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. He talks about battlefront conditions in relation to sacrifices at home; defeat of Germany; current freight embargo and its effect on coal and food; meatless Tuesdays and Fridays; attacks New York Times article on food usage; cooperation of hostels and restaurants; meat consumption; fat conservation; price ceiling, tie-in sales; children's clothes; attacks gamblers on bribing of Brooklyn College basketball team; attacks newspapers for gambling coverage, race report communications; Bingo games and churches.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 53764
Municipal archives id: LT4083
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1945.
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, FEBRUARY 4, 1945, BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1:00 P.M. FOLLOWS:
Patience and Fortitude.
we need all the patience we can muster during the rest of this month and perhaps during a great deal of next month. But after all, isn't it very little, the so-called hardships that we must endure, to what is going on at the various battlefronts - the Russians forging ahead - nearing Berlin. That does not mean, of course, that the war is over. No, but it does mean that we cannot let the boys down now. How do you think the boys in the Philippines would feel, fighting their way to Manila now, how do you think the 500 who were released from the prison camp would feel if they heard or thought or believed that we couldn't take it at home?
Yes, we are going to have hardship, it is going to be cold for a great many of us, some of the theatres are going to be closed; meat is going to be short - but all of that, what is it in comparison to what these men have suffered? Just think of that, won't you? I know I speak for all the people of the city of New York when I send out word today, to the boys on the battlefront: "Don't worry about the coal, don't worry about the meat, don't worry about anything, because we are going to work, we are going to work harder, so that you can get everything that you need. It is more important that you should have meat than that we should have it. It is more important that you should have warm clothes. So don't worry, the people back home are back of you. Go to it, we will be seeing you soon."
GERMAN COLLAPSE PREDICTED
I still believe, and mark you, I say again, the war is not over, we may have a long, long time to go. I still believe that the bust-up will come from the top in Germany. Yes, there will soon be a split in the German staff, and it might be the end of Hitler. Don't be surprised. I always believed that Hitler would sooner surrender to Stalin than he would to the nations of the West. Time will tell. In the meantime, no mercy and unconditional surrender.
SECOND FREIGHT EMBARGO
I want to talk over a few things with you today, because we must all cooperate, and by cooperating I think we can ease up quite a bit. As you know, a second freight embargo has been ordered. It commenced at 12:01 Saturday and will continue for four days. That means that nothing can be shipped during those days and only the cars that have been loaded and now on the tracks on their way may move. In this embargo coal and fuel oil are permitted to be shipped. That helps us quite a bit. But you will recall that when I talked to you last week, we were then in the midst of the first embargo which prohibited the shipment of coal, and I told you then that we would not feel that until the end of the week. We have reached the end of the week, and we certainly are feeling it. In addition to feeling the effects of the embargo the weather has created greater difficulty and at this moment the Port of New York is frozen and we have barges of coal that cannot be moved. But I'll come back to coal in just a moment.
Let us talk about food first. With the embargo, there will be a shortage of food of all kinds that are brought into New York City. We bring quite a bit of food in by rail, so will feel that toward the end of the week.
MEATLESS DAY COOPERATION
I want to say now that the cooperation and the response in the appeal for meatless Tuesdays and Fridays has been simply magnificent. Every New Yorker has reason to be proud. This was a great demonstration of cooperation and of loyalty and its effect has been felt. As you know, Mondays we call at home "left-over" days and we use anything that may be left over. In hotels, restaurants and public eating places it is "conservation day" and that is left to the ingenuity of the chef and to the discretion of the management. A great deal of meat can be saved on Mondays in public eating places. Tuesdays and Fridays are meatless days - and no fooling. I think attempts were made by some to confuse it. I am very sorry to note the attitude of the "New York Times" in its story last Tuesday. On Monday when the reporter purported to interview the Mayor, it was not an interview. It was one of those prepared, planted statements. I knew it was planted, because it was so replete with misinformation. For instance, he mentioned a Club and said that this club's president had protested. I checked on that and it was untrue. This statement also contained misinformation as to the hours for night clubs. I am sorry that that happened, because I recognize with all my experience now that it was a planted story. I called up Mr. Arthur Sulzberger and warned him but, notwithstanding, the story appeared. Weil, it did not have much effect because we got such splendid cooperation.
