This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Mayor La Guardia begins with the usual "Patience and Fortitude!"
He provides WNYC listeners with the latest war news including the taking of Tripoli and the end of Mussolini's dream of an empire. The War Production Board called the Mayors of the country to Washington, D.C. Greater sacrifices in material and food will be required. No new construction since any critical material and even on necessary repairs we will have to be postponed. We will have enough food, but our menus will not be as assorted as perhaps some would like to have them.
The Mayor provides a detailed update on availability of meat and bread in NYC under rationing as well as reminding listeners about the dimout regulations and need for greater care to be taken when traveling at night. La Guardia also goes over protective equipment law compliance and thanks fire auxiliaries. He says tin can collection is progressing well and if the insane can prep the cans properly, well then so can you!
The Mayor calls for potential life guards to apply to the Parks Department for work this summer and he attacks loan sharks taking advantage of New Yorkers. The issue of underage drinking is also recapped. He announced that the City Patrol has formed a United Nations Company composed of one hundred men composed of New York residents who are citizens of countries allied with us in the war.
And finally, the Mayor interviews Mrs. Kate Brooks of New Richmond, Ohio, who recently won the National prize in the Conservation Cooking Contest to find the grandma with the best old fashioned molasses recipe. Mrs. Brooks really is a representative American mother and American grandmother. She looks very young and she has plenty of energy and she does know her cooking. Oh, I just wished you could have tasted some of the samples she brought in. And as long as we have all through this land women like Mrs. Kate Brooks, I'm pretty sure we'll come through all right. Thank you, Mrs. Brooks. Patience and Fortitude!
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71304
Municipal archives id: LT4026
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For Immediate Release Sunday, January 24, 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 24, 1943, broadcast over WNYC at 1:00 p.m. follows:
Patience and Fortitude!
News from Africa in the last 24 hours sure was good. The taking of Tripoli is something more than capturing a city or the surrender of a military point or the loss of a naval station. With the taking of Tripoli goes a dream of an empire which Mussolini had for years and which brought the people of Italy to ruin. Yet I repeat we still have a long way to go.
I had a very interesting and important conference yesterday in Washington. The War Production Board called the Mayors of the country to talk over the situation. Mayor Bowron represented the West Coast, he's the Mayor of Los Angeles. Mayor Kelly of Chicago represented the Midwest, I was there for the East, Mayor Cooper Green of Birmingham, Alabama, representing the Southern cities.
It is certain that we will have to make greater sacrifices in material, in food, in everything that we need. Donald Nelson and Mr. Eberstadt were very plain in their talking. The Government's program challenges the imagination, it is so gigantic. And that means, of course, that there will be no new construction anywhere which requires any critical material and even on necessary repairs we will have to defer everything that can possibly be postponed.
Now, I don't mean to say that we will not have enough food. We will have enough food, but our menus will not be as assorted as perhaps some would like to have them. We will have enough nourishment, but we will not be able to afford to waste a single ounce of food. We will have to be very, very careful in food conservation. We will have to be very careful in the conservation of equipment, and everything that we use in our daily lives. The War Production Board is given a very important mission, and they in turn have given to the Mayors of the cities a very responsible and difficult mission and I assured Mr. Nelson and Mr. Eberstadt yesterday that he could depend on the Mayors of the American cities and the people in the American cities to cooperate to the fullest extent.
Talking about food - as you know I have been looking into the meat situation for several days. It is one of the strangest conditions I have ever encountered. I need not tell the housewives of New York City that meat is very dear. In fact it is too dear. It is so expensive that no family can really buy all the meat it would like to have.
