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Mr. HARRIS. How can you become a member?
Mr. ROBERTS. By paying money. If you have an interest-I am not criticizing the board of trade, but they are a highly interested group, a group very much interested ordinarily in taxes and in privileges, and we think that you should consider that in evaluating them, in evaluating the board of trade. They have a very marked interest and might fear a less satisfactory control than we have at present. I say that from the experience of some 6 years down in the District Building here, where I was aware that the utilities in the District have a very strong voice in the District Building. That is a point that I think is important.
Thank you very much.
Mr. HARRIS. The committee has heard all the witnesses who insisted on being heard this morning, and we will give until Tuesday of next week for anyone to file such statements as they would like to file.
This will conclude the hearings. Statements and letters that have been received by the committee will be inserted as follows: STATEMENT BY EMERY M. FOSTER, PRESIDENT, WASHINGTON CHAPTER
UNITARIAN FELLOWSHIP FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE, WASHINCTON, D. C. The Washington chapter, Unitarian Fellowship for Social Justice, is one of such social-action groups that have existed in Unitarian churches for over 40 years. It is composed of church people interested in social problems who act in their own name and not for the church.
We have, over the past several years, studied the various home-rule bills and the exhaustive report that was made last year in connection with the Auchincloss bill and have voted to work for home rule in the District of Columbia. Att:ched is a copy of a letter sent by the fellowship to the United States Senate on April 9 1949, and a copy of the resolution passed by the American Unitarian Association at its annual meeting in Boston on May 27, 1948, which shows that not only does the local chapter of the Unitarian Fellowship for Social Justice desire that the home-rule bill be passed at this session of Congress, but that the entire Unitarian Church is in favor of home rule for the District of Columbia.
Washington D. C., April 9, 1949.
Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. MCGRATH: The need for home rule for the District of Columbia is so pressing that our organization deems it important to write to you at once urging passage of the best possible home-rule bill as soon as possible. We are not prepared at this time to indorse any one of the pending bills over the others. "There are strong and weak points in each.
The Washington chapter, Unitarian Fellowship for Social Justice, feels that many of the most stubborn difficulties in our city's administration will be solved only after home rule has been established. To this end we urge prompt action to give us the best legislation possible in this field as soon as possible. Sincerely,
Corresponding Secretary, Washington Chapter,
Unitarian Fellowship for Social Justice.
RESOLUTION PASSED AT THE ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-THIRD ANNUAL MEET
ING, AMERICAN UNITARIAN AssociaTION, May 27, 1948 Whereas the United States of America aspires to be recognized among the foremost exponents of the democratic form of government; and
Whereas there is no democratic local self-government in the Capital of the United States of America (Washington, D. C.) where the representatives of all foreign nations come in closest contact with American democracy; and
Whereas Congress is greatly burdened by having to act as both a city and state legislature for the District of Columbia; at a time when its national and international responsibilities have been so greatly expanded; and
Whereas citizens of the District of Columbia, including many Federal servants, are subject to local taxation without representation and do not have the indispensable experience of being participating citizens in a self-governing local community: Be it therefore
Resolved, That the American Unitarian Association assembled in its One Hundred and Twenty-third annual meeting urges Congress to provide the best possible form of local democratic self-government for the District of Columbia within the limits of the United States Constitution and to authorize all of its citizens to vote.
STATEMENT OF THE WASHINGTON SECTION, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF_JEWISH
WOMEN, BEFORE THE JUDICIARY SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE DISTRICT COMMITTEE, BY MRS. SAMUEL B. BROWN
The Washington section, National Council of Jewish Women wish to testify in favor of S. 1527, the District of Columbia charter bill.
Our local membership totals almost 1,000 women. Nationally we have approximately 80,000 members with sections in all parts of the country.
The National Council of Jewish Women has supported home rule for the District of Columbia for many years. Our national office feels that this problem affects not only the citizens of the District, but also citizens everywhere in the country. They have so stated in testimony before the congressional committee considering home rule last year.