It is very simple. Restaurants and all eating places will not serve any meat or meat products coming from any four-legged domestic animals on Tuesdays and Fridays. Poultry and game and fish are permitted. Last week when I said game, I thought that included everything but some people, you know, are a little fussy so we made it clear by saying four-legged domestic animals. Eating places, except delicatessens which do not have cooking or short-order facilities such as counter service shops, hamburger stands, sandwich shops, lunch counters and shops specializing in one single dish, are permitted to serve frankfurters - dogs, you know - or non-rationed cold cuts, poultry and game on Tuesdays and Fridays. All delicatessens may serve or sell only poultry, game, frankfurters, salami, bologna and non-rationed cold cuts for on or off-premise consumption on Tuesdays and Fridays. That, I think, clears the situation.
Again I want to express my thanks to ail the hotels and associations of restaurants for their desire to really do something constructive, and they are doing it.
BUTCHER SHOP CLOSING DAYS
Kosher retail butcher shoPs, you know, will close from sundown Friday to Monday morning. Non-kosher retail butchers will close all day Sunday and Monday. Butcher departments in combination stores will follow the rules for butchers, but if they have a fish counter, of course, they may sell fish on those days as well as poultry.
Last week I told you about the arrangements that were made with the Army and the packers for the use of retailer butchers to bone meat for the Army. They told me they could use several hundreds and it even went up to a thousand, but it is rather slow in materializing, I am sorry to say. Again, I want to offer to the Army and to the packers experienced butchers to do the boning on these days that the shops are closed.
As I have stated many times, more people in our country are eating more meat or more people in our country are eating meat now who heretofore ate no meat. That is good, and we want to keep it that way. The average consumption of meat per person in the United States during the period 1936 to 1939 was 126 lbs. per year. Now, get this: A new high was reached in the Spring of 1944 when we ate meat on an average of 154 lbs. per person per year. The average throughout 1944 was 148 lbs. Now you get the shortage. The very best we can hope for during the year 1945 will be at the rate of 124 or 125 lbs. per person per year. There is worse to come. The lowest point will be reached in March when we will have to reduce to an average of 115 lbs. per person per year. So, don't you see, it is going to go less and less until we reach the end of March when we will have to reduce to less than one-third of a pound per person per day. Be guided accordingly, and don't complain. That is more meat than most countries use per person in normal times, and is so much more than many, many countries of the world get today.
During the month of February we will have the first test of the OPA ceiling price rule of cattle on the hoof. As I have said many times, if this is policed properly it ought to destroy the black market. Every slaughter house is required in his buying cattle to use not more than 75% of good or choice cattle. The remainder will be commercial or utility. If he does that, it will average his prices and the wholesaler and the retailer will be able to buy at ceiling prices. If they are able to buy at ceiling prices it will kill the black market. The 75% of choice meat, I think, will be reduced as time goes on and the supply reduced.
WFA ESTIMATE OF FOOD SUPPLY
My attention has been called by the War Food Administration to the available amount of food for the January - March quarter. They estimate 6,093,000,000 pounds of meat and of that amount 4,061,000,000 pounds will be allocated to civilian use, or two out of every three pounds. Of course, poultry will continue to be scarce for some time. You remember, I have been telling you about the 110,000,000 pounds the Army is now buying.
