JULY 21, 1961
ROCHESTER, N.Y.—It is entirely understandable that Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona would like to see the welfare code of Newburgh, N.Y. adopted by every city in the country, for the principles embodied in the code seem to conform to his theories of government and his personal beliefs.
This interest seems to transcend any concern on his part as to whether a welfare code formulated by one city is either legal in the state of New York or humanitarian.
No one would object to those reforms that would really put to work people who should go to work and for whom work is available. I think, too, the people themselves would be the last to want to remain on welfare rolls if they could afford to get off.
But to jeopardize the health and welfare of little children before you assure the breadwinners that jobs are available for everyone who can work is to demonstrate a lack of human understanding and sympathy.
Some reports say the welfare code is aimed at a transient group in Newburgh composed largely of Negroes. I have no idea whether this is true, for I have not been able to make an investigation. But some of the articles I have read lead me to believe that I am not wrong in fearing that humanitarian principles are being completely ignored.
I have never heard that Senator Goldwater championed those underprivileged groups that need a champion in his own state. Yet there are people in Arizona who might very well occupy his interest, which is not really needed in New York.
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The Family Services Association of America has initiated a program which I think groups of people all over the country should know more about. It is called "Plays for Living," and Katharine Cornell is honorary chairman and Cornelia Otis Skinner is vice-chairman. You can see that two very fine professionals are in back of this idea.
Miss Cornell says of it:
"'Plays for Living' came into being to dramatize family and community problems with the techniques of the professional theatre. Its governing committee is made up of representatives from the helping professions, and from the theatre world, working jointly. A team from these two disciplines develops every play out of the grassroots work of the organization commissioning the play. The dramatic result is not propaganda but a mirror of actuality to stimulate the audience to new awareness and new thinking."
Professional casts of "Plays for Living," already rehearsed, are available to organizations within the 50-mile radius of New York City at a special service fee. To make bookings, or for further information, write Clare M. Tousley, Executive Director, Plays for Living, Family Service Association, 215 Park Avenue South, New York 3, N.Y.
A kit of scripts, which contains complete casting and acting directions, also can be purchased. There are quite a number of plays covering different problems of our day which can be used by those communities facing these problems. So this is something that can be of use on a nationwide basis.
The theatre in this way offers an opportunity for dramatization of modern situations in a way that will impress upon people, in perhaps a better way than any other, what is happening in their own communities.
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It was with great satisfaction that I noticed the New York City Election Board had reversed its stand and ordered use of voting machines in the Democratic primary there on September 7.
I think it is unfortunate that the Republican and Liberal party contests, which will be decided the same day, must use paper ballots. Reason for this, it is said, is that the city cannot obtain enough voting machines for all three parties, and the Democrats have 2,375,000 voters eligible for the primary whereas only 480,000 Republicans and 73,700 Liberals are qualified. This, of course, makes it essential that the machines be used by the largest voting group.
Those who cannot vote by machine have, I think, a just grievance, and I hope this will mean that the city will acquire as soon as possible enough machines for all parties to use them in the primaries.
I am sure many persons were shocked by the tragic death in a plane accident of Mrs. Angier Biddle Duke, the wife of the chief of protocol of the State Department. It is sad, indeed, for this young man to face this tragedy.