MARCH 28, 1946
SAN FRANCISCO, Wednesday—In every city where we have been, the same shortages of hotel rooms and homes seem to exist. I remember very well the overcrowded conditions that existed after the last war because of the wartime building restrictions; but the war lasted much longer this time and the conditions are therefore far worse.
People are buying homes because there is nothing to rent. In many cases they are paying far more than the actual value. This means that, when building resumes full-swing and homes are plentiful, the value of their investments will deteriorate. If the homes purchased are bought to be lived in over a long period of years, this will probably make very little difference, since the savings in rent will soon make up for the deterioration in value. But if, at some time in the not too distant future, conditions force people to move and to sell their homes, the loss in some cases will be considerable.
One cannot help wishing that, in some way, this loss might be obviated—particularly for people in the medium and lower income brackets. It would have to be done by some city, state or federal regulations, but it would certainly affect the future well-being of a great many people.
I am glad that priorities now are to be given to the building of veterans' homes. I have felt for some time that our lack of planning to carry out the things which we promised the veterans would lead to a great deal of dissatisfaction.
It is certainly ironic to say that veterans have the opportunity for an education, and then to find that there is no room for them in the institutions they wish to attend. It is equally ridiculous to say they can have loans to buy homes and then have no homes for them to buy.
Of course, the war came to an end more suddenly than we expected. This unpreparedness however, is nothing new to us. We are usually averse to government planning. We consider it a menace to our free-enterprise system. And yet we have no respect for an individual who does not foresee the eventualities of non-planning in his own life or business. The same foresight and planning which make an individual a success probably would be helpful in making the government a success.
Yesterday morning, I walked through Chinatown and visited some of my old friends. Then I went to Gump's and saw some of the work which they are encouraging artists to do in ceramics, woodwork and weaving. Some of the pottery was lovely.
One can order pottery table decorations, linen, furniture and materials in the colors of one's choice, and even have an artist make special designs of one's own choosing. I could not help thinking what fun my husband would have had with an idea of this kind. He always loved to tell people just how he wanted a design, and then leave it to the artist to work out the details.