This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Air attacks on Germany, taxes, children purchasing liquor, Tito's partisans.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71092
Municipal archives id: LT4036
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, MARCH 12,1944
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, MARCH 12, 1944, BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1:00 P.M. FOLLOWS:
Patience and Fortitude.
Berlin and Tokyo
BOMBINGS OF ENEMY CITIES NECESSARY
It is regrettable to note that our fellow citizens are becoming somewhat sentimental and soft concerning the bombing of German cities. I think that their feelings must be based on misunderstanding or misapprehension as to the necessity of these bombings. In the first place it must be known that the bombings are not for revenge or vengeance. These bombings are a military necessity preparatory to the invasion. They are very costly in lives. The other day in one of our missions we lost 710 of our boys - the very flower of America youth - and every day and every night these bombings take place. Of course the objectives are industries producing the materials of war and strategic points. Yes, once in a while a building will be hit, since it is pretty hard to make an accurate hit from the air always. After all, you know the boys read what is said over here. Some of them get the idea that they are not on a very useful mission when they risk their lives every time they go out on one of these bombing raids.
The country might as well be prepared. Raids will continue, bombing will continue, they must continue, until the enemy is softened up, until we are able to reduce the production of submarines, planes, cannons and materials made to kill our men. This is war. It must be waged relentlessly. I hope that nothing will be started in this country as it was in the last war - talk about peace before the proper time. We must keep on going, going, going to Berlin and beyond Berlin. And neither should anybody suggest that we should not bomb Japan. Why, of course, we will bomb Japan - in fact, bomb every place held by the Japanese, until this war is ended. It must end with the complete defeat and crushing of the Nazi forces, and what is left of the Fascists and the Japs.
We must make it such a thorough job, that there will not be any danger of another war for centuries and centuries to come. So, let us send word to the boys that we are all back of them; that they have our full support and that we are going to work harder and harder to produce more and more, so as to give them the very best in all of the weapons of war that they need, and thus end it as soon as possible - victoriously.
PAPER AND TIN CAN COLLECTION
I want to express my thanks to the people of the City for their response to the waste paper collection. It increased last week but it has not reached its peak. Please cooperate by packing all of the paper as compactly as possible, so that the streets will not he littered.
We have received complaints and also inquiries concerning the right of private cartmen to pick up this paper. In the first place, I want you to know that this is a national objective, and as long as the paper is picked up, that is all we are concerned with. However, under the law - and of course, the Mayor has no power to amend the law - any person who conveys waste paper and paper stock upon the street, bridges or over the ferries in the city, must first obtain a permit to do so. We have been very strict in the issuance of these permits, because in normal times it is always necessary to restrict the number of junk dealers. However, during this drive, Commissioner Carey and Commissioner Moss have made arrangements whereby temporary permits will be given to any one who desires to pick up waste paper. You can readily understand the necessity for requiring permits. The City authorities must know who is going in and out of buildings to pick up papers or any other waste material, and they can only do so if a permit is required. For the next few days the City will cooperate with those desiring to pick up paper. After that any one picking up paper without a permit will necessarily have to be summoned.
Last week the Department of Sanitation picked up 781 tons of paper. The tin can collection also has increased. This is going along very nicely.
ADDITIONAL REVENUE NEEDED
I am told the Legislature is about to adjourn. Do you know when it is going to adjourn, Lazarus? Lazarus guesses the 18th, -- but, well anyhow, it is going to adjourn soon. Again I want to warn you - maybe for the hundredth time or the hundred and tenth time, that New York City must get additional revenue. Now if anybody up in Albany thinks he is hurting the Mayor, I just want to disabuse him of that. They have a responsibility, too. This is your city as much as mine, and I have provided the information and have given you the warning. We have reached the very bottom and and we are scraping that bottom. Another budget must be made up for 1945-46 besides the present budget to be made in 1944-45. I expect to go into budget retreat toward the end of the month, so that the executive budget will be ready for April 1st. We simply must have additional revenue. Otherwise, it is going to be felt this year and next year. As to the additional funds given, it is true, you have given about $13,000,000 but Albany has reduced the state aid to education for the city by $4,300,000. That reduces the revenue to $9,000,000. We need 16, 17 or 20 million dollars more, and will need it next year. I cannot do any more than ask the Governor and the Legislature for this additional revenue. It will be needed.
