A Good Mayor is Hard to Find

Steven Malanga looks at how Newark's Cory Booker and Detroit's Dave Bing are reforming their troubled cities.
November 11, 2010, 5am PST | Lynn Vande Stouwe
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The early 1990's ushered in a wave of American urban reform, says Steven Malanga, as cities from New York to Indianapolis stopped looking to the federal government for handouts and instead revived from within. But the self-reliance movement missed some of the country's most distressed municipalities, including Newark and Detroit, which have in common deeply entrenched economic and social problems, according to Malanga.

Only now, he argues, under the guidance of a new generation of mayors, are these cities experiencing a significant change in governance. Malanga says Booker and Bing have done away with the corruption and patronage of their predecessors, turning their attention to fighting crime and attracting businesses.

Malanga writes:

"Today, luckily, Newark and Detroit resemble each other in a more encouraging respect: their mayors are advancing remarkably similar ideas about how to restore trust in government, reestablish competence in city hall, and revamp essential services that a city must deliver if its citizens and businesses are to flourish."

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Published on Sunday, November 7, 2010 in City Journal
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