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essential. It has been said many times that we are the only capital where its citizens are denied this elementary right. It has, furthermore, been pointed out that the District of Columbia has a greater population than 13 of the States.
There is before the committee consideration of three bills for home rule and reorganization of the District of Columbia government: The Auchincloss bill, H. R. 28, the Marcantonio bill, H. R. 2505, and the Kefauver bill passed by the Senate on May 31, 1949.
All bills contain provisions for an elected city council with a city manager and an elected board of education, which we support. We feel that the Auchincloss bill and the Kefauver bill have many serious defects, namely in the method of elections; absence of direct responsibility of the council to the people in the matter of civic rights.
The Kefauver bill calls for a referendum of the people of the District before the bill becomes law. This we consider a useless expense as the residents of the District in two plebiscites have declared themselves overwhelmingly for suffrage.
| The Progressive Party supports the Marcantonio bill, H. R. 2505, as the bill that gives the greatest measure of democracy to the people of the District.
We urge consideration and adoption of the following provisions in any bill that is reported to the House of Representatives:
i. The Marcantonio bill provides the most practical and democratic method of election for councilmen and members of the Board of Education--proportional representation. This is known as the single transferable vote and has been used successfully in many cities for 50 years. Approximately 30,000 votes will be necessary for election. This method would allow minorities to have representation on the council consistent with their strength. It would also encourage the election of leaders of various sections of the people. The election method of the other bills would result in practically no minority representation on the council. However, the election system in the Kefauver bill is an improvement over the original proposals and the complicated system in the Auchincloss bill.
2. The Marcantonio bill provides that citizens who have resided in the District for 1 year and who have reached the age of 18 years are qualified to register and vote. We feel that the age for military duty should be the required age for voters.
The question of so-called dual voting has received much attention by the committee. We feel that qualified residents should vote for their local officials, regardless of the fact that they vote in the States in State and national elections. As residents of the District they certainly have an interest in local matters and should be allowed to have a voice in their representations. This would furthermore develop a local interest in the city's problems which is now lacking in
3. The Marcantonio bill provides for the Federal contribution to the District to be the amount the District would receive in the form of taxes if the land and property owned by the Federal Government were taxed. Such a provision, together with the floating of long-term bond issues, would provide enough revenue that the recently enacted and burdensome sales tax would not be necessary.
4. The Marcantonio bill provides for a Delegate to Congress from the District. Our position on this matter is that we think this pro
vision is important and also that national representation would be desirable, but home rule should not be held up because of these matters.
5. Thé Marcantonio bill includes provisions for the initiative, referendum, and recall. All of these provisions allow the people to take action if their representatives refuse the will of the people. We feel that this is an important safeguard which is used in many cities. This is the only bill that contains these democratic provisions.
6. Reorganization of the District government; civic rights: The Marcantonio bill provides that the basic charter of the District of Columbia will guarantee every citizen the right to education, recreation, and employment in the District without discrimination because of race, creed, or color. The bill creates a new agency, a fair employment practices commission, with the power to prohibit discrimination or segregation in the operation of the District government in any facility it operates or in the services contracted for by the Government. This is especially important for in the reorganization of the District government, if such provisions are not enacted, advances made along these lines will be wiped out. The United States Employment Service is now operated on a nondiscriminatory basis. An FÈPC must be enacted to extend these gains, not to eliminate them. This would also be essential in the operation of the Recreation Board and the school system. The pattern of discrimination and segregation in the Nation's Capital must be ended.
We, therefore, urge that serious consideration be accorded the civil rights proposals contained in H. R. 2505. It is time that the Nation's capital became a model of democracy, where all its citizens be given their rights and privileges, regardless of race, color, or national origin. We feel that the reorganization of the District government is essential and much can be accomplished in efficiency and economy.
In conclusion, the Progressive Party desires to reaffirm its support for home rule for the District of Columbia. We desire to see the most democratic bill possible enacted, but will support home rule, even if given only in some degree.
