Mayors plan nonpartisan summit

Mayors Michael Bloomberg of New York and Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles are hoping to define new approaches to political dialogue through talks with local industry leaders on June 19.

Leaders from government, media, business, labor, philanthropy and the religious and nonprofit sectors will convene in Los Angeles at a conference initiated by the two mayors and organized by the Center on Communication Leadership at the USC Annenberg School for Communication.

“Ceasefire! Bridging the Political Divide” aims to build nonpartisan bridges between various sectors of industry and all levels of government through dialogue.

That this initiative comes from local government officials is not surprising, says Margaret Carlson, chief political correspondent for Bloomberg News. “Unlike at the national level, state and local officials are finding ways to tamp down partisanship for a simple reason – if governors and mayors don’t bridge differences, the trash doesn’t get picked up. And school doesn’t open,” she said in a written statement.

In addition to Carlson, other confirmed participants include John Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress; Charles Blake, presiding bishop of the Churches of God in Christ, and Jay Carney, Washington bureau chief for TIME Magazine.

Support for the conference comes from the Annenberg Foundation and the Bloomberg Foundation.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will deliver the keynote address.

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