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How cities are preparing to deal with violent threats ahead of Inauguration day

Clarence E. Anthony, National League of Cities Executive Director and CEO joins Yahoo Finance's Kristin Myers to discuss how cities across the U.S. are amping up their security ahead of Inauguration day.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: The FBI has issued warnings that violent protests are expected in cities around the country up through President-elect Biden's inauguration, as Washington DC is bringing in thousands of troops to maintain order and peace. You can all see some of those images there. We're joined now by Clarence Anthony, National League of Cities executive director and CEO. Clarence, I'm wondering what guidance mayors have been given in anticipation of potential violence in their streets in the run-up to next week's inauguration.

CLARENCE ANTHONY: Yeah, thank you very much, Kristin, for having us on today to just talk about that. You know, we were deeply concerned when we learned last week about the violence that was happening on our US Capitol, but also the fact that the same type of protest is expected in all 50 state capitals ahead of the inauguration day.

And so our local leaders are on the front lines, and what they are-- what they're sharing with us is they are, in fact, concerned about a short insurrection, if you will, on their state capitals. So what they're doing is that they're standing firm, but they're also coordinating with the FBI and the state agencies that are in their various states. I mean, mayors, council members, all of America-- they're just afraid that those that protested-- the mob that protested in Washington DC will have the same type of impact that it had in Washington DC.

KRISTIN MYERS: How are cities right now planning to deal with these potential risks? Is it, you know, authorizing overtime for all police officers inside the cities? Is it calling in the National Guard? We see, you know, some of these images circulating of troops sleeping in hallways at the Capitol. As you're hearing a lot of these mayors and officials getting ready over the next week, what are some of the steps that are being taken to really ensure safety and peace going forward?

CLARENCE ANTHONY: Yeah, I think what the mayors and other leaders are doing is that they are, in fact, hardening their security systems. They are reaching out to the FBI and other federal agencies and saying, we need your assistance here, based upon what we're hearing. They're also increasing their security on themselves, as public officials, and having to bring in and extend the work hours of those police, EMS, and fire-protection support.

And you know, it's just been a difficult time, especially with the COVID-19 impact on communities. And now, because of the protest and the riots that have happened here in Washington DC, they're having to spend more money. So this is going to be a difficult time.

But the important thing is that, you know, I think mayors and leaders around America will say, we believe in democracy, but we don't believe in insurrection and violence. And so we're going to do our jobs, and we need a partner in the federal government to do that.

KRISTIN MYERS: I'm really glad you mentioned cost because I want to ask you about that. So many mayors have come on just this program alone and talked about how their budgets are tapped out, especially after the year that we had last year, with this pandemic really slamming city budgets. How expensive do you think that this next week is going to be getting? Authorizing over time is costly. Reinforcing infrastructure is costly. How costly is this going to be?

CLARENCE ANTHONY: Oh, this is going to cost our cities millions of dollars that they don't have. Because as you indicated, Kristin, that we have been on the forefront of trying to make sure that America is responding to the pandemic, whether it's the distribution, whether it's police, fire, EMS, making sure that we stand with our citizens. And now, we are going to also have to work so hard to make sure that our systems are available to be responsive to the potential violence that will happen.

And as we get through this time, we're going to continue to try to get from the federal government, our partners, direct funding for cities, towns, and villages because America can't rebound unless local governments rebound. And so I'm really disappointed that we didn't get money in the last stimulus bill, but we're going to continue to fight. And we-- you know, as local mayors, you know, we live with our citizens every day, so we can't go hiding to Washington or to a state capital. We see our folks, and they're expecting us to respond, not only to this protest that we anticipate, but also to their basic needs.

KRISTIN MYERS: Clarence, I have about, you know, 30 seconds, so I want to quickly ask you, on that point, President-elect Biden, set to be working to get some stimulus going for cities and states. How hopeful are you-- is your organization and the cities that you liaise and coordinate with that some funds will be coming their way?

CLARENCE ANTHONY: We're very hopeful. I'm thinking that from our work on the CARES Act and the last stimulus package, there was a real effort to try to get money, and both the Democrats and Republicans wanted to work to get that done. But politics got in the way.

I think, now, we have a new administration, with the Biden-Harris administration. They've committed to working with us. We have a House and Senate that has been committed. So I do think that this is the time that they will recognize that the most trusted level of government, local governments, will be the ones that will help us rebound, re-establish our businesses, housing opportunities, everything in America. Because it is happening in the cities, towns, and villages in America.

KRISTIN MYERS: Absolutely. And of course, we'll be keeping an eye over the next week for any movement in any of the capitals in any of the states and those cities and the potential violence that might out-- might break out over the course of the next week. Clarence Anthony, executive director and CEO of the National League of Cities, thanks so much for joining us today.

CLARENCE ANTHONY: Thank you for having me. Be safe.