In his new book, The American Mayor: The Best & Worst Big-City Leaders, Melvin G. Holli follows the lead of the American Film Institute, the Modern Library, and historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. in assembling top-10 lists, this time of the best and worst American mayors. Top accolades go to Fiorello LaGuardia, who built modern New York City during the New Deal. “Kaiser Bill” Thompson, who received campaign contributions from gangsters such as Al Capone during his two stints as mayor of Chicago, emerges as the worst of the worst. D.C. observers will be surprised to learn that Marion Barry is noticeably absent from either listalthough he does win four first-place “worst” votes from the 160 historians, social scientists, and journalists who were polled. Washington’s mayor-for-life makes it into Holli’s appendix, however, in the “Mayor Rankings After the Worst Ten” section: Barry seizes no.11.
Buff ‘n’ Gray Last Wednesday, mayoral mother Virginia Hayes Williams”Nana” to Anthony A. Williams’ daughterappeared before a U.S. House of Representatives forum to talk about the need for older women to stay active. Mayor’s office staffers, who are definitely familiar with the elder Williams’ vigor, informally titled the event “the Nanapalooza Tour.”