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Need to Know, December 16, 2011: Mayor under siege

This week's host Maria Hinojosa

As foreclosures soar and federal and state aid and property tax revenues decline, big-city mayors are facing mounting pressure to balance their budgets while keeping their cities running smoothly.  Typical is the story of two-term Democratic mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee. His city has a 10 percent unemployment rate and a nearly 30 percent poverty rate. And now that city, like so many, has to make do with less. This week on Need to Know, we take a look at the day-to-day challenges faced by mayors all over the country through three days spent with Barrett.

Host Maria Hinojosa also speaks with Steven  Malanga of the Manhattan Institute on how to revitalize America’s cities, and “American Voices” essayist Tricia Rose offers suggestions on how to create jobs in the inner city.

Watch the individual segments:

Mayor under siege

Big-city mayors across the United States are under growing pressure to balance their budgets while still providing necessary services. Need to Know chronicles three days spent with Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, illuminating how one mayor spends his time trying to drum up business, even while facing withering attacks from some of his hard-pressed constituents.

Interview: Steven Malanga

Anchor Maria Hinojosa interviews Steven Malanga of the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute about how to restore the health of the nation’s cities.

American Voices: Tricia Rose

Tricia Rose, professor of African-American cultural politics at Brown University, offers an essay about how to create jobs for inner-city minority residents.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.



  • Stevenw Smith

    Cities will continue to decline unless they become important to save to ALL stake holders, business, residents, mayors/city councils, and city employees to name most players. All will have to agree on what are important services to them and FUND them. Not doing this means the wealthy live in suburbs in gated compounds, use private schools, and ignore the squalor around them. Pick up your “future binoculars” and look at cities in South Africa, Brazil, and China and you see our future. We face the collapse of our schools, fire/police protection, public transport, public health just to name a few. Extend this very far and we end up a third world country because we did not care enough to keep our cities viable.

  • Richard Berghofer

    Need to Know and the program Now (now off the air) should be on for a hour insteatdof a half an hour..

  • lindsay manahan

    my classmate’s sister-in-law makes $84 hourly on the laptop. She has been fired for 7 months but last month her income was $9078 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Go to this site.. NuttyRich.cöm

  • Rich Rosenberg

    I think we need to reform government from the top down.  I was interested to see the mayor of Milwaukee not driving his own car.  Why should cities be paying for the waste in the politicians offices.  Cutting back on executive percs seems like a good starting place.
    Palatine, il

  • Ron From Liberia

    Rick, maybe that was his wife’s car? Or the PBS crew car?  Why assume he is driving some tax-payer funded mercedes?  My gosh you think this guy lives in a mansion! I’ve lived on his street, it is nice for Milwaukee, modest for America…but he is not a high roller. 

    Why is it that if there is ever a problem with the public sector we assume that it is welfare queens or some over-paid municipal employee?  The problem is more complicated than that, and if you do indeed continue to cut salaries to nothing, as some mayors get NO salary (and fewer perks) you get equally shit service.  

    An Ivory Tower

  • Sjs

    Why can’t I play your video on my iPad or iPhone?

  • Dddg

    Why is Need to Know no longer being aired in Washington, DC?