This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Speech by President Truman in Berlin. Meat situation. Butter. Slow down on buying green beans. Food items worth buying. Vegetable and produce dealers with closed stores because of disagreement with OPA. Plans for Tropical hospital construction in Queens and federal grant. Court of Appeals. Gambling. Noise in the summertime. Lewishon Stadium concerts.
Concludes with WNYC announcer.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71030
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SUNDAY, JULY 22, 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 IN CITY HALL, SUNDAY, JULY 22, 1945, BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1:00 p.m. FOLLOWS:
Patience and fortitude.
PRESIDENT'S BERLIN SPEECH
An historic speech was made two days ago in Berlin, by the President of the United States. That speech lasted only two minutes, but it will live as long as history is written and history is read. It will stand there as the ever living proof of our mission in the world and of our contribution to a new world ”” one world ”” or it may stand there as a reminder of what we might fail to do. I do not think that we will fail. The President's words are worth repeating now. The President of the United States, speaking to the world from Berlin said:
"This is an historic occasion. We have conclusively proven that free people can successfully look after the affairs of the world. We are here today to raise the flag of victory over the capital of our greatest adversary .....the people of the United States are looking forward to a better world, a peaceful world, a world in which all people will have the opportunity to enjoy the good things of life, and not just a few at the top. Let us not forget that we are fighting for peace and for the welfare of mankind. We are not fighting for conquest. There is not one piece of territory or one thing of a monetary nature that we want out of this war. We want peace and prosperity for the world as a whole. We want to see the time come when we can do the things in peace that we have been able to do in war. If we can put this tremendous machine of ours, which has made victory possible, to work for peace, we can look forward to the greatest age in the history of mankind. That is what we propose to do."
I am quite sure that the President, when he uttered these words, had in mind another great proclamation of another great President of the United states. He must have been thinking of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and I am sure that President Truman had in mind our honored dead and that from them he took increased devotion to that cause for which they gave their full measure of devotion, now highly resolved that our dead shall not have died in vain and that this World under God shall have a new birth of freedom and that governments of the people, by the people, for the people shall be established all over the world.
You remember that a few weeks ago I talked to you about meat. I am compelled to talk about it almost every week. I gave you the breakdown of the actual cost and also told you that we would watch how the new subsidies were working. You will recall that the subsidies by the government were increased to $2., then to $2.75 and then to $3. a cwt. live, that is, for the animal on the hoof. We made a very careful survey of our June purchases. We bought 319,230 pounds, live-weight. Now we find that the cost of the cattle has increased almost as much as the increased subsidy, so that as we analyze it today the wholesaler or the slaughterer is no better off than he was at the time that the increased subsidies went into effect. In other words, the cost of cattle is rising at a faster rate than the increase in subsidy payments, so that the live stock purchases of the City this month resulted in a net loss of subsidy of 4/10ths of one cent a pound. Next week I will give you an analysis of the breakdown of the steer and give you the exact figures. In other words, the cattle men are picking up on the increased cost of the subsidy and that leaves us exactly where we were.
Last week meat was rather plentiful but here we did not get full advantage of the available meat supply. Now this is something interesting. The wholesalers in some instances did not have enough coupons to buy all of the available meat and that creates a new situation. If you wholesalers who were in that position can give me figures, and if your noses are clean, I will be very happy to take the matter up with OPA and see if we can get some sort of an adjustment at the wholesale level, to take advantage of the increased supply of meat. Pork was off compared to a year ago this time, 38.3%, and of course that is felt very much.
BUTTER AND OLEO
I think that we have this butter situation licked. Do you know that we had 14,000,000 pounds more of butter this week here in New York City than we had a year ago? Now please, go slowly in buying butter. I am insisting that the OPA reduce the stamp value on oleomargarine. If they do that, we will be well off. Don't you see what judicious and sensible marketing does? If you had all plunged into the purchase of butter, this favorable condition would not have happened. Of course, I am still insisting that fats be separated from the red points. So, use butter very prudently. Well, you will have to anyhow.
