Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

City Leaders Share Hopeful Vision of Future

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

City Leaders Share Hopeful Vision of Future

Article excerpt

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," NLC President Brian O'Neill told delegates in Kansas City. "This is not a `Tale of Two Cities,' but of two levels of government."

President O'Neill's message of good, but bad times for cities echoed throughout Kansas City where more than 7,000 local officials, guests, speakers and exhibitors gathered for the 75th Annual Congress of Cities. Amidst unseasonably warm weather, fine jazz and spicy barbecue, local leaders shared thoughts and ideas and learned from each other.

Vice President Al Gore's vision of cities today and in the future was similar. "This is a time of qreat promise for America's cities," he told delegates. "We have a sense of hope and optimism in our cities that we haven't had in a long time. Unemployment is down; crime is down; hope is up." Gore went on to describe challenges facing cities, including urban sprawl, deteriorating, school buildings and overflowing classrooms.

Future.nlc.kc, the theme of the conference, was played out in general sessions and concurrent workshops ranging from Year 2000 contingency planning to legal issues around e-mail correspondence to electronic commerce.

The technology theme permeated the conference center with Tech City, showcasing information technology available to local governments, the Hitchin' Post, where conference attendees checked e-mail and browsed the Internet, Tech Theater, featuring award-winning city technology programs, and the Access Local Government Lab, where attendees experienced online information sharing first-hand.

For the first time in NLC history, youth delegates, ages 15-18, attended the conference and participated in panel discussions. They described innovative programs in their schools that could be applied to local government and lined up to ask questions and comment on the work of local officials. …

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