This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Fiorello La Guardia talks to the people. The first minute of the recording is missing on the master disc. La Guardia speaks about the reasons for the meat shortage, a warning to hotels about meat, kosher meat, the Bureau of Markets, butter shortage appeal to the Office of Price Administration, fish prices, the black market in eggs, tomato prices and canning, rent violations, problems involved in moving, displays of Consolidated Edison pressure cookers, the desire of Northwest Airlines to serve New York City, school playground openings, the reduction in city fires, and he salutes the work of the Department of Housing.
La Guardia also reads letter from jockey Smiky Saunders, offering recipient a chance to make good bets, and points out how crooked racing is.
La Guardia names "tin horns" and crooked politicians arrested, and talks about the effects of gambling on citizenry, the techniques of gamblers to gain influence with the police and the courts, and reviews his action against Dutch Schultz. He also speaks out against crooked judges, and talks about the British anti-aircraft parade, the New York Herald Tribunes Fresh Air Fund, and announces special radio programs: The Unity Program (Unity at Home, Victory Abroad) on Sunday on WHOM a special Polish program; Monday, WBYN a special program of foreign languages; WQXR H.V. Kaltenborn and Kenneth Spencer; WNEW Dramatization of short story by Fanny Hurst; WMCA -U.S. Senator Robert F. Wagner; WMCA drama American Dimout; WHN - Ed Sullivan and Hazel Scott; and he announces the resignation of his executive secretary.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 52833
Municipal archives id: LT4016
Transcript note: First few minutes of audio are not available. Missing audio has been noted in transcript.
The original text of the WNYC radio broadcasts are the property of the New York City Department of Records/Municipal Archives. This digital edition is made available for research purposes only. The text may not be duplicated or reproduced without the written permission of the New York City Department of Records/Municipal Archives 31 Chambers Street New York, NY 10007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SUNDAY, AUGUST 29, 1943
CITY OF NEW YORK
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
TEXT OF MAYOR F. H. LA GUARDIA'S SUNDAY BROADCAST TO THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK FROM HIS OFFICE AT CITY HALL, AUGUST 29, 1943, BROADCAST OVER WNYC
1:00 P. M. FOLLOWS -
Patience and fortitude:
FUEL OIL AND GAS
[[MISSING AUDIO: As I predicted last week the supply of fuel oil and gasoline is very short. Last week I had two reports before me, one from government officials including our own city government and one from the industry. The government report was rather optimistic, while that of the industry was very pessimistic. I had to choose between the two. I took the report from the industry and it turned out to be the correct one. I point that out to indicate that it is difficult to always be accurately informed as to the exact amount of the supply here in our area. I believe that the fuel oil supply will continue to be short for some weeks yet.
That brings the question of coal. Two weeks ago I took the chance of advising the owners of one and two family houses burning oil not to convert too hastily to coal. That was a chance. Well I still say and I assume the responsibility for it, owners of one and two family houses burning oil, I would go slow in converting to coal, because the coal situation is becoming tighter all of the time and where it is possible in large plants to have oil and coal, I would have an emergency combination so as to meet any situation that might arise. I hope to have something more definite on fuel oil next week.
Now, last week I told you there was no use in discussing quantities of meat. It means nothing here in New York City. It simply means nothing because you can take the number of cattle slaughtered and then the shipments to New York, make the necessary deductions for military and lease and purposes, then take what should be left for civilian consumption and you'll find that it doesn't turn out that way at all. I am still unsatisfied with the situation, I am protesting to Washington. I spent some three hours with Director Chester Bowles of the Office of Price Administration day before yesterday and I know that Washington knows the situation.
Something will have to be done about it. I announced to you last week that the New York City Board of Health had passed a new ordinance under the Sanitary Code requiring most coming to New York to be identified. This will indicate whether it has been formally inspected, where it comes from
and where it Is going. Now that is going to give us the opportunity of identifying this meat. The ordinance goes into effect on September 15th. I want the slaughterhouses and the wholesalers and the packing houses and the retailers in New York City and the others all over this country to know that we're going to check up on the meat. I've informed the Washington officials of this new ordinance and it meets with their approval. Director Bowles promised me that he hoped to have completed the regulations from the]] (AVAILABLE AUDIO BEGINS HERE) United States Price Administration making a like requirement from other sources coming into New York City.