We feel that S. 1527 handles the issue of home rule for the District very satisfactorily, and merits the support of people everywhere.
We urge this committee to act favorably on this legislation, so that it will have the opportunity of being voted on in this session of Congress.
STATEMENT BY MRS. S. J. HOGAN, LEGISLATIVE CHAIRMAN, HINE PARENT
TEACHER ASSOCIATION BEFORE THE JUDICIARY SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ON THE KEFAUVER HOME-RULE BILL
If local suffrage, as proposed by the Kefauver bill comes to the District of Columbia, the Hine Parent-Teacher Association believes that the public school system should continue to operate under the present organic act, the Classification Act of 1925, the District of Columbia Teachers' Salary Act of 1947, and the present Retirement Act which have proven to make for the efficient operation of the public school system.
It is an accepted truth, by all authorities on public school administration that boards of education should serve without pay, and that board members and the entire school organization which they direct, should be kept entirely outside the realm of partisan politics. The present arrangements in the District of Columbia achieve this; they represent as they stand, the best possible form of city school organization.
Since the District of Columbia depends on Congress for Federal appropriations to operate the public schools, the Association feels that any proposed changes involving the tenure of all school people should not be based on theory alone. At present the cost of operating the District government is high. The Kefauver bill plans to increase the cost in several ways, one of which is the election of the members of the board of education.
Often properly qualified persons will not choose to run, and many cannot afford the expense of an election. The result will be most unfortunate, both in securing well-qualified members and members with experience. Unless electing the members of the board of education will improve the running of the public schools in the Nation's Capital, there is no reason to change.
Certain people in the District of Columbia may be bored with the present set-up, but there is no guaranty that an elected board will serve the District more efficiently. The present members give unstintingly of their time and efforts with years of experience and an excellent body of information at their disposal. They are most professional. Many of the problems before them are complex and require serious study. If the present board has difficulty in handling matters before them, an elected board with its inexperience, lack of knowledge, and interested largely in the fee to be collected will cause chaos.
If the present board is to lose its power, then the balance between the board of education and the superintendent of schools is lost.
The Hine Junior High Parent-Teacher Association, therefore, urges the Judiciary Subcommittee of the House Committee on the District to eliminate the board of education and the entire public school system from the realm of politics and theory, and to allow them to remain as they are.
The Association also asks that the Board of Library Trustees and the Public Library be taken out of politics and theory. The Hine Parent-Teacher Association is deeply concerned with securing the best for its children and feels that the schools and library should remain just as they are at the present time,
STATEMENT OF DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CHAPTER NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD
ON HOME RULE AND REORGANIZATION IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA The District of Columbia chapter of the National Lawyers Guild wholeheartedly supports the extension of home rule to the District of Columbia. We commend the objectives of the bills now before the House District Committee, and urge this committee to report out a bill which will grant the right of suffrage to the voteless citizens of the District.
Democracy is long overdue in the Nation's Capital. So long as we do not practice democracy at the very seat of our Government, there is a cloud on our title to speak in the name of democracy. To paraphrase words that all lawyers know, we do not come into the Council of nations with clean hands. Restoration of the right to vote to the voteless citizens of the District of Columbia is, therefore, imperative, as much in the interest of all the citizens of the Nation as for the interests of those who live in the District of Columbia.
The Guild has analyzed the provisions of the various bills before this committee. We recommend adoption of the Kefauver bill with certain amendments which we propose below. In indicating our views on several features of the charter proposed in S. 1527, in H. R. 28, and H. R. 2505, which we feel are in need of revision, our hope is that the guild will be of assistance in strengthening the proposed plan for home rule in the District to the end that a method of local self-government will be evolved which will be both democratic and efficient.
