis, health crisis, unemployment crisis,and now the pig flu crisis. Get in line quick!

Gerald Britt said...


I hear you! But, again, that's why I'm glad the term is four years!