This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Marketing in NYC, shoes, President Roosevelt and the war against poverty.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71345
Municipal archives id: LT4033
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, JANUARY 30, 1944
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, JANUARY 30, 1944, BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1:00 P.M. FOLLOWS:
[Audio not available beginning here]
Patience and Fortitude.
People of this country were shocked and hurt to the quick during the last week. The terrifying and horrible information of the cruelty inflicted on our soldiers by the Japs shocked the entire world. It could not have been a surprise to anyone who had the remotest information about the Japs. There was no doubt that they would do just that. Treacherous, mean, cowardly, barbarian people. We must at this time resolve that we will see it through. That is very important. I say that because people are now talking about a negotiated peace. I say this because it was not many weeks ago that there were meetings held about peace now. There can be no peace with the Japs. It is just impossible.
I have said on other occasions, we should be very frank with the entire world as to whet we expect to do. We should let the whole world know that such people cannot exist and have the peace of the world guaranteed. Very often I am cautioned about referring to the Emperor of Japan. Oh, yes, some of the things I have said about him have been censored and deleted from my statements. I wonder what the friends of the Emperor of Japan have to say now. Let it be known that it is the determination of the American people to hold the Emperor and everyone connected with the Japanese government responsible for the murder and mass assassination of American soldiers.
I want to say just a word to the friends of the Emperor: If he is what you say he is, if he is that true type of Japanese gentleman, let him, in keeping with the custom of his country, commit hari kari, to prove it. We must not take vengeance upon prisoners that we may have in our custody. That would not be the American way. If we did, we would descend to their low level. But, we must hold responsible every official of the Japanese government now in office.
Talking about soldiers, there is a great deal of discussion these days about the soldiers' vote. I think it is just about time that some body told the truth about it. There is a great deal of sparring going on in Washington about the soldiers' vote. Some say they are for it and others say that they are for it but are against it. There is only one way to be for the soldiers' vote, and that is to be for it, honestly, completely and realistically. There is no other way.
I can tell you, from my own experience as a legislator - 14 years in Congress - that there are many ways of defeating a bill that you may be opposed to and voting for it. Those who insist upon the perfection in the law to permit the soldiers to vote, perhaps really do not want the soldiers to vote. Nov, cone on, let us be perfectly frank about it. You and I can talk about this. There is nothing difficult about it, if you really want the soldiers to vote.
Anyone who suggests that each state should prepare the ballot and send it to the soldiers so that they may vote is absolutely, either insincere, or so hopelessly ignorant of the laws of his own state that any such position simply does not make sense. Do you know that soldiers, as a whole, will not be able to vote for their own congressmen, let alone have a separate state ballot?
We must have separate ballots for the men to vote so that the ballots may be counted in the vote for that state. There is no other way for a soldier to vote for the presidential candidates because the president and vice president are not elected by popular vote. They are elected by electors who are elected in each state. Therefore, a boy from Oklahoma, who is in Africa, will have to vote a ballot that will be counted in the total vote of Oklahoma, and a boy from New York, who is out in the Pacific, will have to vote for his choice for president on a ballot that will be counted among the votes cast in the State of New York. The same may apply for any candidate running as such on a statewide ticket. It is humanly and physically impossible to vote for local candidates.
And I will prove it to you. In order to arrange for the boys to vote for congressmen, and let us forget local candidates, it will be necessary to have 435 sets of ballots and 435 sets of maps and many thousands of lists of election precincts. If there were only one place where all the soldiers could vote, then it might be properly argued that it is quite all right to have 435 different ballots. But if you stop to consider that our soldiers and sailors and marines are stationed in at least one thousand different places throughout the United States and the world and you started to distribute 435 different ballots to each place where any soldier may be stationed and 435 maps to determine which ballot an individual would vote, you can see that it would be an impossible task. Now let us try it. I will dare anybody to go to Madison Square Garden, say on a Friday when they have a boxing match, or go to the Metropolitan Opera House any evening and try to get the audience, with maps of Congressional districts, to determine which district they live in. It just can not be done. We would have to have at leave five or six thousand men and women to distribute the ballots, to assort the ballots, to identify the proper congressional district for each soldier to vote, and it just can not be done.
