Sunday, January 31, 1943
For Immediate Release Sunday, January 31, 1943
City of New York office of the Mayor
TEXT OF MAYOR F. H. LA. GUARDIA'S SUNDAY BROADCAST TO THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK FROM HIS OFFICE IN CITY HALL, JANUARY 31, 1943, BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1:00 P. M. FOLLOWS:
Patience and Fortitude! Every American has real cause to be proud since hearing of the dramatic and useful trip of our President. It was so unusual and yet it was so useful that now perhaps our enemies will realize that we are back of our President a hundred and thirty million strong. Our President, the Commander-in-Chief, has become the "Known Soldier" of the American Armed Forces.
After much study and preparation the United States Army has promulgated air raid protection regulations which become effective February 17th throughout the Eastern military area comprising the Atlantic Seaboard states from Maine to Florida. The regulations and rules were announced by Lieut. Gen. Hugh Drum a few days ago.
I'm very happy that finally we have uniform signals in the event of an air raid for the entire metropolitan area, which of course is included in the greater area from Maine to Florida. I have been asking for uniformity in signals for many, many months. Whether we like the new regulations or not has nothing to do with the question. These regulations were announced by the United States Army. They go into effect in the event of an enemy attack and in such times, naturally, we must take the judgment of the army and follow army orders.
The new regulations go into effect February 17th. Up to February 17th the old regulations continue, that is the signal, the siren means the approach of enemy planes. There will be no blackout drills between now and February 17th, so that if you hear the siren signal during that period it's the real thing and follow instructions heretofore in effect. After February 17th, we will have blackout drills in order to familiarize all of the people with the new signals.
Now, there is no reason to become confused about these new signals. Instead of having one signal meaning that enemy planes are approaching, we will have two audible signals or signals will go in pairs. On the first signal, all activities continue. The second will be the alert, indicating that enemy planes are attacking.
This immobilizes everything and then it is followed by another blue signal. The reason for that is that very often enemy attacks come in waves. There may be a first attack and after bombs are dropped, a withdrawal, which very often is followed by another attack. Hence, the army will continue the blue and the red, and the blue and the red, until it is certain that there are no more enemy planes approaching. The all clear order will be given by radio, by mobile police, and at night by turning on the street lights, which have been extinguished on the blue.
ARMY AIR RAID PRECAUTIONS
Now let me explain. Let us take the signals ordinarily used in athletic events. The first signal is the yellow signal we'll say, get ready. Now that is to all officials and protective services. They get ready on the yellow, the public knows nothing about that. Then comes the first audible signal, a sustained note on the sirens that means "Get Set". Everybody awaiting the next signal, but you may continue your usual activities, traffic does not stop, pedestrian traffic does not stop, and on the next siren signal a warble — enemy planes are here and that means "GO" go to shelter. Go off the streets. Go away from windows and glass, all lights out and stay put until you get the next signal: a Blue warning to "Get Set" again. "While normal active duties are resumed, you still are alerted awaiting another possible "GO" signal, go to shelter, go off the streets, the same as the usual alert signal. Now there's no reason to become confused about that. I repeat the "All Clear" will be given by radio, When you hear the first sound of the first siren, tune your radios. Broadcasting might go off the air by order of the Army, but leave the radios tuned and you'll get the "All Clear" by radio, and by mobile police and mobile protective services as well as the lights gibing on that were extinguished on the blue.
Now at night, on the first sound signal, all lights that are visible in buildings must be put out. You understand the reason for that. Because if there are suspicious planes approaching and the signal is given, it is necessary to put out the lights in your home. That does not mean that all of the street lights will go out. Therefore, do not be guided by that. Particularly tall buildings and apartment houses and lights that are exposed must be put out on the first "Get Set" blue signal.
PLEASURE DRIVING STILL BANNED
You will have blackout drills after February 17th, but between now and February 17th, with the exception of noonday, Saturdays, when we make the visual mechanical tests, if you hear the siren, it is the real thing and be guided accordingly. Some question has come up as to whether or not the order on pleasure driving is on the level. Well, it is. Mr. Sylvan L. Joseph, the Regional OPA Administrator, has sent me a wire which he received from Prentiss M. Brown, the OPA National Administrator. Here is the telegram. It is so clear:
"I understand," said Administrator Prentiss M. Brown, in his telegram, "that questions have been raised regarding my opinion of the legality of the pleasure driving ban. There is no doubt in my judgment as to either the necessity or the legality of the prohibition against pleasure driving. The Congress expressly provided in the event of shortage, that commodities shall be rationed upon such condition as may be necessary or appropriate in the public interest and to promote the national defense. The rationing of gasoline upon condition that it not be used for pleasure driving in this time of great shortage, unquestionably is in the public interest and will aid the most effective prosecution of the war. I take this opportunity to also express my thanks to the public and all those state and local officials who have cooperated so wholeheartedly with you and your staff in securing compliance with this most necessary wartime restriction."
