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Brown, Clinton, Schumer disappointed by Bush address

Mayor Byron W. Brown lambasted President Bush on Wednesday for not addressing crime, education and other urban issues in his State of the Union speech.

Brown, during a conference call with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and several upstate mayors, said Bush's address fell far short of what he and the others wanted to hear.

"As I listened to the president's speech with my fellow mayors, I was disappointed to hear no real urban agenda," he told reporters.

Each of the mayors singled out an issue of importance to their city, from violent crime to struggling schools to unfulfilled brownfield projects, and what the federal government can do to help.

"Unfortunately," said Brown, "all of those items were not mentioned in the president's speech."

Clinton suggested the Democratic majority in the House and Senate would help the nation's cities, and she listed crime, education and economic development as three of the Democrats' top priorities.

"We're putting the president on notice," she said. "Our cities need help."

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, in a separate conference call, announced a push to overhaul national energy policy. His goal is to raise fuel-efficiency standards to 37 miles per gallon for trucks and cars by 2017, increasing domestic production and repealing tax breaks for oil companies.

"These companies are reaping record profits, while consumers are paying record prices," said Schumer, D-N.Y.

The senator also plans to reintroduce the Ethanol Stimulus Act, which would gave tax credits of 20 cents per gallon to companies that produce ethanol in high consumption-low production states, such as New York and California.

He said Bush's speech, in which he announced plans to slash gas consumption by 20 percent by 2017, was a start, but a lot more has to be done to bring down gas prices and reduce the country's dependency on "countries we don't like."

He said the federal government has failed to gradually raise fuel-efficiency standards, resulting in standards that are comparable to 20 years ago.

"Cars got better mileage when Reagan was in office," he told reporters.

e-mail: esapong@buffnews.com and pfairbanks@buffnews.com

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