The National League of Cities is holding its annual “Congress of Cities” and Exposition through Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina. Grinnell Mayor Gordon Canfield calls it an “action-packed” agenda. There were a lot of meetings today (Friday) that had to do with leading cities in times of disaster, and leaders from New Orleans were there as well as mayors from other gulf-coast cities to talk about their experiences and what’s happening with the cities.
Canfield says there were also workshops on running a city, a job that he says “never ends.” He says leadership-training institutes and seminars are well-attended because, “There’s an awful lot of things to learn about.” From putting in sewer pipes to dealing with people, Canfield says it’s a fascinating thing being mayor of a city. Canfield says the city leaders attending this gathering put their heads together to work on policy issues.
He says later on cities will talk to their representatives in Washington, so at this meeting they’re formulating the policies they’ll want to discuss with their delegations. Naturally, one big issue right now is eminent domain. That legal process is often used to take land for public projects like a highway or school, but it became a lightning rod after this year’s controversial ruling upholding a plan in New London Connecticut that let the city take homes in an area where a private developer wanted to build.
One controversial issue Mayor Canfield doesn’t hear people talking about is sex-offender residency rules. Canfield says he’s surprised there isn’t more attention to how Iowa’s handling the issue since there are problems in every city and state, and it remains to be seen if Iowa’s tough program will work. The Congress of Cities wraps up with a general session and business meeting Saturday.