Another good thing. Remember last week I told you to go slowly on the buying of snap beans? Did we break the market, or didn't we? Well, we did, and it went down from $7.00 a bushel to $3 a bushel. But they are selling a little too high even now. They are selling from 19 cents to about 30 cents a pound. That is too high. Go slowly on the buying of snap beans. These are nice green beans, and they are in season now. But wait until they come down to about 17 cents. The crop is good in the East and they will be coming in now. Go slowly on buying green beans and watch them go down to 17 cents.
The good buys now are onions. I advise the yellow or the red - - 7 cents a pound, and pay no more. Potatoes, the Californias, are very good at 6 1/3 cents and all others at 5 cents a pound, and pay no more.
CLOSING OF PRODUCE STORES
Well, last week we had a situation which may be repeated - - that of several hundred dealers in vegetables closing their stores. I will talk very frankly. As I have stated on other occasions, the people of the City of New York are going to eat, and I mean it. So anybody who wants to close his store - this is a free country and he is free to close his store. And in the same sense that this is a free country, we are free to eat, and what is more, we are going to eat. Now let us understand each other on that. If you get mad at OPA, if you get mad at the Department of Agriculture, if you get mad at me, or if you get mad at anybody else, and if you want to close your store, just close the store. It is quite all right, but I repeat that I will see to it that the people of this City eat. In the first place I want to say in all fairness, that the officers of the organizations and the associations in this industry did everything within their power to prevent the closing. That is the information that I get. They were sensible about that but seemingly the meeting got beyond control and a vote was taken to close the stores. Well, it did not do any good. In the first place, I want to express the thanks of the Mayor and the people of the City of New York to those stores that remained open. You were interested in your consumers. Those who stayed open, stayed open because they had an interest in their consumers. Incidentally, you boys who closed, the stores that remained open did not lose anything. Oh, they did quite a big business. The joke is on you. Now what good did it do you? Oh, yes, you had a conference with OPA . It comes back to the same old thing that I have said a thousand times in the last three years. If your wholesaler is charging over wholesale ceiling prices, all you have to do is to tell me or tell the Department of Markets, or tell the OPA, or tell the Sheriff of the City of New York and we will stop it like that. Yes, we will go in and buy for you.
Didn't we ask you to take advantage of that? So there is no use griping and growling, and complaining and whining. If any retailer pays more than wholesale ceiling prices authorized by OPA, it is his own fault and I am here not to permit anyone to take it out on the consumer. So you see that if we all work together, we can lick this thing, and if the price is too low, we can get an adjustment. But I am not going to stand by and see the retail prices increased unless it is demonstrated that the retailer is buying at lawful prices and cannot make both ends meet. I also want to express my thanks to the Department of Markets for an excellent job and to the regional OPA for their very fine cooperation.
EMERGENCY FOOD DISTRIBUTION
I had a very busy week last week and I have one or two reorganizations that I think I have worked out, and I also worked out plans for meeting a repetition of this situation of the closing of any retail stores. The Department of Markets resorted as a temporary expedient to the use of itinerant peddlers. Well, I don't like that and under other conditions we would not have done it, and we will not have to do it in the future. I do not think that itinerant peddlers have any right to exist in a great city under prevailing conditions. I have designed a portable stand for the display and the selling at retail of food. There is nothing very original about it. The stands come in sections of ten feet. We will have ten feet, 20 feet, 50 feet and if necessary 60 feet stands. They will be so constructed that they will be at the curb but the consumer will remain on the sidewalk and buy from there. The design is now on the boards of the Department of Public Works and we can go into the manufacturing of them as soon as another similar occasion may present itself. I hope it won't be necessary. But I want to assure consumers that we will look after them if there is any cutting off of the distribution in food.
