FEBRUARY 24, 1947
NEW YORK, Sunday—There seems to be a determination these days to do away with as many controls as possible! I believe the people as a whole would like to have OPA operate and retain rent controls, for a time at least. But their representatives seem to be convinced that the more rapidly we do away with OPA itself, the better it will be.
I have not heard that any of the big real estate operators are losing money under the present system. I have had a few letters from people owning small apartment houses, or small houses, who do seem to have a claim which ought to be adjusted. Where there is a real hardship on anyone, there should be the right of appeal, investigation and adjustment.
But at present, when there is such a shortage of housing, removal of rent control would seem to me to work a great hardship on people of moderate income. It would mean that those with money to spend could oust a tenant who had perhaps been living for some time in his particular house or apartment. Such a tenant's budget might not permit him to pay a higher rent. But he would have to move out in favor of a new tenant who could spend more money, but who for just that reason might be better able to find accommodations elsewhere in any case. I have known people to go south for the winter because they couldn't find an apartment. Since there are a good many people who could not afford to go south in any case, perhaps it is just as well that those who can afford it, do so!
Rent control is essential until we have caught up to a certain extent on our building program. On the way to Lake Success, I have been passing some of the places which are labelled as "Veterans' Emergency Housing," and I must say I am appalled at the flimsiness of the building and the utter lack of any kind of architectural handling. The buildings look like barracks, and I believe that veterans have lived long enough in barracks and should not have to go on doing so when they return to civilian life.
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I went to Baltimore last Thursday afternoon to speak at a meeting of the Union for Democratic Action, which is shortly going to merge with the Americans for Democratic Action. I took the night train home from Baltimore, was a guest on a radio program Friday morning, then caught a train to Boston.
I was met there by the police commissioner and Mr. LaRue Brown. But my train was late and I missed a meeting of the Nieman Fellows. I went directly to greet some high school students who are competing in a contest of reporting on the United Nations, then dined with Mr. and Mrs. Brown before attending a joint meeting of several organizations on "The United Nations and Peace."
I spent the night with my sister-in-law, Mrs. John Cutter, who drove me out on Saturday to see my grandson at school. I caught the afternoon train back to New York, and here I am, on Sunday morning, feeling a little bit as though I had lived in a whirlwind for the past three days!