A tough start in Oakland for Mayor Sheng Thao

Oakland has always been in the shadow of it’s across the bay neighbor, San Francisco, but a new mayor is working on changing that and improving how the city operates and is perceived. Crime and homelessness are problems, but Mayor Sheng Thao is working on that. Just listen. GoodGovernmentShow.com Thanks to our sponsors:

Transcription

David Martin: This is the good government show.

Sheng Thao: We need leaders who have life experiences because we always say that it is those who are closest to the problems, who have the solutions. The government is essentially being able to, work with other elected officials and, that and that sounds easy, but it actually is a lot more difficult. it’s about, you know, not focusing on the 30% that we disagree on, but focusing on what we do agree on and then doing the work and the hard work to actually move these things forward.

That’s how good government works, is that when everyone works together in a respectful way, that we can get things done. I do this work because of, what I how I grew up. You know, I felt like, you know, through all my life experiences, the resources weren’t there for me. I didn’t understand that there were resources out there.

So my job as leader of Oakland today is to bring the resources to the community and not wait for community to come to us.

David Martin: Welcome to the Good Government Show. I’m your host, Dave Martin. On this episode, we’re meeting a mayor whose incredible personal story should inspire Americans all across the country, especially new Americans. She’s Mayor Shengtao of Oakland, California. She was elected mayor in 2022. And as soon as she took office, troubles started their computer system got hacked and crime spiked.

Clearly, the Mayor had work to do, but this is a woman who’s used to hard work. So let me tell you a little about her. She’s among, her parents fed laws. After the war in Vietnam, the Hmong people sided with the U.S.. And once the U.S. pulled out, the ruling Communist Party largely tried to exterminate all of the Hmong people.

The Mayor was born in California, and she’s one of ten children. Later, she had an abusive boyfriend who beat her, including when she was pregnant. She moved out, had the baby on her own, and became homeless, sleeping with her infant son in their car. But she got a job she worked at. She graduated from community college, then transferred and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, an internship with the city council and led to a full time job there, ultimately becoming chief of staff.

She ran for City Council, winning her first election, and went on to five years on the council. Her run for mayor had her finishing in the top of a crowded field. Oakland has always taken a backseat to its neighbor across the bay. San Francisco crime, housing and jobs are all issues the city has struggled with for a long time.

Lately, some trends are moving in the right direction, but not all of them. And there’s still work to be done. And I talked to the mayor about all that. Since I first talk with Mayor Tao, she has become ensnared in a very public criminal investigation. In late June, FBI agents staged an early morning raid in her home. Documents were seized.

The raid was part of an ongoing public corruption case. Mayor Tao has vigorously defended herself, claiming she’s not the subject of the investigation and she’s vowed not to resign. To date, as of July 2024, she’s not been charged with anything. We didn’t get a chance to talk to her about this, but she’s publicly questioned how a city mayor could be the subject of a surprise raid.

She said she would have been more than willing to cooperate with investigators, but she was never given the chance. And she’s maintained that she’s not done anything wrong. Despite the challenges she faces, her story continues to be an inspiring story about a woman who overcame many personal challenges to become the mayor of Oakland. We will follow how this plays out.

But first, let’s go to Oakland and join me with my conversation with Mayor Shengtao.

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After you get done with this episode hear more good government stories with our friends at how to Really Run a City. Former mayors Kasim Reed of Atlanta and Michael Nutter of Delphia and their co-host, journalist and author Larry Platt talk with guests and other mayors about how to really get stuff done in cities around the nation. Check them out where you’re listening now or through their nonprofit news site, The Philadelphia Citizen.

Dot org slash podcasts.

It is a pleasure to have, mayor Sheng Thoa, welcome to the Good Government show. Thanks for joining us.

Sheng Thao: Absolutely. Thank you for having me.

David Martin: Well, you have been, you are the 51st mayor of Oakland. You are the first, if I’m correct, Hmong mayor of any American city.

Sheng Thao: I mean, large American city.

David Martin: Yes. Any large American city. You’re a bit of a trailblazer. That I guess, just a bit. So, I’ve been, looking a little bit about what’s going on in Oakland. it seems like, you’ve had a rough start. Is that a fair statement?

Sheng Thao: No. I mean, if you count, having the worst kind of flooding, you know, when I first came in, we had a flooding where we had to call an emergency. And then, of course, there was the internet hack. Right. So our IT department was hacked immediately. And so, yes, it was a bit of a rough start, a bit of a rough start.

