Box 7, Folder 12, Document 4

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Box 7, Folder 12, Document 4

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By Eve Edstrom
Was h ingt on Pos t S ta rr Wr it er
Of all the strate gy m e etings that took pla ce durin g
the week that the Offi ce of
Economic Opportunit.v wo n
the b at tl e for: its li fe in t he
Ho u se , on e unpublicized sessio n is fa s t becoming the
ta l k of th e town.
Jt. was set u p by th e Leacl0rs h ip Confcrnec e on Civil
Hi ght s and took pla ce on
Capito l Hill. As 11th-hour
a ss ig nm e n ts lo gai n Cong ress ional s upport for OEO
w e re a bo u t lo b e m a d e, an
ex tra ordin a r _v
pre ca uti o na r y move was ta ken.
Th e r c prese nt at h ·e from
OEO was as k e d to le ;we ll0 e
room .
" \Ve couldn't take anv
cha n ces ," one civi l r igllt's
legi s la th·c
techni cia n
sa id.
" We ju st couldn ' t be s ure
OEO was wa lking do wn t he
same sid e of th e s t re e t with
u s."
D es pi t e
state m e nts
by
OEO Director Donald Rum sfe lcl th a t th e N ixon a d minisstration stood be hind its
bill to k ee p OEO intae t.
th e re we r e num erou s r 0a:
sons w hy O E O 's chi ef suppor te r s di stru ste d th e a d mini s tra tion.
Al a n ews co nference Der.
8, Pres ide nt ;\; ixo n had expre ssed hope that a n "accommod a ti on
cou ld
be
r each e d on the OEO le g is la tion.
To man y OEO suppor t0rs ,
th is
m eant
that
sonw
version of a subs titute bill
g ivin g control of mos t OEO
p rogram s to th e stale s
wo uld b e ac cep ta bl e to th e
administrat io n .
Efforts by the ?\ation 's
m a.v ar s and Urban Coali ti o n
Act ion Counc il me m be rs lo
g l'l i\ Jr. :\"i xo n to m ake a
stron g s tate me n t
a i; ain st
th e sub stit ute b ill fa ile d .
,\nd labo r and ci1·i! ri g hts
leg is lat ive t ec hn ic: ia ns we r e
fru s tr a ted by OEO's failn e
lo eve n com e up w ith a h ea d
count of Re publi can s who
co u ld be r e lie d on to vote
a (:!ai n s t th e s u bs titut e .
' ' ·T he onl y thin g t h a t
m a k es se n se is to sha r e i nformation, " th e AFL-C I O 's
K e nneth Youn g s aid. "But
we g ot n ext to nothin g fro m
OEO .
"Thi s is ju st the oppos ite
of wlu1t h a pp e ne d in th e
las t few d ays wh e n we
work e d t' lose ly with t h e D epa r t m ent of H ealth , Edu cation and Welfare a gai ns t th e
Whit ten amendm e nt to c urta il F e d e r a l sc:h ool d eseg r eg at ion p owers."
T he U r ba n Coaliti on A ction Coun cil's Lo we ll n.
J3 e ck fo un d it lli g lll y unus u a l th a t 1h r r e wa s no overa ll adminis trati,)n st r a tegy l o g uide t h ose who were
fi g h tin g for OEO .
'Not th e '.\Ia in Cog'
"I\· e b ee n a round h ere
fo r 10 y enrs <1 nd y ou us u al],, work to su pp le me nt and
sup p ort a dm inis trat ion effo rt s ." h e sa id . "Yo u' re n ot
the m a in cog in d c\·e lo p i11 g
strategy to pass a cl mi n ist rati o n k g is lati un."
But l hvsc work i11 g fo r
OEO 's s un· in:il fo u nd th ey
n ot on ly \\' Cr e t h e ·'m :i in
co g" in m appinl! out st r ate gy but l h;i( so m e of th e ir
e fforts wcrP. be in g sc u ttled
b,1 O E: O r e prese nt a tiv es .
Wh ile th e c·oa lition o f
O EO s u pporters was wo r k in g to kill t he sta le-c ontrol
s u bs ti t u le , OEO \1·as cons ultin g wi th Ho use m e mbe rs on rt m e nclm e n ts l o
m a ke t he s u bst it u te mor e
pa latab le .
"\Ve were vio le ntl y o pposed lo pe r fecti n g th e substitu te a nd h isto r y pro \·r d
- - -- - -- - - - - · -·--------------------------~-
.
us ri g ht ," ciYil ri g hts lea d e r
.Jo se ph L. Hau b Jr. s a id.
'·Th e admini ~l ration was
r ea rl y to s0 lll e for mu ch
less ."
T h e r efore. th e OEO r e p1'esen la li1·es w;i s as k e d to le ave
t h e L ea ders hip Conference
m e e t in ;:: on D e c. 10, becau se
sup p orte r s of OEO fel t it.
un w is e to sha re th eir strat egy with th e ;igen cy .
'In The Dark'
'·Th ey le t u s work in th e
d a rk, " on e ci1· ic lead e r s a id .
·' Iget sic li r \·r 1·,· tim e I r e ar!
ho w
the
ad m inis tr at io n
pull e d off a great lcg is lali n :
cou p.
" .'\ lo t of bl oo rl , swe a t and
!ca r s Wl' n l into th is ballle .
bu t it would h a ve b een as
cas.v a s pi e if 11·c had rrce i\'P d \rhi! c Hou se sup po r t."
Xo on e di sconn! s th e f ac-t
tha t R um sfelrl w as h ig hly
s ucc essf ul
in
preventin g
so m e of h is form e r <'oi leag u es in ·,he Ho use from
h a n ding m ost of the po ve rty
prog ra ms o \·er l o th e states
\,·h e n th e n uci a l vot e ca m e
on D re . 12.
B ut 11u m0 r ous ot h r ,· fa(' lors w ere i m·o lved . Xot to b t•
under e ti nrn lccl is th e fact
th at 38 m e m bers wh o h ad
vot e d l o sc ra p a stro n g \· o ting ri g hts law t he p re \·iou.s
ni ght s wi tc lw rl t o oppose
s tate c ontrol o f the pove rt y
prog r a m s .
"Th e , 1 just did n ' t wa nt t o
f ire t1rn bul lets in a ro"· a l
· th e p oor," one ohse n ·ed sai d.
"It's e ntirely poss ib le t h a t
we could h a \·e won th e vo tin g ri ght s f ig h t a nd ;os t ~h e
· po vert.1· on e i ( th e legi3 1ation h a d b ee n ta k e n u p in
rev e r se ."
Of equal importan ce wa s
th e i11t e n si1·e lo b by ing e ffort
that the :\'a lion's m ay ors
co ndu cte d agains t takin g
poverty progr a ms awa y from
l ocal officia l .
Their effort was s imila r to
th at mount ed by th e .-\meri can Ba r Associa tion wh e n it
was r e s p on sibl e for knockin g out a Se n a te-p a ssed
amendm e nt to give _governnors con t rol of lega l programs for th e p oor .
A nd i n all th e hubbub
ove r the po \·c r ty bill, sca n t
attention was pa id to th e
rol e that th e governors d id
not play .
With f ew exce p ti o ns. th e
gove rn ors di d not emb ra re
th e ictea of b ein g saddl e d
wit h OEO . As on e r cpo r lcclly s aid :
" H e ll , wh o w ants to h ave
th e Statehouse blamed fo r
O E O's p roblrms. It's mu c h
eas ier lo b last Washingto n. "
I
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I,
I
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