The CHAIRMAN. Why do you prefer Marcantonio's bill to the Kefauver bill?
Mrs. Evans. Because we think it has in it more democratic provisions. It includes proportional representation, civil rights, and it also provides for a Fair Employment Practices Commission. So we feel a basic charter granting home rule to the District of Columbia should have these fundamental, basic rights, which will give equal opportunity and protection to all citizens of the District of Columbia, regardless of race, color, or national origin. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Mr. HARRIS. Is there anyone else who wishes to speak at this time or present a statement?
Mr. VAN ARKEL. Mr. Chairman, I am appearing for the Washington Chapter of the Americans for Democratic Action.
Mr. HARRIS. You may proceed.
STATEMENT OF GERHARD VAN ARKEL, WASHINGTON CHAPTER,
AMERICANS FOR DEMOCRATIC ACTION
Mr. VAN ARKEL. Gentlemen, my name is Gerhard Van Arkel, and I am vice president of the Washington Chapter of Americans for
Democratic Action. On behalf of the thousand members of the Washington Chapter of the Americans for Democratic Action I urge that your subcommittee give early consideration to S. 1527 and that you recommend to the full District of Columbia Committee that it be reported to the House of Representatives. I would like to make it crystal clear that our organization is in favor of home rule for the District of Columbia, and that we have supported and we will continue to support, efforts and legislation designed to give the residents of the District all the rights of self-government that American citizens should have. We think S. 1527 is an excellent beginning, and a necessary beginning, in establishing a good local government democratically controlled through the suffrage of the residents of the District.
The bill you are considering was shaped by the hammer of diligent research, on the anvil of public opinion. It is no hasty legislation evolved by biased special-interest groups. Americans for Democratic Action representatives testified before another subcommittee of the House District Committee, the Home Rule Subcommittee, in the Eightieth Congress and again in 1948, along with 50 or more other organizations of all shades of opinion. The basis of S. 1527 was developed then and incorporated in the Auchincloss bill. We testified again this year before the Senate District Committee, along with other groups.
We are happy that several of the suggestions we made, most of which were also sponsored by other groups, in previous testimony have been incorporated in this bill.
I would like to make one major point in this testimony. Earlier I said that this bill was an excellent and necessary beginning on home rule. I know, as I am sure you know, that the District will not have full rights of citizenship until it has full representation in Congress and the right to vote for Presidential elections. We will support national representation for the District; but, and this is important, we will not support national representation as a necessary first step. Since national representation requires an amendment to the Constitution, we know that should Congress pass the necessary legislation for national representation immediately, it would be years and probably decades before the required number of State legislatures ratified it. While we do not like to impugn motives, we strongly suspect that many of those who cry "national representation first” know only too well that it would postpone any suffrage in the District for a long time.
It is within the power of Congress to pass S. 1527 and provide a substantial measure of home rule now. Then we, together with all those who want national representation, will work to that end which would, we agree, bestow_the remaining rights of citizenship on the voteless residents of the District.
For your information I would like to add that the attitude of the Washington Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action on Home Rule for the District has been unanimously supported by two national conventions of the Americans for Democratic Action, and our chapters throughout the Nation have enthusiastically helped us in our efforts to this end.
In conclusion, I wish to urgently recommend that you give the full House District Committee and the House of Representatives a chance to vote on this bill. The Senate passed it by a voice vote.
We are confident that the House would adopt it by a substantial majority. We hope you will give them the opportunity for decision.
Mr. HARRIS. Thank you, Mr. Van Arkel. We are glad to have your statement from the Washington Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action.
The CHAIRMAN. Where are you from?
Mr. ALLEN of California. Mr. Van Arkel, do you have any objection to the changes proposed by Dr. Corning?
