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with, no monies left to invest, and certainly no equity left with which to command reinvestment capital.
To illustrate with our own situation, the cost of removing the building, clearing the land, and living off the insurance until some new structure begins to produce rental income would eat up over one-third of the insurance money needed for rebuilding. This means that the new investment could be as much as 50 per cent larger if all the money could be used for the main purpose of rebuilding.
In times when we are all conscious of economy in Government, it is important not to be pennywise and dollarfoolish. We know that some sort of assistance will be needed-and will be given-to get these communities on their feet. There are different ways of giving this aid: public construction, development grants or loans, or, as in this case, special funds to aid distressed businessmen and land owners in order to preserve their basic investment capital with which they can take on the main task of rebuilding. Because business can borrow money if it has capital, any action on the Government's part to preserve that capital will have four to five times the bang for the buck over money spent in grants or public buildings. Looked at another way, every dollar spent to help clear the rubble will get you what you will need four or five dollars of public money to do later. Therefore, I believe good economics calls for giving the District Government the funds needed to clear these lands so that rebuilding can begin as soon as possible. (The letter of April 17, 1968, to the Department of Licenses and Inspections, District of Columbia Government, is as follows:) 2801 NEW MEXICO AVENUE, N.W.,
Mr. JULIAN R. DUGAS,
Washington, D.C., April 17, 1968.
Director, Department of Licenses and Inspections,
DEAR MR. DUGAS: This is to acknowledge your letter of April 12 requiring the immediate removal of the building on lot 185 square 2672 (3046 14th and 1410 Irving Streets, N.W.) and to say that we are unable to carry out this order with our own resources in such a short time.
As you know, this property was the sole source of income for three widowsmyself, Antigone Dolfis and Helen J. Dolfis-and we have suffered great hardship and loss from this fire. We will try as best we can to help to rebuild this neighborhood and we want to do what is right. But we do not know whether we can alone complete the removal of the building. Therefore we wish to ask the District Government for assistance in complying with this order.
I have asked my in-law Mr. Charles Warden to carry this letter to you for us, and I would be grateful if you would tell him what we should do now.
Mr. WHITENER. Thank you.
LUCILLE B. DOLFIS.
Mr. WINN. Do you know if these three ladies have settled with the insurance company yet for their damage?
Mr. WARDEN. I know they have not settled, sir.
Mr. WINN. Is there a question about whether the insurance company will pay off?
Mr. WARDEN. I do not think so. The adjuster said that it looked like everything would be paid off. There are complications, because they divided the insurance among four companies and no one single company would take the entire insurance, and they are having a title search
made now, but I understand that the fire insurance will be paid. That is my understanding.
Mr. WINN. Of the people that you have talked to, do you know of any instances where the insurance company has refused to pay off? Mr. WARDEN. None, whatsoever. I know of none, personally.
Mr. WINN. Because of the clause in the contract on riot, insurrection or revolution?
Mr. WARDEN. I do not know, sir.
Mr. WINN. Do you know, or do you have any information about what percentage of the people in that area might rebuild if it was cleaned up by the District. Do you have any idea?
Mr. WARDEN. Yes-I am not sure of the question being so much as to whether the rubble is cleaned up or not. That becomes a matter of how much they are able to rebuild.
Mr. WINN. There will be less money for that, if they have to pay some of it out-of-pocket.
Mr. WARDEN. Absolutely. From what people I have been able to talk to I gather the impression that initially there was great distress and anger which is now cooled down and the horizon is becoming clearer and there is a desire to get back into the community and to do what they can to repair and to rebuild and look to the future.
Mr. WINN. Thank you very much.
Mr. WHITENER. Mr. Warden, do you know anything as to how the overwhelming number of the citizens in this area felt?
I do not believe that prior to the time of the disturbance that there was any appreciable portion of the population in the area who approved of this, do you?
