The annual World Mayor project aims to raise the profile of mayors worldwide as well as to honour those who have served their communities well and who have made contributions to the well-being of cities nationally and internationally. 2005 results

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Mayor Rama writes - Mayor Bakoyannis replies
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Mayor of Athens
Mayor of Guatemala City
Mayor of Mississauga
Mayor of San Fernando
Mayor of San Francisco

Mayor of Athens
Mayor of Guatemala City
Mayor of Mississauga
Mayor of San Fernando
Mayor of Vienna

Comments on finalists from The Americas
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Comments on Addis Ababa
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Mayor of Addis Ababa
Mayor of Antananarivo
Mayor of Athens
Mayor of Belo Horizonte
Mayor of Bonn
Mayor of Ekaterinburg
Mayor of Guatemala City
Mayor of Innsbruck
Mayor of Karachi
Mayor of Kiev
Mayor of Melbourne
Mayor of Mississauga
Mayor of Munich
Mayor of Rhodes
Mayor of Rome
Mayor of Tshwane
Mayor of Vienna

The 2004 contest
List of all 2004 finalists
Edi Rama wins 2004 award
People ask - Edi Rama replies
Why we voted for the Mayor of Tirana
Why we voted for the Mayor of Mexico City
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Comments in support of
Gavin Newsom
Mayor of San Francisco (USA)

The top 10 mayors in World Mayor 2005 were selected equally on the number of votes received and the quality and conviction of supporting statements. Below we publish an edited selection of comments received in support of Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco (USA).

Comment: I am a public school teacher/administrator, and my school serves under-resourced students from some of the roughest neighborhoods in San Francisco. During one of my classes, my student, RJ, asked me why the president doesn't visit his Hunters Point neighborhood, which is an area that is notorious for gun violence and unemployment.   Another student responded to RJ and said, "Politicians don't visit poor people unless there are cameras around."  RJ went on to explain that he has seen San Francisco's mayor several times in his neighborhood playing basketball or talking to people with sincerity and respect about what they need when television crews are not around. He talked about his community's hopes that this mayor could provide help opportunities for a better future. My student spoke with such passion that it was clear the mayor's outreach made quite an impression on him. To me, it speaks volumes that Mayor Gavin Newsom is working to improve the conditions of all the city's neighborhoods and providing hope for young people such as RJ.

Comment: I am a student in grade 12 who lives in Canada and I've seen what Gavin Newsom had done for his city and his community. I like it very much. After a lot of research, I think he deserve to become a World Mayor.

Comment: Mr. Newsom has strongly supported the business relations and actions taken by the German American Chamber of Commerce in order to promote and strengthen the business ties between Germany and San Francisco. We appreciate his involvement and enthusiasm as Mayor in San Francisco!

Comment: I have not always been a Gavin Newsom supporter. In fact, I worked on his opponent's campaign. Thankfully, I have been thrilled with his performance in office, and will wholeheartedly work on his campaign, should he run for any office in the future. He is a tireless advocate, while still retaining his dignity and self-respect. His compassion is sincere, and his sense of equality and justice are unsurpassed. I am proud that he is the mayor of San Francisco!

Comment: Mayor Newsom has made such a large impact on the city of San Francisco despite the fact he has only been in office a year and a half. He not only made headlines with his granting of homosexual marriages but inspired other leaders to do the same. Mayor Newsom thinks and acts globally, proposing environmental advances for cities around the Earth during World Environment Day. The Mayor believes that cities can embrace and create the future. This was exemplified when he intensly advocated to bring the headquarters of California‚s $3 billion stem cell program to San Francisco. He is attempting to bring effiecnty to City government has tackled the pressing issue of homelessness in San Francisco with his Care Not Cash initiative. Gavin Newsom is a genuine man with a kind heart and has the courage needed to fight for ideas he believes in, even when members of his party and family disagree with him. For these,and numerous other reasons, I feel the 2005 World Mayor Award should be bestowed upon Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco.

