S.F., N.Y. mayors announce twin technology summits 

click to enlarge Ed Lee
  • AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
  • Mayor Ed Lee, right, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg are holding two upcoming summits in their respective cities to explore ways that technology can help solve problems their cities face.

Mayor Ed Lee and his New York City counterpart, Michael Bloomberg, said at a news conference Friday that they are sponsoring a pair of technology summits over the next year.

The mayors said the "digital cities" summits — one in New York in September and another in San Francisco early next year — will seek to find ways to use technology to solve problems the cities face.

The mayors made the announcement after touring the office of San Francisco-based mobile payment company Square with co-founder Jack Dorsey, who also helped found Twitter. Both mayors lauded Square's ability to boost commerce in their cities.

Bloomberg pointed to power outages, dangerous winds and flooding from Superstorm Sandy as examples of issues the summits would seek to address. Lee emphasized San Francisco's recent partnership with companies such as car-sharing service Lyft to assist with transporting people in post-earthquake scenarios.

Some general areas the summit would address are immigration, office space, housing and funding startups.

The summit would consist of about two dozen people from technology, business and government, though a firm list has not been developed. Attendees could range from other mayors to members of the education or health care sectors.

"People that are interested in advancing their economies or creating business or working together, the Jack Dorseys and the mayor — that's the kind of person you want to have there," Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg visited the Bay Area for several days and met with leaders in Silicon Valley on Friday. He has been trying to boost New York's technology sector, which he said has grown 30 percent since 2005 and ranks No. 1 for job growth in mobile app companies.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Bloomberg used his platform as Stanford University's commencement speaker to lobby for an immigration reform plan that allows foreign students to remain in the U.S. after they graduate.

Standing before a packed Stanford Stadium, Bloomberg noted that about 30 percent of the university's 5,000 graduates had attended Stanford on student visas, but that many of them who couldn't work legally here would return to their home countries to compete with American companies.

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