This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
July 8, 1945 Talk to the People. 1,309th day of the war. Greets audience, "Patience and fortitude." Talks about Major General Terry Allen who returned the other day. Welcomes troops of Timberwolves division who are on furlough and to be re-deployed. Army schedule of arrival of various divisions from the European theater to be broadcast twice a day on your city station. The Pacific theater of war - few can visualize the vast distances without checking out a map. We need to familiarize ourselves with the territory - a good map will be published in today's Sunday Daily News.
Urges news vendors (now on strike) to return to work as ordered by War Labor Board. "Boys, you made a big mistake the other day when you didn't go back to work." What do you have to gain? That is advice from a friend of labor and from your personal friend too. Discharged vets - lawyers - we have jobs for you at the Commission of Investigation.
The meat situation is improving; castigates New York Times for printing story replete with mis-information; NYT takes the side of the high class hotels where you pay 5 or 6 dollars for dinner; the other papers are trying to help the families. "It's the FAMILY that's having trouble Mr. New York Times with food. Not the high priced places you seem to be interested in!!!" Meat situation will improve around July 10. Watch out for quality - the meat will be all good; won't all be AA but why pay more than you should; grass-fed cattle. Poultry; Butter - "Didn't I tell you there was a lot of butter in storage?" Don't throw down your old friend who stood by you when butter was scarce - olio margarine. Not going to be easy to get back to butter. Eggs - to be sold by weight for the protection of the consumer. Cantaloupes.
Brags about improved tax collection under his administration; tells his successor to keep it up. Real estate assessments. 1 to 2 million glass milk bottles (out of 16 million bottles); shortage of bottles there will be a shortage of milk. I won't tell anybody you're using them for something else; just put them out. Talks about the milk strike in 1939; farmers union; reached a settlement. Has money for scholarships to State College of Agriculture at Cornell.
Responds to some letters he received about the price of milk, taxi prices at race track. As far as I'm concerned it's private transaction if it's with the race track. "Listen taxis, don't try to pull that at the railroad stations." Reads message from General Eisenhower dated June 25, 1945 thanking New Yorkers for their hospitality and enthusiasm on a recent visit to the city.
Strike isn't over. Children are waiting to hear the funnies. Reads from Dick Tracy comic. What does this mean? It means that dirty money never brings any luck.
Comic strip readings from July 8 Dick Tracy during newspaper delivermen's strike.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SUNDAY, JULY 8, 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 8, 1945, BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1:00 P.M. FOLLOWS:
Patience and fortitude.
ARRIVAL OF TIMBERWOLF DIVISION & MAJOR GENERAL ALLEN
The last half of the Timberwolf Division arrived in our Port today. Say, that is one great fighting Division. We had the pleasure of receiving Major General Terry Allen here at City Hall the other day. There is a guy who is a real soldier - from his toes to the tip of his hair, every inch a soldier. And say is he proud of his Division. "Nothing like it in the whole Army" says the General and he ought to know. One of the reporters asked the General: "Are you going to stay with this Division?" He said: "You are darn tootin' right I am going to stay with this Division. I will never get away from it as long as this war is on." From what he said, it would seem that the boys would have a furlough and then would be redeployed to a Western point and you know what that means. So, welcome, Timberwolves, best wishes for an enjoyable furlough and best of luck to you where you are going.
SCHEDULE OF GI ARRIVALS OVER WNYC
The United States Army released its schedule of the arrival of the various Divisions from the European Theatre. I suppose that you heard it on some of the stations. This is rather complete and shows all the Divisions that will arrive each month from now to the end of December. Your City station will repeat this schedule at three P.M. this afternoon after the Museum Concert, and I have directed Mr. Novik to repeat it twice each day for three days at 11 A.M. and at six P.M. We believe that since this is the first schedule of returning troops, it will be of interest to hundreds of thousands of families around this part of the country.
Please do not phone or write any of the Ports of Embarkation because the list does not give the particular port at which the ships will arrive. A great many of them, of course, will come to our Port just as the majority of them left from our Port. So do not make the work any greater or more difficult and please wait until you hear from your boy.