I expected when I started this investigation with Commissioner Woolley of the Department of Markets and Commissioner Herlands of the Department of Investigation that we would have great difficulty in ascertaining the real conditions and the prices paid for meat. Well, you would be surprised. We had no trouble at all. I've never gone into any survey or any investigation where everyone was so willing to tell the truth even though it might be embarrassing or even dangerous to do so. Everybody was perfectly frank, and with few exceptions everybody is violating the OPA regulations. It is so general that there are no bones made about it. The very large packers are adhering to ceiling prices, but they have other channels of revenue and they are able to absorb losses, but the general rule is frankly that everyone is just disregarding the OPA regulations and ceiling prices, in order to get meat. This is the strange part of it. The first original sale is lawful, that is, the sale of the animal to the slaughterhouse or to the packer. That sale is lawful, but there is no ceiling price on the animal and therefore, the slaughterhouses must pay the prices. There's where you start. Now the price paid for the animal on the hoof is higher than a price which would permit that slaughterhouse to sell it to the wholesaler at the ceiling price. Therefore, the slaughterhouse sells it at a higher price and there you have the first disregard of OPA and ceiling prices. The Wholesaler in turn sells it to the retailer at a high price. They do not deny it. And the retailer can't do anything else except to sell it to the consumer at a price higher than the ceiling prices of his particular store.
There's the story. We haven't quite completed the investigation. I'm going to confer this afternoon with local officials of OPA and we will continue the investigation tomorrow. I'm giving you the preliminary reports now so as to keep you informed. At this time I think I can say, and, of course, this is subject to revision if the figures change before we finish our investigation, that it is possible to fix ceiling prices starting with the animal or starting on a graduated measure with the slaughterhouse in accord with the price of the animal and increase ceiling prices all the way down and be able to sell meat retail to the consumer for less than it is selling now.
Of course, we have ceiling prices throughout the city, but it doesn't do Mrs. La Guardia or Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Jones or Mrs. Epstein or Mrs. Esposito any good to have ceiling prices when they can't get meat at ceiling prices. We must be realistic about this and the prices as I've said are so high that something has to be done about it. As soon as we finish and it will not take as long as I expected because of the willingness of everybody to tell the truth about the whole thing, I shall submit the report of our findings as well as our recommendations to the local and the national offices of the OPA and we hope to get some relief.
I talked to you about bread the other day. You will recall that part of the suggested economy in bread to make up for the increased price of flour to the baker was to be the reduction of sugar, milk and shortening in bread. Well, we don't agree with that. We didn't then and we do not yet. Another inducement was the prohibition upon slicing of bread by the wholesale baker. Well, I don't know whether that will save any money or not, but I've received several letters telling me that the retailers who had slicing machines were not permitted to slice the bread for their customers, although it really doesn't cost anything to slice the bread once the machine is there. This was impressed upon me because it happened that morning that just before I left the house I was in the kitchen and my wife was struggling with a loaf of bread. Seemingly she had a dull knife and was having quite a hard time in slicing the bread for the children. I don't see why, in reply to these letters, a retailer is not permitted to slice bread if he has the machine there, if there is no additional cost. Of course, I'm saying that, and that's my interpretation, but I may be wrong. Maybe OPA still says "no," but until they do definitely say "no" that it is not permitted, I don't see why any retailers as an accommodation to their customers are not permitted to slice bread, providing they have the machine, and I repeat, if there is no additional cost.
The fuel situation is just a little better. The anthracite coal strike has been settled, or at least, the men have returned to work. May I say in this matter right now that I've noticed a few places using soft coal around the city. During the lest few days it's been rather bad and the soot is getting noticeable all over the place. Please do not get the idea that we are going to overlook the smoke ordinance.
I hope that that warning will be enough. Many of the recommendations we made to the Senate Committee have been put into effect and I hope that as we go along the supply will increase. It has been better in the last forty-eight hours. Also, one of the recommendations we made was for a military and naval coordinator in order to coordinate the supply coming in to the East and one has been appointed and will assume office, I believe tomorrow. That will be very helpful.
I still receive some complaints of families who are compelled to heat by coal and kerosene. I want to say to people who have written me, I'll have your cases investigated and I can assure you we will give you all the help we can to avoid any profiteering of to ease up the difficulties you are having in buying coal in small quantities or kerosene. I'm glad you wrote me, because we are able to help and want to do so.
