The U.S. Conference of Mayors is planning a nationwide march on Washington next April to protest what conference President Raymond L. Flynn calls the federal government's "callous neglect of the people of urban America."
Flynn, mayor of Boston, called for "a new civil rights movement in America . . . an economic justice movement . . . that will wake people up and turn this country around."
The proposed march is scheduled for Saturday, April 4, the anniversary of the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The mayors who joined Flynn yesterday for a news conference, a bipartisan group of about 20, made it clear that they intend to make domestic policy and their urban agenda important political issues in the presidential campaign.
Republicans said they would fight for a strong statement on urban issues in their party's platform, and Democrats said they would quiz potential presidential candidates closely about their commitment.
Republican William J. Althaus, mayor of York, Pa., and vice president of the conference, introduced the resolution. But as Althaus and other Republican mayors made clear, President Bush was not being singled out for criticism.
"We want to be looked at as the Kuwaits of America," said Savannah, Ga., Mayor John P. Rousakis. "We want the best technology, the best resources, the best dollar effort to be used here to save the cities and the children of America."