If the war should end - and we all pray that the war will end soon and I am one that for political reasons does not want this war to continue, I want it to end victoriously with the complete defeat of the Nazi forces - our budget will simply be out of line and we will have to get additional funds when these additional commitments must be met. Anyone worth his salt in elected office, who has responsibility, must be able to figure not only to an election year, but to a year beyond that, and two years beyond that, and five years beyond that, and ten years beyond that, so I am warning you.
I did not want to mention poultry today, but I just want to remind you that dressed poultry is 46 cents a pound, that is about the average. Last week I told you about arrangements being made to sell cut-up parts of poultry and quoted the ceiling prices. Well, OPA has gone and gummed up that again. I do not see why OPA always makes everything so complicated and involved or makes so many regulations that just cannot be enforced or allows a loophole for a chiseler to get through.
I was very happy about this cut-up poultry and the ceiling prices. But lo and behold, they now have a new regulation that the ceiling price applies only if the dealer buys the cut-up parts. But if he cuts them up himself, then he can arrange his ceiling price so that the total of the chicken will not bring him more than it would have brought had he not cut it up. Now make that out if you can, and figure that out if you can. If you buy breast of chicken or a leg of chicken the retailer can chisel just as much as he wants. If it is above ceiling price, and the price is 76 cents for legs and breast, and 38 cents for wings, and 19 cents for backs and necks, do not pay more. Let him keep his old chicken until it rots. Do not pay more. That is the only way we are going to beat these chiselers.
Now the reason I mention this 46 cents a pound is because the girls in my office after my broadcast say, 'Mr. Mayor, it is all right for you to talk about these ceiling prices, but our families just cannot obtain them.' Please report any violation. That is the only way we can stop this.
The Department of Markets has informed me that potatoes sell from 17 to 25 cents per 5 pounds. Twenty-five cents is too much. It should not be more than 17 cents for 5 pounds and even less, because potatoes are so plentiful now.
The Department of Markets says there are large quantities of apples, of mixed small sizes and poor grades. Well, you are right on the poor grades, and the sizes are very small. The price is two pounds for 23 cents. That is pretty high. But there are no first grade or large apples available.
We often hear about the butter and egg man, don't we? Well, here is a new one. Jim McNally, the U. S. Attorney, has nabbed a butter and egg company that was selling butter over ceiling prices and listing the butter stock as eggs. This was going on from October to January. He has filed an information against the firm, and it looks as if the butter and egg man may be in the clink before long.
The Sheriff's office in the City of New York continues to prosecute cases of violations of wholesalers. Last week there were 57 charges preferred against 13 wholesalers resulting in convictions.
I hope the Legislature will tighten up the State OPA laws, in order to provide punishment more severe than that now provided by the rules of the State War Council. We fine and fine these people, and it is getting so now, that it pays to pay a fine as long as they can chisel on the ceiling price. An O.P.A. violation should be made a misdemeanor.
I hope that before the Legislature adjourns, even if it takes a day or so more, they will have in mind the interest of the consumers of this city as well as the chiselers who prey upon them, and amend the law so as to really mete out the punishment that food profiteers in time of war deserve.
OPA tells me that the points on sausages have gone down. Well, that is very good for us salami eaters. Pork has been so plentiful for so long and you remember I have been advocating making it point free for a while. But every little bit helps. So on all dry sausage and semi-dry sausage, points have been reduced two points a pound.