CARE IN DIMOUT
Again I must warn the people of this city, both drivers and pedestrians to take care, particularly at night. As you all know, the army requires a dimout and we must follow these instructions, so we must be more careful in crossing streets and drivers must take care. Although the accidents in December, 1942 were less than they were in December, 1941, there were still too many accidents.
A few days ago a committee of the dress industry called upon me. The dress industry complained that order 287 of OPA is so worded as to make manufacturing of dresses in this city impossible. I had the matter investigated by Mr. George Sloan, City Commissioner of Commerce, and he agreed that the regulation is involved and would impair the normal activities in the dress season. I took the matter up with the new Price Administrator, Senator Prentiss Brown, and I'm in receipt of a telegram which says that order 287 "is under very careful review at the present time. Representatives of the dress industry have given us many suggestions with respect to the regulation in a number of meetings which we have held with them. Some of these suggestions were incorporated in the first amendment to the regulation. Any further changes which the merits of the situation seem to require will be made as promptly as possible because of the seasonal nature of the business. I would be interested in any proposals which you may care to make on the subject. Prentiss Brown, Administrator, Office of Price Administration".
I'm reading this telegram because many, many thousands of people are concerned. These are the employees in the dress industry. Tomorrow morning, Commissioner Sloan will confer with the industry and the suggestions will be submitted to Mr. Brown.
PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT LAW COMPLIANCE
I'm very happy to report that I've received the latest figures from Fire Commissioner Patrick Walsh as to compliance with local law No. 25. This is the law which requires protective equipment to be available at all times in case of an attack by a foreign enemy.
In oil, 328,039 buildings have complied with the law. These are separated into 247,708 dwellings, 66,540 multiple dwellings, and 13,791 commercial buildings.
THANKS FIRE AUXILIARIES
This was made possible by approximately two thousand six hundred auxiliary firemen having been of assistance in the enforcement of local law 25. All of these auxiliary firemen who aided the Fire Department in acquainting the public with the provisions of the law attended an instruction period. I want to take this opportunity of thanking the Auxiliary Firemen, each of the 2,600 of them, and also the rest of the auxiliary force for their attention and devotion to duty.
There are some buildings that have not yet complied. Among the letters I received, one says, "Of course I am only one of many who write you and your valuable time is not to be taken up with people like me."
Well, that's exactly what I'm paid for, Madam, so you don't have to apologize for calling anything to the attention of the Mayor. That is what he is here for.
She continues, "I would like to call your attention to please again mention the fact that those landlords who have two and three family houses have not as yet supplied fire protection for their tenants."
Thank you for calling this to my attention. Owners must comply. The stirrup pumps will be on sale February 1st -- that is one week from tomorrow. We are now delivering pumps to the stores that have agreed to sell them without profit under the auspices of the CDVO. The price will be one dollar and ninety one, plus city sales tax. Next Sunday I will give you the list of all the stores that will be selling the pumps. Quite a few of these stores probably will be advertising in next Sunday's papers, too. Now please, since the stores are handling these pumps as a courtesy to the city, do not ask them to wrap the pumps or to make deliveries. The stores pay the one ninety one to the city, plus the sales tax and as a courtesy they are selling them at cost.
The tin can collection is progressing satisfactorily, but here is an item of interest. Dr. John H. Travis, Superintendent of the Manhattan State Hospital phoned me that they had collected several tons in cans, so I sent the trucks of the Department of Sanitation and lo and behold he had several tons, all processed. The wrappers had been taken off, the two ends were removed, they were all properly pressed, and the ends put within the can. I want to extend my thanks to Dr. Travis, who tells me that the processing was done by patients of the institution. Now, if patients of that institution could do it, certainly, you can, Mr. & Mrs. Citizen. It helps very much. You know the Manhattan State Hospital is an institution for the Insane, get me?