This is the procedure. Before he arrives, he prepares a telegram which is sent to his family the moment that he reaches port. That will tell you the date of his arrival and you can be sure that he will be on his way home within twenty-four to thirty-six hours after he has landed.
PACIFIC THEATRE MAPS
I suppose it is rather difficult for a great many to get thoroughly orientated on the Pacific Theatre of war. The names are new to us. We are not as familiar with them as we were with the points in the European Theatre of war and therefore maps are very helpful. I hope that newspapers will continue to publish maps and wherever possible indicate distances. That is the most confusing as well as the most difficult factor in the Pacific war - that of distances. Few people can grasp or really visualize the vast distances that must be covered. There is a very good map in Today's Daily News. The orientation is a little difficult by reason of the map being shown in a rather southerly direction with Japan on the top of the map. And the coloring too is a little difficult for anyone not familiar with the possessions and the governments before the War. But all maps stressing distances are useful and it is our duty now to familiarize ourselves with that territory, and it is a very vast territory, in order to keep abreast of what is going on. And we are making progress. So I do hope that the papers will continue to publish maps as often as possible.
NEWSPAPER DELIVERY STRIKE
Talking about newspapers - well I had a good story today on the newspapers, but you boys of the Delivery Union now on strike, you spoiled my story for me. I had a good one on the newspapers and I am not going to use it today because, boys, I do not think that you are acting right. I think that you have missed a great big bet. Now listen: I think I know something about labor. I think that I have contributed something toward labor and never took a fee in my life for it. I did it because of my interest in the cause of working men and women. I know something about the technique of strikes. I have led strikes. I have settled strikes. Now, boys, you made a big mistake the other day when you did not go back to work after the hearing before the War Labor Board. Just as you beat the gun by several hours in going on strike, if you were smart, you would have beaten the gun and gone baok to work several hours before the order was sent to you from the War Labor Board.
Why do I say that? I know nothing about the merits of the controversy and neither does the public. We assumed that you went on strike because you had good reasons. But when the good offices of the United States Government were offered, when the agency established by our Government, by Congress - a representative of the people to settle strikes-was available, there was nothing to gain by stubbornly continuing the strike.
What have you to gain? You are losing time and you are losing wages, aren't you? Eventually you will go to the same means of settlement that was offered to you several days ago. I do not know who advised the continuance or this resistance, but whoever did advise it, did it very unwisely. I hope this afternoon, when a vote is taken, that you will overwhelmingly, if not unanimously, vote to go back to work and present the case according to the American way on the merits and abide by the decision. That is advice from a friend of labor and from your personal friend too.
It might be said that they could not notify the men in time but that is a lot of bosh. I remember one winter when we settled a strike right in this office on a Saturday afternoon - I think that it was after six o'clock. Why we had the men back to work that Sunday morning. I remember another case not very long ago - it was a milk drivers' strike - and a tentative settlement had been made for the men to go back and they did not as you did not in this instance. I just went on the air around the middle of the day and the men all went back to work. I know that every person employed by a newspaper has a radio in his home because he wants his family to get the news accurately. So, boys, be sensible. Go back to work and then abide by the Judges of the War Labor Board.
VETERANS OPPORTUNITIES IN DEPT. OF INVESTIGATION
If there are any discharged veteran lawyers who believe they re having a little difficulty in getting adjusted, we have some good jobs with the Commissioner of Investigation. Battle casualties are preferred. Men who have rendered service overseas preferred. Just inquire at the Department of Investigation. That is a fast-moving, hard working, hard hitting agency, so if you have toughened up during the war, we may have a job for you.
The meat situation is improving. There is an article in the New York Times this morning - the leading article which is not helpful at all. It is full of misinformation and distortions and just why the New York Times does that is more than I can understand. Of course, they are taking the side of the high class hotels where you pay $3.50 for a portion or $6, or $6. for a dinner. If they assume to be interested in that, it is replete with misinformation, it is very much like that planted story that I was telling you about. You know, they published the planted story after I told Mr. Sulzberger that it was a planted story. They do that so therefore I do not believe that anybody who knows anything about the food situation will pay any attention to it. It is too bad that they continue in an effort - in a deliberate effort it would seem, to sort of keep the food situation confused and messed up rather than in an effort to help it. This is in contrast to the food pages of other papers which try to help the families.