David Martin: So I’m gonna just jump right in here. one of the things that I apparently is the big issue in Oakland is crime. Although it appears that crime numbers have dropped a little bit over the last few months, there’s still a wealth of perception. And, you know, the reality is that Oakland does have a crime problem. But I see that you’ve got some initiatives going.

I want to just talk to you about a few of them. one is, it appears that you’ve got 120, California Highway Patrol officers that are now part of your police force, and you’ve got some more foot patrols out. and you’re hiring new, new police officers. What else is going on? And have I got that right?

Sheng Thao: Yeah, you’ve got that right. You know, prior to me coming in, what we saw immediately was like, about every single month we were losing about ten officers. They were either retiring or transferring. The majority were transferring to different departments. And so coming in, you already have a demoralized, you know, work staff, whether it’s OPD or other staff, personnel throughout the city.

and then, of course, the pandemic happened. And so, as we saw with many different cities, crime went up. so we did an audit. We worked with Kaiser on it. Audit the audit, show that, you know, we wanted to figure out what was the root cause we had cast the reason behind crime changed, or is it still the same what the audit showed that it was very much still the same.

So, what I found is that, through the audit is that our flagship program, the cease fire program, was sunsetting with the previous chief. he decided to sunset that program. And then from that, from that program, he used those resources for a different unit that did exactly what U.S. marshals would do, which is go after people with warrants.

And so it was kind of repetitive and redundant. The idea was that they were going to focus on closing cases. What we saw, the data showed that it actually they did actually close more cases. They gained more cases. And so, we knew that that that method did not work. And so I shut that down was the vxi.

And I put all the resources back into our cease fire strategy, which takes into account working with community, trusted, messengers in the community and tackling those small groups of people, whether they’re gangs or groups that are committing the crimes, the violent crimes. We’re willing to pull that trigger. Who are, or who are people who are ID as someone who will, have crime perpetrated against them.

And so we do a lot of this work through our Department of Violence Prevention, where they will go out, find these, and at high risk individuals and communicate with them every single day, you know, touch base with them every day, see them physically at least three times a week, and really try to get them into programing, and some intensive life coaching.

And if they don’t take these programing, then, they also understand they get put on notice that, you know, our officers are will come after them, when they commit their next crime and we will have a full package of evidence to actually then off to the district attorney to charge. And so what we’re seeing is that that that has been working because, even though we’re only hyper focused on a high risk individual, it’s the same 300 or 350 people that are also committing these property crimes, whether it’s breaking into windows through our fencing rings, you know, stealing electronics and, taking them to a fencing ring where they get shipped off to

China, or, robbing people or, you know, stealing cars. And so that’s why we see an overall, decrease in regards to crimes across the whole city.

David Martin: Have you seen an impact that operations cease fire? I’m sorry. It’s the cease fire program. has made a difference. Operation cease fire. Sorry. Hasn’t made a difference. What you’ve done so far.

Sheng Thao: Oh, absolutely. It was an immediate difference. We received the finalize audit, you know, late last year. And by December, we implemented it immediately, including putting in new leadership. We have doctor Holly Joshi, who used to work for OPD and then left to do gender based violence. We were able to recruit her to come. We have new talent and our cease fire strategy is definitely working.

Our numbers correlate exactly for when we started implementing the strategy. We’re being proactive and data driven now instead of just reactive and being response, driven in regards to after a crime happens and then OPD shows up. We’re being proactive and actually intervening before crime even happens.

David Martin: Tell me a little bit about this, street ambassador, these community ambassadors. apparently you’ve got a grant for this. And how is this helping fight crime?

Sheng Thao: Yeah. So when we talk about our ceasefire strategy, that’s only one component. I like to say our public safety approach is comprehensive. So what does that mean? A part a large part of that is the visibility of actually having people on the streets. And so our street ambassadors are tied to our different business corridors. And essentially each of the different business corridors, they in each of the different ambassador groups, they operate differently depending on which area they’re in.

So these are it’s not done through one company or one organization. It’s multiple organizations. Because within the city of Oakland we have different hubs, different parts of Oakland that are that have different needs. And so having these ambassadors go out, some of them are, you know, majority of them are making sure the streets are clean, talking to the merchants, talking to the customers who are shopping in the area.

They’re way finders, you know, information giver. They also have a direct communication to our macro program, which is our non-emergency response program for mental health crisis, so that we don’t have to call upon our officers to show up to the scene. And so, this grant money really helps us expand the ambassador work that we currently are doing, including the ambassadors go out and, talk to people who are unhoused and try to get them the resources that they need, whether it’s, permanent supportive housing, temporary housing, if they so choose to take those options or just, you know, figuring out how to get them to, a shower, if that’s what they need.

