NOVEMBER 5, 1959
NEW YORK—Our President is certainly going on an extended tour during the first half of December. In some ways this is a new departure in peacetime for the President to go to so many countries and to be gone for so long a time. But it may be that at the present time this is particularly necessary.
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I am so accustomed to championing lost causes that it did not surprise me at all on Wednesday morning to find that on Election Day the New York school bond amendment had lost and that the Northway (a highway from Albany to Canada) proposal was approved—to build a highway through 75 miles of Adirondack forest preserve. Though only a comparatively few acres will be taken from the preserve, those acres are spread through 75 miles, so a considerable amount of land will be affected.
In Queens County the Democrats seem to have won a resounding victory, and in Suffolk County the Republican organization was greatly weakened and the Democrats gained control of the 10-man Board of Supervisors. In Rockland County the Democrats also did well.
Judge Samuel R. Pierce Jr., the Republican and Liberal party candidate for one of the seats in the Court of General Sessions in Manhattan, was defeated in spite of the fact that a number of prominent Democrats had come out in his favor. In Manhattan, however, the voters evidently thought that the Democratic candidates had done well enough, so they were not willing to turn against them.
It seemed to me, as I voted in Hyde Park, that there were comparatively few people at the polls, and I gathered that this must have been so in many areas. It is very difficult to make most of us believe that what we do where minor offices in our own localities are concerned will have an effect on how good our choices are for other offices that seem more important.
In Philadelphia Mayor Richardson Dilworth, a Democrat, was reelected for a second four-year term, overwhelming Harold E. Stassen, the Republican candidate. The Democrats have given good administrations in the city of Philadelphia since they came in as a reform group some years ago, and it is apparent that the people appreciate what has been done. Certainly, casual visitors to the city can see unmistakable improvements in administration.
There is one quite evident lesson to be drawn from these elections, I think, and that is that propositions such as were voted on in New York on Tuesday are not really understood by the people generally. Therefore, such propositions have very little chance of being voted on with any real consideration. Without question I think one of the underlying factors that affects voters is that, no matter how good a thing may be, they do not want any increase in their taxes.
I motored up to Hyde Park to vote and was surprised to find the foliage so beautiful along the parkway. There is much color still and, though the leaves are falling and we see more and more bare trees, one can see gold and reds that are very beautiful.
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I had the pleasure on Wednesday morning of seeing Dr. Edward J. Sparling, president of Roosevelt University in Chicago. That institution is going forward in a most astonishing way, and I was interested to have Dr. Sparling tell me that 85 percent of his students are working their way through college.
I like very much one of the purposes which Roosevelt University stresses, namely, "Education for Freedom." They say: "Education for freedom means to discover potential greatness and to produce thinking persons."