Here there's something else. You wonder why there is no meat in the stores for family use. Well, in the first place the wholesalers selling to hotels and restaurants are permitted a 20 percent mark-up. In other words they get 20 percent more for their meat if they sell it to hotels and restaurants and that isn't fair. You get great big juicy steaks and all the meat you want in hotels and restaurants at exorbitant prices and families cannot get enough meat. Now I think that ought to be equalized. Now I want to say to the hotels in New York City - I'm just pausing to say this - we got along very nicely for ten years and I've got splendid cooperation from the Hotelmen's Association, and I'm sure that the Hotelmen's Association has received splendid support from my administration. We've been happy and proud to advertise our fine hotels all over the country. Now I wouldn't advise the Hotelmen's Association to change that system. Don't get the idea that politics is going to help at all. Get that? Now just keep on doing the right thing without any hope of political interference or pressure and we'll get along very nicely. I'm very proud of our hotels in New York and I want to continue to be proud of them, but politics will not help you.
Now also, there is a mark-up on the meat sold for kosher purposes, $1.23. Now if we equalize these mark-ups, then I believe that the meat will be more equitably distributed. The shipping boards are permitted to pay some $2.00 over ceiling prices if the meat is processed for them and that ought to be eliminated. We're working on that in Washington. The meat situation is very, very bad and I hope that we'll get some relief quicker than it has taken heretofore to get action from Washington.
But I must say this, I'm sure that Director Bowles is working hard, is sincere and understands the situation here in the East, but the Department seems to be too involved, and it takes too long to clear things. I believe they've just got too many lawyers in that Department and too many specialists or technicians and it would be just a good wholesome thing to get rid of a great many of these theorists and get some people there who have practical experience.
Here in New York City, during the past week, we have had 613 summonses and warnings. Of these we had 449 warnings. We had 56 department summonses and 108 new Magistrate Court summonses. Our system as you know, is to give warnings first by the inspector and warning by the Department and then a Departmental trial and then bring them in to the Magistrates Court so that there is no excuse for a retailer by the time he gets to the Magistrates Court. I want to express my gratification for the splendid support we are getting from the Magistrates.
BUTTER AND EGGS
Butter is very, very scarce as you all know, and I again appeal to the OPA to reduce the point value of oleomargarine. I've asked to have oleomargarine brought down to one point a pound and hope to get results before long, but it is taking such a long time. Now eggs, I want to say to my Department of Markets -- this morning was the first chance I had to look at the weekly report ”” that if the report of the New York City Department of Markets on the price of eggs is correct, then there are wholesale and widespread violations and I want the Department of Markets to get on this commencing Monday and by the end of this week I want the prices in the stores of eggs to check with the prices contained in the City Department of Markets report to me at the end of the week. The price of eggs is jumping and pretty soon it will reach a point, I fear, when I will ask the people of the city to go into the blank - b l a n k - market on eggs and not use eggs until we swing the price down.
On fish, I conferred again with OPA on fish and I expect to have a conference early this week to study the plan which I have submitted which I believe will be more equitable and may result in bringing down or giving to the consumers the advantage of lower prices when the catch is plentiful. I hope to have something more definite on fish next week.
Tomatoes were available for canning purposes. There was a good supply of tomatoes and in two of the chain stores, A & P and Roulston, tomatoes were on sale at six cents a pound. From five to six it pays to can, but I'm sorry to say that in Essex and in First Avenue and in Washington and Second Avenue and Thirteenth Avenue city markets, the price was over six cents, from seven to eight and a quarter and that is too high a price to pay for tomatoes for canning. I like the price around five and six cents, no more than six for canning.
