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would be invited to help themselves to the property of others, that small businessmen would become the reluctant hosts for this party.
Now, however, it seems to us that the invitors should pick up the check; the very least the government should do for those who were victimized is recompense them for the losses they sustained, including payment for the removal of debris from their destroyed properties.
Second, total support should be mounted to secure passage of the so-called "backup reinsurance bills" S. 3028 and H.R. 17003, now pending before the Banking and Currency Committees of both Houses of Congress. These bills will provide for industry and government participation in setting up reinsurance pools so that it would be possible to make insurance available for all, including those in high risk areas.
Third, the authorities must move without delay to have introduced into the Congress for speedy enactment the necessary legislation to enable the District of Columbia to participate in the above insurance program. Insurance companies are cancelling policies now. Each day we are receiving calls concerning further cancellations. It is axiomatic that without insurance no business can continue, be rehabilitated, or survive. And it is also very clear that unless this Federal reinsurance program and the necessary District participation legislation is enacted, insurance will not be available for the neighborhoods; if it is not, these areas will die. People who live in or around troubled areas are learning the hard way that empty store fronts ruin neighborhoods just as they drain and strain city treasuries.
Fourth, merchants must be given assurance that sufficient restraints and police protection will be available; that that which occurred will not happen again. Without such assurance, to what purpose would be rebuilding, restoration, or remaining in business? The philosophy of buying restraint of the criminals from doing greater crimes by offering the alternative of property destruction is false and self-defeating. No one must be allowed to act without the law.
Fifth, if the foregoing can be accomplished, the displaced merchants should be granted a priority in returning to the areas which must be rebuilt and repaired. Where restoration is feasible, property owners should be given the necessary building permits without delay. Where an urban renewal program is needed, this should be made known quickly and here, too, those displaced should be given priority in obtaining locations. Sufficient commercial premises should be scheduled so that no one of the affected merchants who want to return to business should be denied that opportunity.
We agree with the urban renewal program set forth in the editorial which appeared in the April 21 issue of the Sunday Star, a part of which we quote:
"This approach would differ sharply from the typical urban renewal project in which entire city blocks are subjected to replanning and to drastic change. The major riot damage in this instance has been confined to the narrow strips of mixed small-business and run-down residential properties fronting on one side of the city blocks. For the most part, the housing existing elsewhere in these blocks is solid and substantial.
"The urban renewal plans need not require total reconstruction even in these strip areas. Where sound structures exist, they might well remain. Where rehabilitation is possible, that might be proposed. Ironically, however, the major benefits could result where destruction and demolition occur. For at those sites it is possible to make the most significant improvements— including substantial increases in housing for low and moderate-income families.
"Most of the damaged or destroyed structures contained ground-level commercial uses with only one or two stories of housing above. Why not, in the reconstruction, provide housing of much greater density by building higher in the air? Imaginatively planned, some of these units could help satisfy at least a portion of the demand for public housing. Some could make use of rent supplements and the diversity of other types of federal housing aids-with the ground levels devoted, as before, to business use. "What of the business operators burned out in the riots?
"We believe that those who choose to return should have that opportunity on a first-priority basis. Urban renewal, combined with small-business loans and other available aids, offers a feasible administrative means of accomplishing this."
Sixth, every effort should be made to secure the cooperation of the Small Business Administration so that financial assistance may become available,
without discrimination, to any merchant in need thereof, regardless of the business in which he might be engaged. The people in the alcoholic beverage industry have been discriminated against by this Agency over a period of many years. This unwarranted determination was inaugurated by administrative fiat by a Loan Policy Board, since abolished, and cannot be supported by any Congressional enactment. This unlawful policy, which bars people in the alcoholic beverage field from even applying for a needed loan, has been perpetuated by successive Administrators.
After the Newark and Detroit disorders of last year, both cities were eventually declared disaster areas. The Small Business Administration at that time stated it was seriously considering the removal of the alcohol beverage industry from its proscribed list; now, eight months later, it is still making the same statement, but it still has done nothing to place the industry on an equal footing with other industries.
Nevertheless, every effort should be made to provide expeditiously the necessary economic data to the Small Business Administration so that this city might be declared a disaster area and the processing of applications of those in need of assistance might go forward without any further delay. Many of our merchants will need these loans; they were either underinsured or had no insurance, nor do they have sufficient capital to re-establish themselves. Government assistance thus could play an important role in the rehabilitation process.
