Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Bloomberg Gaining Mayoral Endorsements

More than Two Dozen Current and Former Mayors across the Country announced their Support for Bloomberg.

The Former Mayor of Flint, Mich., who took over the City during a Water Contamination Crisis that garnered National Attention, endorsed Mike Bloomberg's Bid for President.

Karen Weaver was among Current and former Mayors across the Country to Announce their Support for the Former Three-Term New York Mayor this week, as he hits the Trail in California, Michigan and Pennsylvania, all Central to his Strategy of Dominating Super Tuesday States after not taking part in the First Four Voting States.

But I did see in One Iowa Caucus location, some Voters for Bloomberg, in the First Round of Voting.

In Endorsing Bloomberg, who was a Republican and an Independent before Re-Registering as a Democrat for the 2020 Campaign, Weaver cited his Record on Infrastructure.

“Our aging infrastructure matters and it is critical that it’s addressed now,” she said in a Prepared Statement provided by the Bloomberg Campaign. “As a former mayor, Mike Bloomberg understands the need for our cities to have safe water that residents can trust and clean air they can breath.” Weaver narrowly Lost Re-Election in 2019.

Other New Mayoral Supporters include Ethan Berkowitz of Anchorage, Alaska; Luke Feeney of Chillicothe, Ohio; and Kathy Sheehan of Albany, N.Y.

Securing the Backing of Mayors Past and Present has been Integral to Bloomberg’s Campaign. He has relied on a Racially Diverse Group of Mayors to Stump for him as he Crisscrosses the Country, from an Introduction in Fresno, California, by Former Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, to a Rally Planned for Tuesday Evening with Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

Michael Bloomberg is relying on Powerful City Leaders as Allies in his 2020 Presidential Campaign. Several have received Grants, Training, and Support Packages totaling Millions from his Foundation.

Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton, California, seemed like an improbable Political Duo as they heaped Praise on each other. Tubbs, a 29-year-old Liberal who is Stockton’s First Black Mayor, hailed Bloomberg as a Leader “with the resources, with the record and with the relationships” to Defeat President Trump in 2020.

Tubbs had reason to feel Kinship with Bloomberg. Last year, he Graduated from a Mayoral Training Program that Bloomberg Sponsors at Harvard University. Tubbs had attended a Conference Co-Sponsored by Bloomberg’s Philanthropic Foundation in Paris in 2017, and was Featured in its 2018 Annual Report. And this past June, Bloomberg’s Foundation donated $500,000 to an Education Reform Group based in Stockton, a Struggling Inland City in Northern California.

As Bloomberg Traverses the Country as a Presidential Candidate, he is drawing on a Vast Network of City Leaders whom he has Funded as a Philanthropist or Advised as an Elder Statesman of Municipal Politics.

Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has assets totaling $9 Billion, has supported 196 Different Cities with Grants, Technical Assistance, and Education Programs worth a combined $350 Million.

Now, Leaders in some of those Cities are Forming the Spine of Bloomberg’s Campaign.

He has been Endorsed by Eight Mayors, from Larger Cities like San Jose, California, and Louisville, Kentucky, and Smaller ones like Gary, Indiana, representing a Total of more than 2.6 Million Americans.

For All of those Endorsers, Bloomberg has been an Important Benefactor. All have Attended his Prestigious Boot Camp at Harvard that gives the Mayors Access to Ongoing Strategic Advice from Bloomberg-Funded Experts. More than Half have Received Funding in the form of Grants and Other Support Packages from Bloomberg worth a Total of nearly $10 Million, according to a Review of Tax Documents and Interviews with All Eight Mayors.

The Money he has given to Cities underscores the Extraordinary Nature of Bloomberg’s Candidacy. More than any Presidential Candidate in recent History, Bloomberg has established himself, through Philanthropic Giving, Political Endorsements, and Campaign Spending, as a Singular Ally for a Large Cross-Section of American Politicians, many of whom feel a Deep Sense of Loyalty in return. And there is No Group to whom he is more Tightly Bonded with than his Fellow Mayors.

Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina, a Co-Chairman of the Bloomberg Campaign, said Bloomberg’s Philanthropy had Earned him Trust and consideration from Mayors. “It’s given him a great, great deal of credibility with people who, but for his philanthropy or altruism, he never would have interfaced with,” Benjamin said.

Mayors have Historically played an Influential Role in Democratic Primary Politics, Lending their Local Political Organizations to National Candidates. And as a Former Republican with relatively Conservative Views on Business Regulation and Law Enforcement, with Progressive Views on Climate Change and Renewables, Bloomberg has been eager to Demonstrate that Mayors and other Hands-On Leaders in the Party, particularly Black Elected Officials, are willing to Embrace his Candidacy.

His Decision to Apologize for Stop-and-Frisk Policing in New York was informed by Feedback from these Officials, People familiar with Bloomberg’s Conversations said.

In Stockton, that Shift helped Earn Bloomberg a forceful Ally in Tubbs, who Invoked his Own Identity as a Young Black Man with an Incarcerated Parent to Vouch for Bloomberg. He said that Bloomberg’s Willingness to use his Wealth for Public Purposes was a Strength in the Race, pointing to his Extensive Spending for Democrats in the 2018 Elections.

The Stockton Mayor said he had urged Bloomberg to Support Voter-Registration and Voting-Rights Groups, including Fair Fight, the National Organization led by Stacey Abrams. Abrams’s Aides were also Appealing to Bloomberg. He has Committed to Donating $5 Million to Fair Fight, according to an Abrams Adviser.

Mayor Svante Myrick of Ithaca, New York, a City of about 31,000 that Won a $100,000 Bloomberg Grant for a Supervised Injection Facility, said Bloomberg’s Campaign had swiftly Reached Out after he entered the Race to seek Support. Myrick, has Not Endorsed a Candidate yet.