David Martin: Well, it is the good government show, and we’d like to hear about good projects that work. And I would gather that one of the good things that comes out of this Street Ambassadors is you get more citizens involved in buying into what it is you’re trying to accomplish, right? Absolutely.

Sheng Thao: You know, we all know that right now, our, you know, local county jail and local county hospitals are, you know, impacted, highly impacted. And we can’t or we’re not going to be able to arrest our way out of this, you know, especially arresting people for, because of poverty. what we’re trying to do is really give them the resources so that we can really tackle the root causes.

And, I’m really happy that, and along with the good governance part of it, you know, and with you stated that we worked with CHP. Absolutely. That’s a part of it. I think that a lot of the, a lot of people have said, look at this mayor. You know, she’s obviously not doing a good job because the governor had to come in and send CHP.

Actually, we’ve been so used to not having good government, which is everyone working together, that that’s how people feel. This is exactly how good governance, governance work. Right? It’s me working with our state representatives, with our governor. You know, it took all of us, the senator, from the senator to assembly members, myself and the governor to come in and say, you know, let’s do this work together.

And so what you’re seeing is something that hasn’t been done in a while, which is, you know, all of the arms of government working together, not saying, well, that’s not my lane. That’s not what I do know. It is what we all do. Everyone, you know, in the state of California, including all of Oakland residents, are constituents of the governor.

This is what we do. We share resources when when someone needs it.

David Martin: And I know you came under a little bit of fire for a delay in hiring a new police chief, but now you have a new police chief. What difference is that made?

Sheng Thao: You know, it makes all the difference in the world in the sense that our department, you know, they have stability in their leadership. the getting new talent in getting a new police chief was a huge hurdle. We have a, an a police commission that has full authority around vetting all of the applicants. I don’t actually get to vet the applicant straight.

Yeah, and they choose between at least three. They can give me the whole list, or they could give me. But or, but they are, required to give me at least three names. And so the first round, they gave me the three names, including, the previous chief who I just fired. they put his name back on the list.

And so.

David Martin: Yours is.

Sheng Thao: No, I’m not much, but, but at the end of the day, you know, it’s unfortunate that, people were playing political games with with the hiring the chief. And so I was also very frustrated that we couldn’t get one sooner. But now we do. And he’s great. Chief Lloyd Mitchell comes from Lubbock, Texas, and, he’s coming in and rank and file police officers are excited to be working with him and under his leadership.

David Martin: So I talked a little bit about you, when I introduced this before you came on. Quite an impressive, background for yourself. You you are the child of, refugee parents, from Laos. you went to community college, got yourself through as a single mother, a victim of, someone, fortunate, I guess spousal abuse and and and yet, you went to Berkeley, graduated, and, now you’re now you’re the mayor.

after other stints in politics and government. what does that experience bring to you in the in the role you serve? Now? You know.

Sheng Thao: That experience, means everything. So I get it right.

David Martin: Did I get your history right?

Sheng Thao: Yes. You did, you did. You know, I think that it’s. I think it’s so important that in these leadership roles, especially when we talk about good government, that we need leaders who have life experiences because we always say that it is those who are closest to the problems, who have the solutions. And so with that being said, you know, for me, going through these different, you know, things in my life, you know, being a DV survivor and a single mom being homeless, you know, my son and I, we lived in my car and couch serve because we couldn’t pay first month’s last month and deposit.

I mean, that’s the majority of the world, you know, that’s the majority of the people who live in the United States is trying to figure out, how do I pay rent and feed my children? and at the same time, you know, have enough time and have access to resources. And so, having this lived life experience, you know, this this is how I lead.

This is, this is why I’m unapologetic about, you know, making sure I represent the our working families. Because if we lift up our working families, then we are all lifted.

David Martin: I know that you recently attended a conference of mayors event in Washington to advocate for, better housing. What initiatives have you started with? trying to get people in their homes?

Sheng Thao: Yeah. So it’s a bipartisan issue. And so, the Conference of Mayors, where it’s, you know, where it it’s bipartisan. So you have Democrats and Republicans, and we agreed on three things that we would advocate for making sure that the veterans formula, when you build out affordable housing for veterans, right now, their benefits that they receive as veterans count against them.

And so we want to say, you know what? You need it not, count the benefits that they received because they are veterans as part of their income, you know, otherwise, the buildings that you’re being that are being built out for veterans, the veterans don’t even qualify for. So that’s one. Another thing is we’re advocating for place based voucher project base.