CEILING PRICE POSTERS FOR CONSUMERS
Last week I told you about the ceiling price posters that OPA is getting out to consumers. That is very good, and I praised them, remember, and I thanked them, remember. Well, I praise and thank them again. But I want to say to Chester Bowles, I am telling you this just between you and me, and I do not want anybody to hear, this is New York City, this is not Stamford, Conn. I need at least a million and a half of these nice little price samples that you have for the consumers. All you have sent is 20,000. You have also shipped another 50,000 which may or may not have arrived. That is 70,000. But we have 7 1/2 million people here. So will you please send me about 1,430,000 more. We will distribute them if you cannot, because you only have an appropriation of $150,000,000, and I know you cannot do it, but we will do it if you do not.
To avoid any disappointment in the matter of complying with O.P.A. ceiling prices, and I am very serious about this, I should like to point out that no administrative officer has a right to modify any regulation or promise immunity to any dealer. Immunity can only be promised or arranged for by authorized enforcement agencies. I want to make that very clear. If the regulation says that a receiver may charge a quarter of a cent markup to a jobber and two cents to a retailer, no arrangement other than that can be authorized by O.P.A. unless the rule is changed in Washington. But what I object to is telling one thing to the consuming public and telling another thing to the trade. Every time that is attempted I am going to expose it. The Department of Markets and the Office of the Sheriff of the City of New York will be no party to any such agreement. I will concede that the rule is exaggerated and perhaps is unenforceable, but the way to do it is to amend it in the proper way, provided by the law, and not through any private arrangement.
CHILDREN IN CABARETS, BARS AND GRILLS
I told you about our plans to protect the childhood of our city in licensed places. You will be interested to hear that 5 summonses were served to places selling liquor to minors over 16 years of age, and one arrest was made where a child was found under 16 years of age, and two licenses were picked up. Fifteen summonses were issued to bars and grills - 6 where the children were under 16 years of age, and 9 where they were over 16. I have issued orders to the Police Department that where a child is found in a bar or grill or cabaret, not to issue a summons but to make an arrest of the party responsible, preferably the proprietor.
CHILDREN IN SKATING RINKS
There is a little confusion about skating rinks. I want to say that this is not the fault of the police. The law provides that no minor may attend a skating rink unless accompanied by a guardian or a parent. We did not make that law. It has been on the statute books since 1889. I want to arrange though, if possible, I hope the rinks will cooperate, for the admission of minors without an adult up to the evening hours, 6 or 7 o'clock. After that, the law will be strictly enforced. We have received some very fine suggestions from parents and I want to thank them for their cooperation.
LETTER FROM MRS. M.A.
Mrs. M.A., I got your letter. I will read part of it, because I know a great many mothers will be interested. She says: "I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the sound advice you gave over the radio the other day. The other day one of my sons (aged 15) and my daughter (aged 14) didn't come home 'til 11 P.M. I got worried and set out to find them. I finally found them in a cheap place, playing cards with some older boys for money. Well, Your Honor, when we got home (we had a good old-fashioned family conference)."
I have taken the liberty, Mrs. M.A. to change your letter just a little bit.
"Both children admitted later that they were wrong and will be good in the future. I wish to thank you for your broadcast which has helped to keep two foolish but lovely children straight."
And I want to thank you, Mrs. M.A. for your cooperation. I know that your children will not go to those cheap places again. If you will let me know where that cheap place is, I might help in cleaning it out a little bit.
I want to call the attention of all parents to the fine, splendid, wholesome lunches that we serve in the high schools, junior high schools and grade schools. These lunches are subsidized by the United States Government. They are well balanced with nutritious food. We would like to have more children take advantage of them. Children who cannot afford these lunches can get them free. In the high schools children who can afford them, should be advised to take advantage of them. For instance, here is one of the menus: "Hamburger, mashed potatoes, mixed salad, buttered bread, baked apple and milk." Here is another menu: "Hot roast beef sandwich, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, buttered broad, milk." Here is another menu: "Fillet flounder, scalloped potatoes, buttered spinach, buttered bread, stewed prunes, milk."
