METRO CITY LEGAL SERVICES: FREEDOM TO PURSUE LAW REFORM
Metro City is a large commercial center ranking among the twenty most populous metropolitan areas. Over 10 percent of its population earn incomes below the poverty line and a large black population is active politically. Massive ghetto areas overlay nearly one-half of Metro City's land area and are characterized by racial segregation. Race has been a salient issue in Metro City politics for many years.
A dense and richly varied array of groups have evolved that are active participants in the city's political life. Citywide and neighborhood-based low-income organizations of all types are active. Differing greatly in goals and methods, these groups range from social service organizations to community development corporations and advocacy groups. Although students of urban politics note the decline of low-income advocacy organizations in the 1970s, a large number of such groups remain active in Metro City. 1 Indeed, these organizations are a significant force in local politics. Several community groups are allied closely with state and local political officials and an increasing number of community activists have gained elective office.
Low-income advocacy groups are concerned with several general issue areas, most commonly welfare, housing, consumerism, and education. They typically organize citywide, though a few are neighborhood-based. A few active groups, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), are local branches of national organizations. Most, however, originate locally. Tre-