Comment: Mayor Newsom has been a visionary man. He has taken the time to address every issue that seems to face the people of San Francisco. Mayor Newsom seems to bring a youthfulness that is need in San Francisco to help fight new problems as well as new solutions to old problems. He is taken a very progressive approach to some the cities homeless problems. He has personally been there for some of the cities biggest problems not there to use the incidents for personal gain but to take a personal approach to learn what ails the city. Finally his stand on civil right. When everyone either didn‚t want to address the issue or demoralized it and made laws with out really taking a second thought. Mayor Newsom has fought for civil rights for same sex couples married then and has shown the world they are people to. These are reasons why I think Mayor Gavin Newsom should win the 2005 World Mayor Award.

Comment: Gavin Newsom is a breath of fresh air for San Francisco! He is forthright, involved, visionary and practical. One of my favorite things that he did was to invite the heads of city departments to a meeting, then pile them all into a van and drive around the city, pointing out things that needed to be done. He was putting the leaders, not the subordinates, on the spot, and you can be sure, those things got done! He is also friendly, involved in all aspects of city life, dropping in to concerts and other events quietly and not expecting special treatment. I am so proud of his bravery for sponsoring same-sex marriages and walking on the picket line with the shut-out hotel workers! This is a man who acts on his beliefs and isn't afraid of standing up for them. We are so lucky to have him!!!

Comment: Gavin Newsom has done more for San Francisco than the last three mayors combined. He has a true passion for the city, compared to many who only have a passion for themselves. His neighborhood visits are much more than photo ops, many don't even receive press coverage. He is what our constitution is all about: equality for every citizen.

Comment: Gavin Newsom has achieved more progress and created more of a sense of positive direction in San Francisco than any other mayor in the 30 years that I have lived here. His efforts to legalize same-sex marriage may have gotten the headlines, but the day-to-day efforts to bring in the best ideas for cities from all over the world, to ensure that services are delivered to neglected areas, to personally intervene to support low-income workers, and to support the critical work of nonprofits, all this is unprecedented. He won my support by appointing women to posts where they never before had a chance: the fire dept., police dept, public utilities chief, and many others. There seems to be no detail of city life that is too small for him to find a way to improve it, to support community efforts, and to encourage hope.

Comment: Gavin Newsom represents the best of what America stands and strives for: justice for all. Repeatedly, he has acted out of conscience, not politics, and done the right thing...because it was the right thing to do. Our national leaders could stand to gain much by following the examples of honest leadership and moral judgment exibited over and over again by this youthful, caring man. I expect Gavin Newsom will become a name and man recognized across the country....for our society always looks for a man of his values. I predict a national calling for his leadership...and we will all be the better for it.

Comment: Gavin Newsom has created more progress and a sense of a positive direction in San Francisco than any other mayor in the 30 years that I have lived here. His efforts to legalize same-sex marriage may have gotten the headlines, but the day-to-day efforts to bring in the best ideas for cities from all over the world, to ensure that services are delivered to neglected areas, to personally intervene to support low-income workers, and to support the critical work of nonprofits, all this is unprecedented. He won my support by appointing women to posts where they never before had a chance: the fire dept., police dept, public utilities chief, and many others. There seems to be no detail of city life that is too small for him to find a way to improve it, to support community efforts, and to encourage hope.

Comment: This was a tough one. I pick Mr. Newsom because of his courageous stand for same-sex marriage, against the advice of his own party and the mood of the nation. At the same time, he is encouraging smart development while working in a hands-on manner to help the economically disadvantaged in his city in true progressive style.

Comment: I have never in my life been so proud of the Mayor of my City, except of my father when he was Mayor of the small town where I grew up in. As a San Franciscan, words cannot express the joy I have in knowing that Gavin Newsom is my Mayor. He does what he does for the City of San Francisco, not for political expediency, but because it's the right thing to do. Integrity and compassion are the two words that best describe Mayor Newsom, and how many politicians can you say that about these days? Wouldn't it be wonderful if the US had a President as kind, intelligent, progressive, and honest as Gavin Newsom; a President with a heart and a brain? Who knows, maybe one day soon we will. Mayor Newsom is certainly setting a fine example of what real leadership is - and I've never said this about any other major political leader - but I honestly love Gavin Newsom and all the good that he stands for. To me, by truly fighting daily for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not just for San Franciscans, but for everyone, he represents the true American ideal.

