« 이전계속 »
for residential construction. (My authority for this statement is Mr. Don Campbell, who made this statement to me in Mr. Wilson Wyatt's office on March 9, 1946.)
Mr. CHURCH. Will you repeat that statement, the one Don Campbell made?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. War Production Board had recommended to OPA early in 1945 that it change all of its prices on lumber to emphasize and give an incentive to the production of those grades and sizes which would be needed for residential construction. I continue. Then I stated :
My authority for this statement is Mr. Don Campbell, who made this statement to me in Mr. Wilson Wyatt's office on March 9, 1946.
OPA, as of March 9, 1946, more than a year after the recommendation had been made by WPB, had not taken any action. While preventing, by its price control authority, the flow of materials needed for the construction of houses, OPA, through its labor advisory committees throughout the United States, initiated in the fall of 1945 an emotional demand for housing controls and support for the Wagner-Ellender
Much of the housing shortage in our urban areas has been created by OPA, as I have pointed out and as the figures of the Bureau of the Census substantiate. I refer to the fact that home occupancy increased from 15.2 millions to 20 millions.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Was your organization the organization that was affiliated with the organization that changed over to the Chicago meeting, asking for this $600,000,000 for war housing ?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Do you mean the $600,000,000 premium pay. ments for subsidy payments?
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Yes. Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I am a national director of that organization, but I voted against it.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. The organization of which you are a national director came down here and piled this up on Congress, when a lot of us on the committee voted against it.
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I have no argument with you there.
This shortage of rental housing in turn has resulted in inflated prices of real estate being paid by families who are desperately forced to pay a premium for occupancy, yet OPA has done nothing about this because, in my opinion, the personnel of this agency, working in cooperation with the personnel of NHA, needed this condition to substantiate the joint demand of NHA and OPA for control of the sale, as well as the rental, of all real estate, including vacant land. This demand is too recent for you gentlemen to need any substantiation of my statement.
The joint effort of NHA and OPA to control the shelter, and therefore the lives, of American citizens is climaxed by the famous letter of Mr. Chester Bowles to Mr. Wilson Wyatt, a copy of which has been introduced into the Congressional Record.
I point out to you, gentleman, that the objective of the program outlined by Mr. Bowles is to put the building industry completely under the control of Government agencies, and you need only to follow the record of orders issued by NHA in recent months to find proof that NHA and OPA aid at the control of housing, rather than its production.
Finally, I would like to point out that one of the reasons given for making NHA a permanent agency is that a research and statistical agency is needed to keep the public advised about housing needs and trends. I submit to you that NHA personnel colors practically all of its reports to fit its aim of gaining control of all residential construction and all housing. There is hardly a press release made by NHA regarding the industry through which it is supposed to operate which does not imply that the millions of citizens engaged in building and real estate activities are dishonest or profiteers. If you question this statement, I shall be glad at a later date to place before you scores of press releases and newspaper and magazine articles in which NHA has expressed this point of view. While an employee of NHA, I received some statistical data on construction costs, which was so incredibly inaccurate that the statements could only have stemmed.from deliberate intent.
Mr. CHURCH. Mr. Chairman, as a member of this committee, I would like the witness, at the end of his statement, to place some of those exhibits in the record. I wish you would select some of them and put them in the record. We may have that privilege?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I am not sure that I can do that, but I think I have one here from Life. Possibly I can put that in.
I must plead, Mr. Chairman, ignorance of these things in how much you should have, and that sort of thing.
