Box 22, Folder 18, Document 15

Dublin Core


Box 22, Folder 18, Document 15

Text Item Type Metadata



Thursday, Nov. 24, 1966





The Ghetto Plic oft at Cabimet Level

Should the urban Negro ghetbos be rebuilt or
ghould their residents be scattered to the white

The sruggle among high ad-
ministration officials tor an an-
wer to that question has been
wense sinee a heated argu-
nent érupted in the White
‘House office of Joe Califan
;Many weeks ago.
= Bureau of the Budget Direc-
© Se “y tor Charles Shultze set aff the
wey lense exchange when he began
MEANS discussing the urban crisis be
fore neatly a dozen cabinet and sub-cabinct
members assembled beneath Califano’s stark
black and grey abstract paintings. Shultz pre-
sented @ Est of 15 suggestions for improving
condition in the cities.

powered session were chayrined that Shultze
failed to include a proposal tackling what they
consider the biggest urban provlem of all — mn-
employinent, Seerctary of Labor Willard Wirtz
observed testily that the problem of the cities is
centered upon the plight of the povery-stricken
Neurov. Ghellos. He pointed out that the unem-
ployment rate among Negroes is twice that of
whiles, and stressed he believes providing jobs
in the ghettos is the key to helping the cities.

Then-Attorncy General Nicholas Katzenbach
and then-Agssistant Secretary of Commerce Eu-
gene Foley (Katzenbach is now in the State
Department, Foley has gone into private life)
echoed Secretary Wirtz, They added their own
pleas for new programs to attract industry and
job-producing projects into the ghettos.

One official present, however, intorjected that
he opposed sucn efforts to rebuild the slums
until conditions were improved for the poor, un-
educuterl Negres of the rural south. He said he
preferred trying to resettle slum Negroes. “If
you make the urban ghetto livable all you'll
have is the Mississippi Negro moving North and
reducing the arca to a sltun again," he said.

_“You've got to face the fact that ‘he ghetto

is here to stay and‘make it a decent place to
live,"" Poley protested.

The meeting, as often happens in govera-
ment, didn't settle anything. It is, however, a
dramatic illustration of the painful but sceret
process now going on inside the White House
as the administration prepares for 1907.

PRESIDENT JOMNSON has long been con-
cerned about the problems of the urban centers,
where 70 percent of the population lives, and
has repeatedly indicated that city problems will
make up a large share of his 1937 legislative
program. In asklition, his interest in the cites
must certainly bave been reinforced by the
warning of this month's election, in which the

-GOP demonstrated impressive gains in the nor-

mally Demooratic big city vote. ~

(Although that same election seemed to indi.
eate a miational atmosphere of entrenchment
which. foreshadows difficulty for the administra-
tion in Congress if its programms for the cies
are deemed too expensive or too visionary).

Without much fanfare and largely without
public notice the White House has set about in
several ways to work on the problems af the
cities. Passage last season of the Demonstration
Cities Bill, was of course, a small but important
hoginning. A special task force has been as-
signed to produce new ideas for the cities which
would be included in administration measures.

meets weckly in Califano’s office, acts as a
watchdog over the presently exising programs
in an effort to see they are fully utilized.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department is plan-
ning shortly to conduct a landlord-tenant confer-
eace in the capital. The conference will bring
together state and local officials and lawyers
from across the country io discuss procedures

‘ which’ might be adopted to protect slum tenants.

A major slum problem is the failure of land-
lords to make essential repairs upon their
avellings. Tenants, who often cannot read nor
write, seldom mow the identity of their landlord
anc have no way of press ring him into action.



Document Viewer