These ideas, we believe, present a program necessary to rehabilitate and revitalize the city. It is recognized that there must be a long range program as well, but unless we can achieve this suggested immediate program we will never be able to reach the long range goals, which are:
1. Elimination of poverty
2. Better housing
3. More jobs
4. More schools
5. Better education
6. More recreation and playgrounds, with school facilities, such as gymnasiums and libraries, all open each evening for use of the public.
The foregoing we are convinced, presents reasonable and equitable ideas for rebuilding. We recognize that the program can only go forward if there is complete cooperation among all of the citizens, business community, the city authorities, and the Federal Government. But once the program is formulated, let it go forward with a minimum of red tape and a determination to build a better future.
Mr. WHITENER. We will be glad to hear from you now, Mr. Liss.
STATEMENT OF ABE LISS, PRESIDENT, MIDTOWN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
Mr. Liss. Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee.
I am the President of the Midtown Business Association, consisting of 100 members. We support H.R. 16948.
LACK OF PROTECTION
I would like to comment on some of the things I have heard here. I think there has been too much talk about shooting, whether we should shoot or whether we should not shoot. I watched this disturbance with my own eyes, and since that day I guess I have been interviewed more than anybody in the country, on the radio and in the newspapers. And I was on television last night for three hours.
Everybody seems to ask the same question: Is it my firm conviction that the police in Washington were told to show restraint and that they followed orders and did a commendable job? They showed restraint. No building is worth the price of one human life; however,
we have taken the position-and I will say it before anybody-that the Government defaulted on its obligation to protect the individual and the property rights of its citizens, that is, the people living in the buildings and the people who owned the buildings.
I watched people who have been in business as long as 75 years put out of business without a show of force. It seems to me there has been too much talk about shooting. Nobody wants to shoot anybody.
If our President had gone on television Thursday night and had said, "We have had some kind of internal disturbance and, if necessary, we will call out the entire militia to repel it," and if the troops had been on the streets Friday morning, there would have been no looting and there would have been no shooting.
That is what I have to say.
Mr. WHITENER. What is your view of the legislation before us, which is now pending?
Mr. Liss. H.R. 16948?
Mr. WHITENER. Both bills, H.R. 19641 and H.R. 16948?
Mr. Liss. Would you please tell me a little bit more about H.R. 16948?
Mr. WHITENER. That is the bill which would authorize the District of Columbia not to issue a permit for a parade or demonstration if the issuing officer has evidence that a civil disturbance might result from the parade or the demonstration, unless the applicant first put up a bond guaranteeing payment for the damage.
Mr. Liss. I do not want to get into an area that I am not an authority on. I speak as a private citizen. I think everybody has a right to protest under our constitutional rights, but I think that the Government has a duty to see to it that it does not turn into chaos.
Mr. Winn mentioned that we do not want to be calling out the troops every time. I do not want to either. We do not want to live under a bayonet. I think that if we do not take some simple measures that we might be living under the bayonett. Nobody wants to live under the bayonet.
Mr. WHITENER. What about the other bill (H.R. 16948) with reference to the District of Columbia Government bearing the expense of the removal of the debris and the rubble?
Mr. Liss. I think that the Government of the District Columbia should most certainly remove the debris. I would like to comment a little bit on the citizens. There has not been enough said about the people who lived in the buildings nor the employees of the businesses. I like to deal in facts. I can tell you this, that on 7th Street alone there were 1,034 people put out of work and there were some people on 7th Street of both races in that category, and the majority of the employees were Negro, and there were some Negro employees that I know that were making $12,000 a year. They could not get a job on Connecticut Avenue for $90 a week, whether they are black or whether they are white, and if I were looking for a job today, I do not think that anybody would give me $100 a week, and I have had 25 years of experience.
Some of these people and I know them-were making as much as $12,000 a year, and they deserve an opportunity to get a job commensurate with the original job. This is a sad situation that the people have not spoken of, and these were responsible people.
I think we have in this country about 95 percent of the people that are responsible.
I think that we get too much about whether we should or should not shoot. We do not want to have a country with shooting. I will say again that our Government is involved in the obligation to protect its citizenry.
Mr. WHITENER. Thank you. Any questions, Mr. Winn?
