Box 18, Folder 22, Document 6

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Minutes of Meeting
January 9, 1967

The first meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee of Mayors was called to
order by Mr. Stephen R. Currier at 10 a.m. on January 9, 1967, in the Board
Room sit Urban America. Participating in that meeting were Mayors Theodore R.
McKeldin of Baltimore, Thomas G. Currigan of Denver, Jerome P. Cavanagh
of Detroit, Robert King High of Miami, Henry W. Maier of Milwaukee, John Vv.
Lindsay of New York City, Joseph M. Barr of Pittsburgh, and Harold Tollefson
of Tacoma. Unable to attend were Mayors John F. Collins of Boston, Terry D.
Schrunk of Portland (Ore.), and John F.' Shelley of San Francisco. Unable to
attend, but represented by staff members, were Mayors Ivan Allen, Jr. of
Atlanta, Richard J. Daley of Chicago, Richard C. Lee of New Haven, and
James H. J. Tate of Philadelphia.

Mr. Currier opened the session by stressing the importance of ob-
taining a national commitment to meet urban needs. He outlined various needs
to be met: the need fora more JaraEiE mKERER of urban problems, the Axed
to tell the story of the performance of cities in the line of self help, the need
to gain a greater commitment for cities from Federal appropriations, the need
to mobilize support from a variety of interest groups (such as business, labor,
civil rights, education).

Mayor Lindsay emphasized the need for consolidation of existing

programs, rather than cutbacks on any of them. He said lack of financial

resources was crucial to the governing of cities.

Minutes of Meeting, January 9, 1967
Page 2

Mayor Cavanagh maintained that the Great Society programs them-
selves have been successful - the financing of the avagrenis has been the failure.
In any event, it would be "catastrophic" if any of these programs were cut back.

iiayor Cavanagh noted that mayors were looked upon in Washington
as "specialsinterest pleaders." He suggested that Urban America be the catalyst
in putting together a national coalition for urban improvement and said hat the
elise of this initial meeting had been most helpful. Continuance of lobbying
by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities is not
enough; a broad new coalition is needed (education, civil rights, labor, business).

Mayor Cavanagh also suggested the forming of a Council of Economic
Advisors for Cities to serve as an information resource to mayors. Such an
information bank would be drawn upon for discussion of Federal allocations to
cities and in the formation of alternatives to Federal economic policy.

Mayor McKeldin commented that money could solve most of Baltimore's
problems. He concurred with Mayor Lindsay's discouragement at the lack of
financial resources available to cities. In Baltimore, he explained, there is
only one form of taxation - the property tax; since many people are leaving the
city, this tax base is dwindling. The City is now fighting for a sayeatt tax,
though the people are against it,

Mayor Currigan said that transportation is one of the biggest problems
in Denver and that there is no alternative except public ownership. His city is
also pressed "to the wall" by the tax situation; Denver has a sales and a property

tax, but the State Constitution prohibits a much-needed income tax.

Minutes of Meeting, January 9, 1967
Page 3

Mayor Currigan stressed his hope that the mayors stay united in
their efforts. He was concerned that Urban America might begin competing with
the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities, the latter two
being "too splintered" already. He mentioned that time is a critical factor and
that he hoped this meeting could lead to a program of action.

Mr. Currier interjected a definition of Urban America's role in rela-
tion to the other groups. Urban America will act, he said, as a voice for citizens
groups (business, public, etc.).

Mayor High pointed up the misunderstanding on the part of the
public when it comes to urban programs and needs. “Somehow we have not
gotten across the role cities play, that the destiny of the country is wrapped up
in cities." The press makes a fetish of deprecating cities, and people look upon
the Great Society as a handout and react to it with horror.

Mayor Cavanagh commented that many people think cities aren't
imaginative when they must try to solve their own problems but that actually,
many imaginative programs translated into Federal legislation have originated
in cities (e.g. Model Cities, urban renewal, and the poverty program).

Mayor Tollefson warned against interpreting the last election to
mean there should be a cutback on Federal programs. He suggested the first
step be to present the problems to Congress and the second, telling people in >
cities that these programs are needed and good.

| Mayor Maier said it is imperative to tackle the problem of allocation

of resources and that the tactic of using a neutral force (Urban America) to project

Minutes of Meeting, January 9, 1967
Page 4

this agenda item is a good one. The National League of Cities has been con-
ducting an educational campaign on resources, but the League cannot do it
alone. A broad allfance of ad hoc groups and special task forces is needed.
This has been done in Milwaukee to organize forces in order to attack the state
legislature. He mentioned gratitude to Urban America for offering to take on
this task.

Mayor Barr said the greatest thing Urban America could do was to
get to people the mayors can't reach as easily (e.g. businessmen). As the
mayors' biggest enemy he cited columnists' interpretations of the elections.

Mr. Slayton directed the discussion to the method of forming a
national coalition with the following questions: should we plan a meeting with
mayors and the nation's top business leaders, civil rights leaders, etc.? should
Urban America undertake some special studies or publish some certain publica-

tions ?

Patrick Healy of the National League of Cities offered two suggestions

for relieving the financial burden on cities: (1) have the Federal Government
completely responsible for welfare (payments and administration), since itis a
national problem, and (2) have states completely responsible for schools and
education (60% of property taxes goes for welfare and schools).

He mentioned that we shouldn't ignore state action to meet urban
needs, saying that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been concerned over a
lack of state action in this area.

John Gunther of the U.S. Conference of Mayors emphasized the need

for a national organization of local groups.

Minutes of Meeting, January 9, 1967
Page 5

Mr. Gunther praised the idea of a Council of Economic Advisors
because of the need for solid information in the local government sector. He
suggested, ———s that the emphasis be placed on information-gathering
rather than on advising. He urged the systematic collection of information.

Mayor Cavanagh suggested that Urban America proceed along the
following lines: (1) start sounding out the national coalition idea - i.e.
investigate the mechanics of forming such a coalition, (2) study the possible
structure of a Council of Economic Advisors , (3) examine feasible ways of
establishing the credibility of urban leaders (emphasizing a new breed-of leader-
ship and narrowing of the credibility gap). In line with the latter, place
greater emphasis on programs considered good today and the source from which
they originated.

At the suggestion of Mayor Cavanagh, it was decided to hold
another meeting of the same group, to be held on January 27 (luncheon and an
afternoon meeting). It was also agreed that certain statements should be in-
cluded in any comments to press people: (1) that there are many other leaders
and interest groups in the country which the mayors propose to ask to join them
in articulating the needs of our urban areas, (2) that this was more than a meeting
to discuss ways of getting more Federal money, and (3) that it would be
catastrophic to cut back expenditures for current Federal programe.

The meeting was adjourned at 3 p.m. after final editing of the press

release. The next meeting will be held at 12:30 p.m. on January 27, 1967.

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