IMPORTANCE OF FAT CONSERVATION
WFA stresses the need of fat conservation. I cannot emphasize too much how important that is. Do you know that Germany lost the last war when it started to be extremely short of lubricants and fats. So, save your fat. Now, that does not mean that all fats should be used for salvage. For instance, if you use bacon or if you use other fats you can get additional use out of it. You can save it for cooking. But the time arrives when you have gotten all the use you can get out of it and other kinds of fat. Just strain it and put it into a can and your butcher will pay you 4 cents pound and two red tokens. Don't forget that - 4 cents per pound and two red tokens for every pound of fat and there is great demand for it.
MEAT FOR FISHERMEN
Talking about meat, I want to join in the application of the fishermen who say they ought to have meat when they go out to fish. They are absolutely right. I am joining in that application and I told OPA that some provision ought to be made to give these fishermen meat. I think at the same time, in order to avoid abuses, some arrangement should be made made whereby these fishermen could buy their meat from the Coast Guard stations or the Naval Stations and pay direct for it there, so there won't be more chiseling in issuing extra points for fishermen. By the way, these boys have good appetites, but you know they bring in many, many, many more pounds of fish than the meat that they eat, So, I am for plenty of meat for fisherman. That will help us quite a bit.
As to the neck bones I have been telling you about, I hope to have a ceiling price fixed. I have asked for a ceiling price of from 3 to 5 cents. I think it ought to be 3 cents to 4 cents, and they will make very good soup. Commissioner Brundage of the Department of Markets is trying to arrange for the delivery of over 6,000 lbs. a day for the shops that we have in our public markets. There is no OPA regulation against it. They just do not like to handle it. There is not much profit, you know, at 5 cents per lb. but I am trying to have a ceiling price fixed between 3 and 5 cents per lb. An interesting question came up the other day when we were talking to the retailers. It is customary when you buy something at the butcher to say "give me a soup bone." There is no charge made for the soup bone. Someone said that that is a tie-in sale. I do not think so and our Department of Markets does not think that following the custom of giving a soup bone when you buy meat is a tie-in sale. Do you get what I mean by that? We do not think it is, so be guided accordingly. Hand out some soup bones, won't you?
LOW COST CLOTHING
I have some good news here today. You know - of course you do if you have kids in the family - children's clothes have been pretty scarce. Well, there is relief in sight. Yes sir, there is really relief in-sight. I was so encouraged the other day when I taIked to Mr. Chester Bowles.
He had been working hard on it. By the way, I want to congratulate - I won't congratulate yet - I have my fingers crossed and all of us should have our fingers crossed until something really happens - but I want to say that OPA has been working very hard to keep the low prices on clothing and garments and I think they have succeeded. I want to say now that I thank them for their efforts and hope that by the end of April I can congratulate them. The plan is to establish the 1943 prices for low-cost garments as the 1945 ceiling price. That is not all. Manufacturers who have been devoting all their production to higher-priced clothing will have to change to a much larger amount of low-priced clothing. Manufacturers will get quotas for clothes and textile mills will get quotas to provide manufacturers. Seventy-five per cent of all textile cloth will be set aside for these priorities. While there will be a drop of 10 cents to 12 cents in total production, there will be a large increase in lower priced garments and clothing because of the quotas. If you can refrain from buying any clothes for the children until the end of March, I advise you to do so. There ought to be a good supply of low-cost clothing and underwear commencing the end of March. So put off buying if you possibly can, until the end of March. As to cotton clothing, that is underwear for children and women, or cotton clothes of any kind, 80% will have the lower cost price sewed in each garment - the retail price - now, isn't that fine? That is one of the finest things that OPA has done. 80% of all low-cost cotton garments will have the price sewed on each garment, and there just cannot be any chiseling.