I. RESPONSIBILITY OF CITY COUNCIL
Our first concern is that the charter confer real home rule on the District. In our testimony before the Senate District Committee, the guild submitted an extensive brief pointing out the legal reasons why we had come to the conclusion that it is fully constitutional for the home rule bill to provide either for the grant to the elected city Council of full power to enact legislative powers in the same manner as a territorial legislature may do, or the so-called negative veto provided by S. 1527 in which the legislative proposals of the city Council become law if not disapproved by concurrent resolution of both Houses within a 45-day period and if not disapproved by the President within 10 days after the bill is presented to him. The guild would prefer to have the committee recommend the granting of the same powers to the elected city Council as are given to territorial legislatures. We recognize, however, that the Senate chose the negative veto approach which was also in the Auchincloss bill of last year (H. R. 4902, 80th Cong.). Either of these two means of granting validity to the acts of the city Council would confer a substantial measure of home rule to the District.
H. R. 28, on the other hand, provides (sec. 502) that Congress must act affirmatively on every legislative proposal passed by the District Council. the committee to reject this proposal. The entire objective of eliminating the need for Congress to spend its time acting as city Council for the District is thereby lost. The Council under this proposal will be little more than a draftsman of bills for the consideration of Congress or a bill-proposing subcommittee of the joint committee set up by H. R. 28. Such lack of real power on the part of the elected city Council will deprive the people of the District of real home rule.
II. METHOD OF VOTING AND CONDUCTING ELECTIONS
In its testimony before the Senate District Committee, the guild strongly criticized the method of election provided by H. R. 28. We stated our support for the principle of proportional representation as set forth in the brief submitted by the guild to the Auchincloss committee of the Eightieth Congress. We also stated that, if the Senate committee did not agree with the guild on the desirability of providing for election of members of the city Council and Board of Education by proportional representation, it provide instead for such election by simple plurality. The Senate committee adopted the latter provision in S. 1527, and we urge the committee to approve such method of voting. The guild has not changed its belief that proportional representation is the fairest and most democratic method of voting, but does not oppose the method which the Senate agreed upon.
We repeat our disapproval of the novel and cumbersome method of election provided for by H. R. 28 and urge the committee to reject this proposal. Although the positions on the District Council and the Board of Education are all identical in function and responsibility, under the voting method provided by H. R. 28, candidates do not run for the Council or Board of Education as such. They must instead run for a specific, designated, numbered position. Arbitrary numbers are assigned each position, and the candidate must run for only one such numbered position. A primary is held in October. If an individual gets a majority of the votes cast for the particular numbered position for which he is running, he is declared elected. If, for any position, no candidate has a majority of the votes cast for that position, a run-off election is required to be held in November between the two high men for each such unfilled position. The candidate who receives a majority of the vote cast in this general election is declared elected. This cumbersome method of election
conceivable useful purpose. It will have the effect of denying to the electorate the opportunity to select the best candidate on the basis of individual merit. It will require candidates for their own self-protection to make deals with other candidates and to run on slates thus destroying the nonpartisan, nonpolitical aspect of the city Council. It will, further, undoubtedly have the effect of denying any representation by minority groups on the Council.
III. COMPENSATION FOR MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL
The guild concurs in the provision of S. 1527 that members of the city council receive $5,000 annually. H. R. 28 provides for only $3,000 and we feel that this will constitute a concealed property qualification for such positions. In our testimony before the Auchincloss committee of the Eightieth Congress, we pointed out that the committee's report indicated that service on the Council was likely to take nearly the full time of a member. Under these circumstances, setting the compensation at a so-called honcrarium of only $3,000 would, in effect, mean that only those with private incomes could afford to serve on the city Council. We believe that the salary of $5,000 annually will make it possible for qualified citizens without private means to serve on the Council.
IV. QUALIFICATIONS FOR VOTING
The guild believes that voting in the District should be open to all who live in the District, even if they maintain voting residences elsewhere. As the Auchincloss committee stated in its report, this will insure Federal employees a voice in city government. We approve the provision of S. 1527 (sec. 1206 (a) providing that to be qualified to vote in the District, a person need not relinquish his rights in another jurisdiction).