So, car drivers in New York City please take heed, pleasure driving is out until further notice. As I told you last week, I made a survey of the meat situation in this city. I appointed Commissioner of Investigations Herlands and Commissioner of Markets Woolley to work with me in making this survey. I think I mentioned before that there was no conflict of facts in our efforts to get a real and complete picture. Everyone was perfectly frank and truthful in stating the method employed by the wholesalers, the retailers and all connected with the meat market. These findings were made public yesterday. I'm going to give you now the recommendations that we are making to the Department of Agriculture as well as to the Federal Price Administrator.
Our first recommendation:
1 - Definite area allocation based upon population, flexible, if necessary, according to available supply.
A - The destination and allocation of available supply should not be left entirely to the industry.
B - When rationing for the consumer goes into effect, retailers, wholesalers and packers should likewise be rationed, based on their past volume of business, and proportioned accordingly.
Now the reason for that is this. There's been a great deal of misapprehension about the seventy percent allocation. The seventy percent allocation applies only to livestock, to the packers and slaughterhouses and from there on it depends on where the packers and slaughterhouses want to send or sell their meat, and therefore, we recommend that first, all allocations be made according to populations,and like allocations be made all the way from the retailer up to the slaughterhouse. That way, a uniform amount of meat in accordance with the available supply will be on hand for the consumers. When we read of the amount of meat coming into New York City in the reports of the Department of Agriculture, it is meaningless to us as consumers in New York City. It is true that that amount of meat has come into the city, but if it is sold to ships, if it is sold to the armed forces, it is exported and there is no way to check. And we suggest to the Department of Agriculture that a given amount of meat in accordance with the available supply be made by the government, and that means that after all the needs of the Army, the Navy, the Armed Forces and exporting for Lease-Lend purposes has been subtracted from that available supply.
Our second recommendation:
2 - Ceiling prices should be continued. Ceiling prices that cannot be effectively enforced are worthless. Ceiling prices without supervision are meaningless. Such prices should be based upon the cost of the meat to the retailer, the cost of meat to the wholesaler and the cost of the meat to the packer. Right here we must be realistic. If the packer is to sell meat within the ceiling price, one of two things must happen: There should be a ceiling price on the livestock or else a definite price for livestock which the packer will be required to pay, and the difference between the fixed price paid by the packer and the market price to be paid to the cattleman or the livestock grower by the government.
True, this is a subsidy, but it is far better and less costly than the present universal overcharging and profiteering. Where there is overcharging or where there is evasion of law, or where dealers are compelled to circumvent the law, it is certain that each adds a little more than the difference paid by him over the ceiling price.
3 - Enforcement is our third recommendation:
Rules and regulations are of no avail if not enforced. Local enforcement might be left to local government, the Federal government paying any differential in the actual cost of such enforcement. Local government is not particularly eager to undertake this difficult and thankless service. New York City is ready to do it, if it would be helpful. To enforce meat regulations throughout the country from the livestock grower, slaughterhouse, wholesaler down to the retailer, would require an army of over two hundred thousand employees.
4 - Our next recommendation: New system of retail ceiling prices. In the formulation of retail ceiling prices, retail meat stores should be divided into three main classes: 1. supermarkets without service; 2. chain stores with service; 3. independent stores, that is the retail butcher-stores. Independent retail meat stores, the butcher shops, should be further classified as A, B, & C stores, depending upon such factors as volume of business, overhead and service. Ceiling prices formulated on this basis would be sufficiently uniform within classification for practical, effective enforcement, while at the same time recognizing the major economic differences among the various types of retail establishment.
The temporary system of different prices for each store, according to the prices prevailing in that particular store in March, 1942, is so difficult of enforcement as to make it ineffective though it might have been necessary as a temporary expedient.
The difficulty of establishing, in cases of violation, the applicable price in 1942, notwithstanding figures heretofore filed, make general supervision impossible. Once retail ceiling prices are established in the various grades of stores such prices should be conspicuously posted and kept posted at all times. Now that was done during the last war and every week the prices were posted in each retail store.
Our next recommendation is:
5 - Definite meatless days.
Definite meatless days should be required throughout the country. On such days retail stores selling meat should be closed. The hours of sales of meat should likewise be regulated and uniform in accordance with local requirements.
The present problems of the market place and the community cannot be solved to the satisfaction of the public by debates over economic theories. Everybody in and outside of government and trade circles is fully aware of the essential facts. There is no need for further statistics or delayed and protracted conferences. Our Armed Forces and Lend-Lease require meat. That comes first. The remainder should be intelligently controlled to meet civilian requirements in accordance with available supply. Within this limitation, the people want meat, not briefs. What is needed is the courage and vigor to act on the facts, — courage to control prices at the original market and vigor to enforce fair and reasonable price ceilings once they are formulated.
Now I want to take this opportunity of extending my thanks to all the wholesalers and packers and the retailers who conferred and gave us information, and I want to express my thanks to Mr. Joseph and to the officials of the local Office of Price Administration. They have been very helpful and cooperative, and I also want to say that their energetic work during the last few days has been very, very helpful.