I have to talk about coal, please bear with me. The situation is critical and, therefore, as I say, in every critical situation one must remain calm and deliberate and cool and keep his head. We had a bad break in the weather so that at this moment there are several barges of coal that cannot be moved because of the ice. They fear to move them for if they do, through experience, they know that the barges will be stove in. Then again, we have barges that need repair and cannot be repaired because they have no priorities in the shipyards. That is particularly true as to oil barges. We have tried to move this coal and just cannot do so, that is to any extent approaching normal. The stock of coal available in the yards is very low. I am not going to issue a general order closing in groups, or throughout the city, places having low priorities, as long as they have some coal. I am already exercising the powers vested in me by the Charter of the City of New York, the laws of the State and the Resolution of the Board of Health together with the delegated powers from the Federal Government, to conserve coal for the protection of the public health. To that extent, the Order issued a week ago that certain classification of buildings would have to have the approval of the Mayor before they can replenish their supply is now being put into effect. I have already disapproved about sixteen applications. I hope the dealers will keep those disapproved applications on file in chronological order so that when coal does arrive they may receive coal in accordance with the time that they have been without any supply. We have only twenty-nine of the Emergency Stations operating because we cannot get any supply for the others.
I want to interrupt for a moment to say to the no-heat, cold-water tenements, that we are doing all we can for them. These apartments are heated separately, mostly by kerosene, and the kerosene supply is just so low that about 80% of the families cannot obtain kerosene. This kerosene comes in tank cars and most of them are blocked upstate. Every effort is being made to get them through. As soon as we get a supply, of course, the dealers will get it, and we will help the dealers to meet the great demand by putting trucks on the streets.
Here is the plan. Yesterday I issued an order requiring all coal yards to keep 5% of the coal on hand to meet emergency orders issued by the Health Department. If, when they run out of all coal, they will then inform the Solid Fuel Administrator and he in turn will seek to honor that requisition from another coal yard or see to it that the yard gets some coal from other sources. The next 48 or 72 hours will be very critical. In all likelihood, I will have to disapprove some 70 or 80 applications for fuel tomorrow. You see, I am not going to do it today because if we get a good supply tomorrow, it may not be necessary to disapprove all of those applications.
SOME CLOSINGS MAY BE NECESSARY
I want to warn theaters and places of amusements, museums and institutions of higher learning to be prepared to close either Monday or Tuesday if they run out of coal. There is nothing else we can do.
Now to people who live in apartments and single and double family houses. Let me explain; I get letters saying that you have seen coal in the yards, but you could not get any. That is quite possible. The reason for this is that all the coal that you see you may not be able to burn in your furnace.
Therefore, Commissioner Edwin Salmon, the City Fuel Administrator, is trying to list the priorities in accordance with the classifications of coal. Don't you see, it serves no purpose if we deny a type of coal to a building when we know that that type of coal cannot be burned in a single or double family house or in an apartment house furnace. We must watch the demands according to the supply of coal that can be used. Substitutes must be used, and many apartment houses are burning soft coal now when ordinarily they burned hard coal. As the situation now stands, we will disapprove for places of amusement or places having no priority, which places will not be able to get coal until coal commences coming in. Then we had another difficulty, that of transportation, particularly from the yards to the City Emergency Stations. I want to pause here to express my thanks and appreciation to the Borough Presidents who are cooperating ana who have undertaken with their trucks and personnel to deliver the coal from the yards to the City Emergency Stations. Thanks also to the Coast Guard for their fine help whenever and wherever possible in breaking ice so as to release barges in order that they can be towed into the City and to the coal yards. If we get any sort of a break in the weather, we may just squeeze through this crisis. I am not sure that even if we should get a good break in the weather, we will be in shape, or have so much coal on hand, as not to be forced to disapprove applications of low priority places. I suggest an experiment to the theatres. When I served in the Consular Service in Europe, 40 years ago, theatres were not heated. If you run out of coal, why not try this. You know you will get your theatre full and that in and of itself provides a good deal of heat - what is known as body heat. So do not get discouraged. Let your patrons know if your theatre is not heated and see how it works out. For the next 24 or 48 or 72 hours, please let us all cooperate. I want to say to people who send in suggestions such as to close buildings for a half day, to have business five days per week, to close every other day, that that does not save much coal. The only way to save coal in a building is to use no coal at all, in which case all of the pipes must be drained first and the building winterized. Unless the building is winterized a certain amount of heat must be maintained, and we also have learned by experience, that if we close the building for a day or two, the amount of extra coal needed to bring that building back to normal temperature, uses almost that which has been saved during the days it was closed. Please be patient and remember, if you live in an apartment house, that there is someone who is hit harder than you are. Remember, if you cannot go to your favorite theater or movie house, that there are other places in the state and in the country which are hit harder than you have been. If we all stick together in this and help each other, I am sure we will come through all right. Notices will be given to you from time to time through the Press and through WNYC and other radio stations.
