Box 7, Folder 14, Document 3

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Box 7, Folder 14, Document 3

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Novet1ber 26, 1967
Strange Bed/ellows
Lobbying for the
Nation's Cities
B_y Willimn Chapman
washin r. lon Poist St.arr Writer
T THE HEIGHT of the House bat-
11<-' o,·pr ;rni1povert.y funds, 11 bord ':.'r i: ne C',,ngres.snwn were visited by
tw0 tolibyhl s un a('c ust.amed to linking
arm,; in any joinl endeavor.
One was the top Washington representative of an automobile manufacturer ; th i> ,ilh!'r speaks to Congress for
the Unit ed Automobile Workers. All 11
Con;:!ressmr> n represent districts in
wh 1<:h the ml•tor c:ompany is a large, if
n ot the largest, e mployer. All have
constitue nts in the UAW.
Th P talk was not or car sales but of
pcn-rrly . In a soft-~e ll ap proach, the
visitors asked support for the $2.06 billion au thorization [nr the antipoverty
prr,,_!ram and ur).!ecl I.he doubtful Congrf'~E men to resist c [forls to cut it
b ark.
Tht· unusual co1ifrontat.ions (" It's the
fir~t time in my nine years in Wash.ingt.on I've gone into a Congressman's
.)rf'1,:c with a UAW man," observes the
ind11 , t r,v lnhbyist) ma rked the first sig;11 f1cant dri ve of the Urban Coalition, a
f!,·d~li 111; orga niza tion rtevoted to
pr .. ss1ng l1·.~1s latil1 n il hopes will solve
t IH· C' r i~i~ of the cit ies.
In the •a rgot of Washington politics, it is a campaign with great potential "clout" because it is loaded
with the names of big business, labor,
civil righ ts, religion and city politics.
It puts Walter Reuther on the same
bandwagon with Henry Ford II, and
links moderate civil rights leaders
with General Electric, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and the Chase
Manhattan Bank.
The key is business support, for
without it the Urban Coalition is little
more than an assemblage of liberals,
city hall politicians and civil rights
leaders who have lobbied for social
welfare legislation for years.
One spokesman familiar with the Coalition's founding observed that in
such fields as poverty, model cities
funds and rent supplemeruts, Congressmen are accustomed "to hearing from
civil rights people and labor. But they
have rarely, if ever, heard from business."
Is business really on the bandwagon? The signs are far from clear.
Besides the automobile lobbyist, a few
others acknowledge they called or
wrote certadn Congressmen, blllt are reluctant to discuss details.
Alfred Eisenpreis, vice president of
Allied Stores Corp. of New -York, said
he talked t-0 "several" Congressmen.
about the poverty bill. His list included some whose districts contain
Allied stores and others with whom he
is acquainted.
Had he changed any votes? "I don't
know . . . I would have no r eason to
say if I knew," Eisenpreis replied .
J . Irwin Miller, chairman of tl">e
Cummins Engine Co. of Columhus,
Ind .. wrote to hi~ Congressman anrt
Senators on at least one issue, but has
"not been as active as I hope to be."
On only one issue besides the
antipoverty fundin•g h as the Urban
Coalition attempted to exert conrentrated pressure- the emergency j obs
legislation that drew a surprising
amount of Senate support in the face
of stiff Johnson Administration opposition.
The best evidence available indica tes
that labor provided the most direct
lobbying for the employment bill,
other than the Senators who sponsored
One industry leader active in th E'
Urban Coalition said his firm did nnt
support the emergency jobs program
although the Coalition's legislative
�C"omrnittee had endorsed it. It was
1eared, he said, that the bill had too
little support and might saddle the Coalition with a publicized failure just as
it was gettin g started. Also, he said,
the Senate bill did not offer as many
jobs as the Coalition's platform proposes and therefore might have
"falsely raised the hopes of the poor."
The Urban Coalition sprang out of
meetings sponsored by Urban America,
a relatively new Washington organization sµP.c ializing in research and analysis of ur ban problems.
It was largely a paper committee
until last summer's big-city riots
rocked the country. In the aftermath,
the Coalition held an "emergency convocation" in Washington, laid out a list
of urgent needs and set about organizlng the political framework.
The movers in the Coalition were
perso ns profoundly discourage d by the
national reaction to the .riots. Mayors
and civil rights leaders who had pleadt:d for appropriations for model cities
rnd rent supplements found Congreu
in no mood to spend more money. The
·poverty program appeared destined for
a quick trip down the drain. The
White House let it be known that no
new urban-aid programs would be adva nced this year.
Experienced lobbyists .and nose-counters in the United Staites Coil!fereJ1Ce
of Mayors had long noted one particularly disappointing fact-the persistent
opposition of Congressmen from suburban areas. Their ranks growing with
court decisions requiring congressional
red istricting, the suburban Congressmen were proving to be nearly as uninterested in central-city programs as
th eir rural counterparts.
Such complaints aire illustrated by
an independent analysis of 1967
vo tes on key urban issues such as
model cities, the control of rats, rent
supplements and antipoverty funds .
There are, at latest count, 56 Congressmen whose districts are predominantly composed of people living in
what the Census Bureau describes as
th e "urban fring e."
On almost every peculiarly urban
issue, about half of the suburban Congressmen voted against the Administration's bills or appropriation requests . Twenty-four of them, for example, wanted to eliminate all funds for
the fled gling model cities program .
Twenty-six joined the majority last
Ju ly to kill the rat control bill, later
Using a wider ta rget, the Urban Coali tion pinpointed 110 Congressmen
fr om districts in 52 metropolitan areas
who are consider ed "negative" on
ma jor ur ba n legislat ion.
Stra,ige Bedfellows
Aiding the Cities
"There! That should keep you in rhe w:iy to which you're accu,1om ed."
"They particularly hurt us on money
bills," observed one Coalition spokesman. "They are conservative and they
don't like to spend money-even
though they might not be opposed to
the legislation per se."
The Coalition's . strategy ca ll ed for
·approaching th ese targe ts through
businessmen who own the shopping
centers or manage the suburhan plants
of big business. The unstated tactic is
to convince t hem they have an interest
in a healthy downtown and that they
should advise their Congressmen of
their feelings.
"We have got to convince the shopping center guy that he has a basic interest in urban legislaU-on-if only in
seeing that the city is not burned
down," said one strategist. "And to be
blunt, it is worth pointing out that in
Detroit there were fires five miles outside the ghetto."
With the legislative season nearly
over, the Coalition is now concentrating on founding local counterpartsmetropolitan coalition s tha t incl ude
represe ntatives from bu siness, labo r.
local government, church and ch·iJ
rights groups.
The model of local coalitions is tllf'
"New Detroit Committee," whi ch wa ~
formed independently of the nationa !
coalition after the riot last surnm ei·.
With a leadership rang ing from Re uth er to all three big auto compani es, th P
Detroit committee lent some suppor1
to the national fight over pover ty
funds ·but has directed mos t lobbyin g
efforts at the Michigan Legislature in
support of Go v. Geo rge Romney's fair
housing bill.
In Washington . a local coa lition I i'
being form ed with the im pctm com ing
from Pa tric k Cardinal O'Boy le or th e
Ca tholic Ar chd iocese of Was hingto n
a nd the He alth and Welfare Cou ncil of
the National Capi tal Area .

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