These lunches in the high schools cost only 17 cents and in the junior high schools cost only 14 cents. The reason that the price is so low is because, as I said, it is subsidized. The city also pays towards the cost, the personnel and so does the State. The reason I am telling the parents about this is because observation would indicate that the children do not always exercise the best judgment in the selection of their food in the cafeteria. That is why these lunches have been well thought out by dietitians. They are nutritious, reasonable and are available to your children.
REAL ESTATE VALUES AND TAXES
There was an article in the paper the other day - I just happen to have a clipping from the New York Times before me that says, '54-Room Apartment in Fifth Ave. House Found Vacant, Little Hope of Renting It.' Then the article goes on to say that 'higher taxes, restricted incomes and the servant problem are among the reasons why there is little prospect of finding a new occupant.' Well, I suppose the higher taxes refers to the taxes of the tenant, but many real estate dealers or those who talk loud about real estate, have written me about it, calling to my attention that this was higher taxes. Well, they are just about as correct in this instance as they are in a great many instances where they talk about taxes on the real estate in New York City. This building is at 1107 Fifth Avenue. Since 1932, the taxes on this building have been lowered, so that the tax assessed valuation has been reduced $625,000. I am only telling this because you often hear these real estate people complaining, I think the way some of these real estate people are acting, that there is a deliberate bear market trying to discourage people, trying to knock our town, criticize it, sneer at it, so that the people will sell their property cheap, so that they can buy it up. What else can it be?
Now here is another instance. Let us take one of the greatest buildings in the world, the Empire State Building, Last year we increased the taxes on the Empire State Building by $750,000.00. This year we increased the taxes on the Empire State Building by $500,000.00. Does Al Smith kick? He does not. Al Smith knows his City. Al Smith knows the good government the City has and Al Smith knows the value of his building.
Recently, 25 properties on Fifth Avenue were cited as examples of the high real estate tax. On these 25 buildings the assessed valuation is less than the mortgages that these buildings carry. Say, bankers, what are you doing, are you getting too much mortgage? Now look here, bankers, either you are right or we are right. If you have mortgaged this property for as much as it now holds and it is not worth that much, why did you do it? Answer that one. In any event, the assessed valuations are lower than the mortgages. Since 1932 the assessed valuations on these 25 properties have been reduced by $12,848,000.00. That gives you an idea of just what we are up against all of the time.
I have some other things here on my memoranda, but I have some very pleasant visitors here today. I want to tell you something about them, because I am interested in the cause that has brought these gentlemen together. Louis Adamic, the famous American author, whose last book, "My Native Land," many of you have read and some of his prijatelja are here and they are my prijatelji too. There are gentlemen here from Croatia, Servia, Dalmatia, Slovenia, Serbia, and from Montenegin Slovenia. That these gentlemen should be all together in New York is not unusual. But it was not very long ago that it would be most unusual if they were all together on one mission in their own native land. You know, the People of Yugoslavia are just fine folk, simple folk, who do not ask for much. They have a splendid family life and are God-fearing and God-loving People. I lived among them for four years when I was in the Consular service - about forty years ago. At that time they were divided. They were being kept divided by the Hapsburgs and by the Romanoffs who had an influence in the Balkans. They speak one language and there is very little difference in their religion. They are hard-working people. I could never understand how it was possible for the intrigue of the dynasties to keep these people apart. We all had hopes that after the last war when Yugoslavia was created that that problem would be solved. But the European politicians saw it was fertile soil and kept it going. Now all of these people are united.
These gentlemen here in my office paid me a visit today, united in the belief that the cause of Yugoslavia is one - one for all of those countries forming part of Yugoslavia. Yes, the politicians have always sought to keep the Yugoslavians at the throats of the Italians, and the Italians at the throat of the Yugoslavs. That can be cleared up, because really, there is no conflict that reasonable men cannot settle. All of this has been brought about by one man - one man who will appeal to the imagination of every American boy - this fellow they call Tito. Tito is a great man. You know we really do not know much about him. We did not know much about him until he started to see if he couldn't do something for the working people of Croatia. I think he was a metal worker. He saw the exploitation of his people and tried to get them better wages. Of course the authorities did not like that. He was sought after, apprehended and then sort of disappeared.
