President-elect Barack Obama has created an office of urban policy. His transition web home has details on his urban policies

This is good news. America’s cities get worse and worse and little is said or done.

Here in Houston, where I’ve lived for ten years, and in Cincinnati, where I was once involved in local politics, county Democratic parties have long seen minority voters as people to be used on Election Day.

In the most recent election, the Harris County Democratic Party saw robocalls with Hillary Clinton asking Hispanics to turn out and vote as a GOTV effort worth discussing. There was no real focus on issues that would make a difference in people’s lives.

This new attention to urban issues from the Obama team will hopefully be a sincere effort. I guess I’ll believe it when I see it. 

What would also be of benefit to urban voters would be an Obama administration that asks as little as possible from existing minority political power structures in big cities.

For years, what we have often seen in the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, and city halls, are minority officeholders who sit in safe and often uncontested districts, don’t train a next generation of minority political leaders, and who offer an overall acquiescence to the poor conditions we often see in America’s cities.

I’m all for a President Obama who uses his muscle and support with black voters to help change American cities for the better. I hope this success will be matched by outreach to Hispanic voters and an ongoing connection to urban voters of all stripes. 

Change in our American cities is change we need.