These men and women are entitled to vote. Let us cut out the sham. Let us be frank and honest about it. Let us provide a ballot, 48 different ballots, one for each state, in time to get the ballots to the men, and permit the men from that state to vote for President, Vice President, United States Senator and any Congressmen-at-large, taking in the entire state. For instance, take New York State. He could not possibly get a ballot before September, if it is to be a ballot containing all of the congressional candidates. The 1944 primary will be held on August 15th. On August 16th. we will know the congressional candidates of the major parties. But then, in normal times, October 16th is the last day for filling vacancies caused by declination of an independent nomination. If the law is changed it can be brought up to September 11th. So if the soldiers were to receive a complete ballot for the State of New York, it could not possibly be prepared until September 12th and manifestly you could not get that ballot to all of the soldiers of the State of New York in the various places where they are on duty.
I repeat, let us give the soldier a vote. Let them vote for President and Vice President and for state-wide offices. But this ballot should be ready not later than August 16th, and on its way. Every place in the world where soldiers are stationed will then have to have 43 different ballots, even if they vote only for President and Vice President. They still will have to have 48 different kinds of ballots or the ballots marked in accordance with the state of residence of the individual soldier. Let us hope that the Congress will act intelligently and practically in this very important matter. There will be eleven million, nearly twelve million men in the service by Election Day.
Well, the order on poultry finally came through. It does not change the price of dressed poultry. Dressed
broilers, fryers and roasters are 46 cents a pound; dressed fowl is 41 cents; and you know, dressed fricassee and soup chickens, the old birds that are very good in fricassee and soup, [AUDIO AVAILABLE BEGINNING HERE] are only 36 cents a pound. Do not let anybody tell you anything else, 36 cents a pound for the old birds, 46 cents for broilers, fryers and roasters. Under the new regulations live broilers, fryers and roasters are 40 cents a pound and live fowl 36 cents a pound. The new ceiling price does not affect dressed poultry. Let me know if it does.
PROSPECTIVE MEAT SHORTAGE
Yesterday, at the launching of the U.S.S. MISSOURI, I met a great many of my old friends from the mid-west. There were some cattlemen there and they told me that meat will be very short six or nine months from now. Well, that is considerable warning - sufficient notice. I hope OPA will take note of that and act accordingly. I still repeat that I think it would help a great deal if we just removed the points on pork, so that we could save up and catch up on meat.
The order on fish finally came through. A ---- men! Did I wait for that! I have been waiting for that for four months. Now watch the price of fish, will you please, and report the prices. Last week I told you that we would be on the lookout for violations of the fish ceiling prices. Well, Friday we caught 101 violators. We issued 35 Magistrates' summonses, 2 departmental summonses and 66 warnings. Most of the fish dealers did not have their price signs up. Now, fish dealers, you better put up your signs. We have been very patient about this. Some of you have gotten into bad habits, charging too much, so be on the lookout. We are going to enforce the price of fish which should be very low now.
Butter is still a problem. I am going to give you some figures. Between July 1, 1943 to June 30, 1944, we will have one billion, six hundred and seventy million pounds of butter for civilian consumption. A lot of butter, isn't it. Well, if you stop to consider that in 1942-43, the civilian consumption was two billion seventy four million pounds, and that a five year average in peace time, 1933-39, averaged two billion, one hundred and seventy million pounds, you will see that we are twenty three percent short, so we must be very careful about butter.
Do not worry about the army. It has its supply of butter for nine months, now in storage. They will be all right. And, besides that, they keep a three month reserve for their current use. Do I make that clear. In other words, they always have three months' reserve for their current use, and they have nine months' reserve for permanent use. That is, of course, only prudent and necessary. But we must be very careful. The United States Department of Agriculture Office of War Food Administration says that we must conserve butter and expressed their appreciation to the hotels and restaurants that are cooperating so well.
I always tell you what we are short of, and how scarce some food is. Well, here is something that we have plenty of. Do not let your mouth water. It is only potatoes. We have 138 million bushels here in New York right now, and if you want to go on a potato spree, now is the time to do it.
But, seriously, if OPA released coupons on pork and made that available, and with plenty of potatoes, we could save on other commodities that we are really short.
Eggs are still plentiful and prices ought to go down. I am still looking at my sign here, 49 cent eggs, and we are watching it, so do not pay any more for good eggs. Count them and weigh them.
By the way, many stores are selling oranges by the pound. I hope that OPA will soon provide a proper formula so that when we buy eggs, we will know that we are getting the right kind for our money.
