Scoring the mayors

Here’s Time’s list of the best and worst big city mayors. Staffers apparently put their heads together with a bunch of “urban experts” to come up with the list. (Chicago’s Daley is on top). Here’s their approach:

It is tempting to judge our mayors for the little things that make city life livable, the depth of the potholes, the smell of the streets, whether or not the traffic lights are in synch. But the best mayors have also been those who act on a grand scale, building bridges, saving schools, finding the funds that cities forever lack.

Funds that cities forever lack? Hmmm. Are cities forever lacking funds or forever mismanaging them? And acting on a “grand scale” makes me nervous. The mag points to Denver’s John Hickenlooper (who should win an award for his name alone) as someone who did just that:

And in his biggest score, he won approval for a $4.7 billion mass-transit plan, which involved persuading voters, along with about a dozen mayors in seven regional counties, to back a sales-tax hike.

What if he had proposed a less grand plan that did a better job of improving transportation? Would Time magazine still ooh and ahh over him? Anyhow, let’s just get to what people really care about. Here are Time‘s worst mayors: Dick Murphy, Kwame Kilpatrick, and John Street.