A few days ago, Fire Commissioner Walsh announced that the compliance to Local Law 25, which has been postponed from time to time, is now set at a deadline and all owners or operators of buildings will have to comply without further delay.
I announced that we would put stirrup pumps on sale and I'm very happy to say that the City has received the finest kind of cooperation from the stores of New York City. We have ordered thirty five thousand pumps. Of those, twenty nine thousand and forty four have been delivered. We could not put the pumps on sale until we got them and now we have twenty-nine thousand out of the thirty-five thousand ordered. These pumps will be sold by stores without profit as a courtesy to the city for one dollar and ninety-one cents, that's the actual cost, plus the city sales tax. Do not ask the store to wrap them or to deliver the pumps. They cannot do it. They are selling without profit as a courtesy to the city. There will be seventy-eight stores selling the pumps commencing tomorrow, Monday.
In Manhattan, the Womrath Book Stores, the Putnam Book Stores, Herman's Sport Goods, Inc., Irving Hardware Supply, Strauss Stores, Joseph Kurzon, Inc., Gimbel Bros., Inc., Bloomingdale Bros., R. H. Hacy & Company, Inc., and Modell's.
In Brooklyn, Womrath Book Stores, Sears Roebuck and Company, Strauss Stores, The Namm Store, Frederick Loeser & Co., Inc.
In Queens, Womrath Book Stores, Montgomery Ward & Company, Strauss Stores and the Gertz Department Store.
The Bronx: Home Hardware Supply and the Strauss Stores. Richmond: The Strauss Stores, Gregg Brothers and H. Gelgisser.
Now, these stores will not honor out-of-town orders. This convenience and the sale of these pumps at actual cost is only on sale at the store for residents of New York City.
I'm happy to announce that the Brooklyn WYCA at 30th Street & 3rd Avenue will carry on a free recreation program for junior high school girls during the first week in February when the schools will be closed. This is much appreciated and I hope that other organizations who have like facilities will also offer these facilities to the children of our schools during this week that the schools are closed.
WAVES AND SPARS
Monday, February 8th, will be Waves and Spars Day for New York City. It will mark the beginning of a recruiting drive for able-bodied women from 21 to 35, inclusive, to become Waves or Spars, Waves are in the Navy, and Spars in the Coast Guard.
Candidates for enlistment must have two years of high school. Any experience in business or industry they have had will be of value. The Navy is able to make use of all working experience.
Waves and the Spars are regular enlisted members of the United States Naval Reserve and have the same ratings and pay as men.
The reason for the intensified drive for recruits at this time is that the Navy and Coast Guard have found the women already enrolled highly satisfactory in fulfilling duties ashore and releasing men for duty at sea.
Members of the Waves may be married to anyone except a member of the Navy, and those in the Spars may be married to anyone except an officer or man in the Coast Guard. The only other restriction is that no applicants when enlisted may have children under 18 years of age. Any City employee who desires to enlist in the Waves or Spars will be given a leave of absence, and she will come back to her job when the war is over.
AIR WARDEN SERVICE GIFT
Here's some good news. Mr. Samuel Goldberg of 130 Fifth Avenue writes me: "On the evening of January 12, 1943, Commander D. A. Thompson, Judge Aurelio, Inspector DiMartino and myself, made inspection of the East Side, 7th, 9th, and 11th precincts. It filled us with enthusiasm to see the excellent work which is being done by the Air
Wardens service and I enclose herewith," said general Goldberg, "my check for $1,000.00 for the air warden service." Thank you, Mr. Goldberg, I hope that others will follow your good example.
I want to remind everyone in New York of the Salvation Army Drive, that is now on. The Salvation Army is always rather modest in telling of its good deeds. They never exaggerate or make overstatement in order to create pressure during a drive. The Salvation Army, to my mind, is the "Commando of Charity", so don't forget the Salvation Army.
And we also have another drive new, the Infantile Paralysis Fund, Yesterday, Majority Leader Sharkey had a very impressive ceremony in the Council Chamber, I also received a cartoon from the publicist and cartoonist, Irving Hoffman, with a contribution. The other evening when I stopped at the Engineers Club I got a pocketful of dimes from members and personnel who were there at the time. It is still time to send in your dimes. You are all familiar, of course, with the National Infantile Paralysis Fund and I do not know how bettor it could bo expressed than to read to you a jingle which was sent to me by Connie Boswell, Let me read what Connie Boswell says, and, she knows, she's been fighting the dreaded disease herself. This is Connie Boswell's message to all New Yorkers:
"If a dime could walk,
If a dime could talk,
Here's what a dime would do
It'd walk right up to you And say - - - -
I'm talking about kids today,
Kids who need nurses, kids who need care,
Kids who need sunlight and good fresh air,
So pitch in, guy, come along with me
On the march of dimes to Washington, D. C.
Keep the dimes marching, from near and far,
Keep them rolling... to FDR!"
Thank you, Connee. That's the message and the fight that Connee Boswell has put up and won is certainly a fine example of Patience & Fortitude!