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DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1951

WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 1951

UNITED STATES SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON BANKING AND CURRENCY,

Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to recess, at 10:30 a. m., in Room 301, Senate Office Building, Senator Burnet R. Maybank (chairman) presiding

Present: Senators Maybank, Benton, Moody, Capehart, Bricker, Schoeppel, and Dirksen.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order.
Mr. Aarons, will you proceed?

STATEMENT OF ROBERT H. AARONS, GENERAL COUNSEL, UNITED

PROPERTY OWNERS

Mr. AARONS. If I may be permitted, Mr. Chairman, and the committee, I have a brief statement now, and will submit additional material later.

My name is Robert H. Aarons, 931 East Colorado Street, Pasadena, Calif.

I represent the United Property Owners, which is a national nonprofit institution with western offices in Pasadena, Calif.

The following are the names of the organizations which are part and parcel of the United Property Owners Association: Altadena Property Owners Associations, Altadena, Calif. East Altadena Improvement Association, Altadena, Calif. Monrovia Property Owners Committee, Monrovia, Calif. Sierra Madre Property Owners Committee, Sierra Madre, Calif. Pasadena Property Owners Committee, Pasadena, Calif. West Hollywood Property Owners Association, West Hollywood,

Calif. Burbank Property Owners Association, Burbank, Calif. Ben-ton-Way Improvement Association, Los Angeles, Calif. California Civic & Associated Business Groups, Los Angeles, Calif. Eagle Rock Property Owners Association, Eagle Rock, Calif. Covina Property Owners Association, Covina, Calif. Temple City Property Owners Association, Temple City, Calif. Arcadia Property Owners Association, Arcadia, Calif. East Pasadena Property Owners Association, Pasadena, Calif. Downey Taxpayers and Property Owners Association, Downey, Calif. League of Civic and Business Associations of Upper San Gabriel

Valley, Calif.

Desert Hot Springs Improvement Association, Desert Hot Springs,

Calif.

The property owners and taxpayers associations are from the following locations: San Bernardino, South Gate, Inglewood, ComptonLynwood, Alhambra, Riverside, Whittier, San Clemente, Huntington Park, and Corona, Calif.

I have a letter addressed to the committee from the property owners in reference to our being here today, which I would like to offer for the record.

The CHAIRMAN. With no objection, it will be made a part of the record.

Mr. AARONS. I will insert a letter here from the Berkeley-Benton Improvement Association.

The CHAIRMAN. How long are you going to testify?
Mr. AARONS. Three or 4 minutes, Senator.

The CHAIRMAN. Why do you not read that letter? I notice it is short, and you say you are only going to testify for a short time. I think it should be read. Mr. AARONS (reading):

UNITED PROPERTY OWNERS,

Pasadena, Calif., May 21, 1951. UNITED STATES SENATE BANKING AND CURRENCY COMMITTEE,

Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. HONORABLE SIRs: This is to confirm telephonic requests that your committee in its consideration of Senate bill 1397 hear personally our representative and general counsel, Robert H. Aarons.

Ours is a “grass roots” organization, representing some 27 separate organizations. They are growing by leaps and bounds and we consider it no less than our plain duty to help make America ever yet greater. This we believe can best be done by keeping our middle-class citizenry strong and devoted to our best traditions.

We appreciate your courtesy in giving our representative and spokesman a sympathetic and considerate hearing. Respectfully,

UNITED PROPERTY OWNERS,

ISABELLE STEELE, Secretary

(Pursuant to order of the Board of Directors). Gentlemen, we are opposed to rent control in any form. We believe that, first of all, the record and the exhibits which I have here with me at this time, and which I will submit now, and some others which I will beg leave to submit at a later date, will show that we have a surplusage of rental units.

I will admit for the sake of argument that we have not got a superabundance of, say, five-room fully improved dwellings at perhaps $25 a month, but at a reasonable price we have a surplusage of dwelling units.

The CHAIRMAN. We would be glad to have you file whatever you want to file in the record, and without objection, whatever you wish to file will be made a part of the record.

Mr. AARONS. All right; I will submit the letters, and I submit a copy of the Los Angeles Times of May 16, 1951, and I would like to call to your attention the Congressional Record of Monday, March 5, 1951, recording the proceedings of Monday, January 29, 1951, at pages A1217 and A1218, at which time our organization recommended a system of voluntary controls, and at which time we embarked upon a program of getting statistics together in the event that this Congress

is called upon again to consider such legislation. As a result of these efforts, and in connection with which we had no cooperation with the national administration at all, even though we advised them fully of our program, we have found on this impartial survey that there was in none of these areas, covering most of southern California, any shortage of rental houseing units at fair and reasonable prices.