The guild disapproves, however, the provision for a literacy test for voters provided both in S. 1527 (sec. 1207 (a)) and in H. R. 28 (sec. 1307 (a)). The Auchincloss committee of the Eightieth Congress reported that a literacy test is unnecessary in the District, as a practical matter, since the District has the highest literacy rate in the country. Approval of a literacy-test requirement by the Congress at this time provides some measure of approval of the misuse of literacy tests to disenfranchise voters in the South. We think that a literacy test requirement is both unnecessary and unwise. Moreover, the particular literacy test required in these bills will lead to endless confusion on the part of voters who must indicate that they have no intention of doing any act which would prevent them from being qualified electors on the day of the next election. The precise meaning of this requirement is unclear.
V. MEMBERSHIP IN DISTRICT COUNCIL
The guild thinks that all members of the city Council should be elected by the voters of the District. We, therefore, do not concur in the provision in S. 1527 providing that two of the 11-member District Council shall be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. We believe that this provision places limits on the exercise of home rule by the District's voters and is therefore undemocratic Representation of the interests of the Federal Government is adequately protected by the power of the Congress to veto any legislative act of the city Council or to enact legislation of its own. We urge the committee to reject this provision and to provide that the entire Council shall be elected by the District's voters.
VI. INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, AND RECALL The Auchincloss bill of 1948 (H. R. 4902) provided for (1) an initiative by which District voters could take any action which the District Council might take by legislative proposal, (2) a referendum by which proposals initiated by the voters through petition could be voted on in a referendum election, and (3) recail of any elected officer of the District or any appointed member of the city Council or Board of Education.
Both S. 1527 and H. R. 28 have, however, deleted these provisions. The guild believes they are necessary to insure maximum home rule and to insure that the powers given to the City Council, particularly by S. 1527, can be checked by the democratic right of the District voters to use the initiative, referendum, and recall. Accordingly, we urge the committee to restore these progressive provisions to the home-rule legislation for the District.
VII. DELEGATE TO CONGRESS
The guild endorses the provision of H. R. 28 that a Delegate from the District be sent to Congress to have the same function as Delegates from the various Territories (secs. 301-304). We regret that S. 1527_does not provide a similar provision, and urge the committee to provide for a Delegate to Congress in the bill the committee reports out to the Congress.
The guild has many times gone on record in support of national representation for the District. This would, of course, require a constitutional amendment. We urge the committee to report out such a constitutional amendment, as a separate action without delaying a home-rule bill and without making the enactment of one contingent on the enactment of another. National representation and home rule are completely different issues. We certainly do not agree that the desirability or effectiveness of home rule is dependent upon the complicated process of winning State approval for a constitutional amendment, as the opponents of home rule continually argue should be the case. We are unable to follow their logic in the often-heard statements that home rule is meaningless without national representation. One or two Congressmen with the power to vote will not alter the existing lack of democracy in the District Government; only home rule and reorganization of the cumbersome District Government will do that successfully, and insistence on national representation as a prerequisite for home rule is wholly unwarranted to postpone the one desirable objective until another, different objective is reached.
VIII. FEDERAL CONTRIBUTION
S. 1527 provides a formula for the Federal contribution based on payment by the Federal Government of an amount equal to 20 cents for each dollar of revenue which it is estimated will be received by the District (from all sources except the United States) during the fiscal year preceding the fiscal year for which payment is to be made” (sec. 2001 (a)). H. R. 28 sets a ceiling of $16,000,000 on the Federal contribution.
We earnestly believe that both these formulas will provide too low a Federal contribution, although we recognize that it will undoubtedly come to more than the $12,000,000 now granted by Congress. More than half of the property in the District is tax-exempt, either as Federal property or as property owned by foreign Governments. A large portion of the costs of the District government result from the presence of the Federal Government here. It is only fair that the Federal Government pay its fair share of the load. Refusal of the Federal Government to pay its fair share has helped create the totally unnecessary and artificial deficit which has led to the regressive sales tax which is soon to go into effect. Setting the Federal contribution at too low a figure means in reality that the Government forces the citizens of the District to assume the burden of paying for the benefits the Federal Government receives. That burden will fall particularly heavily