EMERGENCY FOOD COURTS
Judge Bromberger tells me that the Emergency Food Courts are ready and now we will try to catch up on this back log of 1011 cases pending. I would like to see that calendar cleaned up so we can keep abreast of the cases. Our meat experts are back on the job and other magistrates have volunteered to take special courses, so that they will know as much as the defendants themselves. The inspectors are specialized inspectors.
TROPICAL AND CONTAGIOUS DISEASES HOSPITAL
Here is more good news. I told you last week that we got the Number One Grant from the U.S. Government for planning the Wholesale Produce Terminal Market. I think we are also to get the Number Two Grant. We took one and two because we were ready. I have just received notice from the Federal Works Agency that $76,000 for the plans of the Tropical and Contagious Disease Hospital has been granted. I am submitting this to the Board of Estimate for approval. The Board has heretofore approved the construction of this Tropical and Contagious Disease Hospital, and I am sure that they will take advantage of this grant for the plans. The land is, as I have already told you, being donated by the Presbyterian Hospital and the agreement between the Presbyterian Hospital and the City has been signed. Now some politicians talked about these grants but there is no deception about it at all. Our whole post war program is contemplated on grants from the Federal Government. You know I have been testifying before Committees of Congress for the past three years. I am confident that the grants will be forthcoming. Now this is the procedure. The Government is now giving us the money for the plans. We complete the plans and then we put these plans on the shelf. When the grant is authorized by the government, then of course, we will start construction. I figure that the grants will be from 40% to 50%, so I am very happy to make this announcement. Again, congratulations to the Department of Hospitals, to the Department of Public Works, to the Post-War Committee and to all who have worked on this great post-war program. This, as you know, is a joint project of the Columbia University Medical School, the Presbyterian Hospital and the City of New York.
NEW HOUSING PROJECT
Here is some more good news - another middle cost housing project. It is one of the development housing projects and will be financed by a group of savings banks. I am inviting my colleagues, the Comptroller and the President of the Council, Chairman Salmon and Commissioner Moses of the City Planning Commission and the Presidents of the Bowery, the Empire City, the Harlem, the Manhattan, the New York, the Seamen's and the Union Dime Savings Banks to a conference here in my office on Wednesday. Now you see, Dan, I did not say anything about the Emigrant Savings Bank not being in it. This contemplated housing project will be south of the Polo Grounds, west of Eighth Avenue, from 154th Street, right up to the Polo Grounds and on the west it is along Colonial Park. A park is to be built between the Housing Project and the Harlem River Driveway. I think that the project will accommodate between 1500 and 1600 families at a total cost of $7,584,900. A representative of the FHA will also be present, as the Banks expect to avail themselves of that insurance. The rentals for the apartments should not exceed an average of $12.50 per month per room. That takes care of a large number in that economic group that so needs decent, cheerful, sanitary, wholesome housing. I am very happy to be able to present this to my colleagues and I hope to have things tied up so that nobody coming after me can spoil it.
Oh, yes, the police did find that thieving tin-horn who scrammed out of paying the bet. The bettor is not in the city this week. He is out in the mid-West and when he comes in we are going to interview the gentleman and see what he is going to do about this welching bookie. That is nothing new, these bookies are all cheap tin-horns. They are not real gamblers or sports. Out West they could not live. Out West where I was raised they take them on a rail and take them out of town, - sometimes alive too.
UNIVERSITY STUDENT LETTER
Now, to the young lady student of the University - I am not naming the University. We are taking care of that. I think that an arrest was made the other night. It claims to be a political club. It is not a bona fide political club, but keep me informed if you do not see an improvement in conditions.
ANIMAL LOVER LETTER
To Animal Lover. I got your letter. I agree with you. I will tell you more about it Thursday evening, but incidentally, did you see Winnie Winkle in the funnies of the "News"? Look at Winnie Winkle - it just bears out your point. I feel sorry for the poor kid too, but I will tell you more about it. It is not our fault, but I
will tell you more about it Thursday evening in my monthly broadcast.
