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Johnson Urban Experts Attack Nixon Views on Urban Crisis


A group of the nation's leading urban-planning experts, including a professor at the Law School, accused President Nixon Tuesday of a lack of concern and leadership in meeting the needs of the nation's cities.

In a symposium at the Johnson Memorial Library in Austin, Tex., the urban planners, all former members of the Johnson Administration, charged that President Nixon's housing and revenue-sharing programs are failing to deal with urban problems.

Charles M. Haar, Brandeis Professor of Law and former assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development, cited President Nixon's 1969 radio speech, which proclaimed the urban crisis "over and done with, "as evidence that the President does not view urban problems with any sense of urgency.

"Like King Canute, he had spoken and the waves of discontent were to stand still," Haar said.

"Building an effective urban coalition is a Presidency's major task," Haar told the symposium. Federal departments and congressional committees will not work for a program unless it has clear presidential support, he said.

Middle Class Welfare

Robert C. Wood, president of the University of Massachusetts and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, sharply criticized Nixon housing programs. "The current program subsidizers middle-class families and does not filter down to the poor," he said.

Panelists also attacked the Federal revenue-sharing program. The program diverts Federal funds "away from the purposes in which there has developed a national consensus of national need," Haar said. "There is no way to insure that such funds will be expended to serve any national need."

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