By E.A. Barrera
“We will never bring disgrace on this our City by an act of dishonesty or cowardice. We will fight for the ideals and Sacred Things of the City both alone and with many. We will revere and obey the City’s laws, and will do our best to incite a like reverence and respect in those above us who are prone to annul them or set them at naught. We will strive increasingly to quicken the public’s sense of civic duty. Thus in all these ways we will transmit this City, not only not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”
The Athenian Oath
(Taken by the young men of ancient Athens when they reached the age of seventeen.)
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros spoke to the 99th annual national conference of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) on April 30 at the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina - telling attendees it was time for American municipal leaders to recall the Athenian Oath and strive to create a nation where “we unleash all human potential.”
”It is time for the leadership of our cities to start thinking outside the box. We need new strategic thinking on how we will serve the new population centers … and the new complexities of the American people,” said Cisneros.
Cisneros, who served at HUD under President Bill Clinton from 1993-1996, was Mayor of the city of San Antonio, Texas from 1981 to 1989. In 2000, he formed the American CityVista corporation. The company develops homes and single-family residences within central urban areas - predominantly lower income areas with large minority populations.
“The demand for homes in central neighborhoods, or ‘infill housing’, is at an all-time high,” said Cisneros at the time the American CityVista was formed. “Nationally, there is great momentum for new development in central cities, and city leaders recognize that large-scale homeownership provides community stability. Many Americans want to live closer to work and enjoy a more metropolitan lifestyle. There is also a definite increase in demand for homeownership among minorities and immigrants.”
During his speech to the BGCA, Cisneros said the expanding population centers in the west and southwest regions of the United States required that government and private sector leaders start looking at areas they had previously ignored.
“There is a new geography of need forming in America …growth is happening in the smaller markets such as San Jose, California and Charlotte, North Carolina,” said Cisneros. “There is a dynamism to the older cities - they are doing better - rebounding. The suburbs are going through a renewal as well. Places like Arlington, Texas are starting to develop many traditional urban characteristics.”