Comment: Mayor Newsom has the tough job of running a city that is historically liberal and very vocal nationally. He takes his position seriously, doing what is best for the citizens of San Francisco and doing what we elected him to do. He loves this city, that is clear. He is busy from dawn to dusk doing things that better either the city, the people or the image of our city worldwide. We love him and hope he gets this much deserved award before we have to send him to the Governors Mansion in Sacramento!

Comment: Mr. Newsome has led our city with flair, direction and honesty.  He is everything the ‘World Mayor’ should be - an advocate for his constituents; a firm believer that he can make a difference; unafraid to take a popular or un-popular stance; willing to speak his mind, and a firm believer in doing the right thing.  He is engaging, intelligent, well spoken and beautiful.  It's about time we, here in the Bay Area, have someone we can be completely proud of.

Comment: I voted for Mayor Newsom because we both share the same passion and that is to cure California and beyond of homelessness. The Mayor really cares. Not only does he talk the talk he walkes the walk. We have too many politicians who talk but show little action. Thank God this doesn't apply to Mayor Newsom.

Comment: Newsom is the most awesome mayor ever.  He is a strong supporter of the people and their rights as human beings.  Go NEWSOM!!

Comment: Mayor Newsom deserves the World Mayor Award because he demonstrates uncommon courage, wisdom compassion. While the US President and Members of Congress push for legislation to deny gays and lesbians equal rights and protection under the law, Mayor Newsom has been one of the sole voices on the state and national stages to reveal the injustice and bigotry of their actions. He remains a bright beacon of social justice in an otherwise hostile and discriminatory political environment against gays and lesbians in the U.S. He continues to give us hope and strength and thus has saved many lives. This is particularly true for gay and lesbian youth here in San Francisco and across the globe, who are continually being told to hide and stay in the dark.  Please send a message to the world that we need more champions of social justice like Mayor Newsom by honoring him with this award.  Thank you.

Comment: Gavin Newsom has restored my faith in what is possible from our elected officials.  From taking a brave stand in support of gay marriage, to personally becoming involved in improving troubled neighborhoods, to working tirelessly to address a long-standing homeless problem, he has proven himself to be a principled and dedicated politician. His efforts while in office are made more impressive by the current political climate in America. We San Franciscans are lucky to live on an island of sanity, thanks to people like Gavin Newsom.

Comment: Practically from the start, Gavin Newsom has made a positive difference in San Francisco. He married my partner of 21 years and me, showing leadership and vision unique in the USA. He has aggressively moved to solve the homeless problem in SF, which had been festering for over 10 years and 2 prior mayors. He is an inspiring, well-spoken leader.

Comment: The mayor came into our humble restaurant, no fancy big shot restaurant, with a famous environmental activist. On a daily basis he bridges big business, serious environmentalism, gay rights and serious solutions to homelessness. Nobody has been able to pigeon hole him into one stereotype. He seems to care sincerely about what is best for everyone and is not afraid to stand up to his big political backers, like the powerful San Francisco hotel industry, when they are wrong.

Comment: Gavin Newsom is fresh, honest, and isn't afraid to challenge the status quo. He's summoned department heads out of their offices at City Hall on tours of broken playgrounds and potholes, and knocked on doors to ask citizens how he can help. He works tirelessly, and treats everyone with respect, unlike his predecessor. He also had City Hall issue marriage licenses, which, no matter how one feels, is bold and caring. When I walk into City Hall, I feel welcomed. A world-class mayor for a special town!

Comment: He has not only stood up for the rights of what is a rather unique population but also personally invested himself in all aspects in the city's well being, including showing up personally at crime sites to encourage the police investigations and attending labor strikes to show support for the laborers.  It has been both surprising and refreshing to once again be able to say: "Yes, I really admire this politician!"

Comment: Before the elections, I was sceptical about Mr. Newsom's plans for the city, particularly his Care Not Cash Initiative (an effort to provide services for the homeless). However, his idealism and honesty has had a tremendous impact on the city. Care Not Cash actually seems to be working, he has made a commitment to civil rights in his stand on gay marriage. He has pledged support and reached out to underrepresented neighborhoods and he has continued to be a champion for education and the economic wellbeing of the city. Hooray for Gavin Newsom!