At the risk of going overtime, and I am going overtime intentionally, I have a few things I want to say that may help in the future; help you and help me who want our City to be decent and clean help us to keep it that way.
I have been talking for some time about thieving, tin horn, chiseling gamblers. I have been abused by the press for it. I have been lied about. Commissioner Valentine has been abused, not only by the press, but by the courts and by other people. I have told you so many times that as long as I am Mayor and I have taken an oath of office which I am going to obey that I am going to enforce the Constitution and the laws of our State.
Every New Yorker felt ashamed a few days ago when they read an announcement that five boys - mere boys - of Brooklyn College had been bribed to throw a game. The newspapers spent a great deal of time talking about the boys. It is a surprise to me that they did not abuse Commissioner Valentine or abuse me or President Gideonse. They might just as well have done so. Don't these papers realize that they are partly to blame, giving encouragement and comfort and advice to these thieving gamblers, these breakers of homes? Were it not for the thieving gambler, five homes in Brooklyn would not be wrecked today and the lives of five boys would not have been ruined. Yes, their lives are ruined for in every application they make for a job the story will come out. They will never be able to enjoy or play a game. And they have been expelled from College. Five lives ruined.
GOOD POLICE WORK LAUDED
Let us look into this. This was discovered by the Police Department of the City of New York. Tough on Brooklyn College! It just happened that theirs was the college that was discovered. Oh yes, I am not hinting. This is generally prevalent. Mr. Irish of Madison Square Garden came here at the beginning of the season. He begged for help, yes, the police were using gestapo methods, the Mayor was asking children to complain about their parents, said the papers of New York City. They were worried about the constitutional rights of thieves, gamblers. They had no concern about the happiness of the homes of decent, clean families of our City. Didn't I always tell you that these gamblers are connected with racketeers and criminals? That is the case of Brooklyn College. I want to give great credit to detectives Carrol and Cone under Captain Fanelli of the Loft Squad. They were engaged in investigating a receiver of stolen goods - that is a pretty low form of crime, to send youngsters out to steal and then to buy the stolen goods at ridiculously low prices and to sell it. In the course of investigating this "fence" (a receiver of stolen goods is known among criminals and the police as a fence), they discovered these boys going in and out of the place. They questioned these boys. They knew that the boys were not connected with the stealing of goods from the garment center to bring to this place. But they knew that if they were going to that place, that they were going there for no good purpose. Careful, patient questioning brought out the story. My good friends, as I have been telling you since I have been Mayor, show me a gambler, a tin horn gambler, and I will show you that he is connected with thieves like this receiver of stolen goods, with racketeers, with purveyors of sin and crime, of the social evil - you know what I mean - every one of them, every one of them, and that was this case. This gambler was connected with the thief who was buying stolen goods. Both have been indicted.
GAMBLERS CANNOT LOSE
I have always said that there wasn't a bit of sportsmanship in a professional gambler. They are not interested in the game; they even lack the sporting spirit to a bet. These thieves steal money under the cover of a bet. Why, they have their bets so arranged on a point system that in almost every game they won from one group and didn't lose to the other; and in some instances they collected from both.
