The Minnesota Independent picked up on an interesting conversation Minnesota Public Radio had with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. The Minneapolis Mayor described how he envisions Obama's proposed White House Office of Urban Policy functioning (and also implied that he was on the short list to head up the office):
Here's what they're doing, and I think it's incredibly smart -- is to recognize that when you try to move something out of Washington and get a result, for those of us who are paying taxes, you need to figure out a way to take all the arms of the government and bring them together. ... I have to do multiple stops within the federal bureaucracy. I've been at this for a number of years and I'm only now just beginning to get it. Wouldn't it be great, and won't it be great, to be able to pick up the phone and have that one person in the White House who can say to people who are trying to solve these issues at the local level. I'm going to pull all these elements together. ... Different departments, this person's the point person.
I'm particularly interested in Rybak's assertion that the czar would "take all the arms of the government and bring them together". The urban policy chief would be in tune as much with particular urban issues as with intergovernmental (and interdepartmental) relations.
In a chat with MayorTV late last year, Rybak described his vision of urban America:
Urban America, to me, is really the future of America and that is really why when a person talks about a new economic agenda, it should talk about empowering urban workers, when they talk about a sustainable environment they should talk about helping cities become the sustainable center points of a green economy, even when they are talking about issues of war and peace they should talk about the fact that cities are really the statues of liberties of the 21st century. We welcome everyone and we really are the key to opening up to the rest of the globe.