Comment: Mayor Newsom has the most rare of qualities in a politician - he does the right thing without regard to political repercussions. When he decided to start distributing marriage licenses to gay people, every politician he talked to, told him not to do it because it would hurt him politically.  He did it anyway because it was the right thing to do.  Because of this, my partner and I named our son after him.

Comment: As a 53-year old female, heterosexual, cynic I am typically negative about politicians. Gavin Newsom has given me new hope for the future.  I do not live in San Francisco but work there.  I have watched this generous, honest, risk-taking, hardworking man over the course of the time he has been in office. If only he were my mayor!! On several occasions I have heard him interviewed on the radio.  His message is consistent and sincere. I have been moved to tears more than once by his brave positions and humble dialogue. He deserves the 2005 World Mayor award.

Comment: Mr Gavin Newsom has achieved a place in history by standing up for his fellow man despite the opinions of many Americans.  He continues to strive for the rights of all people.  His leadership will be remembered in future political races in this country.  He is a man to look up to for many reasons.

Comment: Gavin Newsom is a native San Franciscan, as am I, who has neither lost touch with his roots nor used his time as the chief steward of San Francisco as a stepping-stone toward something bigger.  Because he is the son of a single mother of modest means, who had to work two jobs to make ends meet at times, he understand the basic necessity of certain city services and has refused to unravel the support network of San Francisco's neediest residents.  At the same time, he is a self-made millionaire who understands the importance of a pro-business climate and has done much to revitalize San Francisco's tax base. In short, he is a leader with uncommon balance and vision who is actually making a positive difference in one of the world's great cities.

Comment: During the elections, I was worried that Gavin Newsom would be just another politician in it for himself. But he has been phenomenal -- the rare politician who actually seems to care about the city and its people.  His decisions have been compassionate, not calculating, and are clearly based on what he feels is the right thing to do for the greater benefit.

Comment: Gavin Newsome is a progressive and compassionate leader. He serves the needs of his city in the 21st century by addressing technology and growth without ever forgeting humanity. San Francisco can truly be called a 'world city' because of it's multiculturalism and history. It is the Mayor's goal to draw on all of these cultures and communities, asking for their input and helping them to thrive, which will make sure that San Francisco is always regarded as an example to the rest of the world on how cultures and countries can mantain their identities while standing together to create an enviable place to live and work.

Gavin and San Francisco are showing the state of California, the rest of the United States and the world that the only true way to lead is with your head and your heart.

Comment: Newsom's stand on marriage rights for the gay and lesbian community has brought a glimmer of hope to an America that is in the middle of a cultural tug of war. Standing up in today’s America to the conservative right is why I am voting for Newsom as World Mayor 2005.

Comment: Gavin Newson is a person who truly cares about his constituents. With a large city with many varying views, he balances their needs with his beliefs and has proven to be progressive in his stances regarding labor, the environment and equality. He has stood side-by-side on the picketing line with a local hotel union while getting each side to meet at the bargaining table; he has opened up the city to the world hosting World Environment Day 2005 and co-signing the Green Cities Accord which commits more civic energy in reducing pollution and waste; and he has stood firm on his belief that equal rights for all includes allowing same-sex couples the same marriage rights and benifits as opposite-sex couples. No mayor can please everyone all of the time but Mayor Gavin Newsom does a great job of working to benefit the variety of San Francisco constituents and the great city itself.

Comment: Gavin Newsom is a visionary with the courage to change societal thinking. Mr. Newsom dared to help the homeless, not with money, but with actual food and shelter. He disallowed the enabling of ‘bum mentality’ by NOT giving cash to the homeless. This was a brave and controversial step. Mr. Newsom believes in love, and not just a "traditional" love, but love between two people, that is strong, everlasting and committed, whether you are gay or straight.

Comment: Gavin Newsom represents integrity.  His actions are not motivated by politics, but what he believes to be right.  His dedication to supporting equal rights for all people made it possible for my partner of seven years and I to get married at San Francisco City Hall.  Although those marriages were later ‘invalidated’ by a court ruling, his bravery on this issue has been an important step toward giving us the same civil rights as the rest of the country.  Words cannot express how grateful we are to this amazing man.  Thank you Gavin!