And so instead of when we talk about section eight vouchers, instead of saying, here’s a voucher, go find a house. it’s we build a housing and the voucher is tied to that project. So whoever lives in that, is already deemed as qualified. And if they are in that housing, then the voucher stays there with that project, we are obviously also advocating for, making sure that there are also tenant base housing.

And so the traditional voucher air vouchers and increasing the number of vouchers that are being received in each city.

David Martin: I just want to mention this. I’m a New Yorker. Parking is a constant problem. I love this five after five program. You have $5 parking downtown. Is that helping, bring people into the city?

Sheng Thao: It really is. You know, the city of Oakland. We are seeing that we are bouncing. Our downtown is bouncing back a lot quicker than our neighboring Bay area cities. And this is a part of it. A part of it is we’re making it more attractive for people to come five after five. You can park your car inside of a city garage.

That means that when you come out, your windows won’t be broken. and it’s only $5. And so you can, you know, wine and dine and, and have all the entertainment and then come back and make and know that you have a vehicle to drive home. we do.

David Martin: Call the mayor of New York City and explain this to him and talk to him about it next time you see us. That would really be helpful.

Sheng Thao: I will bring that up.

David Martin: Please, please, please. all right. We have a we have a good government show questionnaire. you are a chief of staff in city government. You are a, city councilwoman now, your mayor defined good government.

Sheng Thao: Good government is essentially being able to, work with other elected officials. And, and that sounds easy, but it actually is a lot more difficult. it’s about, you know, not focusing on the 30% that we disagree on the focusing on what we do agree on and then doing the work, the hard work to actually move these things forward.

that’s what good government is. And, you know, I’m hopeful that we can continue this kind of good government here in Oakland, working with our state partners, our federal partners and the community. That’s really what it is. the community has to be a part of it. You know, if anything that you do, you have to make sure that you have communities support and, community leaders buy in.

and so I do a lot of work in the community to ensure that, this is what the, the call for is, and the call to action is and, and that’s how we get things done. You know, we have coming online 480 slot cameras, which is the high tech cameras that can really hone into different specific details of vehicles and what have you.

in a progressive city like the city of Oakland, that would have never happened under another leadership. But under my leadership, it was a we were able to get the work done because, again, I can, speak to multiple sides of the community. and, you know, when you have a trusted messenger, then things work a little bit more smoothly.

And so that’s what I pride myself on as being direct and honest, whether I’m talking to community, other, elected officials or, city staffers, county staffers. and what that has proven is that that’s how good government works is that when everyone works together in a respectful way, that we can get things done.

David Martin: How do you judge your success? Well, how do you know if you’ve done a good job? What do you look for?

Sheng Thao: Yeah, you know, I look for whether I’m, creating a better quality of life than, what it was when I first came in. And right now, it looks like we’re on a trajectory of, you know, of hitting that mark. But, of course, I always push myself, you know, nothing is good enough until there are no lives lost.

And through our, you know, the reimplementation relaunch of our cease fire strategy, we know for a fact that we’re saving lives. And, for the first time ever, I am actually starting, a mayor’s human trafficking council that’s led by survivors. So, you know, we are also making sure that we’re tackling this huge topic. We also, you know, everyone knows that Oakland is one of the major hubs for human trafficking, and yet nothing’s really been done about it.

And so we’re going to take that on and try to help with that again. another point of success is our homeless population, you know, making sure that we’re getting people housed. We had, you know, our version of skid Row in Oakland was Wood Street. And in the first three months of being in office, we were able to, break down the, you know, the encampment and get everyone 100% of those who wanted housing.

We got them into housing or got them on their way to housing. and it was 85% of the people that lived there. And there were hundreds of people, took services. The others decided not to. And so we can’t force them. but anybody who wanted services received them. And so, you know, we’re headed I believe Oakland is headed in the right direction.

And, you know, we’re we are turning that corner and turning that tide. However, of course, media, you know, gets a lot of the negative news, but there’s so much positive happening in the city of Oakland.

David Martin: That’s what we’re trying to talk about. However, I do have to go back a little bit. there are a lot of people who are unhappy with your government. There is a recall movement. I have a two part question. what would you like those people who who are, you know, trying to have a recall? what would you like to tell them?

And secondly, how do you manage through something like that when, you know, you go to have a press conferences, people shout you out. You have to cut it short.