Now complaints are continuing to come in on rent. That's very serious, and as you know we're continuing the survey and I expect to present the results or a supplemental report on the extended survey around the first of September. It may be the second or the third because I want to have all of the figures right up to the first of September before submitting the report to the Price Administrator in Washington.
Now there seems to be some misapprehension. I want to tell all tenants in New York City who are paying increased rent or who have agreed to pay increased rent that if rents are frozen here in New York City as they have been in other cities as of a given date, then although you have agreed to pay an increased rent, your rent will be reduced to the amount that was frozen. So that, if your rent has been increased please write and tell us. You may write to this office or you may write to the Mayor's Committee at the Department of Housing & Buildings and if you write to this office I'll refer it immediately to that committee. There are two kinds of cases, the three kinds of cases, rather. Cases where tenants have leases and they have been given notice of the termination of the lease. We want to know all of those cases because that simply means that you are being put out and a new tenant is taking your apartment at a higher rent. Let us know all of those cases. The second class are cases where the rent has been increased and the tenant has accepted the increased rent. Let us know that because if rents are frozen you will get the advantage of the frozen rents; and cases where increase has been demanded and is being resisted. Let know all of these cases.
Now as I've explained before, New York tenants are up against a very difficult proposition that perhaps the like does not exist in any part of the country. You see, it costs from $150. to $300. to move, so that many tenants who are asked to pay $10. a month more rent or $12. or even $15., a month more rent they have no choice in either paying more rent or spending that money for moving and going through all the inconvenience and trouble of moving.
Now we want to know all of those cases so that the OPA may get a full and complete picture of the rent situation in New York City. Now those tenants who have decided to move are going to find it rather difficult in getting the vans and the moving accommodations of men and trucks to move. I would suggest that you get in touch with the moving van company and fix the date. They tell me that they're just overwhelmed because of the shortage of labor. That's something else to be considered, and if you have decided to move you ought to got in touch with the tenant in the place where you are going to move and see if you can make arrangements for a specific day before or after October 1st in order to reduce this terrible jam and congestion in moving facilities.
I must go back to canning. I've heard from Mr. N.T. Sellman of the Consolidated Edison Company, who is on the Mayor's Committee for Canning, and he informs me that the seventy five pressure cookers are now in use all over the city for instruction. The locations have been approved by the Pressure Cooker Ration Committee under the chairmanship of Miss Fitch. It would take too long to give you the addresses but if you will call or write to WNYC or to this office or to the Pressure Cooker Ration Committee or to the Department of Health the address of the nearest station for community canning or instructional canning will be given to you.
I had a very pleasant visit, day before yesterday from Mr. Croil Hunter, who is the President of the Northwest Air Line. You will remember a few days ago his application to the Department of Aviation, Aeronautical Commission in Washington was announced, he was applying for a permit or certificate to establish a line from St. Paul to Tokyo. Well, that's no dream. They really mean it. They're going to fly right over the top of the earth and go right to Tokyo and Calcutta, and Peiping, and Chungking. Well, he was here yesterday, that do you suppose he was here for - well, he wants space at the New York City's new airport in Idlewild and is very anxious. Mr. Hunter, who has vision and is one of the pioneers in Commercial Aviation, said that there is no such thing as a transcontinental line in the United States that has not a terminal in New York City. In other words, to be a real transcontinental line or a transoceanic line it is necessary to have a terminal in New York City and Mr. Hunter is right. I hope to be able to find space for the Northwest Air Lines at our new airport.
Dr. John Wade, Superintendent of Schools was in the other day to report that 75 playgrounds around the schools will open on September the 1st. Seventeen will be in Manhattan and eighteen in the Bronx and twenty-three in Brooklyn, fifteen in Queens and two in Staten Inland. I'm very happy that this has been inaugurated and that were able to find a hundred and fifty thousand dollars to take care of these now school activities.
FIRE DEPARTMENT REPORT
The Fire Department's report for 1942 is just out and I'm FIRE DEPARTMENT very happy to note the reduction in fires in the amount of REPORT $496,836, or 5,991 fires less than the previous year. We have a total of 28,294 fires. Congratulations to Commissioner Walsh, the officers and men of the Fire Department. Good work.