You know what happened when the Yugoslavians - they have Quislings there as they have in other places - made a deal with the Nazis and the Italians. Well, that did not work out. But these unhappy people had nothing to fight with, not a thing. And then this fellow Tito got the idea to form an army. Well, it is not a very easy thing - we had to spend billions of dollars over here to do it, and it took us a long time - but Tito told them he had to have guns, and said he could get guns. They wanted to know where he was going to get the guns from. He said we will get them from the Germans. So five of them went out and caught five Germans and took their guns and ammunition from them. Then they came back and the five with five more went and got ten Germans. So they had ten more guns and ten more supplies of ammunition. And that increased, and pretty soon they had 500. Then they started taking Germans and at that time Italians too, just by the hundreds. They would take the guns away from them, they would take the ammunition away from them and they would fight. Would you believe it, that by that method and by guerilla warfare, Tito has built up an Army of several thousands of men? In fact, he has 250,000 fighting men and women all over Yugoslavia. They sure are a worry to the Nazis. He now has two Divisions of Italians that have joined his forces. It is really the most dramatic thing of this whole war. They are doing things and they have the Nazis on the run.
I just do not know what our own government feeling is toward Tito. I would like to know, I have been sort of asking around, but nobody seems to know, We do know that Great Britain is very much interested in Tito. In fact, they have sent a mission there, I read in the papers a few days ago that Premier Winston Churchill sent his own son on a mission to see Tito. So I guess they are pretty much interested. He has attracted the admiration of the British Government. I wish our Government would come out and just say 'Tito you have done a good job, and Tito, we are for you.' That would help a lot.
Do you know that not only did they have to take the arms and ammunition from the enemy to fight, but for two years, and even now, they have had no hospital facilities, no medical supplies? Do you know that their losses from wounds was greater than that of any other army because they had no drugs at all; that men were being operated on without anesthetics, there was no ether nor chloroform, no morphine, and none of the pain deadening drugs? They have gone through that for two years. Now, some medical supplies are being flown to them.
We just cannot do enough for these people. We must not forget when the war is over, who did the fighting. In addition to creating this army out of nothing and establishing something new in warfare by starting with nothing and taking the arms and weapons from the enemy, Tito has done something which I think will last forever. He has drawn about him every faction in Yugoslavia. To those who are uninformed that may not be impressive. To anyone familiar with the knowledge of the Balkans it is very, very impressive. It is almost a miracle. So today, Mr. Adamic and to your colleagues, I want to say that the people of the City of New York greet you, and we send our admiration to Tito and his fighting men and women, and say that they represent the real spirit of liberty and democracy. We hope all that Tito and his men and women are doing will be fully and completely appreciated and compensated for when the war is over and the destiny of Europe is worked out.
CITY CENTER PROGRAMS
I have just been reminded and I must not forget - the City Center of Music and Drama, Porgy and Bess is back there. I told you we are going to keep it there until the 90,000 people who want to see it will have had an opportunity. Tomorrow night Stokowski - because that is the night of rest for Porgy and Bess - the New York Symphony and Stokowski will give a very good concert. Tuesday afternoon, a repeat program at 5:45. That is for working folks like you and me. I will hurry up and get through and we will go there at 5:45. It is a chance to go out and then go home and stay home to rest, instead of going all the way home and then back to the concert and then home again. I had a very nice conference with Maestro Stokowski yesterday. He is really building up a really fine orchestra. He has a very excellent program for tomorrow night. Now this is an experiment. There will be another concert tomorrow night and one Tuesday afternoon, that's our concert, the working peoples' concert, at 5:45. I thought 5 o'clock was too early, and so now it is 5:45. This is a test. If it is successful, we will arrange, commencing in the fall, a full series of concerts so that everybody in New York will have the opportunity to hear the best music at reasonable prices. We are offering it to you if you like it. If the people want it, they will have it. If they do not want it, we will go to something else until we can provide the things you like to see and like to hear.
Patience and Fortitude.