On January 10, 1945, in the CCNY-Syracuse game, CCNY was a 4-6 favorite and won by a 48 to 42 or by a 6-point margin which enabled the bookmakers to collect all bets on the favorite while not paying off those who had their money on the underdog. That is the way they bet; that is the way they bet the horses; that is the way they play crap with loaded dice; that is the way they gamble with marked cards.
Can't I convince you people of New York that this element is a vicious element, just plain, common thieves, not only common gamblers, but common thieves. Now am I right? Ask the families in Brooklyn if I was right. Let me go into this a little more. After all it is pretty tough on these kids to take a game - a basketball team in College. Do you realize that the five boys who are doing the playing are the only amateurs in the whole crowd? Everybody connected with them is making money.
Say, Lew, don't worry what the papers say; you watch that Madison Square Garden, and grab them by the back of the neck and the seat of the pants. Tell your men to throw them out of there. We had a case not very long ago, I think it came from Utah; one of these thieving tinhorns ran up to his room on Sunday Morning, offered to bribe. Of course, this fellow came from the West. They know a tinhorn out there when they see one, and the editors out there, they don't like tinhorns.
But anyhow if this Coach had just used his head, he would have gotten this fellow. But he socked him one and he socked him another and he throw him down stairs. I hoped the bum broke his neck, but he did not.
DEFALCATOR LOST MONEY TO GAMBLERS
Well, here is some more. Here is a little notice in the paper about a secretary-treasurer of a plumber's union, who was found to be some $6,200 short in his accounts. Abraham Poretz, the Assistant District Attorney, said that the defendant told him this is what he said: "I spent the money for gambling, horses, crap and every other thing I know was wrong." Another family in misery, children ashamed, not because their father played but because their father was fleeced and the money stolen by these people.
Yes, I might as well say it now, that any editor or any paper who says that the Mayor asks children to peach on their fathers, is telling a lie. He knows he is lying, and he is printing and selling that lie for 3 cents a copy. That is pretty low. I will submit the tens of thousands of letters that I have to any decent person to examine. There is not one case that the children complain of their fathers. There is not one case that a parent was annoyed in any way because of the information, but there are thousands of cases. I want to say to some people who gamble and don't pay when they lose and are paid when they win by these tin horn thieves and they know who. Yes, we get information. I got some letters today. I got some yesterday.
Oh, say, by the way, Lew, I want you to speed up on some of them. That two or three up in the Bronx, a couple in Brooklyn, I want action. I want action this week.
To go back to these stories, not one parent has suffered or has been annoyed by information given by the wives or mothers or children but gamblers have. The information is so accurate that sometimes I wonder what the police are doing. Go on and act now. Snap into it. Chase them out.
WIRED RACING INFORMATION BANNED
Remember, I have been telling you about information on the races. Here is something good. I have a letter from Paul A. Porter, Chairman of the FCC, Washington, D.C. I presume that you know that the Board of War Communications has gone on record as opposed to the private leasing of any communications circuits between the U.S.; and foreign race tracks for the collection and distribution of racing information from outside the country. He encloses the order. So, Mr. Police Commissioner and Captains of all precincts, if you see a teletype or a ticker in any poolroom or any place used exclusively for racing information, rip it out, rip it out, and bring it to the Property Clerk.
GAMBLING TELEPHONE DECISION
And talking about telephones, I have a letter here, and I want to make this clear. The writer of the letter says she has an application for a telephone and asks why she cannot get it when the Telephone Company gave it to this tinhorn I told you about last week. Well, the Telephone Company is not to blame. My criticism was not directed against the Telephone Company. Now the paper will say tomorrow, "he didn't say but he hinted, he did not quite say that he was criticizing the court." Yes, I am criticizing the court. That is exactly what I meant to do. Now write an editorial about that.
