filed for bankruptcy this week it became the largest city in
to do so, but it's hardly alone. since just
eight cities and counties from
to california declared bankruptcy. what role should the federal and
play? at what point are cities too big to fail? joining me now the
mayor. it's nice to see you. thanks for joining me.
thanks for having me.
as all of this was happening in
, it must be marked here that your own city was just recertified with a triple-a
as the only city with over a million people to have this perfect rating. of course i don't want to imply at all that
face the same issues. what are you doing to keep your economy so healthy?
cities, austin, dallas, houston, has been growing tremendously. that has helped. but for
, part of the story is also that its economy is very well diversified and the
is anchored in sectors that have been growing compared to other sectors even during this recession, like
and education. we have a very young city. we have a city that has more than 110,000 students enrolled in college and
. and like the military, we have
fort sam houston
that has grown tremendously and a couple other
and in the
has been doing well all things considered and it's also been well managed and that's why we've been able to achieve that kind of
indeed. you guys also have the benefit of being a wonderful
with that charming city and the riverwalk.
we had a
and the alamo. sure.
who oversaw the government bailout of the
, he's got a new column in the "new york times" in which he calls for the federal and
to step in with
. give me your thoughts on that.
i definitely believe it's an idea worth considering. it has merit. folks will remember what happened with new york. we've seen this before in the
. we bailed out the
. i think the first plan of action is to see what happens in this
i believe also do have a responsibility to help ensure that when a city reaches this kind of situation that the residents of the city and the students, folks relying on a pension are not left out in the cold. if our banks sometimes are too big to fail, certainly our cities that are the
bread and butter
, the lifeblood of many
, our cities ought to be considered for some sort of federal and state assistance as well. so i think it has merit.
you know, you talk about the diversity there in
and the success of the
and, of course, juxtapose that with
, which is really seen as a one industry town, autos, and you know the trouble that's had. what would you say as a mayor that you can do to attract diverse businesses to a city like
? are there tools you can use to do that?
oh, absolutely. there are the usual incentives that all cities and states use. we live in a
economy that is more global than ever, more competitive, where capital is more mobile. but let me focus on something that hasn't been focused on as much in the last couple days. that's education. there is not a single city or suburb out there that if it has a great
, a great
, will not prosper or at least be stable. and so what's happened in
is not just a reminder about the issue of pensions and managing a city budget well. it's also a reminder about these
districts and how much at the local level the
and the state level we need to focus on urban education to lift up the quality of those schools to be creative, to include things like charters, so that folks will want to live in many of those neighborhoods that, frankly, in places like
, for many years, have been abandoned.
i want to switch gears though and talk to you about this
in the new issue of "
." they ask if your brother and the state senator
can return democrats to power in
. what do you think?
well, i do think the democrats are going to return to power in
. the question is not if. the question is when. there is a strong effort right now through battleground
to make that more possible. i think the point of the story in
is that you need both things. you need the spade work, the
of an effort like battleground
. you also need the candidates to actually come up and run good races. and so who knows what'll happen, when it'll happen? but i do think in the next couple of years that it is going to happen and it needs to.
do you think it's possible, though, we have five decades of
being pretty much a
. do you think this could happen by
, turn blue?
sure. that's what they said about virginia and
and a couple other states, that in the
cycles went blue.
is a bigger state. so it's going to take a little bit longer. if you look at the demographic trends, if you look at the fact that because of
's success you've had a ton of people move into the state from other places that are having a moderating impact on it especially in the suburbs of
like austin, houston, dallas, and you look at how far to the right many of the republican elected officials have gone, like ted cruise, those things add up to the democrats if they play their cards right being able to seize the middle, business folks, folks who are independent. that's what you hear in the air in
right now but there is a ton of
to do and still a need for great candidates.