Comment: Great candidate! Here's a person who is not afraid to tackle difficult issues head on for example gay and lesbian civil and human rights, homeless care not cash, and bringing environmental stewardship to the local level. These are just a few issues that most folks would never approach. He is so responsive to the current events which impact his City and I'm proud of that.  Go Newsom.

Comment: I'm very impressed by Mayor Newsome's nose-to-grindstone approach to addressing issues; he's not one to 'grandstand'. His approach might be referred to as 'low-key' but he doesn't go unnoticed. To me, he seems to have a very responsible demeanor and doesn't seem to be constantly campaigning. Surprisingly, this somewhat reserved public image remains consistent even when he addresses high profile issues such as same sex marriage or public protection from dangerous dogs. His positions don't seem to waver with the most recent polling but he does seem to take note of opposing opinions. Regarding public criticism, he doesn't get defensive and seems to respect disagreeing opinions (but typically remains consistent in his positions which seem to be well thought out in advance). When necessary, Mayor Newsome also demonstrates that the Mayor of San Francisco is not to be ignored -- such as when the hotel owners declined to meet with union leaders in his office. A hotel labor strike would very much affect San Francisco's economy - hotel owners should not have disrespected the mayor's attempt to help resolve the dispute. Mayor Newsome subsequently quietly made it very clear that the owners were refusing to negotiate and in a somewhat quiet manner: he subsequently joined union members on a picket line. This display of "backbone" quickly re-started negotiations.

Each year the most outstanding mayor is presented with the World Mayor Award. In 2004 the Award was won by Edi Rama, Mayor of Tirana. Dora Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens, is the winner of the 2005 World Mayor Award. 2005 results

• Mayor of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
• Mayor of Antananarivo, Madagascar
• Mayor of Pretoria (Tshwane), South Africa

• Mayor of Buenos Aires, Argentina
• Mayor of Belo Horizonte, Brazil
• Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
• Mayor of Mississauga, Canada
• Mayor of Montreal, Canada
• Mayor of Toronto, Canada
• Mayor of Vancouver, Canada
• Mayor of Guatemala City, Guatemala
• Mayor of Mexico City, Mexico
• Mayor of Akron, USA
• Mayor of Atlanta, USA
• Mayor of Baltimore, USA
• Mayor of Charleston, USA
• Mayor of Chicago, USA
• Mayor of New York City, USA
• Mayor of San Francisco, USA
• Mayor of Seattle, USA
• Mayor of
Tinley Park, USA
• Mayor of Washington DC, USA

• Mayor of Beijing, China
• Mayor of Shanghai, China
• Mayor of Tehran, Iran
• Mayor of Hiroshima, Japan
• Mayor of Kitakyushu, Japan
• Mayor of Karachi, Pakistan
• Mayor of San Fernando, Philippines
• Mayor of Taipei, Taiwan
• Mayor of Istanbul, Turkey

• Mayor of Melbourne, Australia
• Mayor of Auckland, New Zealand

• Mayor of Innsbruck, Austria
• Mayor of Vienna, Austria
• Mayor of Grenoble, France
• Mayor of Lyon, France
• Mayor of Paris, France
• Mayor of Strasbourg, France
• Mayor of Berlin, Germany
• Mayor of Bonn, Germany
• Mayor of Düsseldorf, Germany
• Mayor of Frankfurt, Germany
• Mayor of Hannover, Germany
• Mayor of Leipzig, Germany
• Mayor of Munich, Germany
• Mayor of Stuttgart, Germany
• Mayor of Athens, Greece
• Mayor of Rhodes, Greece
• Mayor of Budapest, Hungary
• Mayor of Rome, Italy
• Mayor of Turin, Italy
• Mayor of Venice, Italy
• Mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania
• Mayor of Skopje, Macedonia
• Mayor of Tilburg, Netherlands
• Mayor of Lublin, Poland
• Mayor of Ekaterinburg, Russia
• Mayor of Moscow, Russia
• Mayor of Madrid, Spain
• Mayor of Saragossa, Spain
• Mayor of Stockholm, Sweden
• Mayor of Hartlepool, UK
• Mayor of London, UK
• Mayor of Kiev, Ukraine

More details on finalists