Mayor Nancy Chaney continues to report on the good work being highlighted on day two of the National League of Cities Congress of Cities and Exposition. Councilmember Tom Lamar and Human Rights Commission member and University of Idaho student Ruben Tsarukyan are also attending the conference.
Chaney attended the NLC Board meeting where financials, accomplishments, and opportunities for organization were reported as favorable. Current legislative priorities for NLC include the Marketplace Fairness Act to level the playing field for brick and mortar businesses by collecting taxes owed on Internet sales; comprehensive immigration reform; and maintaining tax-exempt status on municipal bonds. The board also approved a three-year strategic plan to drive federal policy, promote innovation, raise profile of city government, expand capacity of municipal leaders, and transform NLC's organizational structure to keep it relevant, responsive, nimble, accountable, and transparent.
University of Idaho student attendee, Ruben Tsarukyan, was welcomed to the University Communities Council meeting, which was also attended by Pullman City Council member and Palouse Knowledge Corridor affiliate Francis Benjamin.
Moscow received recognition for its accomplishments in Let's Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties, now with almost 400 members and 60 million people represented nationwide. The Let's Move! objective is to solve childhood obesity within a generation. Benchmarking goals include early intervention through child are and educational providers; facilitating healthy fresh food choices in appropriate serving sizes; and providing play spaces. Beaumont, Texas was recognized as the first community to receive five gold stars for their efforts, which according to its mayor, focused on quality of life issues, accessibility, cooperation from business community, local foods, a new dog park, skate park, child care facility seminar, and state grants to help. Moscow currently holds two bronze and one gold medal.
Chaney reports that the opening general session included performance art and a welcome from Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, who quipped of the construction and zoning challenges faced by the well-regarded model green-built Bullett building saying, "It turns out sustainability isn't legal."
US-DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx, former mayor of Charlotte, who like his predecessor, supports integrated multi-modal transportation addressed attendees. Chaney notes she spoke with Secretary Foxx's Special Assistant about local transportation issues in Moscow and anticipates a follow up. Other presenters at the General Session all spoke about the importance of quality of place and highly educated workforce in economic development. Chaney said, "phrases like: talent is mobile, mixed-use, walkable, bikable, density and desirability of place as being conducive to cross-fertilization of ideas reinforced our belief that Moscow is on the right track."
The Association of Idaho Cities hosted a dinner at the conference for delegates from Idaho, with representation from Boise, Caldwell, Meridian, Middleton, and Moscow. Middleton and Caldwell each brought large delegations of youth, several of whom expressed interest in attending the University of Idaho.