It is the family that is having trouble with food, Mr. New York Times, not the high priced places that you seem to be so interested in. Why don't you get next to yourself and come in like the other papers and help. That is what you ought to do.
The meat situation ought to be a little better around July 10. But please watch out for quality, won't you? All of the meat will be good but it will not be all AA. It will be just as good, but why pay from 12 to 22 cents a pound more than you should pay. We will help you on this score. I just talked to Judge Bromberger, Chief City Magistrate, and by the middle of the week I believe we will be able to expedite the cases of violations in court. As you know the meat comes direct from the plains, it is grass-fed cattle and it is very good, wholesome, tasty meat. We will do all that we can to protect you from upgrading, which means jacking up the price.
Do not get excited about poultry. I think that we have passed the peak of the poultry shortage and it should be rather normal before long. You know, the 210 million pounds that the Army was buying. Well that is a lot of chicken, isn't it. Well, we have it and it ought to be coming in now. So do not dash out and buy chicken tomorrow. Please do not do that. Just buy in a normal way, and the poultry situation will be in good shape.
BUTTER AND OLEO
Now butter. Didn't I tell you - didn't I tell you that there was a lot of butter in storage? Didn't I tell you? I knew it. We all knew it. I do not know why they held it back. Now they have reduced the points on butter and that will be very helpful. But now look here OPA. Do not throw down the friend who stood by you; do not throw down the old friend who stood by you when butter was really scarce. You know what I mean - oleomargarine. If you reduce the points on butter, you should also reduce the points on oleomargarine. So give oleomargarine a break. And just as I told you, Dairy Folks - you would not listen to me - it is not going to be so easy to get back to butter. People have learned that there are substitutes for butter. So OPA, you had better use your head now or irreparable damage will be done to the Dairy Industry. I plead to reduce the points on oleomargarine.
For a long time we have been trying to get across the fact that you buy the insides of the eggs and that you do not eat the shell, and that it makes no difference whether they are white eggs or brown eggs since the insides are the same. Here is something else. After a long, long struggle and effort the OPA finally fixed the price of eggs by the dozen and by weight.
A little egg is less egg than a big egg and the prices are fixed according to size. But if the dealer puts a couple of little eggs in the big sized price then you get gypped. Therefore, you must weigh your eggs. The medium are 21 ounces a dozen; the large are 24 ounces a dozen and the extra large are 26 ounces a dozen. But in the OPA community ceiling prices that I have before me, the price of eggs and small, medium, large, and extra large are in great, big, black letters but I have to put on my specks to see the weight here in small size letters. Now, OPA, why do you do a thing like that? You are supposed to set a good example in honest merchandising. You know a thing like that gives bad ideas to the retailers and we poor consumers just cannot stand any more. So I wish that OPA would go back to the old type of ceiling prices and emphasize the weight of the eggs for the protection of the consumers.
We have a strange situation in cantaloupes. Cantaloupes are very nutritious or otherwise I would not mention them. The wholesale price from the growers out West went down on June 26. Well, the retail price, of course, went down with it. This is what happened. The OPA did not take into consideration the fact that it took from eight to ten days for the cantaloupes to come out here from California. The price was lowered while the melons for which they paid the higher price were still in the cars, on the tracks, on the way east. Well, the OPA then extended the time to July 8 for the lower price, but the shippers continued to charge the higher price right up to July 8. Therefore, I am going to suggest to the Commissioner of Markets and to the Sheriff that they take into consideration the price paid for the cantaloupes up to July 8 and allow sufficient time for the cantaloupes to reach our retail market here in New York City. We could not conscientiously prosecute a case where the dealer has been caught in a falling of the price after he had paid the higher price and the cantaloupes were actually on their way to New York City. But in each case be sure of the invoiced price of the wholesaler. July 16, of course, is very generous allowance for the lower prices.
Here is good news to New Yorkers and pretty good to me too. When I took office twelve years ago the City had collected only 73.58% of its taxes. Next year we improved a little and collected 78.78%. William Reid, City Collector, has informed me that to date we have collected 94.55% of our 1944-1945 taxes. Pretty good, isn't it? Keep that up, successor of mine, and do not let it get beyond you. Do not spend more money than you can collect. I will be hearing from you, let us see, I would like to see the situation around this time in 1948.