Mr. VAN ARKEL. I feel there is nothing in it basically which would not be taken care of with express appropriate amendments, with the one exception that we start out with the basic premise that we are interested in democratic rights for citizens of the District, and we feel the citizens of the District are the same as citizens throughout the United States and that they should elect officers who would be held accountable.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not think we have any question about that. We think the people of the District of Columbia are as intelligent as any people anywhere in the United States.
Mr. VAN ARKEL. I think no constitutional question has been raised here, Congressman, in considering this bill. We did give very careful consideration to any possible constitutional questions that might arise. I think here is not the slightest doubt on the part of anyone that the provisions of the present bill as now drafted are entirely within the provisions of article I of the Constitution.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think this bill will give home rule and will do justice?
Mr. VAN ARKEL. Well, I think it is the necessary first step, Congressman. The position of Americans for Democratic Action, of course, has been for the support of national representation, but as I pointed out in my statement here, we feel that those who insist on national representation necessarily preceding home rule are basically opposed to home rule; because it is self-evident that putting through a constitutional amendment and getting ratification of the required number of States will take many years. These matters are separable and we urge Congress to give us a limited form of home rule which is possible at the present time, with the hope that once we achieve that, we will be in a better position to work for national representation.
Mr. ALLEN of California. That is what I had in mind when asking you the question in regard to the Kefauver bill, that your organization approves of the philosophy of home rule rather than that you have the technical knowledge; and that you have made the study to determine whether the provisions of this bill are applicable to the District citizens.
Mr. VAN ARKEL. Congressman, I did have some part or worked on the preliminary draft of this bill, which was considerably revised in the interim. În working with that draft we tried very hard to take into account suggestions made when the Auchincloss bill was before the committee the past year. The matter Dr. Corning presented this morning for the most part is a brand new method which has not been previously presented, so far as I know, to any committee of Congress or of the Senate. So, because of the rather consolidated form in which these matters are now presented to you, obviously it was impossible for us to consider them previously. I don't say that in criticism of Dr. Corning's statement. Some of them may have considerable merit. I am sure we would have no objection to the changes proposed.
I take it that it is the philosophy of everyone that if imperfections are developed after passage, that Congress does retain the right to make changes and we as citizens would present to Congress our views for necessary changes.
Mr. ALLEN of California. Did you also have a part in drafting the Kefauver bill?
Mr. VAN ARKEL. It happens, Congressman, that I am also secretary of the Democratic Central Committee of the District of Columbia and I participated in my capacity as a member of the subcommittee of the Democratic Central Committee of the District of Columbia, rather than as a representative of Americans for Democratic Action.
The CHAIRMAN. What experience has your committee had with municipal government?
Mr. VAN ARKEL. Do you mean the Central Committee's experience with municipal government?
The CHAIRMAN. I wondered how you were able to draw up a
Mr. VAN ARKEL. I would like to stress, Congressman, that this is not a matter of our sole view. This matter, as you know, has been before Congress for many years. Drafts have been made; they have been criticized and changed in the light of those criticisms. I think the point has been reached where reasonable men must adjust their differences on matters of this kind and say, “This is the best bill that can now be achieved, to attain the objective of giving rights to citizens of the District."
Mr. HARRIS. Thank you very much.
Mr. BEAVERS. Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a brief comment. My name is Joseph A. Beavers and I am business agent of Local 209, Cooks, Pastry Cooks, and Kitchen Employees, Hotel and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders, International Union of the American Federation of Labor.
Mr. HARRIS. We had you scheduled to speak.
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH A. BEAVERS, BUSINESS AGENT, LOCAL
209, COOKS, PASTRY COOKS, AND KITCHEN EMPLOYEES, HOTEL AND RESTAURANT EMPLOYEES AND BARTENDERS, INTERNATIONAL UNION, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR
Mr. BEAVERS. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee: First, I should like to state unequivocally my position and the position of the 1,500 organized workers I represent, who work and live in the District of Columbia. We want suffrage.
In my judgment, for years the Congress of the United State has played politics with local suffrage bills, using them only as political footballs.