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A campaign for cities? Yes, please.

With the 2012 election season underway, many issues will compete for the attention of national candidates for office. The prevailing myth of a rural, utopian national heartland--and the persistent stigma about city life--drive urban issues off the political radar screen and out of the conversation. Yet, cities are the drivers of America's economy and culture, and today most Americans live in or near urban centers. It is essential to America's tens of millions of urban residents that the unique needs of major cities and growing metropolitan regions are part of the debate that shapes the upcoming presidential and congressional races.

Reflecting our unique grounding in urban policy and our history of covering the federal government's role in America's cities, this issue launches our 2012 reporting series on the national urban agenda. In the months leading up to the November presidential election, City Limits will report on the ways federal policies impact the urban engines of America's economic growth and social development.

In this issue, we focus on New York City, Detroit, Oakland, and New Orleans to outline how a number of federal initiatives and policies trickle down to cities and look at how President Obama's urban policy, and his potential opponents' position on urban issues, fit into a larger historical narrative of federal urban policy and politics.

As local governments, required by law, balance their budgets by streamlining services and expenses, national candidates must speak to the role the federal government plays in ensuring greater opportunities. Candidates don't have to be champions of cities to understand their critical importance to our nation's success.

As we digitize our 35 years of archives and plan our future coverage, we invite you to follow our work and support our efforts to engage urban communities in shaping the direction we take as a nation.

In the past two years we've published in-depth investigations on the causes and consequences of black male joblessness, flaws in the city's community planning system, challenges facing the famed Harlem Children's Zone antipoverty program, lessons from 20 years of firefighter fatalities, the personal realities of growing income disparities, the demise of small businesses in city neighborhoods, and the growing role of private consultants in shaping public policy.

Our work has preceded similar projects by other media and public policy research groups, and earned the 2011 Deadline Club Award for New York City's best reporting on communities of color and the 2011 national Society of Professional Journalists' award for Best Investigative Reporting by a local magazine.

The looming election gives us an even greater opportunity to speak for more than New York City. Follow our 2012 urban agenda coverage at www.citylimits.org/2012

Sincerely, Mark Anthony Thomas

P.S. We are extremely grateful to the Park Foundation for supporting this issue and our 2012 urban policy coverage.

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Title Annotation:THE NOTE; on urban policy
Author:Thomas, Mark Anthony
Publication:City Limits Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2012
Words:467
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