It seems to me that one of the most recent and glaringly vicious efforts of NHA to sell the American public the idea that we are a nation of slums is to be found in its estimates of substandard dwelling units. The report of the Bureau of the Census, released May 16 of this year, shows that NHA's figures are so grossly inaccurate as to make any report by NHA suspect for all time to come. I will not take your time to compare these estimates of substandard dwellings, but I would like to place in the record the statement that NHA bases most of its estimates of the quality of housing on the real property survey made by WPA in 1939–40. NHA never tells the American public or the Congress that this survey by WPA was largely directed by personnel in the United States Housing Authority, and it does not teli the public or the Congress the criteria used in determining how many substandard dwellings are to be found in our cities. I quote to you, gentlemen, one of the opening statements from the report of the director of the low income survey made in Milwaukee, to give you an idea of how they made this survey and how they find so many substandard dwellings. I am quoting now, the man that made the survey, mind you:
Dwelling units are not classified as substandard by virtue of possessing some special, readily observable, and generally agreed-upon attribute of a common-sense character. They are rather rated as substandard as the outcome of an evaluation, depending upon observed attributes. The amount and character of the attributes that should contribute to the substandard rating is a question upon which there may well be difference of opinion. The
criteria employed in the present survey and in its predecessor the real prop erty survey, are, as has already been emphasized, relatively broad ones, tending to produce a relatively high percentage of substandard ratings. Certain decisions made in the course of the real property survey tended to accentuate the content and scope of these criteria.
One of the criteria under which a dwelling unit was rated as physically substandard was the lack of any permanently installed heating equipment.
Another situation which resulted eventually in markedly increasing the number of substandard dwelling units in the real property and low-income housing area surveys was that presented in the problem of the proper procedure for the enumeration of rooming houses. These structures usually present a jumble of living arrangements, resting upon an intricate background of conversion and reconversion. They range all the way from what are indisputably mere sleeping rooms and not dwelling units to full-fledged apartments, completely closed off and constituting dwelling units without question. Between these limits there are many cases of living arrangements concerning which it is hard to decide whether they approximate more closely to mere sleeping rooms or to dwelling units. They generally consists, however, of not more than one or two rooms, have shared sanitary facilities and some degree of cooking equipment. It was finally decided that if the cooking equipment, even though consisting of mere movable gas or electric plates, was of two-burner capacity, or more, it should be considered as sufficient to qualify the room or group of rooms as a dwelling unit.
On this basis, the enumeration of rooming houses was carried through. Sereral thousand border-line dwelling units, all physically substandard because of inadequate sanitary facilities, were added to the real property survey-and to the low-income housing area survey—due to the above conclusions regarding the role of cooking equipment. Had a more conservative judgment prevailedthat all rooms or groups of rooms of the type in question which possessed no cooking equipment other than movable gas or electric plates should not be construed as dwelling units, regardless of the capacity of the equipment—then there would have been no such augmentation of dwelling units, all substandard ones, from this source.
The outcome of all this is that the percentage of dwelling units rate as substandard in the real property survey is unquestionably high.
I ask you, gentlemen, if this is the kind of administrative or research agency you wish to recommend as a permanent part of the Government of the people of the United States?
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Kirkpatrick, that is a very interesting statement but if we kill this reorganization plan, will not that same bunch of socialized housing men still be in the Government and still carry on the program if Congress continues to appropriate the money?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Yes, sir; if the Congress continues to appropriate the money, and if you pass legislation providing for it.
The CHAIRMAN. I mean without passing any additional legislation. Those agencies who were in existence in 1937, 1938, and 1939.
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. The National Housing Agency was not.
The CHAIRMAN. The same crowd is there. You can abolish an agency, and all you need do is have an additional amount of stationery and letterheads printed.
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I agree with you, and when you consider the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill, I will be down here talking the same way.
The CHAIRMAN. I am just wondering if the defeat of this plan would accomplish what you fellows want, that is to get rid of this crowd.
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. It at least stops it from being made a permanent agency.
The CHAIRMAN. They were before the National Housing Agency was created. They were here under the United States Housing Authority, and the Alley Dwelling Authority, and the Slum Clearance Authority.
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I agree with you, sir; they will move right in.
The CHAIRMAN. They are still under the original law. The original law that created these things was not abolished by the reorganization of 1945. We will not lose the gentlemen at all.
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. You will not lose them entirely, by just failing to make the National Housing Administration permanent, but it might be a step in the right direction, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. They will revert back to their status prior to the issuance of the Executive order in February or March of 1942. They will go right back. They will still have their boys coming out to your city and planning to eliminate your slums.
Mr. HENRY. That will not be so unless they get money from Congress.
The CHAIRMAN. They will get it somewhere. I do not know how they do it.
That is all the questions I care to ask. Are there any further questions?