PRAISES HOUSING AND BUILDINGS
Now that brings up something else. That also brings up the very fine work of the Department of Housing and Buildings under Commissioner Wilson and Deputy Commissioner Platzkor. You know that since we took office Jan. 1, 1934 to date, we have eliminated 8,861 old-Iaw tenements. I'm very proud of that and do you know that from the 1st of December 1934 until the end of December, 1942, we vacated 2,764 old-Iaw tenement houses and do you know that is double the amount of all old-law tenement houses that were vacated in 31 years prior to my administration. And this is also a great achievement that l want to thank the Department of Housing and Buildings, we have fire retarded all of the 26,070 old-law tenement house which the law required to be fire retarded (and this had been going on for over twenty years in our city) and now we can safely say and truthfully say that all of them have been fire retarded. In 1934, there were 38 deaths in tenement houses from fire, in 1942, only one. That's what we mean by fire in tenement houses, of course, it does not mean where it's an individual carelessness such as smoking in bed or careless use in the apartment, in individual apartment fires, that's a great acomplishment and I am very proud of it.
Well, last week I talked about gambling and this is quite a gambling week. In many ways than one, and many people today are in tears only wishing they had heeded my advice and followed the policy of this administration.
Here's something interesting. Here is a letter, a sort of commercial circular letter. It starts, dated June 16th,
No doubt you will recognize the writer as the jockey who rode "OMAHA" to success in the Kentucky Derby and in many other winning engagements. I was considered one of the best money riders on the "BIG APPLE". During the past few weeks I have been supervising the conditioning of a few horses for a specific occasion. There is little need to go into detail or discuss the secret angles necessary to insure the winning of many big wagers and the methods used to eliminate the element of chance. Like most bettors you are probably more interested in winning a good wager."
Now get this:
"You are probably aware that a jockey has the final word on a horse, and I have very good friends of years standing among the best money riders. At present they are more anxious than ever to make money because of the uncertain future of racing. Should racing close, they would be without a livelihood. Therefore we are betting on
A SURE LONG SHOT WINNER
An overnight wire will reach you............"
and so on.
"PAY NO ATTENTION TO FORM" - this is strictly confidential Information not handicapping."
Now that's signed by Smoky Saunders, 1484 Lexington Avenue. There is a hint that every jockey is crooked. Now, while I don't like horse races and while I don't like the tinhorns and the touts and the bums connected with racing, I have a very high regard for Jockeys and I'll say, of course, there's no justification for any such hint or suggestion that the jockeys will pull a race or that anyone can have a jockey under his control. Once in a while the jockey goes bad, like in everything else, but the large majority of jockeys are real, decent, fine sportsmen.
But that letter goes to show how crooked race horsing is. That's the point I want to make, it's just crooked, and nothing but thugs, and gangsters and racketeers, and tinhorns connected with it, and don't be a sucker and lose your money.
Last week I think some of these tinhorns got a little encouragement owing to the discharge of two vagrants, two tinhorns who were brought before a magistrate. And the numbers of complaints jumped from twenty four the week before, to fifty three this week, that's where families that go hungry write in or wives who are in despair write in and complain of gambling, or where a tinhorn cheats and doesn't pay off the bet. Now there were 53 last week, compared to 24 of the week before. I don't know if I told you that one of the vagrants was one Michael Best, and he has three aliases - "Michael Besminoff" and "Mike Besminoff", "Joe Green" and "Dave Gould." He was arrested with Herrick, you know , just a tinhorn.
And one more combination of politics and crime has been exposed. Shame and regret will come to all In any way connected with the disclosure made by the New York County District Attorney, Mr. Frank Hogan, and I want to commend the members of the New York City Police Department attached to Mr. Hogan's office as I am sure he would do. It is not at all surprising to those of us who for a quarter of a century have been fighting just such conditions. I wonder if the people of the City of New York today will better understand my efforts to wipe out commercialized vice, gambling and racketeering. You know sometimes I think that the collective memory is very short. Unless your city is constantly on the alert and has the complete support and understanding of the courts and the people, racketeers, criminals and gangsters would soon again have control. Control of the city as they had before I took office, even as it is, you'll see a case pop up now and again, such as the Aurelio-Costello incident. Wherever there is organized gambling, its ramifications lead to commercialized vice and other forms of crime, all channelling into some sort of political connection. Don't you see that the professional gambler with all the ramifications can not exist unless he has the law enforcing agencies with him! That's why I keep our Police Department constantly on its toes.