ASSESSED VALUATIONS AND THE COURTS
In the meantime, I would like to say this about the whining and the crying and the bellyaching that has been going on in certain real estate circles. When I took office in 1934, the assessed valuation was $17,149,236,557. We reduced it to $15,902,977,696, a drop of $1,246,258,861 and it is a proper, well coordinated, well balanced honest reduction. But I do not know what is going to happen if the courts continue to overrule the good work of the Tax Department. It is beyond us. There is nothing that we can do about it but accept it. Take the case of the Sheraton Hotel, formerly the White, at Lexington Avenue and 37th Street. Our assessor found it so prosperous that he raised the assessment from $1,200,000 for 1944-1945 to $1,350,000 for 1945-1946 - the statement submitted by the hotel showing receipts for that year of $448,266 and expenses of $295,136 -net earnings of $153,130 or 12.7%. on the assessed valuation. On June 16,
1945, the Supreme Court reduced the $1,200,000 assessment to $980,000 -a reduction of $220,000 or 18.3%. I do not know why. Don't ask me. In other words the Court held the value of the property at only a little more than twice the gross receipts. Well, I hope that my successor will not be confronted with anything like that. It is just unbearable.
When you get your tax receipt, turn over to the back and see how every dollar of your tax money is spent.
MISSING MILK BOTTLES
You know, there are 16,000,000 glass milk bottles used daily in our city. That is in addition to the paper containers. But there are between 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 bottles missing. That is serious because the bottle manufacturers simply cannot deliver any substantial number. They just do not have the material. Therefore, unless we return some of these 1,5000,000 or 2,000,000 bottles, we will have a shortage. That will mean a shortage of milk because most of the paper containers are now used for other purposes. So, look around that kitchen, will you, and look around in the cupboard and look around your closet. Just between you and me, I won't tell anybody, but you are using those bottles for something else. However, we cannot afford it, we must have those bottles back.
If you have used them for grease, put some hot water in them and kind of rinse them out. You do not have to be too careful because they will be thoroughly sterilized. So kick in with those bottles. If you have store bottles you can get your deposit back. But if they were delivered put them out tonight - won't you, as a favor to me and as a favor to yourself. You know if they are short of bottles there will be serious trouble.
AGRICULTURE COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS
Oh, talking about milk, listen. Do you generally have $24,553 to spend and do not know what to do with it? Well, that is my trouble. I have $24,553 right here in my hand and I have been worrying as to how to spend it. Let me tell you about it because I have a plan and I think it is good. You remember the milk strike in the summer of 1939. That was pretty tough. Remember they were just pouring milk out on the roads and we were not getting any milk and I was pretty worried because it is my job to look after the health of the children and the people of this city. That strike was led by the Farmers Union, Archie Wright, a very decent fellow. So I got in touch with the Farmers Union and said, "Listen if you fellows cannot settle this up-state, come down to New York; we settle everything else down here and we will settle this for you". And he did. We conferred and conferred and conferred and conferred and finally we were in session up to about four o'clock in the morning and we reached a settlement. I was very happy about it. The settlement was announced and we went home, got some sleep, and the milk commenced pouring in. Well, they made settlement every month. I believed that we had settled the strike at an average price of $2.15 per hundredweight. The first payment they figured out was at $2.08 1/2 per hundredweight. Well, it was not as I understood it; it was not as some of the dealers had understood it and it was not as the farmers had understood it. So I protested. Well, we straightened it out and the price was $2.15. But two of the big companies refused to go along. Well, of course, you know what happens when I believe that someone is not acting on the level - I just went after them. Did I go after them, oh yes, but the U. S. Milk Market Administrator was not helpful. He came very near marring a friendship of twenty years with Henry Wallace, because Henry was busy and he had to take the view of his Milk Administrator hero. But we finally got over it and we all agreed on the $2.15 as being correct. As a result of this agreement the dealers paid in $1,317,389 which was distributed among all the farmers in accordance with their deliveries on the difference. Well in the figuring and in the adjustment we had some $35,000 left over. A new Milk Administrator was appointed. Some of you may remember him, Nicholas Cladakis. He was the Milk Administrator in Chicago and was brought here. He was very helpful in bringing about the final settlement. So $34,000 was turned over to Mr. Cladakis and to me. This is what was left over after the adjustments. Releases were obtained and we had some $35,000. for the promotion of milk. We spent about $11,000, for a film about the penny milk for schools and for pamphlets and literature on milk. So I have $24,555. in my name. Well, not much milk can be bought with that. It would be just enough milk for about one day for the kids.
