NEW YORK — The mayors of 35 major cities wound up a three-day urban summit Tuesday, declaring the "fate of the nation is joined to the fate of its cities."
New York Mayor David N. Dinkins, who read a three-page statement on behalf of the mayors, called for a new era of cooperation between businesses and city governments to ensure the survival of the nation's urban centers.
With some 20 mayors standing on the podium behind him, Dinkins said their objective is to "reclaim the place of our cities as the center of our civilization (and to) forge new partnerships with business and labor, with our suburban neighbors and with government at all levels."
"Through the taxes our citizens pay, the ideas we offer and the problems we solve, America's cities provide our nation's vision and its opportunity," the mayor told the news conference at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in mid-town Manhattan, where the meeting was held.
"We seek a fairer balance of resources and responsibilities," he said. The federal government has "burdened" cities with legislation that requires heavy municipal spending.
Dinkins said cities have "absorbed the migration caused by the farm crisis and restructured the economy to cope with the decline of our manufacturing industries."
A joint statement put out by the mayors said they will "convene a national summit meeting with business leaders in 1990 to identify key areas for cooperation" between the public and private sectors.
Other mayors joined in Dinkins' call for a new emphasis on promoting economic growth in the nation's urban centers.
"We must focus on the strength of industrial cities and highlight how important they are to America's economy," said Raymond Flynn, mayor of Boston. He called for "competitive self-help proposals," including "tax laws for creating jobs."
Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley said the cities offer the nation "entertainment, culture, jobs. Over time the role of the city has been forgotten. If we don't save our cities, we shall not save our nation."
John Norquist, Milwaukee's mayor, said: "Cities in other countries in the world are more valued."
He said the cities should be given greater consideration in this country because "they are the marketplace, the culture place, not suburban cultures like McDonald's and other fast-food sellers."
New Orleans Mayor Sidney Barthelmy, said, "There's enough money to fight drugs in the city, but we're sending the money to state capitals."