That's why I keep the Police Department constantly after these fellows. Otherwise they'd get control, and don't you see that when these racketeers and tinhorns, these bums know that they not control the Police Department or City government, their last bulwark is the courts! That is no new discovery, it has been going on for a long time. That's the condition, the system, that I have been and shall continue to fight. You will remember when I took office that Schultz was the big shot in this town. You remember that I ordered the Police Department to use their nightsticks on him and chase him out of town. It wasn't until I took office in '34 that Schultz went out and I hope you will recall the opposition I've been having in suppressing gambling. I hope you will remember the tedious procedure in the court every time we seek to increase gambling by the elimination of slot machines pinball machines or when we crack down on policy or number rackets or when we a vagrant like Erikson or Herrick or any one of these fellows into court.
That opposition hasn't stopped us, that abuse hasn't stopped me. Slot machines were eliminated in this town only after or I took office. It thrived in this city before then and pinball machines -- we had to fight that after we licked the slot machines, and I had to go all the way up to the Court of Appeals for that. I first got legislation that made it easier, and I had to fight influential people, like one guy by the name of Byk in Brooklyn. High officials came to see me, telling me what a grand businessman Byk was. He was interested in these new pinball machines, they were gyp machines, very much patterned on the old slot machines.
Now I don't say that everything is all cleaned up. I want the Police Department to keep their eye on the Adonis gang in Brooklyn and the Lipsky gang in Brooklyn. The Police Department knows how difficult it is to go after those fellows. Chase them out of town as you did other racketeers. Show night sticks, if necessary, and expose the go-betweens, the crooked shyster lawyers. Haven't I been fighting that crowd against constant opposition? I just want to recall this history because like politicians, shysters are again seeming to because bold. Have we forgotten the Dixie Davis case, investigated and prosecuted by Irving Bon Cooper who was then in the Commissioner of Investigation Office, (it was called the Commissioner of Accounts Office.) Have you forgotten the abuse that that office and the Mayor had to take when we were fighting Dixie Davis. Incidentally I think there was a libel suit in that case. Do you understand now why it is necessary to keep the "T's" and the "P's" and the "B's" on the jump. You know what I mean, the tinhorns, the pimps and the buns. You perhaps understand now why it is necessary, it is a matter of concern to a Mayor, when a judge gives comfort to a "T", "P", or "B". You can understand now why we keep records on the judges when the law concerning professional gamblers and vagrants is ignored or a judge makes a grandstand play in abusing the police and in discharging a "T", "P" or "B". You will understand now the connection between dirty, filthy, obscene shows and their relation by marriage, blood, or politics with the same politician and the same shyster lawyers. I know I have the support of the decent, well meaning, hardworking, honest judges and I know we have the support of the decent fine people of the City of New York.
BAR SHOULD HELP
Personally, I believe that the Association of the Bar of the City of New York could be a little more active. It seems to me that it wouldn't be difficult to correct the present system of exchange or acceptance of judicial candidates by parties sight unseen. It seems to me that in cases of bi-partisan endorsement the method of selection could be better scrutinized. I had very fine cooperation and help from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York in the first years of administration and I want to say that of late we could use a little more support and better cooperation and help from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. We need that, we're entitled to that. Any administration is entitled to it BAR SHOULD that wants to keep its city clean, wants to have a good honest government. It's so easy to chase these racketeers, and these tinhorns and these so-called big shot gangsters out of our town If we have the cooperation of the courts, and if we have the cooperation of the decent element of the Bar of this city. I'm going to have another conference with the leaders of the Bar on this very question. I hope to be able to do it in a very few days.
