Capitol Draws Councillors

Six Cambridge city councillors joined more than 3,000 other municipal officials in Washington D.C. at the National League of Cities conference last weekend.

Councillors discussed potential federal spending cuts as well as issues of municipal management at the meeting, which began last Friday and ended yesterday, City Councillor Katherine Triantafillou said yesterday.

"People are pretty upset and frustrated and angry that the federal government is proceeding headlong into dismantling the federal government," she said.

Triantafillou, joined by Mayor Kenneth E. Reeves '72 and City Councillors Kathleen L. Born, Jonathan S. Myers, Francis H. Duehay '55 and Timothy J. Toomey, had the opportunity to hear speakers ranging from President Clinton to Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), Born said.

Born said many municipal officials were "distraught" as potential spending cuts discussed at the meeting, most notably a proposal to eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development.


"I think that some of these cuts in the housing programs are going to be devastating," she said.

Born said the austerity measures appeared to disappoint even Republican city leaders.

"I think some of the Republican municipal officials were appalled, too," she said. "People who run cities understand better than most people what the long-term effect of these cuts is going to be."

And Triantafillou said the cuts will negativelyimpact all cities.

"Uniformly the people from the cities who wereupset and angry about these cuts," she said."Cities across the nation are going to benegatively impacted by this."

The high burden these cuts impose onmunicipalities may be due to the fact that manysponsors of the spending reductions come fromrural areas, Born said.

"Most of the federal legislators who areoffering these policies live in rural states," shesaid.

Born said she spoke against the cuts at ameeting about housing policy.

"I have an interest in seeing that we don'tlose all funds for development and maintenance ofpublic housing," she said. "I also have aninterest in looking at the changes in fundingmechanisms for school breakfasts, lunches and WICprograms."

Despite the discussions of cuts and meetings to"assess" their impact, Born said she believesmunicipal officials have time to lobby effectivelyagainst reductions.

"There's still plenty of lobbying to be done,particularly at the Senate level," she said. "Itwas mentioned that the Senate tends to be a moredeliberate and cautious body than the House. Newtdoesn't live in the Senate."