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The Chicago star. (Chicago, Ill.) 1946-1948, September 14, 1946, Image 9

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87062321/1946-09-14/ed-1/seq-9/

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munities
is a beautiful city
nly for the wealthy
The Tribune says, "You don't have to be a millionaire
to enjoy Chicago," but the Star finds that it helps in view of
the discriminatory distribution of park and playground facili
ties.
r , 'i
This is the second article in
the series by Sol Margolis on
—J Chicago’s “step-child” neigh
borhoods.
to be a millionaire to take ad
our vantage of the features that
make it a great summer and
autumn resort,” brayed the
I ?g voice of the millionaire, the
i V_ Chicago Tribune, in a recent
editorial defending tlie place
‘ ment of the city’s public fa
the cillties.
tter Ordinary people in Chicago,”
said the Trib,' “can stay home
and enjoy equally fine facilities
in the public parks.”
ime * * *
lare THE AGENCIES who distri
,cen bute these fine facilities 43
fig. swimming pools, 90 fieldhouses,
a 214 skating areas, 417 soft ball
■ath diamonds, 579 tennis courts, and
27 running tracks didn’t have
ordinary people in mind,
ive In 1940 at least 10% of 75 com
fween the needy. r . Fear is at the door of .. . and the things they need
IBBafe'gff:idiipj
( The number is
Dearborn 3050
Are you registered?
Better make sure.
Call up now. Don’t take a chance by waiting till the
last minute. +
The number is DEArborn 3050. Give your name and
address, and check up.
DEArborn 3050. *
munity areas—mainly in low-in
come neighborhoods had no
parks or supervised playgrounds;
about 33 percent had no field
many American homes
Chester B o w I e s' inventory of
America reveals the uneven-ness of
our "poverty and plenty" economy,
but fails to point the solution.
By Labor Research Assn.
IN a chapter in his recent book,
“Tomorrow Without Fear,” (Si
mon & Schuster, sl.) Chester
Bowles presents an illuminating
survey of the low living stand
ards of America in the prewar
period.
One of every three Americans
“just didn’t have enough to eat”;
one out of four was living in
slums; fewer than half of our
children finished high school;
two out of five men inducted in- -
to the service failed army and
navy physical exams.
house or facilities for bathing
and about 50 percent lacked li
brary branches.
Controllers of the city’s recrea
tional facilities are the Chicago
Park* District; the Municipal
Bureau of Parks, Recreation and
Aviation and the Bureau of Rec
reation of the Board of' Educa
tion. ■
Tied tightly to Republican and
Democratic machines they an
swer first the tugs from aider
men and ward committeemen in
the “saver spoon” communities.
The slum - area chieftains
scramble over what’s left.
The Big Three are jealous of
their jurisdictions and have
dodged demands of civic organ
izations that they coordinate
their plans.
# * *
THEY ignored the findings of
a recent Citizens* Committee, ap
pointed to investigate their op
erations, which proposed that the
agencies "cooperate in develop-
In Bowles’ own words: “The
good things of life, the oppor
tunities for free and full living,
were enjoyed by a very smail
part of our people.”
* * *
HE reports that under the free
dom of “free enterprise” the low
est third of our population in
1940 lived in “really pitiable cir
cumstances,” the middle third
lived twice as well but still “did
not share in the things that go
to make up a ‘real American
standard of living'.” Even the up
per third, where comfortable liv
ing standards did prevail for
families at the top, included other
families who lived only “on the
fringe of the better things of
life.”
For the unemployed, at least
8 million of them in 1940 their
situation can scarcely be describ
ed as the “freedom to do or not
to do.”
Bowles’ outline of economic
conditions in this country before
the war is of particular value in
dispersing any illusions that may
have arisen on the basis of the
so-called wartime bonanza and
current postwar boom.
« * »
LIKE other New Deal writers,
Bowles attributes most of our
economic maladjustments to the
small amount, or absence, of pur