COURT OF APPEALS DECISIONS
The Court of Appeals did a lot of business last week. Yes, they earned a rest. I hope they have a nice vacation, and a long, long rest. There is one decision, though, that I could not understand. You know, most City charters, and I think the law of this State, provide that if a city or State official refuses to testify before a Grand Jury, he forfeits his office. Well, such an official refused to testify before the Grand Jury, and action is being taken to forfeit his office. I think he forfeits it automatically. Well, anyhow, he resigned, and lo and behold, five minutes after he resigned, he got another job at the same salary - the same kind of a job. Well, of course, that is in direct violation of the spirit and the intent of the law. Everybody knows that. I asked one of our Sanitation men coming down, and he said, certainly that he thought the intent of the law was that if one refused to testify under such conditions he forfeited his salary. But the Court of Appeals decided and the Court of Appeals must be right. Surely they cannot make a mistake, can they? The Court of Appeals held that although he forfeits his office, he had a right to resign. I can't get that, can you? And then it also held that it was quite proper to appoint him to another office. Well, of course, the Court of Appeals maybe right, but I say that the Court of Appeals is wrong in law, that it is wrong in the very spirit and intent of the law. I am sorry.
This same Court of Appeals handed down another decision.
I say that the Court of Appeals is right because it is the highest court of appeal in our State. You know, we think that the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States are good, and we tried to bring down the salaries of our Supreme Court Judges to a little more than the great Judges of the United States Supreme.Court. So, we reduced the salaries sometime ago from $25,000 to $22,500. The Constitution of New York provides that the salary of a Judge cannot be reduced during his term of office and that is proper. That is quite proper, because it gives security to a Judge so that he is not subject to any influence, that is, theoretically he is not subject to influence, and of course none of them are, as you and I New Yorkers know. Well anyhow, some three or four years ago we fixed the salary at $22,500 for all the new Judges, leaving $25,000. for all the sitting Judges, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Well, the Court of Appeals held that we could not do that. I have not seen the decision yet, but it held that we could not do that, and therefore, we will have to pay back pay of $2,500 to each one of these Judges for each year. And of course, we will have to do it. By next Sunday I will have had an opportunity to read the decision and I will talk about it some more, because I think that the Court of Appeals is wrong.
INCREASED FOOD ALLOWANCES FOR WELFARE RECIPIENTS
Talking about increase in the salaries for poor, hard, struggling, overworked Judges who get an increase of $2500, I have just approved, on the merits of course, an application by the Commissioner of Welfare to increase the food allowance for poor families who are on relief. We allowed in the month of May $14.95 for food for a family of five. Let us see, that is 15 meals a day for a family of five, 7 times 15 that is 105 meals -- $14.95. Commissioner Harrison has recommended an increase of 10% commencing October 1. I am going to approve that. You see, it takes us that long to get all the checks and all the accounts in shape to start payment. That is an increase of 10% or $1.49 a week for a family of five. That will cost us $1,992,000. With the increased cost of food, I think that it is justified and I am going to do it. We have the money, except about $350,000, but we will be able to find that somehow. As long as I am Mayor, there is going to be no man, woman or child going hungry in this City. That is my policy, I have kept it up, and I am going to keep it up. There are a great many places where we could make economy if we were not interfered with, if we were not prevented from doing it, if certain branches of government would keep out of the administrative side of government.
Incidentally, there is no reason for anyone to be hungry in this town. Now there is too much begging around the Times Square section, I want to appeal to all strangers coming here to New York and I ask citizens to inform strangers, that anyone who is hungry can get lodging and can get food at once and no questions asked until he is fed. My attention has been called by army officials to the fact that soldiers are very often imposed upon by hard luck stories. Now, boys, there is no need for anyone begging.
Incidentally, I want to ask the Police Division of the subway system to stop beggars in trains. In the Sea Beach Line every night there is a person going through the cars begging. I am going to hold you responsible for that, and for any other begging in the subways, just as I am going to hold the Police Department responsible for any begging on the streets of New York. Anyone who is hungry should be told that we can provide a meal for him and a night's rest and even transportation. All you have to do is to call up the Police Department. No, we won't send a patrol wagon. We will send proper accommodations and do nothing to injure the dignity or the self-respect of anyone who happens to be in misfortune. I want the Police Department to give special attention around the Times Square and Broadway sections, and the subway people to give their special attention in the subways.