Mr. CHURCH. Do you believe that this plan will increase somewhat the strangle hold they have on you?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Yes, sir.
Mr. CHURCH. You believe that the passage of the plan will be more apt to make a permanent strangle hold than working in the direction of relievig the strangle hold?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I do not think there is any question of that, sir.
Mr. Henry. Mr. Kirkpatrick, while Milwaukee is not in my congressional district, yet I am there so often and have so many acquaintances there I feel rather familiar with the situation. Is it not true that Milwaukee was exceptionally well-equipped to finance housing? We had many fine, big, and strong building and loan associations and many fine banks in there and other lending agencies that were eagerly looking for good investments in housing, and so eager that there was a strong contest on in Milwaukee as to the rate of interest that they would charge to each prospective borrower. Is that not true?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Yes, sir; that was and is true. In fact I had a call from a bank the other day offering 3.25 percent interest.
Mr. HENRY. Over a number of years in many cases that would amount to less than the rent would be per month?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. That is true.
Mr. HENRY. Is it not true, that had you not been discouraged in your capacity there as a Government representative as much as you were, there would have been much private housing constructed and the situation in Milwaukee today would be much relieved?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Yes, sir. Of course I hope the committee understands that I did not just ask for an indefinite amount of housing and that I did not ask for the amount of housing we would normally have built in peacetime. I only asked for a reasonable amount of housing. After consultation with a committee which was advisory to me, headed by the mayor, headed by the president of the building construction trades council, Pete Shumann, you undoubtedly know him, we made the request. It was a very broad interest committee. In fact I believe the statement was made by some people in the National Housing Agency that it was probably the most representative committee of any city in the United States. It was on their recommendations that I asked for a certain amount of housing, taking into consideration the fact that we needed materials for guns, ships, planes, and tanks. We
did not just ask to continue business as usual. In fact, I closed my business although I had an agreement with the National Housing Agency that I could continue my own business if I desired while directing war housing but I closed it because I felt my men could do a better war job in a war plant, because as I was trying to do it in the National Housing Agency, they should try to do it in other war agencies.
Mr. HENRY. Is it not true that you object to this reorganization plan principally because it consolidates into one unit the Government subsidized housing under one head, along with the privately financed housing?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I would not put in in exactly those words, Mr. Henry, but something like that. I would put it this way: That it sets up an over-all housing agency which presumably tries to help encourage the doing of an over-all housing job. That is presumably its character but in fact the personnel is such that it is perpetually in competition with free enterprise.
Mr. Henry. Do you feel it is possible to find one man to head that proposed agency that could give the same sympathetic approach to privately financed homes as to publicly financed homes?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Well, it is to be doubted, sir, because on that question, you usually have matters of pretty violent opinion. I have many people in my own industry who accused me of being a public houser because of statements I have made. On the other hand, some of the Government housers say I am one of their most violent opponents. I would say this, and try to answer your question, I would say "No," I do not think I could find one man. I do think, and I want it clearly understood that I have a great deal of respect for Wilson Wyatt. He is trying to do an emergency job. The first time I met him I told him I had come down with my tongue in my cheek, as the saying goes, and it was still there, and it is still there. However, I had a great deal of respect at least for his moral integrity.
Mr. HENRY. You would agree would you not, though, that a board of directors would be an improvement over one single head?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. There is no question about that. You see the trouble Mr. Henry, with National Housing Agency, I mean even for its wartime job, it took new men from industry. I mean a man from industry was just unknown in the National Housing Agency. They may have had a few somewhere down the line in some clerical jobs or something like that, but policy-making men were all men from the old USHA or from the National Association of Housing Officials, or from the National Public Housing Conference or organizations like that. Dr. Philipson, Keyserling, Woodbury, all of those fellows were in that class. Mr. HENRY. That is all.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other questions? Thank you very much, Mr. Kirkpatrick.
Mr. CHURCH. Mr. Kirkpatrick, I want to ask you a question. With reference to Public Law 263, section 5 (a), can you express an opinion as to the legality of this plan, as to whether or not it is legal, whether or not it conflicts with Public Law 263?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I do not think I am qualified to express an opinion on the legality of it, sir.
clearly he is tryiná come there, and