chasing power. Therefore, his so
lution consists of government
J' ' 'i 1 1
ing a master plan which will pro
vide maximum facilities in rela
tion to the location of housing,
schools and parks.”
The Committee pointed out
that there existed “no coordina
tion in planning, location of play
facilities, programs or personnel
between the three agencies.”
In 1937 it had a valuation of
$172,313,831.02, according to the
Chicago Recreation Commission.
Since then its value has been
nearly doubled.
Operating under state legisla
tion the Park District is a city
within itself. It levies its own
taxes, issues its own bonds and
generally governs itself.
Its controlling board consists
of five park commissioners ap
pointed by the Mayor. This board
is composed of a President,
James H. Gately, also director ot
the Pullman Trust and Savings
Bank and president of the “Peo
ple’s Store” in Roseland.
* * *
THE OTHER commissioners
are William L. McFetridge, pres
ident of the Building Service Em
ployees International Union; Jac
ob L. Arvey, Cook County chair
man of the Democratic party;
Stephan Witmanski and Robert
Dunham, ex-vice-president of Ar
mour and Co.
planning and spending to keep
the wheels of industry turning.
In addition, he calls for a stand
ard New Deal economic program
of high purchasing power, high
wages, maximum free competi
tion, extended social security, tax
revision, better housing, foster
ing of foreign trade and assist
ance to farmers.
Purified “free enterprise”: All
the improvements demanded by
Bowles, he believes, can be ef
fected through a purified and re
formed capitalism. The bad rec
ord that “free enterprise” wrote
before the war has not shaken
his faith in this economic con
cept.
* * •
HE does not seem to see that
ownership, of say, General Mo
tors, puts a man in a different
economic status from the man
who works on the assembly line
living by the sweat of his brow.
Next in power to the Park Dis- f
trict is the Municipal Bureau of !
Parks, Recreation and Aviation H
which had a 1937 evaluation of B
$4,209,991.82.
OF THE Big Three the Chicago '•
Park District is the largest.
Created by a city ordinance It %
is controlled by the City Council’s B
Committee on Parks, Recreation ij
and Aviation and operated by the if
Department of Public Works. j§
Chairman of the Committee is H
Alderman John J. Grealis, who j
looks after his business as ass's- fj
tant secretary of the American fl
Propeller Corp., and the Aviation f§
Corp., when not looking after the J
city’s recreational facilities.
# * *
SMALLEST of the agencies is j
the Bureau of Recreation of the B
Board of Education. Subject to fl
the same limitations as the d
Board of Education, the Bureau ■
is headed by Herman J. Fisher, f§
a Kelly appointee.
To keep these agencies from J
overlapping, the Chicago Recrea- f
tion Commission was appointed gj
by the Mayor to recommend B
changes. To map out a city plan fl
a special Chicago Plan Commis- jg
sion was also appointed by Kel S
iy-
The Plan Commission, which B
has already made recommenda- «
tion which are a marvel in detail B
and provisions for better living, J
looks forward to 1965 when Chi
cago will be the “city of the m
future.”
Meanwhile, children who live 1
outside the favored communi- %
ties, must take recreation %
where they find it —in alleys, 1
dumps, vacant lots and squalid I
slums.
Our national income is divided
between profits and wages. Dur
ing the war the share of wages
as a percent of private produc
tion stood still while corporate
profits doubled. Despite this fact
the profit-makers are now rais
ing heaven and earth to get more
profits. They are going to con
tinue to oppose just as bitterly
as ever, every attempt of the
workers to increase their wages.
At the same time they resort lo
such crude measures as the de
struction of price control which
is the equivalent of a nationwide
wage cut.
Labor can agree with Mr.
Bowles in desiring an economy
of full employment and a na
tional gross product of over S2OO
billion. But it is certain that the
“very small part of our people
who enjoy the opportunities for
full and free living” will oppose
every measure that cuts into
their profits.

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