Mr. WARDEN. No, sir. I was referring rather to the shops and the land owners. I am afraid that the first few days after the riots they were very angry, although I do not share that. I think that is cooling
Mr. WHITENER. I personally have had occasion to have telephone calls and personal visits from good citizens of the Negro race in the area that was damaged, and they deplored the conduct of these hoodlums as much as you and I do. They are concerned about it because of what has happened, and I gather that they are also concerned with this small band of hoodlums undertaking to do the same thing again. If that is true, what is the answer in the future for your mother-in-law and her two widowed sisters and others who may go back and rebuild? Mr. WARDEN. It does take away from the particular bill, of course. Mr. WHITENER. It does not, because aren't we going to enact into law a financial cost to the District Government which will be renewed? We must think in terms of not just what has happened but what the cost may be in the future.
Mr. WARDEN. I would certainly hope not. I think that we have the wisdom in city planning now, in urban renewal, in architectural design-a number of related disciplines, that can deal with this problem.
Mr. WHITENER. You do not think that these folks threw Molotov cocktails because of the designs of buildings, do you?
Mr. WARDEN. Designs which would not permit destruction from
casual looting-that need not be the case. I have had conversations with contractors on this.
Mr. WHITENER. In other words, these new buildings will have to be fortresses?
Mr. WARDEN. They would have to be stronger buildings. I know that the bank buildings in the area certainly suffered a great deal less damage than the wooden structures, for example, that are 40-50 years old. I would hope that we would not rebuild with wooden structures like that.
Mr. WHITENER. What you are saying is, whatever rebuilding takes place is going to have to be done with the thought in mind that the building must be rebuilt to withstand the hoodlums' Molotov cocktails and the rioting?
Mr. WARDEN. I am afraid that the insurance companies will not tolerate an insurance policy unless that sort of protection is taken. Mr. WHITENER. That is the way that I understand it.
You stated that the Department of Licensees and Inspections sent these dear ladies a note that they had to get the rubble removed in one day.
Who issued that order?
Mr. WARDEN. The letter was signed by Mr. Dugas, I believe. That is my understanding.
Mr. WHITENER. What was the basis of his contention that the building would have to be removed-on account of safety or sanitation?
Mr. WARDEN. Safety. It is my understanding that this is the only law under which that bureau has to operate. They are no happier in writing that letter than we were in receiving it.
Mr. WHITENER. You mean under the law they had no alternative? Mr. WARDEN. That is my understanding, to give the one-day notice. Mr. WHITENER. I have also heard testimony to the fact that there is a law or a regulation which requires certain types of floors in houses, certain bathroom facilities in houses that people occupy; yet, from what I have heard in the papers there have been a lot of so-called temporary dwellings built around here recently that do not seem to be equipped with that kind of thing. I wonder if they have issued any letters to those giving a one-day notice?
Mr. WARDEN. I do not know.
Mr. WINN. I believe Mr. Dugas was reported in the papers this morning as inspecting the so-called Resurrection City.
One more question, Mr. Warden.
From the people that you have talked to, do you think that there was any pre-planned organization about which buildings were going to be looted and set on fire and which ones were not going to be attacked?
Mr. WARDEN. I certainly have heard that kind of rumor and accusation, Mr. Winn. My personal feeling is that it is a totally irresponsible comment. I know of no organization and know of no pre-planning. My feeling is, again, a very personal one, that we do a disservice to the job that we are trying to do, to the problem that we are trying to cure
here by compounding what is a fear or an uneasiness of a rebellion against oppression with an organization such as you refer to.
Mr. WINN. Normally, I would agree with you, except when I toured the area two days in a row in the afternoon, it wa amazing that the words "Soul Brother" were written on so many of the buildings, and that the same identical material was used for blocks and blocks and blocks on 14th Street. If that was not organized, how did the person who did that know which building he was going to label and which one he was not going to label? It must have been organized. The writing looked the same to me. I asked the police if they thought it was the same writing. This was particularly true on one side of the street. The police stated that it was exactly the same printing. They seemingly had no difficulty being well organized; yet we could not get our police that well organized.
