GRC Attends U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The Graffiti Resource Council (GRC) participated in the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) 83rd Annual Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. from January 21- January 23, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Approximately 300 mayors attended the conference as well as USCM Business Council Members and Sponsors. The GRC became a USCM Business Council member in January 2015. At the conference, the GRC had the opportunity to interact with dozens of mayors representing cities throughout the country and attend workshops and sessions addressing major issues for cities.

The USCM was established in 1932 and is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,401 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the USCM by its mayor. The USCM holds Winter Meetings each January in Washington, D.C. and Annual Meetings each June in a different U.S. city. Additional meetings and events are held as well. The USCM’s function includes the following: helping develop and promote effective national urban/suburban policy; building stronger and more effective federal-city relationships; monitoring the effectiveness of federal policy in terms of its service to urban needs; helping mayors develop leadership and management tools; and creating a forum where mayors can share ideas and information.

The Business Council was created within the USCM in order to bring the businesses closer to America’s mayors. The GRC joined the Business Council in order to increase awareness of the organization and have the opportunity to interact with city leaders, particularly mayors. An overwhelming majority of anti-graffiti laws or programs are initiated by city mayors and city councils rather than at the state level or federal level. Mayors are key leaders in preventing the spread of graffiti vandalism in America’s communities. Graffiti can be a serious issue for cities; it can promote crime, devalue property, slow economic growth and tourism, and damage the aesthetic value of a community. It is a problem that, if not addressed early on, will spread and multiply, causing larger issues down the line. So, the GRC believes mayors can greatly benefit from its resources and years of experience developing effective policies that prevent graffiti vandalism.

According to USCM, “experience has shown that when the resources of business and government are combined, our cities benefit and our nation is stronger.” The USCM provides a forum for Business Council members and mayors to work together and learn about important issues impacting cities. Business Council members have the unique opportunity to participate in both the USCM Winter and Annual meetings, where they can interact with hundreds of mayors as well as the distinguished meeting attendees/speakers such as Members of Congress, major businesses leaders and Cabinet officials. Other benefits of Business Council Membership include:

  • Invitation to compete for the Excellence in Public/Private Partnerships Award, which will honor exemplary public/private partnerships with cities.
  • Being featured in USCM’s Best Practices Center which will highlight the ideas and innovations of cities throughout the nation.
  • Participation in policy briefings.
  • Invitation to exhibit at the Winter and Annual meetings provided there is space
  • Invitation to present their views through a dialogue with Mayors at various forums as appropriate.
  • Opportunity to participate in the sponsorship and formation of new collaborative projects on priority issues.

At the USCM Winter Meeting, the GRC attended a number of workshops and speeches about the most important challenges for cities. Some of the topics featured were small business entrepreneurship, U.S. trade agenda, STEM education, community development and housing, climate change, tourism and arts, transportation, public safety and social justice. The GRC also met dozens of city mayors and informed them about GRC’s resources, including its newswire, marketplace of anti-graffiti products, model regulation and regulatory guidance, and special projects. The GRC also had the opportunity to meet fellow Business Council Members, as well as hear from distinguished speakers including Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, Congressman Bill Shuster, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Charlie Dent, Senate Assistant Minority Leader Dick Durbin, Uber Vice President David Plouffe, and Vice President Joe Biden.

The GRC will also be attending the USCM 83rd Annual Conference of Mayors in San Francisco on June 19, 2015. During USCM’s June meeting, the standing committees will recommend and vote on policy positions they believe should be adopted by the organization. Mayors attending the annual meeting will be given the opportunity to discuss and then vote on each policy resolution. The policy positions adopted at the annual meeting will be distributed to the President of the United States and Congress.