I have been wanting to tell you about shoes. I have been very much interested in shoes for children. I find there are plenty of shoes available at low prices, particularly up to size 3. You can get up to size 3 for $1.98 or $2.00. A great many mothers ask for a higher priced shoe for the little fellers, even though they cannot afford it, because the impression has gotten around that the lower priced shoes, these $1.98 or $2.00 shoes, are not as good as the higher priced shoes. Well, that is not so. They are just as good, or let me put it the other way, the one is just as bad as the other, because the best quality of leather, naturally, now goes for shoes for the armed forces. So, to mothers who have little children, up to size 3, I really can recommend the $1.98 or $2.00 shoe that is available in our city at this time.
I am asking OPA if they will consider the situation in shoes as becoming very serious. You know, it is not the shoe, it is the boy. There isn't a shoe made that a healthy boy will wear for 4 months, and there is not enough coupons to keep these boys in shoes. What I suggest is, that we take children's shoes below $3.00 and remove the coupon. Just make them unrationed. That will create a sufficient balance with the coupons now available in each family to take care of the older children. I have asked Mr. Chester Bowles, the OPA Administrator, if he will consider that. We have made a complete survey of shoes and I want to say this, too, the reinforced rubber soles are very good for boys 10 to 15 years of age. They are really good. It is reclaimed rubber and reinforced and they last better than the leather soles. There is a great deal of prejudice to it, but I want to recommend them because they are cheaper and you can get them for $2.99 or $3.00 at this time. That is about the best. I find that the shoes, the lower priced ones, are from 50 to 80 cents more than they were in normal times, and I would say from $1.50 to $2.00 in the more expensive and the larger sizes than they were in normal times. That brings out what I have said so many times - that we should have more control in the price of shoes. But, in the meantime, there are great quantities in the lower prices available for the smaller children, and the ration requirement ought to be lifted.
BEHSONHURST CONSUMERS' COUNCIL
I want to congratulate the Bensonhurst Consumers' Council. Mrs. Betty Traunstein. You have done a good job. You know what they did? Well, these women just got together, and organized a sort of their own police force on ceiling prices. They went around to buy, and they caught some butchers charging more and they went to court themselves. They recovered a judgment for $350., and they are going to donate it to the Red Cross and the National War Fund. Well, Mrs. Traunstein of Bensonhurst Consumers' Council, you have done a good job, and I think some activity of that kind would certainly stop chiseling on prices.
LETTER FROM JANE, MARIE, ANN & RITA
Oh, here is a little personal message I have, - Jane Marie, Ann, Rita, I received your letter. I think the question you ask is very easily answered. Drop in some Sunday at my office, come in for a broadcast, and after the broadcast is over, we'll talk it over.
RETIREMENT OF DR. EDWARD C. ZABRISKIE
The New York school system is going to lose a real great educator, Dr. Edward Cornell Zabriskie, who retires after 48 years of service in our school system. I join with many friends of Dr. Zabriskie in wishing him peace, contentment and many long years in which to enjoy his well-deserved retirement. We are going to miss him. Thackeray must have had Dr. Zabriskie in mind when he said, "To be a gentleman is to be honest, to be gentle, to be generous, to be brave, to be wise, and possessing all those qualities, to exercise them in the most graceful outward manner." He has done just that and he has exercised his authority in his office as principal of Washington Irving High School with an outward courtesy born of an inner light. Best of luck, Dr. Zabriskie.
PRESIDENT'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
Yesterday we celebrated the birthday of our President. The whole country celebrated his birthday and the whole country wished him well. He is a great President. Even those who are politically opposed to him concede his greatness and admire his qualities. Our President Roosevelt will live in history as long as history is written and read. One hundred years from now, when few names of today will be remembered, schools and classes and people all over the world, in every language spoken, every January thirtieth will recall that on that day an American - Franklin Delano Roosevelt - was born. He will be remembered a hundred or two hundred years from now as the leader in a great war. Oh! no! not the war against the Nazis and the Japs. There are many other leaders in that war, but in a greater war, in a war that will be staging for many years to come after we will have crushed the Nazis and the Japs. A war which President Roosevelt initiated, a war which he will wage as long as he lives, a war that will continue until it is won - war against poverty, poverty in a world so rich in natural resources, poverty in a country so abundant in food, poverty of the soul in communities so enlightened. That is the war that our President is waging. War against poverty, against illness, against hunger. His name will be remembered forever for that.
