Mayors Want War Money Spent At Home
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
A new study from the U.S. Conference of Mayors says 75 metropolitan areas are expected to have double-digit unemployment by the end of the year. The mayors are holding their annual meeting in Baltimore, and today they urged Washington to take the money it's now spending on the battlefield and use it to help American cities rebound from the recession. NPR's Brian Naylor reports from Baltimore.
BRIAN NAYLOR: One of its sponsors, Hallandale, Florida mayor Joy Cooper, said the money could provide a much needed boost to cities across the nation.
NORRIS: We need to be redeveloping, yes, our infrastructure, our schools, our roadways. And I don't know how many times I've been approached to say why are we spending and spending overseas when our country is hurting here.
NAYLOR: Auburn, Washington mayor Peter Lewis said he served in Vietnam and has a nephew now in Iraq.
NORRIS: I understand the vital need to redirect resources, but making political statements in this forum about the war I do not believe is proper. We create no value here, but we can do harm there.
NAYLOR: Backers stressed that it was not an anti-war resolution or anti-troop. To make that clear, they added language to state the mayors' strong support of men and women in uniform. Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter said it wasn't a question of guns or butter.
NORRIS: We have to at least recognize in this big, great country that we have to be able to do more than one thing at a time. We should not allow ourselves to get caught in a slightly false debate that we're either going to support military activities, or we're going to support cities. We can actually do both in the United States of America.
NAYLOR: But many mayors said support for cities has been lacking both on the part of Republican leaders in Congress and the Obama administration. The newly elected president of the conference, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, said Washington was consumed with partisanship and vitriol.
NORRIS: The bubble in the beltway is so completely encapsulated that they cannot hear our cries, our demands for investment in our cities at a time when so many of them just don't get it. It's important that they take the example of our mayors today.
NAYLOR: Brian Naylor, NPR News, Baltimore.
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