Box 22, Folder 2, Document 20

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Staff paper on Model Cities

The discussion which follows treats those problems and conflicts
which are likely to arise in the implementation of the Model Cities
program. Most of them are built into the intergovernmental system in
which Model Cities will operate without the administrative instruments
to correct or direct them. By implication, the questions raised in
this paper are suggestive of conceptual difficulties with the Model
Cities approach, and not of the effectiveness of those charged with its
administration. |

The Model Cities program is considered by many to be the most
useful instrument yet put in the hands of American cities by the Federal
government. This program tests several notions: one is that a multitude
of categorical aids can be tied together in a single package and their
impact maximized in a slum neighborhood; another being that a handful of
American cities can make imaginative and effective use of supplemental
funds. Model Cities represents an attractive departure from past Federal
efforts in solving urban problems but it cannot be expected to overcome
the barriers that those previous efforts have helped to erect.

Consider the perspective of a well-intentioned mayor. A relatively
small carrot has been held out by the Federal government, which can be
taken and eaten if the mayor can do some things which the Federal govern-
ment cannot: coordinate and maximize the impact of a miltitude of
categorical aids. He must correct a situation in which semi-autonomous

bureaucracies make decisions about resource allocation, often with the



aid and comfort of their Federal coumterparts. He must operate with a
bewildering maze of state channeled programs which, through rigidity and
recressive aid formulae, effectively discriminate against his city.

There are other reasons why few cities can be expected to come up
With applications which, in fact, meet the rigorous standards of the
guidelines, First, few cities have the talent: personnel who combine
sophisticated appreciation of the grantsman's game with great programmatic
imagination do not exist in large numbers. Where they do exist they will
be expected to come up with an application that will. favor one area of
the city over all others, something very unattractive to men who must
stand for election in all neighborhoods. In addition, on very short
notice the mayor may have to alter priorities which have already been
set and to which his city is committed. This is especially true where
urban renewal activity has avoided hard core slum neighborhoods which
now must be incorporated into a comprehensive renewal effort. Then
there is the obvious problem of having to compete for one of seventy
slots for which the fiscal rewards are not great.

Given constraints of this nature, it is not surprising that cities
would not involve all the important community-wide agencies and citizens’
groups in preparing the initial application as required in the guidelines.
Theré is not time (3-1/2 months between issuance of the guidelines and
final application date) and there is not the staff to deal with suggestions
and complaints, The city might also wonder how HUD and other Federal
agencies are to review a large number of applications in a very short

time and realistically evaluate the thoroughness and comprehensiveness of

each, The incentives may be, therefore, on “winging it" like the college
student who substitutes reputation, savvy, and testmanship for diligent
study at exam time.

The costs of not involving many elements of the community in the
planning of the initial application are substantial. Such a process
would be efficient and effective means of educating the community,
creating awareness and gaining acceptance of significant innovations

in local government. Even when the planners are favorably disposed to

this approach it is doubtful that they will have the time or stafi

support to institute it.

In a real sense, the mayor's trouble begins when his city is selected
as a model. He must conduct complex negotiations with almost as many
agencies as there are categorical aids in his application and hope they
will all fund him at roughly the same time. If truly innovative, he
must secure the unlikeliest kinds of changes from the unlikeliest agencies
in his city and at the state and Federal level, e.g., the welfare system,
educational establishment, mortgage bankers, etc. He may have to convince
unsympathetic legislators that legislative revisions of sweeping import
should be made -- he may even ask for additional fimds. We are asking
a great deal of a class of political animal who seeks always to avoid or
resolve conflict.

None of this is to say that the Federal administrators of this
program will have an easy time. The greatest obstacle is the dependence
on the categorical grant programs of other Federal agencies for support

and funding. Specifically:


gram which emphasizes flexibility, cities must


a. In this pro
choosé amongst categorical programs which more often than not have rigid
standards, confusing jurisdictional relations and mysterious administrative
practices. To play a useful omsbudsman role for the cities vis-a-vis
these other Federal agencies, HUD must persuade under-funded program
administrators to make substantial allocations to other than traditional
recipients. Ideally these agencies would also review Model Cities
applications and be able to synchronize the grant approvals with those
of HUD.

b. Many relevant categorical programs, especially in HEW,
are administered through state governments with an impressive variety
of plans, regulations, capacities, standards and fiscal strength. It
is difficult to imagine that necessary revisions in these arrangements
can be effected in time to assist model neighborhoods, It is equally
difficult to envision HUD, two levels removed from the source of difficulty,
playing a too direct role in effecting such changes.

c. Urban renewal is probably disproportionately attractive
to cities planning model neighborhood programs. For one thing there is

250 million dollars in ear-marked funds which may be used by these cities
and their use is controlled by the same agency administering Model Cities.
If other programs are to be more competitive, then ear-marked moneys must
be secured and simple administrative arrangements substituted to attract
Model City planners to them.

The Model Cities approach is an introduction to "consumer allocation

of resources." This means that each city is allotted money with which

to “buy programs in the combination that it sees will have the sreatest

impact on the problems of that city. The change to consumer allocation

is a radical one and the problems cannot be underestimated. Instead of
accepting Federally-designed programs, the city is asked to prepare an
optimal mix of programs based on the effectiveness of alternativ:: systoms.
The first attempt at this approach is understandably imperfect because:

a. Cities still must choose from among existing programs in’
combinations which are largely pre-determined by funding levels and
jurisdictional rights;

b. premiums are still attached to particular programs by
favorable matching ratios;

c. the discretionary supplemental moneys are small in relation
to the total outlay involved thereby limiting new programs indicated by
systematic analysis.

The Model Cities program will make its great contribution by
demonstrating that the flexibility needed for experimentation is not
provided by a one-shot grant Federal money, no matter how large it is
or how few strings are attached. If the applications are prepared with
diligence, the Federal government will have a central catalogue of the
obstacles that it must deai with before real innovation can be achieved.
This catalogue would be a systematic vote by seventy cities indicating
where Federal legislation, administrative regulations and inter-agency
operations are to be revised to be made more relevant to the needs of

American cities. The Federal government should be preparing itself for



implementing a host of changes that will be suggested by Model Cities


applicants. This may require a new institutionalized capacity in HUD,

HEW, Labor and other agencies operating urban-related programs,

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