Both mayors also spoke of the challenge in luring tourism to cities that aren't commonly thought of as vacation destinations.
Cornett said Oklahoma City is fortunate to live at the crossroads of three major Interstate highways, but he often finds people who have driven through the city have never bothered to stop.
â€œTheir only experience with Oklahoma City was at 70 miles per hour,â€ Cornett said. â€œWe've given them reason to stop.â€
After winning the mayor's job, Johnson visited New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to seek advice and was surprised that Bloomberg wasn't even sure where Sacramento was. He said it is a common problem in a state where Los Angeles and San Francisco get all the attention.
Johnson explained to Bloomberg that Sacramento is halfway between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe.
â€œI don't want to be the mayor of a halfway point,â€ Johnson said. â€œI am the mayor of the capital of California, and Mayor Bloomberg doesn't know where it is.â€
Cornett said the key in taking a city to the next level is developing a sense of unity among local leaders, the business community and the voters. He said Oklahoma City has done that with its MAPS program.
â€œIt's gotten to the point where if you are a politician, you are expected to put the city's interest before your own political career,â€ Cornett said. â€œIf you are a business leader, you are expected to put the city above your own business interest. If you don't, you are an outcast. In this city, everybody is pulling on the same rope.â€