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Election 2012: Who Determines Cities’ Destinies?

Cities need to be able to control their own destinies. That's the message from Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett in this interview with NPR. "Candidates and Washington in general are not talking about cities. Cities would do a lot better if they had more discretion." Cornett, who is the national president of the Republican Mayors Association, cited long-term capital issues like deferred maintenance and state-level cutbacks as crippling concerns not being addressed by political leaders.

For his part, Oklahoma City is a success story, having famously raised taxes to pay for amenities designed to improve quality of life and attract young, college-educated people to the city. The Kauffman Foundation recently named it the most entrepreneurial city in the country with the most start-ups per capita. 

So how did they do it?

"We've been able to convince the people in the suburbs that the vibrancy of the core is directly proportionate to the quality of life in the suburbs," Cornett said. "So the people in the suburbs are willing to invest in downtown."

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