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Nation hears Bush address NLC issues.

President George Bush responded directly to the leaders of America's communities in his State of the Union address last week when he announced the creation of a Commission on America's Urban Families to examine the causes of dissolution of families in the nation's cities and towns and his commitment to oppose unfunded federal mandates on communities.

In urging the President to look beyond the current recession to a more fundamental issue affecting the future of every community in the country, NLC President Glenda Hood told the President she did not expect an immediate response to the proposals offered by NLC's leadership. She said she hoped instead the President would give the concerns and ideas his consideration.

And the President did.

The President not only said that Hood and the bipartisan leadership of NLC were right to ask for his support, but also that it was critical to the nation and its future leaders.

He announced he had asked Missouri Governor John Ashcroft, Chairman of the National Governors' Association and former Dallas Mayor Annette Strauss to be co-chair of a commission patterned after the Kerner Commission appointed by former President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 to explore the root causes and factors leading to violence and disorders in communities.

Both Hood and NLC First Vice President Don Fraser had told the President they were deeply concerned about the underlying trends of disparities, bias, and alienation in communities--especially as they affect a whole generation of children. Hood has asked the President to imagine the quality of life from a child's perspective in any city or town in America.

Fraser focused on what is happening to children in communities throughout the nation--more come from broken homes, more are in poverty, more are victims of violence, and more and more are lost. Fraser emphasized these were trends outside of the recession with far more serious long term consequences for the nation: they are trends and problems which Americans little understand and for which existing federal programs have not worked.

Mayor Tom Bradley and former mayor Bill Hudnut, both NLC past presidents, urged Bush to give serious consideration to creating a commission which would not only show the President's personal commitment, but also the central importance of these issues to American economic security and opportunity.

As Bradley told the President: "This commission would a critical first step to bring the very best and most respected and committed minds in the country to explore the causes of the underlying trends in the nation's cities."
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Title Annotation:National League of Cities
Author:Shafroth, Frank
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Feb 3, 1992
Previous Article:President's budget cuts into city priorities; local leaders must respond to Bush agenda; why budget matters to cities.
Next Article:Record deficit is proposed.

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