Mr. WHITENER. In view of your statement, I would recommend that you might read a recent publication by the House Un-American Activities Committee which is entitled "Guerrilla Warfare in the United States." You may find it rather interesting material.
Mr. WARDEN. I believe that a member of my family was one of the participants in the preparation of it.
Mr. WHITENER. We thank you very much.
Mr. Kneipp, the last witness said that under the Act of 1899 that the Department of Licenses and Inspections had no alternative than to send the letter.
Is that a correct statement of the law?
STATEMENT OF ROBERT KNEIPP, ASSISTANT CORPORATION
Mr. KNEIPP. Yes, it is, Mr. Chairman. Section 5-501 of the D.C. Code requires the District Government to examine a building as to whether it may be unsafe and, in their opinion, if it should be unsafe they shall immediately notify the owner, agent or others having interest in such.
It reads as follows:
If, in the District of Columbia, a building or part of a building, staging or other structure, or anything attached to it or connected with any building or other structure or excavation, from any cause, be reported unsafe, the District shall examine such structure or excavation and, if in its opinion the same be unsafe, it shall immediately notify the owner, agent, or other person having an interest in such structure or excavation, to cause the same to be made safe and secure or that the same be removed as may be necessary. The person or persons so notified shall be allowed until 12 o'clock noon the day following the service of such notice in which to commence the securing or the removal of the same. The District of Columbia has no choice in the matter.
Mr. WHITENER. All right. Thank you.
Our next witness is Rear Admiral Oliver Naquin, USN. (retd.) You may proceed, Admiral.
STATEMENT OF REAR ADMIRAL OLIVER NAQUIN, U.S.N. (RETIRED), FOURTEENTH STREET, NORTHWEST
Admiral NAQUIN. Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee. I appreciate very much the opportunity to appear before you this morning, and with your permission, I wish to speak on behalf of my wife and her sister who are co-owners of the property on the Southeast corner of 14th Street and Columbia Road, Northwest, in the District of Columbia.
The above property was vandalized, looted and burned beyond salvage during the civil riots of the 4th, 5th, and 6th of April, 1968. First, all store fronts of the five stores of the structure were smashed. Next, they were looted and finally burned by arsonists. In no one of these separate and distinct phases was any protection afforded this property by either the District of Columbia or the Federal Government. And, Mr. Chairman, this is a Federal city.
It would seem that the destruction of this property, beyond the feasibility of salvage was not enough to satisfy the arsonists. On or about 8 May, a month later, the property was again set on fire. At this time I understand the blaze was brought under control rather promptly. But again, on the evening of 10 May, the arsonists had another go at it and this time, according to the Washington Post, about 24 pieces of fire fighting equipment were required to bring the conflagration under control.
I cite the above to emphasize that not only was protection totally lacking during the initial riot period, but that more than a month later the same condition prevails. Apparently, arsonists can burn at will in the District of Columbia, even while we are meeting here this morning.
As a result of the initial burning of the above-mentioned property, the District of Columbia, Department of Licenses and Inspections, served notice on the owners that, "it has been determined that the building is imminently dangerous and unsafe." This directive was received around 3 p.m. on 11 April and by it the owners were given until noon the following day to commence securing or removing this structure. To say that such a directive was none too realistic is an understatement.
I might say parenthetically it might not have been so unrealistic in the case of a single building being destroyed in a normal accident, but here we have a wholesale situation which is different.
Mr. WHITENER. You may have problems finding the labor to do it under these conditions.
Admiral NAQUIN. That was just referred to, that it was intended to take care of unsafe structures which the property owner maintains in a routine situation, to protect the lives of the community and not in a serious set of circumstances as we have had here. I think the District Government should have been interested in buildings not building soundly. So, I would assume that the wrecking people were heavily involved at the time and that it would be, as you say, totally unrealistic to expect to get someone to do this thing."
I called the Department of Licenses and Inspections as soon as we received this notice, and I was told that the emphasis here was really