« PreviousContinue »
THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 1947
UNITED STATES SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON BANKING AND CURRENCY,
Washington, D. C.
The committee met at 9:30 a. m., pursuant to recess, Senator Charles W. Tobey, chairman, presiding, in room 301, Senate Office Building. Present: Senators Tobey (chairman), Buck, Capehart, Flanders, Cain, Sparkman, and Robertson of Virginia.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
For the record this is Mr. Earl B. Teckemeyer, of Indianapolis. You may state your position and connection with this real-estate situation.
STATEMENT OF EARL B. TECKEMEYER, OF INDIANAPOLIS, IND.
Mr. TECKEMEYER. As you have stated, my name is Earl Teckemeyer. I am in the real-estate-management business in Indianapolis, Ind. I am just here at the invitation of my Senator, Mr. Capehart, having talked to him about this matter. He said he thought it would be a good idea for me to come down and talk to the committee, so that is why I am here.
I am not a paid lobbyist for anyone, except the 300 people that I manage real estate for. I manage about 2,000 pieces of rental property in Indianapolis for the people that own those properties. There is not a skyscraper among them. They are just ordinary little rental properties and, as I say, owned by about 300 individuals.
I have tried my best to digest this bill. It is a monumental piece of literature. It is very difficult to know all of the ramifications of it, because in many instances it refers to the alteration or amendment of some other law which is in some other book.
The CHAIRMAN. I think you are quite correct; to the lay mind it would be difficult. It is one of the difficulties about legislation the way it is drawn.
Mr. TECKEMEYER. One section has to do with credit and financing, and the other with public housing, and it is the public-housing portion that I would like to talk about.
These people that I represent have been sorely tried for several years with this rent control, and that has been a yoke which they are still bearing.
Now, they are very much concerned about what is going to happen to their rental properties if the Government gets into the rental business, as it appears it will happen if this measure is approved.
It seems plain to those people, at least I have talked to them in my office, that it is unfair to tax one group of people to provide housing for another group.
Millions of tenants living in federally owned and controlled rental properties in my opinion become
The CHAIRMAN. You have used an aphorism there, that is seems unfair to tax one group of people for another group. That statement I do not challenge, but I just raise the question. The Federal Government taxes all of the people on income tax, and that money goes into the Treasury, and from time immemorial that money is used for various parts of the country, various projects. Is not that principle pretty well established that we tax the general people for special groups? Has that not been accepted in this country?
Mr. TECKEMEYER. It is largely true; I agree with you.
The CHAIRMAN. The thesis back of that being, in other words, that the strong help the weak, if you want to carry it that far. Is not that an accepted part of society and a part of our economic system? Mr. TECKEMEYER. If you confine it to the weak, I would agree.
The CHAIRMAN. And to others. We may have a project, and there are so many projects today, too numerous to mention, there they are and all paid for out of general taxation, which is a contradistinction to your statement, to tax the people to help special groups.
Mr. TECKEMEYER. My real-estate people feel that it is even more apparent in this particular case.
The CHAIRMAN. I think so, yes. I would not dispute that. I am elucidating the matter only.
Mr. TECKEMEYER. I started to say just at that point, when we got into our discussion, my feeling is that thousands of people living in federally owned and operated units become more or less rank fillers, followers; they are easily controlled.
I have a pamphlet from the war-housing project. This was printed by the Government, calling a meeting of all of the tenants in this particular project, and one of the things listed on the agenda for this meeting is "Registration for the coming National Election.” I do not think that is even subtle.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me see that, please.
Mr. TECKEMEYER. I do not think these thousands of people, millions, let us say, that they will vote their landlord out of business, that live in these units. So long as their landlord provides them with topflight housing at cut rates, they will be with us. They will never seek to stand on their own feet and be a regular part of America's millions of home owners.
Public housing does not pay taxes along with the other kinds of real estate that you and I might own. It pays a little drib, let us say, in lieu of taxes, but nothing comparable to what it costs to maintain the schools and what not that supply that housing.
The CHAIRMAN. This thing is not signed by anybody, no signature, no organization signs it. What is the genesis of it?
Mr. TECKEMEYER. It is from the housing project in California; Vallejo, I think, is the name of it.
The CHAIRMAN. There is no signature of any official or any organization.
Mr. TECKEMEYER. Here is another one that goes into a little bit more detail.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you know whether this is a State or national group that put it out?
Mr. TECKEMEYER. I think it was a joint State and national war housing project in California.
Senator SPARKMAN. Let me ask you; you said the Government paid for printing this?
Mr. TECKEMEYER. I said it was paid by this project.
Senator SPARKMAN. I thought you said the Government.
Mr. TECKEMEYER. If I said that, I did not mean that. It was put out by the housing project itself.
Senator SPARKMAN. I see nothing on it to identify it at all.
Mr. TECKEMEYER. Except that the only connection that it has with this question is that it was circulated among the people who live in federally controlled and operated units, and was put out by that unit. The CHAIRMAN. Was it only circulated there among that group? Mr. TECKEMEYER. It was a call to a meeting to the occupants.
The CHAIRMAN. It is a call to come to the conference of war housing residents at Vallejo; that is, it is addressed to them. That is a group of people getting together, as in America where we have the right of convening and the right to protest and petition. There is nothing on here which indicates that it came from the Government or was paid for by them at all. It is the committee of arrangements of war housing residents, a group getting together as any people in any section might get together.
I do not think that you intended that this was put out by the Government, urging people to come and vote a certain way. All it says is about the registration for that subdivision. That is a commendable thing, if you can get people to take an interest and to come and be registered. You and I will agree to that.