In keeping among the many other activities of our President, we have the great national Infantile Paralysis Fund, in which he is so interested, and I call upon the people of the City of New York to contribute, to contribute generously to this fund, and they are doing it. You know it is so important, all of the proceeds of this fund is used to aid children afflicted with infantile paralysis. That is so necessary, so beneficial. But, what is greater, part of this fund is used in research to study the cause of this dreaded disease and to find a cure. We have no complete [AUDIO NOT AVAILABLE BEGINNING HERE] cure for it as yet because we have not found what causes it, and scientists all over the world are working on it. A great deal of progress has been made in the field of giving treatment for the disease, but the research must continue. Therefore, you have a double purpose in contributing to this fund, one to alleviate and to aid the stress and suffering of thousands of patients, and the other in the war to fight the disease and to eliminate it. Then there are many committees. One I want to tell you about is an All-American Club which was organized by a little girl out in Stockton, California, Jean Althea Rexinger. She formed a club, I think it was four years ago, composed of girls and boys all over the country, who write to each other and who contribute pennies to the club. Each year they give a bond to a child who is fighting the disease. We are going to have a presentation of the 1944 bond. I am going to present to you, Miss Joan Schulein, who represents the All-American Club in our City. She is the Vice-President and she will make a presentation of a bond to Bill Dolan who is here in my office now.
Mayor: "Joan, do you live in New York?"
Joan: "Yes, at 983 Park Avenue."
Mayor: "That's fine. How old are you, Joan?"
Joan: "13 years".
Mayor: "All right. Now this is Miss Joan Schulein. Joan, the microphone is yours".
Joan: "I represent the All-American Club. This will be the fourth presentation of a bond to a victim of infantile paralysis. I think that Jeannie is doing a marvelous job and I hope we will have many more members and present many more bonds. Now, William Dolan, I take pleasure in presenting the 1944 bond to you, and wish you the best of luck. You are a fine example of patience and fortitude".
Mayor: "Thank you, Joan. Now I want you to hear from Bill Dolan, but let me tell you about Bill Dolan first. He is just a fine looking, typical American boy, bright-eyed, has light brown hair and he is very patient and polite. You know, he has been sitting here while I have been doing this talking. He has been very nice about it, which shows he is a polite boy!"
Mayor: "Tell me, Bill, how old are you?"
Mayor: "And where do you live, Bill?"
Bill: "246 Beach 127th Street, Rockaway Park."
Mayor: "That's in Queens, isn't it?"
Mayor: "And, do you go to school?"
Mayor: "You have a teacher at home, haven't you?"
Mayor: "And how often does your teacher come to your home?"
Bill: "Three times a week."
Mayor: "Now, what class are you in?"
Bill: "I'm going into 8B"
Mayor: "Now, Bill, what is your hobby?"
Bill: "I make model airplanes."
Mayor: "And do you make your own models or do you follow plans and specifications of the models that have been studied?"
Bill: "I follow plans."
Mayor: "And you find that interesting?"
Mayor: "Bill, have you given any thought of what you'd like to do? What do you think you're going to prepare for?"
Bill: "I'd like to be a chemist."
Mayor: "Well, that's fine. Have you made up your mind as to just what kind of chemistry you want to take up?"
Mayor: "You know, Bill, that's good, there are great possibilities in what will be developed in chemistry in the very near future. How are you in mathematics?"
Mayor: "That's good, you'd better be good in mathematics, you know, because that's very important, too. Now, Bill, I have another little surprise for you here. Here's another bond, that some friends suggested we give to you today, and I take great pleasure in giving this to you, too, and I'm sure that I express the appreciation to Jean, as Joan has just stated, for her initiative in getting up this club and thinking of you. Now, Bill, I hope I'll see more of you from now on. May not have a bond every time you come in, but now that you know your way here, come and see me again, won't you?"
Bill: "Yes, sir."
Now, ladies and gentlemen, you have seen what it means to have the courage to face obstacles and hardship. This young man here is cheerful, confident, he knows exactly what he is going to do and he is going to do it.
Last week, the day before yesterday, I went over to the Goldwater Memorial Hospital and there was a graduation there. There were some 12 to 15 children, patients of that hospital, afflicted with
infantile paralysis. They were so cheerful, they sang and recited just as other children. There was also a young girl who graduated after a full four year course. We think we have troubles. And yet, there is so much suffering and hardship in the world and there is so much yet to be done.
Patience and fortitude.