Bloomberg is One of the Richest People in the World, with a Net Worth estimated at more than $50 Billion. While other Politicians often Donate Small Sums to their Allies, the Breadth and Depth of his Giving thus far, and the Possibility of it in the Future, is Unmatched in Scale.

“When you’re that wealthy you can spread your munificence anywhere that matters,” said Rob Reich, a Co-Director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford. “You acquire at a minimum a reserve of good will and more realistically a background capacity for influence.”

Stu Loeser, a Bloomberg Spokesman, said that the Former Mayor was “damn proud” of the Work supporting Mayors and Cities. “Unlike Donald Trump, Mike Bloomberg has a real foundation that does real work addressing people’s serious needs with no expectations of anything in return,” Loeser said.

Bloomberg and his Allies acknowledge that they hope his Connections to City Leaders will be helpful in the Presidential Race. At a Meeting of the Texas Democratic Party’s Executive Committee, Bloomberg noted that he had “worked with, and my foundation has supported, a variety of mayors across the state,” including Juli├ín Castro, the Former Mayor of San Antonio and Former Presidential Candidate.

As the Mayor of Huntington, West Virginia, Steve Williams was not sure Initially what to make of Bloomberg. “I thought he was going to tell me what kind of sugary drinks I could drink and not drink, would shut down the coal mines and tell us whether or not we could own guns and go hunting,” he said, referring to some of Bloomberg’s Priorities and Past Initiatives.

Like other Mayors in the Bloomberg orbit, Williams has been involved with Numerous Programs Sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies, on everything from Tackling an Obesity Epidemic to a Love-Your-Block Neighborhood Program. The Appalachian City won a $1 Million Grant to Create a Wellness Program for Emergency Medical Workers.

Victoria Woodards, the Mayor of Tacoma, Washington, attended the Harvard Program and Two CityLab Conferences, gatherings Focused on Urban Issues Co-Sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies. At the most Recent One in Washington, she sat next to Bloomberg at a Dinner at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

At a City Summit in San Antonio last month she had Coffee with James Anderson, formerly the Head of Government Innovation at the Bloomberg Foundation. He told her that Bloomberg had jumped into the Presidential Race and asked her to Join their Team; she did weeks later, after her First Choice, Senator Kamala Harris, Dropped Out.

Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville began Working with Bloomberg’s Team within a few months of taking Office in 2011, and his City received about $4.7 Million in Grants during his First Three Years in Office. Now, Fischer is helping Lead Bloomberg’s Outreach to Other Mayors struggling with their Budgets. “Most city governments — I can tell you ours is — we are super-strapped for financial resources,” Fischer said. “It’s competitive and so it’s hard to build the relationships and win these things and when we do we celebrate around here.”

Now, some of the same People who Aided these Mayors from Bloomberg’s Foundation are the ones asking for their Political Support. Anderson, who several Mayors described as the Most Vital Point of Contact at Bloomberg Philanthropies, is now Directing the Campaign’s “Mayors for Mike” Coalition.

He and Patricia E. Harris, the Foundation’s longtime Chief Executive, have both moved over to the Campaign, changing Email Addresses and Phone Numbers but not their Relationships with Mayors and other Leaders.

Williams, the Huntington Mayor, recalled a Phone Call from Anderson, “wanting to have a separate conversation from the foundation, asking, ‘Can we switch gears?’” he said. “He has a separate telephone number from where it was before. He emails me to my personal email address. It’s always very clear. Personal number. Campaign number,” Williams said. “They understand the lines of demarcation.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, a current Participant in the Bloomberg Harvard program, said that Bloomberg’s Foundation was “deeply entrenched in Chicago” and that she and her Staff had discussed how to keep its Work separate from her Political Considerations. “We view them as valued partners but that’s got to be separate and apart from any presidential considerations,” said Lightfoot, who has Not Endorsed any Candidate in the Democratic Race.

One Graduate of the Bloomberg Program at Harvard is a Leading Opponent in the Presidential Race, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, whose City also Received $1 Million from a Bloomberg Program in 2018.

Every week in Bloomberg’s Late-Starting Campaign has Showcased, in one way or another, his Donations to Cities and the Mayoral Alliances he has Created.

One of Bloomberg’s First Campaign Events was in Jackson, Mississippi, where he appeared with Chokwe Lumumba, the City’s 36-year-old Mayor. A Progressive Democrat who Hosted Bloomberg but did Not Endorse him yet, Lumumba also Attended the Harvard Program and Received from Bloomberg Philanthropies a $1 Million Grant to his City as a Winner of the Public Art Challenge. “It’s up to the leaders negotiating those things to be disciplined and principled enough that their decision-making isn’t unduly swayed,” Lumumba said.

Bloomberg flew to Augusta, Georgia., to announce the Endorsement of the City’s Mayor, Hardie Davis Jr., who had Graduated from the Harvard Program and had Traveled to a CityLab Conference in London where he Met with Bloomberg. And his City Received Support from a Bloomberg Program, What Works Cities, that Deployed Experts to Augusta for Six months. “You can’t put a price on that,” Davis said. As for the Training Program outside Boston, Davis quipped, “As a proud Georgia Tech graduate, it doesn’t hurt to have this Harvard Bloomberg Institute certificate to go with that.”

Before his Visit to Stockton, Mr. Bloomberg announced he had also Won the Endorsement of Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose, California, who had previously Supported Ms. Harris. San Jose Won a Substantial Award through Mr. Bloomberg’s American Cities Climate Challenge, a Package worth about $2.5 Million, a City Spokeswoman said. Mr. Liccardo said there had been “no string attached” to any of the Money.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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