COLLEGE WAR TRAINING PROGRAM
Here are some very encouraging reports that I have received from the Board of Higher Education. We trained 3,500 Army men for the Army Specialized Training Program and for the Army Specialized Training Reserves Program. We classified 12,000 soldiers for the Army-Specialized Training Program. We gave counsel and advice to 2,000 veterans under the Veterans Advisement Unit and we gave instruction to 14,000 in the Engineering Science Management War Training Program.
We have 23,500 students and alumni of the Colleges of the City of New York in the armed forces, of whom 772 have received decorations for distinguished service in combat. We have 308 of the faculty and staff members in the armed forces. Now that is the army side of it. Our college year has just closed and the students of our four city colleges have won 244 scholarships and fellowships and assistantships in institutions of higher learning throughout the country.
I want to extend congratulations to Dr. Walter Consuelo Langsom, who has just been appointed President of Wagner Memorial Lutheran College on Staten Island, and to Patrick Romanelli of Brooklyn College who has received one of the highest fellowships, the William Bayard Cutting Traveling Fellowship from Columbia University.
APPOINTMENT OF MAX GERTZ
Talking about Higher Education, I have just appointed Mr. Max Gertz of 175-20 Henley Road, Jamaica, a member of the Board of Higher Education. He is a graduate chemical engineer of Columbia class of 1916. As soon as Mr. Gertz returns from England, I expect to swear him in.
As I told you we have received many complaints about noise in the summer time from taverns and juke boxes. Here is the procedure. When you write in complaining that you are kept awake after 11 o'clock at night by noise from juke boxes or by drunks trying to sing Sweet Adeline or other disturbing melodies, if you don't get an answer right away, don't worry about it. But if you do not get action in a few days write me again. You see, we have established the following procedure. As soon as we get a complaint, an order goes to the Police Department to give it attention. So, if there is a delay in getting the answer, that is of no importance. But if there is a delay in remedying this situation and removing the nuisance, that is important. So do not hesitate to write me again, please.
DANCING IN WILLIAMSBURG
The 92nd precinct Coordinating Council of Bedford Avenue asked me to remind the residents of the Williamsburg Section of Brooklyn that there will be dancing every Wednesday night from 8:30 on, in the park in the Williamsburg Section. I am very happy to make that announcement, because these dances are really enjoyable on evenings when it is difficult to stay home. I also want to extend my congratulations to 92nd Precinct Coordinating Council for the fine work that they are doing.
Minnie Guggenheimer says that I have not been talking enough about the Stadium Concerts. They are pretty good, they are enjoyable. You go there and it is so soothing. At least it is to me, because I am very easy to soothe sometimes, especially if I have my own way. So go there - - and sit under the sky. It is cool and there is a very fine orchestra - - the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and it is really enjoyable. Once in a while an airplane flies over the Stadium - - and it sort of reminds me that we are certainly blessed in this country in that we never had fear on hearing the whirl of a propeller, and we can think of the plane as a messenger of friendship and peace, bringing people to their homes, and news in letters. Well, I will ask them to try to keep planes away from the Stadium during a pianissimo anyhow. They can only come when they are playing forte.
But there is a very fine program this week, and Wednesday night especially will be a great treat, and it will be repeated Thursday night too. There is a good program tonight and Monday, but I will be seeing you Wednesday. Don't tell anybody, for then they will say that the Mayor is loafing. I would like to go both Wednesday and Thursday, but I don't know if I can make it. I get awfully tired around eight or eight-thirty. Sometimes I am even too tired to listen to music and that is pretty tired you know, because music is refreshing. So I will be seeing you Wednesday surely, if nothing interferes, to hear Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
Patience and fortitude.