Tensions between minority groups within many American cities may trigger violence similar to recent Hispanic riots in Washington, the nation's mayors are being warned.
"Those riots . . . are an indication of the kind of situation now that we face in other cities," Hispanic civil rights leader Raul Yzaguirre said as the U.S. Conference of Mayors began its annual meeting.His warning, delivered in a preliminary session Friday evening, received support from Wilson Goode, Philadelphia's black mayor who is preparing to leave office.
Goode said the riots that raged for two nights in Latino sections of Washington last month reflected one minority group's frustration at being locked out of power by another, that city's black leadership establishment.
He said, "We have the same situation in Philadelphia," and that mayors such as himself bear responsibility for bringing other minority groups into their power structure.
"It's very difficult to open the doors overnight, to make everyone feel they're around the table," Goode said.
More than 200 mayors from around the country assembled for meetings that run through Wednesday.
Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn and New York Mayor David Dinkins, both Democrats, were leading a push to put the mayors on record asking Congress for a big new federal spending program directed at urban America, including $5 billion for public works and transportation projects.
But the first signs of a split between Democratic and Republican mayors emerged at an opening news conference. Mayor Robert M. Isaac of Colorado Springs, Colo., a Republican and president of the conference, said he didn't believe the group should request a major new expansion in federal aid.