Mr. TECKEMEYER. I think there would be a powerful inference to the effect that it would be rather detrimental to their interests not to do that.
The CHAIRMAN. There was not any asterisk which said otherwise; no implied threat there.
Senator SPARKMAN. I notice this statement in it:
For the past few months representatives of the tenant councils from many area housing projects have been meeting and talking over the common experience of living in housing projects. They have discovered a general similarity in the garbage problem, the health problem, child care, schools, and the problem of stores with monopoly on our trade.
And then it goes on and tells about the calling of this conference. It seems to me that this is nothing more than one of your citizen groups here in the District of Columbia that are well recognized, and I do not think anybody would criticize. They have the right to meet to discuss any subject that they want to.
Mr. TECKEMEYER. Certainly.
Senator SPARKMAN. It seems to me that is all in the world that this is.
Mr. TECKEMEYER. There simply was in my opinion an inference, rather a powerful inference, that the people living at that project should be concerned with, as we all should be always, with our elections.
Senator SPARKMAN. I have seen in the paper where many of these citizens groups in Washington discussed the matter of suffrage for the District of Columbia.
The CHAIRMAN. They never got very far, did they?
Senator SPARKMAN. That is true; they continued to discuss it. I do not think it is a fair inference from anything that I have seen here that this was paid for by anybody except the private individuals who wanted to call this conference. I see nothing in it at all from which an inference can be drawn that it was paid for by the Government, directly or indirectly, or by any housing project directly or indirectly.
Mr. TECKEMEYER. I have no way to prove that.
Senator SPARKMAN. I know that. I see nothing in this from which that inference can properly be drawn.
The CHAIRMAN. I think so far as any indictment is concerned, it is a dud.
Mr. TECKEMEYER. Aside from the dollars cost of this thing, I think the social effects of it ought to be talked about for just a moment.
As I have already indicated, these people that eventually dwell in this federally owned real estate at lower rents than otherwise would be charged, probably never will forsake it. To me human beings are rather peculiar; the first time they need help, they may come a little shame-facedly and are grateful, and the second helping they are not quite so shame-faced, and the third time you owe it to them. I think that would be engendered.
At home we have one of these small projects built as a depressionmade work project. That is the only public housing we have in Indianapolis. The slum dwellers were moved out. They were not rehoused. Their financial superiors moved in. Some slum dwellers went elsewhere and created more slums. But the really sordid thing about that is that then during the last 3 years the rents have been raised three times in that housing project, and my little folks that own real estae in Indianapolis want to know, "How does it happen that the same law that won't let me raise my rents does not apply to the Government, and the Governmert can go right ahead and raise rents all it wants to?"
I cannot explain that except that I have looked into it, and know that those projects are not governed by the same OPA rules that privately owned real estate is.
So there again there is a grave inequity that my little people object to.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you talk with the people in charge of that project as to this manifest injustice?
Mr. TECKEMEYER. I did.
The CHAIRMAN. What did you get from that?
Mr. TECKEMEYER. The manager, I believe, if he could afford to. would openly say that he did not believe it was right, but nevertheless it did happen.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you give us the name of that project?
Mr. TECKEMEYER. It is called Lockwood Gardens.
The CHAIRMAN. Who is the official in charge of it?
Mr. TECKEMEYER. A man named Ramson.
The CHAIRMAN. Who is your rent-control man in that area?
Mr. TECKEMEYER. The director for that area is a new man, just appointed, named Philip Bayt.
The CHAIRMAN. What is his address?
Mr. TECKEMEYER. 429 North Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, Ind.
As to costs, this committee went into this whole thing very exhaustively last year, I know.
Here are some photographs from Cleveland of a project, half of which was built by the public housers, the other by private. The private contractor built his at a cost of $5,200, took 4 months to complete it, and was allowed a rent of $37.50. Right across the street it took 9 months to build by the public houses, it cost $6,000, and the OPA allowed a rent ceiling of $50.
These little people again that come to my office say what about this thing. They are fearful that we will run into that sort of thing again if we launch into too much of a program with this public housing.
Every argument that I have ever heard for public housing I think likewise could be made for almost any other business that the Government might want to get into. Our welfare workers and social workers believe, for example, that a lot of our people need more groceries than they can get, more automobiles or washing machines, and yet I do not believe you want to set up in just every business in order to give people more of something than maybe they are able to afford for themselves.
We just have two sick people and one bottle of medicine. Who is going to get it? We have one stock pile of lumber, one supply of labor. In my town today builders are building little inexpensive four-room houses that are modern, nothing elaborate, but they sell for around $5,200.
I am not a building man, but I know they are being built.
The CHAIRMAN. Are those such as will endure as a normal house prewar?
Mr. TECKEMEYER. They will endure for 50 years, I would say, made of cement block.
Always the Government comes in with a project; they will take our lumber pile, our labor supply, and we will have to stop, because there is not enough to go around for the two. That is why I use the illustration of two sick people and one bottle. One of the two is going to get it.
I believe the answer to this, and it is a stock answer and you have heard it many times before, if we get around to normal and the builders build and everybody moves up a notch, and I can use the example of the home where I was born; my mother is 80 years old. I moved her into an apartment. These people paid $3,000 for it when they bought it. It is a seven-room house in a disintegrating neighborhood. We sold that to a family of seven people, who moved out of a fourroom house that did not have a bath or a furnace. To those people they had moved up a notch. That is good used housing for them. They are delighted with it. They paid $5,000 for it, $1,000 down and $40 a month.
If we ever get back to normal and the builders get to building, and traditionally in America that is the way we have taken care of not the submarginal group of people that we know we have to look after,
99279 47- -21