ONE EMPLOYEE PLUS FOR EVERY CITY HOSPITAL PATIENT
I received a letter from a talented and cultured lady and she says,
"and under your administration, too ---
"one hundred and four patients, one hundred and nineteen employees. You call this efficiency?
"Answer that question on your broadcast next Sunday."
Well, she is talking about the Neponsit hospital which we closed. We closed it in order to save three hundred thousand gallons of fuel oil a year, and I'm very happy to answer this question. I do not for one moment blame the writer for her conclusion as to the efficiency of having one hundred and nineteen employees for a hundred and four patients. Perhaps I thought so, too, before I had the responsibility of administering a great hospital department. Now, madam, take one hundred and nineteen and divide it by three and you'll find that there are about thirty nine employees on duty. You see, there are twenty-four hours in a day and we can only work our employees eight hours a day. Now then make your assignment to the power house, that requires firemen and engineers to provide the heat and the light for the institution. Now make your assignments in the laundry. Now make your assignments in the kitchen. Make your assignments for cleaning. Then you have the attendants, then the orderlies, then the clerks, and you'll see that it is very efficient.
For instance, we have about 20,000 beds in all of our hospitals and in normal times we have 24,000 employees. At this time we have less employees because of the shortage of doctors and nurses and attendants. In voluntary hospitals the ratio is even greater, so while it does seem that this was a little high, that is about the ratio slightly over one employee for every patient. Again I repeat, divide the various departments in the hospital, then divide that by three and it will be seen why it will be necessary to have all these employees to conduct a hospital properly.
Here is something interesting - for young men. Commissioner Moses is asking men of seventeen years of age and over who want to be trained as life-savers at the beaches this summer to apply direct to the Park Department, Arsenal Building, 64th Street and 5th Avenue, for application blanks. Because of the present Selective Service age limit this Department, says Commissioner Moses, will have difficulty securing sufficient personnel to patrol and safeguard the municipal pools and beaches this summer. To meet this problem the Department has scheduled a Municipal Life Guard Training Course, which has the approval of the Civil Service Commission, so candidates of seventeen or over may apply direct to the Park Department at the Arsenal Building in New York City.
Last week I talked about loan sharks and more information is coming in. Here is another, a loan of three hundred dollars made on July 9, 1942. On December 31, 1942, after the borrower had made seven payments in six months on the loan, the unpaid balance amounted to one hundred and ninety eight dollars end sixty eight cents. Now get this - during this period, the borrower had paid the company a total of one hundred and thirty-four dollars. Of this sum, thirty-two dollars and seventy-three cents was applied toward interest for a six months period. That is at the rate of thirty per cent a year. Now this is the strange part of it. It's legal. I think that is outrageous. I hope and I repeat and I shall continue to repeat that the law should be changed. Such an unconscionable rate of interest should not be permitted by the laws of the State of New York.
18 YEAR OLD DRINKER
You remember last week I told you about an eighteen year old boy about to be drafted who was complaining because he couldn't get a drink. Well, here's another letter he wrote me:
"I want to thank you for taking interest in my letter of January 5th and reading it over your broadcast. After listening to your opinion on that matter, my mind has been changed. I guess that the eighteen year olds have time enough to start drinking when they are twenty one. But now I'd like to tell you how boys my age start drinking. I speak from experience. We go into a bar and when we get served the first time, we expect service thereafter. And to be truthful, I've been refused very seldom. Being served is what encouraged me to drink.
If every bartender would cooperate and refuse service to all minors, then there would be less underaged drunkards."
I'm glad to say that the Bartenders Union have promised me to cooperate and if the boss insists that the bartender sell to minors, please let me know.
