President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore are expected to attend the U.S. Conference of Mayors gathering in San Francisco next month, the mayor and Clinton administration sources said.
Mayor Brown, back from an apparently successful Washington trip last week, said he had lined up Clinton, Gore and a half-dozen unnamed cabinet officials.
Brown said during a telephone interview that he intended to make the conference, scheduled here June 20-24, a showcase for the city. And the planned appearances by Clinton and Gore will broadcast that showcase to a much wider national audience.
“The president is planning to attend,” an administration source said.
Heidi Qukis, the vice president’s spokeswoman, couldn’t confirm Gore’s attendance, but said it was “under consideration in the vice president’s scheduling office.”
“It is a huge coup for Willie Brown, and it shows the president still is looking at California with a great deal of interest,” said Kathy Bowler, California Democratic Party executive director.
“California is the biggest state and the most diverse, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, especially right now with all the funding issues, is a very important place for them to address the issues,” she said.
Clinton, who visited California 29 times during his first term, is expected to come here even more frequently now that his daughter, Chelsea, has chosen to attend Stanford University beginning this fall.
And Gore has focused his attention on California, already visiting the state several times since January, as he prepares his campaign for the White House in 2000.
The president and the mayor have a good relationship. Brown stayed overnight at the White House in January 1996 when the mayor attended his first mayors’ conference in Washington. Gore and Brown also have a good rapport, having shared the podium together at a number of events including an appearance before the California Democratic delegation at last summer’s National Democratic Convention.
But perhaps Brown can’t take all of the credit for luring the country’s top two executives.
“Willie is one of the strongest, most respected mayors in the country,” Bowler said, giving the mayor his propers, but “San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the country.”
However, Bowler’s boss, state Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres, said, “You can never under-estimate the political clout of Willie Lewis Brown Jr. He’s taken a personal interest in the details of putting together the best U.S. Conference of Mayors in history. That’s how he has pitched it to the White House.”