Box 7, Folder 14, Document 3

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Box 7, Folder 14, Document 3

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November 26, 1967

Strange Bedfellows
Lobbying for the

Nation’s Cities

By William Chapman
Washington Pest Staff Writer
’ THE HEIGHT of the House bat-
A tle aver antipoverty funds, 11 bor-
deriine Congressmen were visited by
two lobbvisis unaccustomed to linking
arms in any joint endeavor.

One was the top Washington repre-
sentative of an automobile manufactur-
er: the other speaks to Congress for
the United Automobile Workers. All 11
Congressmen represent districts in
which the motor company is a large, if
not the largest, employer. All have
constituents in the UAW.

The talk was not of car sales but of
poverty. In a soft-sell approach, the
visitors asked support for the $2.06 bil-
lion authorization for the antipoverty
pregram and urged the doubtful Con-
gressmen to resist efforts to cut it

The unusual confrontations (“It’s the
first time in my nine years in Wash-
ington I've gone into a Congressman’s
office with a UAW man,” observes the
industry lohbyist) marked the first sig-
nificant drive of the Urban Coalition, a
fledeling organization devoted to
pressing legislation it hopes will solve
the crisis of the cities.

In the argot of Washington poli-
tics, it is a campaign with great po-
tential “clout” because it is loaded
with the names of big business, labor,
civil rights, 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 Metropoli-
tan 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 Co-
alition’s founding observed that in
such fields as poverty, model cities
funds and rent supplements, Congress-
men are accustomed “to hearing from
civil rights people and labor. But they
have rarely, if ever, heard from busi-

Is business really on the band-
wagon? The signs are far from clear.
Besides the automobile lobbyist, a few
others acknowledge they called or
wrote certain Congressmen, but are re-
luctant to discuss details.

Alfred Eisenpreis, vice president of
Allied Stores Corp. of New ‘York, said
he talked to “several” Congressmen,
about the poverty bill. His list in-
cluded 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 reason to
say if I knew,” Eisenpreis replied.

J. Irwin Miller, chairman of the
Cummins Engine Co. of Columbus,
Ind., wrote to hit Congressman and
Senators on at least one issue, but has
“not been as active as I hope to be.”

On only one issue besides the
antipoverty funding has the Urban
Coalition attempted to exert concen-
trated pressure—the emergency jobs
legislation that drew a_ surprising
amount of Senate support in the face
of stiff Johnson Administration opposi-

The best evidence available indicates
that labor provided the most direct
lobbying for the employment bill,
other than the Senators who sponsored

One industry leader active in the
Urban Coalition said his firm did not
support the emergency jobs program
although the Coalition's legislative
committee had endorsed it. It was
feared, he said, that the bill had too
little support and might saddle the Co-
alition with a publicized failure just as
it was vetting started. Also, he said,
the Senate bill did not offer as many
jobs as the Coalition's platform pro-
poses 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 organiza-
tion svecializing in research and analy-
sis of urban 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 con-
vocation” in Washington, laid out a list
of urgent needs and set about organiz-
ing the political framework.

The movers in the Coalition were
persons profoundly discouraged by the
national reaction to the riots. Mayors
and civil rights leaders who had plead-

ed for appropriations for model cities
ind rent supplements found Congress

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 ad-
vanced this year.

Experienced lobbyists and nose-count-
ers in the United States Conference
of Mayors had long noted one particu-
larly disappointing fact—the persistent
opposition of Congressmen from sub-
urban areas. Their ranks growing with
court decisions requiring congressional
redistricting, the suburban Congress-
men were proving to be nearly as un-
interested in central-city programs as
their rural counterparts.

Such complaints are illustrated by
an independent analysis of 1967
votes on key urban issues such as
model cities, the control of rats, rent
supplements and antipoverty funds.

There are, at latest count, 56 Con-
gressmen whose districts are predomi-
nantly composed of people living in
what the Census Bureau describes as
the “urban fringe.”

On almost every peculiarly urban
issue, about half of the suburban Con-
gressmen voted against the Adminis-
tration’s bills or appropriation re-
quests. Twenty-four of them, for exam-
ple, wanted to eliminate all funds for
the fledgling mode] cities program.
Twenty-six joined the majority last
July to kill the rat control bill, later

Using a wider target, the Urban Coa-
lition pinpointed 110 Congressmen
from districts in 52 metropolitan areas
who are considered “negative” on
major urban legislation,


Strange Bedfellows |


Aiding the Cities

“There! That should keep you in the way to which you're accustomed.”

“They particularly hurt us on money
bills,” observed one Coalition spokes-
man. “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 called for
these targets through
businessmen who own the shopping
centers or manage the suburban plants
of big business. The unstated tactic is
to convince them they have an interest

_ in a healthy downtown and that they

should advise their Congressmen of
their feelings.

“We have got to convince the shop-
ping center guy that he has a basic in-
terest in urban legislation—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 out-
side the ghetto.”

With the legislative season nearly

over, the Coalition is now concentrat-
ing on founding local counterparts—
metropolitan coalitions that include
representatives from business, labor,
local government, church and civil
rights groups.

The model of local coalitions is the -
“New Detroit Committee,” which was
formed independently of the nationa!
coalition after the riot last summer.
With a leadership ranging from Reuth
er to all three big auto companies, the
Detroit committee lent some support
to the national fight over poverty
funds but has directed most lobbying
efforts at the Michigan Legislature in
support of Gov. George Romney's fair
housing bill.

In Washington, a local coalition 15
being formed with the impetus coming
from Patrick Cardinal O'Boyle of the
Catholic Archdiocese of Washington
and the Health and Welfare Council of
the National Capital Area


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