Jackson Ribs Absent Rivals, Wins Applause at City Officials’ Meeting

Times Staff Writer

The Rev. Jesse Jackson ribbed his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination Monday by telling 5,000 local officials meeting here: “Let’s not worry about who’s absent . . . Jesse Jackson to the rescue.”

Addressing the National League of Cities annual conference, Jackson said that he has “a sense of your anguish over not having other candidates come to this convention. I know how it feels to have a sense of rejection and feel that you really don’t count.”

The League of Cities had invited all six Democratic and three Republican presidential hopefuls to the annual conference here, but only Jackson and Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis accepted. Dukakis addressed the league on Sunday.

NLC President Cathy Reynolds, a city councilwoman from Denver, called the lack of response from the presidential candidates frustrating.


“We (the board of NLC) are angry and frankly steamed by the refusal of these people who want to grow up to be President,” Reynolds said.

Dukakis’ appearance, in which he spoke for the most part about efforts to delay selection of a high-level nuclear waste dump in the West, apparently gave him a boost among several city officials. His campaign scheduled a press conference today where it said “more than 100" of the visiting city officials would come out in support of his candidacy.

Jackson called for the creation of an urban task force of city officials who would work with the federal government to solve problems afflicting the nation’s municipalities. He warned that a balance must be struck between solving problems of homelessness and hunger and launching costly programs that may not work.

Jackson was applauded frequently during his 45-minute speech.