Mr. Cladakis is not here any more. He joined the Army about the time that I thought I was going into the Amy. He joined the Air Force. He was killed in action. He was in an attack off the coast of Bari in the Adriatic. His plane was hit and when last seen he was parachuting down. He has been declared dead by the War Department.
Well, I think I am going to do this. What is better than continuing what we have been trying to do for so many years - bringing a closer relationship between the city or the producers on the farm and the consumers in the city. I am intending to use this money for scholarships for high school graduates of New York City to the State College of Agriculture at Cornell University. We intend to have five scholarships at $300 a year plus $100 a year for books and supplies and five scholarships at $500 a year plus about $100 a year for books and supplies, a full four year course for each. We will also have other scholarships at five other Agriculture schools: A two year course at Delhi, Morrisville, Cobleskill, Farmingdale, Canton and Alfred. And we are going to have two year scholarships of $300 each ($150 per year) at each of these schools as well as the ten scholarships for the State College of Agriculture at Cornell.
I am appointing a vary small committee with Dr. W.I. Meyers, Dean of the State College of Agriculture at Cornell on the Committee. Boys who have graduated from a regular full course at high school and, I believe, have a total of 15 units and certain points in English and Mathematics may write to me immediately. In the meantime we will circularize high school graduates who may be interested so that we may have everything ready. I do not anticipate any difficulty because I am sure if there is any doubt we can obtain the consent of all companies that paid into the fund.
MILK PRICES AT BELMONT PARK
Here is something interesting. I have a complaint from a citizen saying that I pretend to be interested in food prices but that milk is sold at the counters for 16 cents per paper cup at Belmont Park. Listen, my friend, if you can afford to go to Belmont Park, as far as I am concerned I do not care what they charge. If the OPA wants to look into this it can but I am too busy looking after the prices of food for families.
TAXICAB RATES AT RACETRACK
Here is a telegram from a lawyer who says: "Wife and myself went to Aqueduct races on very crowded Long Island train. Stood up. (Tut, tut, isn't that too bad.) After races we observed streams of taxis inside parking lot of track soliciting fares. They asked $5. a person and the abuse they showered upon us when we said price too high is unprintable. (They must have been repeating my language I am afraid.) They rode six passengers to each taxi. Where do they get the gasoline to go and return from New York." Now that is the only point you make. He says: "I am a lawyer." and signs it. I do not know where they get the gas. That is up to the OPA. As to charging $5. a person, the only thing that we are interested in is that after they leave the race track they charge according to the meter. If this is a private parking lot within the track, it is private property and they can charge, as far as I am concerned, $18. to let you get into their taxicab Inside of the track. So if you can afford to go there, the taxicab driver may charge anything he wants. It is a private contract from the point you board the taxicab, if it is within the race tracks. Now listen, taxis, don't try to pull that at a railroad station or at the airfield, or at a ball park. Don't try to pull it there because that is out. But use your judgment on these race track touts and tinhorns and if they are not touts or tinhorns they should not be there, so do not worry about it.
GENERAL EISENHOWER LETTER
Here is an interesting letter which I know all of you will be glad to hear. It is very, very gratifying to me. It is from General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower. He writes under date of June 25, 1945, from Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, Office of the Supreme Commander:
"Dear Mayor LaGuardia :
I presume that the citizens of New York City write to you frequently and, as your newest citizen, I am exercising this privilege promptly. The visit to New York City by myself and the group of officers and enlisted men who accompanied me was a delightful experience. It was ample evidence that the people of the great city of New York are cognizant of and appreciate the efforts of their sons in their task of defeating Nazism. The enthusiasm of the people should also be warning that this country will vigorously prosecute the war against our remaining enemies, the Japanese, until full and complete victory has been won.