CITY PATROL UNITED NATIONS COMPANY
The United Nations Company - this is interesting. Our City Patrol has formed a United Nations Company and it was organized a week ago Thursday evening when its first five platoons comprised of about COMPANY one hundred men, were inducted into the Corps by Maj. Gen. Robert M. Danford, its Commandant. The one hundred men inducted in the five platoons which will be composed of New York residents who were and still are citizens of countries allied with us in the war. They represent Poland, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Belgium and Korea and altogether they represent the United States. This is another instance of the enterprise and the fine morale of the City Patrol Corps.
Now, I have a visitor today and a very pleasant one - Mrs. Kate Brooks of New Richmond, Ohio, who recently won the National prize in the Conservation Cocking Contest to find the grandma with the best old fashioned molasses recipe.
Mrs. Kate Brooks is quite a cook, and being a grandma and just about my age, I'm going to ask you, Mrs. Brooks, some questions:
Mayor: "When I was a boy out in Arizona and we didn't have many retail stores
then, I remember mother used to go and do her marketing and buy beans or rice or sugar or coffee or tea in the bulk. In those days we didn't have dainty packages and boxes or cans or jars. Did you have the same experience?"
Mrs. Brooks: "We certainly did."
Mayor: "Do you think it's necessary that all the foods come in a box, in a pound
box or a two pound box".
Mrs. Brooks: "As a housewife, I don't only think I know it's much cheaper if we prepare our food in our kitchen, and not only that, it's a help to our country that needs the food that is prepared for those who cannot prepare it for themselves".
Mayor: "And, of course, a box, a package, a bag, a jar, or a crock, or anything,
that costs money, doesn't it?"
Mrs. Brooks: "Sure".
Mayor: "And you can't eat them? You've never had any trouble, and you're an expert, having won the National Grandmothers' Contest for Conservation Cooking, and you know your kitchen, you never had any trouble buying food
in the bulk, did you?"'
Mrs. Brooks: "No, sir"
Mayor: "It does require thought, a little care of the kitchen so as, you know, not to have little things in the kitchen, you know you have to be very careful, don't you?"
Mrs. Brooks: "Well, yes."
Mayor: "Cleanliness never hurt any kitchen, did it?"
Mrs. Brooks: "No, it did not"
Mayor: "And if one is careless, even with boxed and packaged foods, you would still have trouble anyhow?"
Mrs. Brooks: "Certainly"
Mayor: "Grandma Brooks, I enjoyed your beans very much the other day. Tell me did you always use molasses instead of sugar?"
Mrs. Brooks: "Yes sir, that recipe, the old fashioned recipe calls for molasses
Mayor: "And it has nourishing value as well?"
Mrs. Brooks: " Certainly."
Mayor: "And, oh, the children did like your cookies, and you know those little cakes you left here"'
Mrs. Brooks: "Yes"
Mayor: "Well, they never got home. The girls in the office just gobbled them all up. They thought they were fine."
Mrs. Brooks: "Well, it's a great thing to get before the people, those old fashioned recipes."
Mayor: "Well, I think so, too, and don't you believe that even though we will
have less assortment of food, that it will be possible to provide dishes that are tasteful and yet nourishing?"
Mrs. Brooks: "Certainly"
Mayor: "It will take a little work, though, won't it?"
Mrs. Brooks: "Yes"
Mayor: "Tell me, Mrs. Brooks, do you like New York?"
Mrs. Brooks: "Very much, I've had a wonderful visit." Mayor: "Is this your first visit here?"
Mrs. Brooks: "It is"
Mayor: "You're not discouraged at all, are you?"
Mrs. Brooks: "Certainly not"
Mayor: "You're pretty sure we're going to come through this war all right, aren't you?"
Mrs. Brooks: "I have all the faith."
Mayor: "Well, that's America. Mrs. Brooks really is a representative American mother and American grandmother. She looks very young and she has plenty of energy and she does know her cooking. Oh, I just wished you could have tasted some of the samples she brought in. And as long as we have all through this land women like Mrs. Kate Brooks, I'm pretty sure we'll come through all right. Thank you, Mrs. Brooks."
Patience and Fortitude.