Sheng Thao: You know, it’s democracy, right? It’s democracy. Not everyone is going to agree with my leadership. you know, I, I think that it’s unfortunate that, I feel like I wasn’t given a full chance. So, you know, I just got into office, you know, a few months before the recall was, actually being put together and launched. And so, you know, I, you know, at the beginning there, the people that were leading the recall were people who ran against me and lost.

Yeah. And so it’s just unfortunate to have this kind of divisiveness and to have it be covered as much as it has been, because for just those, you know, it might be loud voices, a minimal number of people with loud voices and know how to call the press and know how to file recall petitions or what have you.

And so but that’s a democracy. And I would just ask that they give us an opportunity. And to really measure my leadership through the different successes that we’ve had thus far. I’ve only been in office for less than a year, and a half. Right. And so, you know, but with that being said, we’re just getting started and I’m going to continue to focus on my job, which is, you know, a clean, airy stay for Oakland.

So we’re working hard every day on the safer part of it. And we’re going to continue. It’s not good enough. You know, it’s never going to be good enough for me. And so we’re going to keep continuing to keep pushing and demanding more. And at the same time, you know, our streets are, have been pretty dirty for the last decade that I can remember.

So we’re going to go out and do some basic cleaning. and that work has already started.

David Martin: As an elected official, what would you like people to know about how government works?

Sheng Thao: I think that it’s incredibly important that people, that everyone gets educated around who does what. So the county here in the city of Oakland, we do not have a public health department or social services. That’s all done at the county level. And a lot of the a lot of times people don’t even know what the county representatives do or they don’t know who their county elected officials are.

And so we’re trying to do that kind of work around educating the community. But I would just say, you know, understand better what each arm does because our officers can arrest someone. But we turn the evidence right over to the district attorney’s office. It’s up to them whether they charge or not.

David Martin: Where do you get your news from?

Sheng Thao: I get my news from different, methods. You know, I read the paper, I watch the media. But that’s a really interesting question for me because I am a, an elected official. And so, you know, I have to pay attention to all the things that, other people may not, including next door, including, social media, you know, and, Instagram and, and the traditional methods of getting our news and then you, you know, but I would warn people that, when getting your news, do your research just because, you know, we’re in a weird time right now where, you know, so long as you say it over and over, it becomes facts, even though it’s not. And so I was just suggest that everyone, do their own research and dig deep, because it’s not like how it used to be.

David Martin: And by the way, I will not take points away for not saying. And I listen to good podcasts.

Sheng Thao: and I listen to.

David Martin: Too Little Too Late. so who’s your political hero? Is this is something this is. Did you want to be president? Well, you’re president of your high school class. Is this something you always saw yourself doing?

Sheng Thao: No, it’s not something I was on myself doing, actually, the the secret of it all is that I’m actually an introvert. and so, but, you know, I, I did this work because of, what I how well, I grew up, you know, I felt like, you know, through all my life experiences, the resources weren’t there for me.

I didn’t understand that there were resources out there. So my job as leader of Oakland today is to bring the resources to the community and not wait for community to come to us. Okay?

David Martin: You have to have a political hero, though.

Sheng Thao: and I’ll, you know, I have a political hero, but my mom just passed away, and I would say that she’s my political hero. Okay? You know, she escaped genocide and, as a widow mother and survived and raised ten kids. And, you’re one of ten. Yeah, I am one of ten. And so she’s the strongest person that I know, and she’s my hero of all types.

David Martin: Okay? I have never been to Oakland, I’m sorry to say. A bit of San Francisco. if I’m coming out there to visit, I want to know where. I understand you don’t cook. So where are you? Where are you taking me? In Oakland. What are we having? I know your your location, background. What are we. Where are we going?

What are we having?

Sheng Thao: Yes. You know, there’s so many great spots. So when you come out here and I don’t cook, when you come out here, there’s so many great spots. Venetian Cafe is like this little, it’s literally a house in an in a neighborhood, but it is a restaurant, and so that’s really good Laotian food. we also have, you know, farmhouse Thai, which everyone loves.

There’s always log lines. The decor is amazing. Bambara. Bambara is a, Latina run restaurant, and it is one of the possible. I think they’re running for a michelin star. And so they’re just many places to eat. And I would, you know, to the, to the taco truck right now.

David Martin: Well, yeah, I, I mean, if I’m dining with you, I want something. You should we go to your sister’s house? That someone who can cook to add. What’s your favorite dish?