We submit that we can best take care of the entire housing situation on a local basis; that each locality can well determine its need for any regulation.

Senator ČAPEHART. May I ask a question, Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.

Senator CAPEHART. Do you feel that we should extend the 1950 Defense Production Act, which controls all prices, wages, and all other things?

Mr. Aarons. No; we do not.
Senator CAPEHART. You think the act ought to expire on June 30?
Mr. Aarons. Yes; that is our feeling.

Senator CAPEHART. You think we should have no controls on prices, or no control on wages?

Mr. AARONS. That is correct.

Senator CAPEHART. And of course the other features of the bill you feel possibly should be extended ?

Mr. AARONS. That is right, Senator.

Senator CAPEHART. But you want no price control on anything in the C'nited States, and you want no wage control?

Mr. AARONS. That is right. We feel that it is not efficient. We feel that in a free economy we get the best production, and the fairest to all the citizens.

The CHAIRMAN. What about credit control? Do you think that ought to be done away with, too?

Mr. Aarons. On credit control, as far as reality is concerned, we feel from our knowledge of financing in our part of the country that that can well be taken care of privately.

Senator CAPEHART. Do you feel we ought to extend credit controls on durable goods like automobiles, radio, television, washing machines ?

Mr. AARONS. We do not think so.
Senator CAPEHART. They ought all be eliminated?
Mr. AARONS. I think so.

I might say, if I may, for the record, that that is my personal opinion, because I can only speak on behalf of these organizations in

The CHAIRMAX. I understand you appear for those organizations on rent control, but it is your personal opinion that all controls ought to be done away with?

Mr. Aarons. That is my personal opinion, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any further questions, gentlemen?

You might give the young lady whatever you wish to put in the record.

Mr. Aarons. All right. And may I submit at a later date a more detailed prepared statement as to our views, and evidence ?

The CHAIRMAN. That is all right at a later date, but you had better not make the date too late because we are going to try to finish these

hearings on the 7th of June. We will have to have the hearings printed in order to write up whatever bill we might write up within 2 days after that.

Mr. Aarons. Yes. I would like again to refer to this statement in the Congressional Record which I mentioned, and which states our views.

The CHAIRMAN. Do not wait too long.
Mr. AARONS. Oh, no, Senator, I will

be back to the west coast within a week or less, and I shall prepare these documents and send them on. Thank you very much (The letters and material referred to by Mr. Aarons follow :)

BERKELEY-BENTON IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION,

Los Angeles, Calif., May 17, 1951. Mr. ROBERT H. AARONS,

General Counsel, United Property Owners. DEAR MR. AARONS: Upon notice of your going to Washington to testify against enactment of further control of private property by the Federal Government under a so-called rent-control law, I hereby authorize you to speak against such a measure as I have been given blanket authority to do so myself.

Since we have had decontrol in Los Angeles more income property is available as a great amount of rentals had been taken off the market because the owners lost less by leaving them locked up than by renting at a low figure. Decontrol has also brought down the rates on new units for which there was no ceiling.

It is the old law of supply and demand making itself manifest in a renter's market. We have to advertise more to get desirable tenants, but we can get rid of those who are undesirable. That is what I mean by property control. Sincerely yours,

PATRICK J. CORCORAN,

Secretary-Treasurer.

CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATED CIVIC AND BUSINESS GROUPS, INC.,

Los Angeles Calif., May 17, 1951. BANKING COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE,

Washington, D. C. HONORABLE MEMBER: This letter is directed to your committee as being the proper body to hold hearings in connection with proposed legislation for reenactment of the Rent Control Act, according to my best information.

I am hereby authorizing Mr. Robert Aarons, general counsel of the United Property Owners, to protest on behalf of the civic and business groups against further extension of the Rent Control Act or the enactment of a new law.

My contacts in southern California indicate no shortage or prospective shortage of housing of any kind at a fair rental, and the number of vacancies listed in every paper that I read and the number of pieces of income property for sale show that it is no longer a landlord's market. Sincerely yours,

ELLERY G. McCLUNG,

State President.

ARTHUR W. COZAD, President, Los Angeles County Division

LIST OF NEWSPAPERS OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Pasadena Independent
Whittier News
Temple City Times
Arcadia Tribune-News
Pasadena Star-News
Monrovia News-Post

Redondo Daily Breeze
Alhambra Post-Advocate
Glendale News-Post
Los Angeles Times
Burbank Daily Review

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