I wish to thank you personally, your associates and the people of New York for the courtesy, hospitality and enthusiasm extended to me and the group accompanying me.
Dwight D. Eisenhower."
Thank you, General, that is most gratifying.
Well, the strike is not over. So I suppose the children are waiting to hear something about their funnies. You like them? Oh, I get a great kick out of them. Although we cannot get them all I will give you some today. I cannot give you all of them because my time is about up. Here is Dick Tracy. Let us see what Dick Tracy is doing. You remember that our little friend, Breathless, is in the laundry wagon. Here in the first picture is the laundry wagon, a yellow laundry wagon, with Wet Wash - that is the driver you know - very calmly sitting down with his back against the rear of the wagon eating his lunch. Our little friend, Breathless, is inside with the money and she says, "When are you going to let me out of hero?" Wet Wash says: "Easy, sister, easy." Then in the next picture - Wet Wash is saying, "I'll let you out when you've decided to give me a better cut of that dough." From the inside - you see the inside in the next picture - Breathless says: "I offered you a thousand dollars. What do you think I am? This is my money" - And if you will remember she had started tearing up the laundry and she has all of the money in a pillow slip. And we hear Wet Wash: "Listen, Baby, I know you're a maid at Van Hoosen's. I saw you there last week, and I know there's something phoney about that dough! Now, when we settle, it's going to be 50-50 !" She is seen in the next picture saying: "Okay, then maybe you'd like some more of your laundry torn to pieces! Yeah?" Rrrrip - she's ripping the laundry, those delicate little pieces of lingerie. He looks in and says: "Ye gads. I'll lose my job over this! Stop!- You win! I'll settle for Five Grand." She says: "All right - open up! It's a deal." And then she says -she has the money in the pillow slip - "Listen Wet Wash, you're right about seeing me at Van Hoosen's - But, I'm actually not a maid. My name's Breathless Mahoney, and this really is my money." "Mahoney? Say, I'll bet I used to pick up your mother's laundry - a Mrs. Mahoney on Third Street, Apartment two?" "Why, yes! that's my mother." Then you see Wetwash, the doors of the laundry wagon open, leaning with his back toward the wagon and counting his money, "Two-three-four-four thousand (Now he is getting into the hundreds) eight hundred". And then the picture shows a hand of Breathless stretching out. She's got home of that iron pot. Remember the iron pot that she took from the Van Hoosen's gardener's flat to put the money in, and "Crash", she crashes it on his head. He is knocked out. In the next picture we see Dick Tracy. You know the fine type of Dick Tracy, he has been a detective so long and he still has that slender form. Lew Valentine, why do our detectives get fat, I wonder. Well, anyhow, here is Tracy and he is saying, "The only vehicle that left the house at that time was one of your laundry trucks. I'd like to question the driver." "That District, Mr. Tracy, is covered by Wetwash Wally. He should be checking in any minute." Not very soon after that crash that he got on the noodle from that iron pot.
And say, children, what does it all mean? It means that dirty money never brings any luck. Remember, this was the money that the dope peddler, the racketeer, had in the safe deposit vault. This was dirty money like the gambler's money. He was Breathless' step-father. So no luck came to his wife after she got this $50,000. She shot her daughter in a fight for the money. No luck is coming to Breathless. No luck is coming to the driver. No, dirty money always brings sorrow and sadness and misery and disgrace.
Well I do not believe that we have time for another but you will hear it this evening over WNYC.
Now, talking about the children, say, kids, 290 schools of the Board of Education are operating playgrounds throughout the city and 26 high schools are open all day and 11 athletic fields. Do do not play on the streets. Go to a park or to a playground.
RED CROSS BALL GAME
Let me remind you that tomorrow night is the great game between the Yanks and the Giants all for the benefit of the Red Cross. When I say that it is all for the benefit of the Red Cross, I say it because when Horace Stoneham or Larry McPhail say anything you can depend upon it. I am overtime now, so
Patience and fortitude.