Sheng Thao: Yes. You know, my favorite dish dish is, is called Cup one, which is, it’s basically like a curry soup with noodles. Okay. Yeah. with rice noodles. And it has the quail eggs in it. you know, it has condensed milk in it. And so it’s a little, it’s a little, just a little slightly thicker.

but it’s really tasty and it’s a little bit of a kick of spice. my sister does cook it really well, but there’s also great restaurants here that, that.

David Martin: All right. This is called the Good Government Show. We like to bring it back to good government. Give me an example of a good government project that you’re excited about. I don’t want to put words in your head, but I read something about Oakland Fresh. Or tell me something you’re excited about. Yeah.

Sheng Thao: So Oakland Fresh is something that we are launching, and that is us bringing all of our department heads into the community to fix things all at once. Meaning if there are sidewalks that needs fixing, we’d fix that immediately. if there are crosswalks that need new paint jobs, we will do that. You know, cleaning the street, illegal dumping.

We’re picking that up, but we’re only going to do it with community. so that’s everyone from the public government sector, from whether it’s our electricity personnel, PGA to cable personnel, big businesses and then the residents. And so changing the culture inside of the city of Oakland and changing the culture outside with community is how we continue to keep Oakland safe and clean.

And so, for me, that’s what good government looks like.

David Martin: last question I got to ask this one, Oakland. Any chance they’re going to stay?

Sheng Thao: You know, there’s always a chance, as long as there’s not a shovel in the ground. And the last I checked, there’s no shovel.

David Martin: Snow. So, so so maybe one more time. the maritime, it has been fantastic talking with you. so much more I’d love to chat with you about. We’ll have to save that for another time. you’re a year and a half, and you’ve got a few more years to go. Good luck. I hope it goes better for you.

And, thanks very much for doing this. Appreciate it. Thank you.

Sheng Thao: So much. Thank you for having me.

David Martin: Where do you get your news from? Where do you get your state and local government news from? Because that’s getting harder and harder. And it’s essential to stay updated with your community. And it’s becoming increasingly important to know what’s going on in other cities and states, because they’re likely facing challenges that you’re grappling with. Two are you’re going to face eventually.

That’s why we’d like to welcome our new partner, route 50, to the show. Route 50 is a leading online publication covering state and local governments across the country. They’ve written about states protecting themselves against the rise in cyber attacks, counties using AI to better support citizens services, local responses to crumbling infrastructure and extreme weather, and much, much more.

There’s a lot there. It’s a one stop shop for issues affecting state and local governments and their residents. That’s you. That’s all of us. Do yourself a favor and go to route 50.com to see the topics and solutions they cover, and learn what other people in government are doing. They also deliver a daily newsletter called route 50. Today I see it in my inbox every morning.

I check it out and you should too. Thanks again. Route 50. We’re excited to have you on board and being a partner here at the Good Government Show.

What is it the county government does? That’s the question county commissioners get asked the most. And the simple answer is everything on the Good Government show. We’re so lucky to have talked with so many county commissioners and other county officials that have shown us how effective county government is. County government dates back to get this 1634, making it one of the oldest forms of government in the United States.

Think about it. Roads. Highways. Hospitals. Schools. Recycling. Law enforcement. Water. Sewers, and most of the county. Those services are maintained by the county that’s county government. The National Association of Counties represents all 3069 counties across the USA. Naco helps county government work better together through things like sharing best practices. When county government works well, well, that’s just good government.

I could have talked to Myrtle for hours. I don’t know if you listen that long, but she’s certainly a dynamic person with an incredible personal and professional story. Turning a city around is hard and harder. When the opposition is calling for you to be removed from office. Any opposition is not necessarily doing it for all the best reasons.

But this is not deterring the mayor, she said. She’s going to keep working, keep speaking up and keep speaking to all sides in government to get the work done. And that, she says, is what good government is all about, elected officials working together. And we like that here in the good government show. Well, we’ll be following Mayor Tao and we’ll talk to her again.

That’s our show. Thanks for listening. Please like us and share this with your friends and reviews right here where you’re listening now. And check out our website. Good government show.com for extras. Join us again for another episode right here. I’m Dave Martin and this is the Good Government show.

The Good Government show is a Valley Park production. Jim Ludlow, Dave Martin, that’s me and David Snyder are the executive producers. Our show is edited and produced by Jason Stershic. Please subscribe then share and like us and reviews. That’s the best way to make sure we’re able to keep telling these stories of our government working for all of us.

Then listen to the next episode of The Good Government Show.

**This transcription was created using digital tools and has not been edited by a live person. We apologize for any discrepancies or errors.