A quick note:
I am in Washington, DC, for the winter assembly of the US Conference of Mayors. Besides the meetings and discussions, I plan to use this opportunity to walk up the street to present some of the City’s federal agenda to key members of Congress.
At the top of my list is restoration of the federal assistance to programs that reduce crime. St. Louis police officers and some well-executed local crime prevention programs made crime go down a lot in 2007. But, we clearly need to do much more, in more neighborhoods, to build on that progress. That vital challenge is made difficult by the fact that the federal government has virtually ended its support to reduce crime by eliminating the successful COPS program and the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant. I am lobbying hard to reinstate both programs.
When it comes to development, Downtown lofts always make the headlines, but there is new construction - and great historic rehabilitation - going on in all parts of the City. In fact, we have won two international awards that recognize our progress. The federal Community Development Block Grant has played an important part in that. I am pushing hard for additional CDBG funding so we can make a difference in even more of our challenged neighborhoods.
Finally, the home mortgage crisis is having a corrosive effect on America’s neighborhoods. I am lobbying for legislation to reduce the damage.