Mr. WINN. I do not disagree with your philosophy that the President might have gone on the radio and on television. I assume you are talking about the night that Dr. King was assassinated.
Mr. Liss. The night that it started-April 4th. I understand that it started on 14th Street initially, about 8 o'clock, and then I think it got to be a mass of things about midnight. I do not know the Constitution; I am not a student of it; I have not had much education. But I have lived it, and it seems to me that in the oath of office the President is supposed to protect the individual and the property rights of all citizens from internal or external attack. Whether we want to say internal attack, they were internal disturbances.
There is another thing that has not been mentioned. I grew up in the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts. I do not know whether any of you have been there. It is about the most quiet place you could go to. I called some of my cousins up there last week to see what the condition was up there. I said, "It must be wonderful to take a walk on the street at night." They said, "Are you kidding? Nobody goes on the street. "Where was the Government in Washington?" they asked.
They seemed to think that in Washington, D.C., the President is around here with a machinegun.
This has caused insecurity across the country. You have it going across the country. There must be a limit, and it must be eliminated, because we cannot get anything done in a climate of chaos.
Franklin Roosevelt said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Never have such words been more appropriate than today.
It seems to me that some man in high office should get up and put this on the line, because this is what people want to hear-all people, black and white-and if he did, he would get 90 percent of the votes.
Mr. WINN. How can you expect a President to do that when he has been telling us for the last two years: "You have got to be prepared for the long hot summers," and then the Vice President said that he would lead some of the demonstrations himself. How do you expect any kind of cooperation out of them after those statements?
Mr. Liss. When you talk about the Vice President, I think that the Vice President's stand on civil rights and social responsibility are well known. I am for every reform, but if I were a presidential candidate now-and I am not a politician-I think I know how to write speeches that would elect me. I know how these people on the streets feel. They do not know what these people on the streets feel, these candidates. They get their information from so-called experts who do not know. I did not get it out of books. I am like James Brown. I did not get it out of books.
Mr. WINN. You might get rich that way.
Mr. WHITENER. Thank you.
Mr. Liss. Thank you.
Mr. WHITENER. Our next witness is Mr. Charles Warden.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES WARDEN, JR., ON BEHALF OF THE OWNERS OF A BUILDING AT 14TH AND IRVING STS., WASHINGTON, D.C.
Mr. WARDEN. Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee. My name is Charles Warden. I am here on behalf of the owners of a building at the corner of 14th Street and Irving Street, and I appear this morning in support of the bill, H.R. 16948, to provide funds for the removal of the remains of buildings destroyed in the riots last month.
I want to thank Mr. Friedel for introducing this bill and you, Mr. Whitener, for holding the hearings on it.
This building is owned by three widows, one of whom is my motherin-law. When they were young and their families were growing up, they lived and worked in this building. Today, with their husbands passed away and their families raised, these three ladies look to this property as the sole source of income and their main security in life. One of these three ladies still lived in the building on the day of the riots and, when the building was destroyed, lost with it everything she did not carry out: letters, pictures, clothes, furniture those things which put substance into memories.
But, aside from the emotional and psychological anguish, this situation has brought real financial hardship. The property, of course, was insured-but, apparently at less than half its replacement cost. And there was no income insurance, so the income from the building ceased immediately.
On top of this they are faced with the unimaginable burden of tryto tear down and remove what is now an unsafe building. By letter of April 12, the Department of Licenses and Inspections invoked an Act of Congress of March 1, 1899, and directed them to start the removal of the building within one business day. The directive was impossible to obey. They responded immediately to the Department, stating that they were unable to carry out this order with their own resources in such a short time and asked the District Government for assistance in complying with this order. With the Committee's permission, I will insert a copy of that letter in the record.
Their situation is not unique, I am sure. These widows have lost their source of income. There has been the cost of boarding up the building so that children and passersby do not get hurt, a bill which ran over $800. And now they face the enormous expense of removing the rubble, which has been estimated to cost between $5,000 and $10,000. So they need whatever help they can be given.
But, Mr. Chairman, as an economist which I am by profession, I see an even more compelling reason for granting assistance to people facing this unusual problem. We all know that the land owners and businessmen in these areas must play a major role in this if it is to succeed. Yet, if steps are not quickly taken to preserve the meager capital base of these people, they will have no capital left to rebuild