New York Magazine


Nine U.S. mayors on what Washington, D.C., can learn from local government.

OUR NATIONAL POLITICAL environment might be paralyzed by partisanship, culture-war posturing, and erratic leadership, but our cities tend to be resilient, even when they’re flash points for national disasters, both natural and man-made. At least that’s the perspective of many mayors. One Saturday morning in early August, nine who were in New Orleans for the U.S. Conference of Mayors gave a couple hours of their time to discuss just why that’s the case—and why Washington might benefit from thinking more like them.

When you get together with your fellow mayors at an event like this, how is the mood different from the mood in Washington?

Karen Freeman-Wilson (D), Gary, Indiana: The great thing about meeting with other mayors is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican or an Independent or a Libertarian, because we understand that at the end of the day, you have to get things done.

Pete Buttigieg (D), South Bend, Indiana: I’ve literally had situations where I’ve gotten to know a mayor, I’ve heard about something they were doing, I’ve called them for advice, and only then did I notice that they were from the other party. It just didn’t come up.

Eric Garcetti (D), Los Angeles: I think that mayors collectively are filling a national space that isn’t just the result of November’s election. We do kind of own a domain with our citizens where they are asking us not just to step up on local trash pickup but on climate change, immigration, and infrastructure. It’s critical at

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from New York Magazine

New York Magazine5 min read
Food for Clothes?
Pineapple leather sounds like something a California parent would serve a toddler. Turns out it actually makes a pretty good bag. So we gave five designers some of the latest ecofabrics and challenged them to make us something we’d want to wear.
New York Magazine4 min read
Bleak Is Beautiful
I,I BON IVER, JAGJAGUWAR. BON IVER BEGAN as an exercise in seclusion, the fruit of singer-songwriter Justin Vernon’s retreat to his family’s hunting cabin in northwestern Wisconsin in the wake of the breakup of DeYarmond Edison (a band that took it
New York Magazine3 min read
A Dry Cleaner Spills Everything
Jerry Pozniak, owner and managing director of luxury laundry service Jeeves New York, has been in high-end clothing care for 33 years.