AUGUST 16 1952
HYDE PARK, Friday—It appears that quite innocently I aroused in my neighboring city of Poughkeepsie a great deal of excitement by saying: "In our nearby city of Poughkeepsie we are so backward about our water system that I doubt whether we will even give a thought to such an experiment." I was referring, of course, to the fluorination experiment being carried out in Newburgh and about to be undertaken in a number of other New York State cities.
Now I am told that Poughkeepsie has moved much faster than many of the other cities and already has a fluorination plant installed and that it will be in operation in about two weeks!
This is most encouraging and I congratulate the city of Poughkeepsie on the change that seems to have come about.
Is this a result of modern management? Apparently it is, for, quite frankly, I was thinking in terms of days gone by when I remember that for many months—I was going to say years—there was a discussion as to whether Poughkeepsie would have a new system which made its water really completely safe for all its people.
I have a long letter describing what is now happening. It tells me that the water is taken from the Hudson River, which was what I understood had always been the case in the past. But this letter states: "Because of the extremely bad condition of the water in the Hudson River the process by which we purify the water is extremely complicated and thorough, so that we end up with a water supply, the purity of which is rated extremely high by the state." This letter then goes on to explain that the system will be completely debt free by December of this year.
I am particularly glad to know all this and feel that I should have known it sooner, but I am afraid I remembered the past and did not acquaint myself with what has come about in the past year under new city management.
Certainly, I am proud of our nearby city, which is the one I have always considered the capital of Dutchess County, and I am happy to be able to offer my apologies to Mr. Hayden B. Johnson, the City Manager who has brought about all these changes under the Poughkeepsie city organization.
I hope that many cities throughout the country are making strides like this and that my mistake will lead many people to study any new changes in their own cities. There must be others who, like myself, feel that because they knew what had gone on for many years automatically accept the fact that such is the case today.
It is so pleasant to find oneself wrong in a case like this that it gives one a desire to learn about the improvements. It wages one to get behind civic projects that at one time seemed hopelessly impossible under rather apathetic administrations.
So, my apologies and my congratulations simultaneously go to the city of Poughkeepsie and I hope the fluorination plan for this city will work as well for the children as it has in Newburgh.