Now just a word of warning to a certain few tinhorns who may be under the impression that because of some people they know they have political protection. I just want to say to a couple of these tinhorns, keep away from the third base line out on the Polo Grounds or you're likely to be fanned out of the park. I want to say to the members of the New York Police Department that there are eighty thousand seats in the Polo Grounds of which seventy nine thousand nine hundred and eighty eight are available to the members of the Police Department. There are just about twelve seats that are bad medicine to be found sitting in by any member of the Police Department. The people concerned know exactly what I mean.
RECEPTION TO BRITISH UNIT
Oh, I want to announce this, I'm a little overtime, and it won't take me long - we will have a visit on the 31st of Anti-Aircraft Battery No. 1 of the British Army. This Battery is composed of selected veterans who have seen active service. Most of them have records of heroic service and have been sent to this country to demonstrate and instruct our anti-aircraft batteries. They will be received at City Hall, the parade will start promptly at 12:10. It starts from the Battery and will march up Broadway and they will be received at City Hall. If we're still here at one o'clock when Churchill goes on the air, of course we will pause because everybody wants to hear Churchill. He always says something, doesn't he, and he says it in such a way that everybody can understand him.
HERALD-TRIBUNE FRESH AIR FUND
Oh, here, I must announce this, altho I'm overtime - I want to appeal the sale of tickets for the annual New York Herald Tribune All-Star football game for the benefit of the Tribune Fresh Air Fund. Now I'm interested in the Tribune Fresh Air Fund, because It does so much and it gives the opportunity to so many children of our city to go to camp during the summer. Every year they have this all star football game, but this year, the game is going to be different. That is why we must all buy tickets. The game is going to be different because there ain't going to be no game! We can't get the players and if we could get the players we couldn't get the transportation, and if we could get the transportation, we couldn't get something else, but we're going to sell the tickets anyhow. So buy these tickets, the Tribune Fresh Air Fund will get the money, the kids will go to camp and we'll all take part in a makebelieve game. I think it's a lot of sport, so send in your money and I'll say this, suppose anyone who would have gone to the game on that day and bought his ticket at the ticket stand, would just come down to City Hall and I'll sell you a ticket, as long as it's for the New York Fund.
I've got other announcements, oh, yes, I want to announce the Unity Program for this week: Sunday, WHOM, 5 o'clock, a special Polish Program, Peter Yolles, and Francis J. Wastes, with Niecayslaw Horszowski, pianist. Monday, WBYN, 8:30, a special one hour musical program, directed by announcer-producers for each foreign language, Yiddish, Spanish, Ukrainian, Greek and Romanian, with Fannie Hurst as guest. Tuesday, WQXR, 10 o'clock, H. V. Kaltenborn and Kenneth Spencer. Wednesday, WNEW 9:45, dramatization of short story by Fannie Hurst, One Family. Director Thomas L. Riley. Thursday, WMOA, 10 o'clock, United States Senator Robert F. Wagner. Friday, WMCA, 9:45, dramatization, American Dim-out written by Ruth Adams Knight, directed by Bob Shayon. Saturday, WHM, 9 o'clock, Ed Sullivan and Hazel Scott and Sunday, 10:45, Josef Lhevinne, pianist and Carl Van Duran. And by the way, the Committee, headed by Jean Muir, tells me they are still continuing to get signatures to their Unity pledge and each signer may receive a souvenir pledge to keep in his own home, so I appeal to all to join in signing these pledges.
I had a pleasant visit yesterday from Judge Edmond Palmeri, he came in in uniform and was quite excited about his new duties.
I regret to have to announce that the Executive Secretary Lester Stone who's been with me for many years, in fact since 1934, is leaving the city service to take an executive position with the Institute of Public Relations, Inc. I hate to see Lester go but here was a good opportunity and I guess there was nothing we could do about it.
Well, I'm greatly over my time. I hope for the sake of you who have been waiting for the concert at the Museum, that they'll give you an extra number the for the time lost.
Patience and Fortitude.