NEW JERSEY BINGO RULING
Remember, I have been abused about bingo games, haven't I? Last Thursday, Justice Brogan in a special charge to the Hudson Country Grand Jury declared that bingo was a lottery forbidden by state law and that no distinction could be made between bingo games held on private property or sponsored by a Church charity. That is very fine for the State of New Jersey and I am very proud that New York City is several years ahead and that we have set the example to the whole country that a church is not the place to hold a bingo game, or any form of gambling.
Which brings us up to the related industry of loan sharks. Didn't I tell you that the loan sharks were connected with was gambling? The Brownsville.gang was broken; I think it was a week or ten days ago, and we found that loan sharks were connected with gambling in Westchester. We have driven them out of New York. First they win the money, then the money is loaned, then they charge usurious rates, then, they beat up the borrowers if payment is not made. Well, there is one comfort in this. I think Bill O'Dwyer will get after that gang and make a good job of it. Of course, we may be abused, you know, we may be abused for it.
Now, here is another form of loan sharks, but it is lawful. Here is the Household Finance Company. A borrower writes me about the hundred dollars he had to pay back in 12 installments at $9.75 a month, which makes it $117 or 17% interest. That is a lawful loan. I cannot criticize the Household Finance Co. because it is lawful, but I say that the law should be changed. No law in this day and age which permits 17% should remain on the statute books. That is unconscionable. That is too much, and the law ought to be changed. You know that 30% on small loans is lawful in the state, 24% and 18% interest is lawful. Yes, we have some bills in the Legislature that would make these unconscionable rates of interest unlawful. Do you think they will pass? I don't know, I don't know. I hope that the Governor will take cognizance of this condition and that he will lend his usual energy which we all admire and his indignation against exploitation and give support to these bills.
Now, while I am on the subject of abuse, remember the abuse we have been getting from some people who have suddenly taken an interest in children in juvenile delinquency. We have been accused of using harsh and unreasonable methods in supervising day nurseries and refusing permits. Yes, Commissioner Walsh of the Fire Department who has a big family of his own, and whi is interested in children, Commissioner Stebbins, who protests the health of seven and one-half million people, and in both of whom I have confidence, have been watching these nurseries, all during these two years that abuse has been heaped upon them. I have here a clipping, from Auburn, Maine, "Sixteen Children Perish in Fire, Woman is Also a Victim as Boarding House in Auburn is Destroyed." The same is true of rooming houses, lodging houses, where we are abused by the courts, abused by the papers just in trying to protect life. So now you will understand, won't you, that when we cannot approve a place for a nursery, it is because we are trying to protect little children. You will understand when this abuse is heaped upon us.
SURPLUS PROPERTY SALE ABUSES
I was in Washington the other day and I heard some politician say, "What was La Guardia doing in Washington? Why is he butting in on sales?" Well, I butted in on sales to protect my City. I see this stuff being sold around and the City deprived of it. Just to give you one illustration, although we have hundreds of sales that we checked on. Here is the case of a condenser pump that the government bought for $250. It was sold the other day at the auction that I testified about and conveyed to a New York plumber for $60. Now follow these figures: It was bought by the government for $250 and sold to a New York plumbing firm for $60. The New York plumbing firm sold it to a Staten Island firm for $129. That's all right. The Staten Island firm sold it to a contractor for $160. The contractor sold it to the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company, which charged the government $185 plus 10% because the pump went back to the government on a cost-plus contract, so that for the $185 the government pays $203. The auctioneer's fee is $7.50, and the expenses of transportation, cataloguing, advertisement and incidentals to the auction is $12.50 or a total of 20% so you take the $60 and deduct 20% of expense, so the government got $48. It paid $250 for the pump, so it got back $48, that is $202. It paid $203 for the same pump so that pump cost $415. Do you want to know why I am complaining? Well, I am going to show up that rotten kind of stuff whether it is the Federal Government, or any department of government or of my city or any place else.
I have some interesting facts, but I think I will give you that next week. So won't you just review all this matter that I am going through with you now, and understand why we must have
Patience and fortitude.