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Bush brings family message to city leaders; keynote address takes on issues of families' future.

NLC President Glenda Hood led a united effort by NLC's leadership team and thousands of municipal elected officials to shake the walls of Congress last week in support of municipal priorities.

This leadership effort worked hand-in-hand with a coordinated state league campaign to secure passage of the bill, HR 3732, by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) to tear down the walls preventing reinvestment in cities and towns.

At the same time, NLC members were making progress on a number of priorities in one of the busiest weeks so far in this session of Congress.

Hood met for nearly an hour with House Speaker Tom Foley (D-Wash.) to thank him for his support of NLC's priorities and urge his leadership in passing HR 3732, to tear down the 1990 budget firewalls and allow defense savings to be reinvested in America's communities.

Hood and Foley also discussed the growing electronic media role in attacking public officials--creating greater cynicism and distrust for elected officials at all levels of government and of all parties. Foley noted that because of increased scrutiny and reform efforts, elected officials at all levels are probably better public servants than at any time in American history; yet the perception created by the media and the tone of the Presidential campaign have been the opposite.

On Wednesday, Hood wrote to every member of the House urging each to bring home a yes vote on HR 3732, wrote to every member of the House and Senate to provide them with NLC's 1992 priorities, and wrote to Sen. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) to endorse his legislation (see related story) introduced on March 12 to halt the imposition of unfunded mandates on local governments or to require federal compensation.

NLC First Vice President Don Fraser, mayor of Minneapolis, and NLC Past President Cathy Reynolds met with House PUblic Works and Transportation Committee Chairman Robert Roe (D-N.J.) in support of his legislation to increase investment in public infrastructure, and then met with Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.), Chairman of Congress' Joint Economic Committee to endorse the Marshall Plan for America bills he introduced with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Jim Sasser (D-Tenn).

The Sasser-Sarbanes package includes 4 bills:

[subsections] S 2250--to permit savings in defense spending to be reinvested in cities and towns;

[subsections] S 2299--the State and Local Anti-Recession Fiscal Assistance Act of 1992--to make $20 billion in anti-recession grants to state and local governments over the text 2 years;

[subsections] S 2300--the Anti-Recession Loan Act--to make $10 billion in 3-year interest free loans to fiscally distressed local governments; and

[subsections] S 230--the Infrastructure Stimulus Act of 1992--to increase funding for the federal highway program by $3 billion and for the clean water program by $2 billion in order to finance waiving state and local match requirements for the next two years.

NLC Second Vice President Sharpe James, mayor of Newark, N.J. and NLC Human Development Steering Committee Chair Maryanne Mahaffey, council President from Detroit--who, together with Reynolds had met with Drug Czar Robert Martinez to seek direct federal anti-drug abuse funding--joined Fraser at the Sarbanes meeting.

The NLC leaders thanked Sarbanes for his remarks during the conference and for his leadership on and commitment to city issues. They expressed sharp concerns about growing fiscal distress and the greater and greater poverty rates and disparities among children under the age of six in metropolitan areas.

Sarbanes noted the extraordinary contrast between American versus European and Japanese cities, cities with far better housing, infrastructure, and human investment.
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Author:Baker, Denise
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Mar 16, 1992
Previous Article:Cities take priorities to Capitol Hill; NLC leadership team carries strong message to Congress.
Next Article:Learning, lobbying highlight Congressional City Conference.

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