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NEW YORK (December 13, 2010) –  Music can not only soothe the savage beast but the woe of American mayors coast-to-coast, according to a new survey of mayors across the nation commissioned by Reader’s Digest and conducted by Harris Interactive.

To support WE HEAR YOU AMERICA, a new grassroots initiative to spotlight and provide “economic stimulus” to address the challenges facing American cities (, Reader’s Digest/Harris Interactive surveyed mayors of cities with population of 30,000 or more about the impact of the on-going recession, not only on their local economy but the spirit of their citizens.  

In a lighthearted departure from questions about the hard economic realities, the survey asked  which popular song best described the state of mind of these municipal leaders and their citizens.   

The top two choices demonstrate that cities favor optimism over the blues.  The top choice with 47% of the vote was country newcomer Easton Corbin’s “Roll With It,” a number-one country chart topper from October 2010, the second hit from this artist’s self-titled debut on Mercury Records/Nashville.  Corbin’s sunny sonic Rx, which advises people to head to the beach and just chill when times get bad, was followed by rap mega-star Eminem’s “Not Afraid,” capturing 41% of the vote. This empowering tune was the first single from Eminem’s seventh album, “Recovery,” and has registered over 3 million downloads to date.

A much more doom and gloom duo, Maroon 5’s “Misery” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” rounded out the vote, each capturing 6% of the mayoral tally.
Overall, Reader’s Digest’s WE HEAR YOU AMERICA Mayors Survey presented a challenging picture of the future for America’s cities; with budget cuts now hitting many quality of life issues, but citizens taking an active role to better the present and future. 

According to the survey, 74% of mayors expect economic hardships to increase in 2011, 39% saying the worsening would be substantial. Nearly seven in ten are reducing road maintenance and delaying building projects, and 41% are cutting police and fire services.  On the quality of life front, 41% are cutting services at parks and gardens, 39% are reducing services at local libraries and 22% cutting after-school programs for kids. Six in ten say they are coping with the challenges with city workers taking early retirement and more than four in ten say volunteerism is one the rise.

WE HEAR YOU AMERICA is a grassroots initiative from Reader’s Digest that provides both a public sounding board and commits $5 million in cash and promotional support to address the many challenges facing America’s cities and their leaders.  Citizens can now go online now to cast a vote for their town’s share of the “stimulus” to be awarded through this program, to cheer about what makes their town great, to write about what challenges need tackling.  Stimulus will be provided to the towns that cheer the loudest (receive the most votes.)  The groundbreaking campaign will literally be brought door-to-door via a 100-city tour and editorial on the website and in each issue of the 30 million-reader strong magazine, from February – May 2011.


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