« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
It pioneers the way through its studies for other committees, such as Finance, Banking and Currency, and Interstate and Foreign Commerce, which are benefited by the work of the Select Committee on Small Business.
Senator CLARK. The Joint Economic Committee would be another.
Senator HUMPHREY. Yes; and my question to you specifically is: Do you believe that a select committee, without legislative jurisdiction, would be of any benefit to these problems of urban and metro politan areas?
Senator CLARK. Yes, I do, and without attempting to anticipate what a commission of the sort called for by my bill would recommend, I would be a little bit surprised if one of the recommendations was not for the creation of such a committee.
I think we are always in difficulty these days of every Senator having more committees than he can handle. Nevertheless, I think one more would be well justified in this case.
Senator HUMPHREY. Senator Gruening, did you have any questions?
Senator GRUENING. Senator Clark, you have made a very comprehensive and enlightening presentation on the occasion of this bill.
I think we are dealing with a most important national problem. It affects a very substantial portion of our people and I think we have to tackle these problems.
I have one specific question I would like to ask you. Now you take the particular area with which you are most familiar, Philadelphia and New York. That seems to me to be the subject for a complete investigation by itself.
Now how can this commission adequately take care of all of the metropolitan areas? There are so many of them and they differ in degree and in their problems. The whole eastern area, New York, Philadelphia, and cities in between, maybe including Boston is perhaps the largest area of concentration and we have another one next in population in Chicago and there are others all over the country. Each is a major study by itself.
How do you propose to handle that?
Senator Clark. The Senator has asked a very pertinent question. My answer is that the Senator would be surprised how many studies are already underway in most of the larger metropolitan areas, and they touch on the question which he has raised. For example, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund financed the study which was headed by Professor Ray Vernon, then of Columbia, now of Harvard, to bring together all of the mass of data affecting the future of the New York metropolitan area.
The summaries and conclusions of that deep study would be available to this commission through the testimony of Mr. Vernon.
A similar group has been organized, called Penn-Scardale, around the Philadelphia metropolitan area, also financed by foundation grants and headed by representatives in the field of public administration from a number of the colleges located in that area.
That study is just getting underway, but an awful lot of preliminary work has been done.
My thinking is, and I am confident that in many metropolitan areas work is already underway to see what ought to be done in that particular place.
My thought about this commission was that if it is adequately staffed and financed it can bring all those strings together and analyze them and
determine to what extent the critical situation found, let us say in St. Louis, is identical with the critical situation in Boston, which may be making a rather different attack on a number of its metropolitan area problems. Out of all that information, we could perhaps distill enough wisdom to be able to recommend to the Congress and the President what changes, if any, need to be made in existing Federal policies; what new Federal policies should be put into effect, and what systems of coordination between local and State governments it would be wise to implement and strengthen.
Senator GRUENING. I think that is a very complete answer. I want to congratulate you on your presentation. I think it is a very important issue and I think the Congress has got to face it.
Senator CLARK. Thank you, Senator.
STATEMENT OF HON. KENNETH B. KEATING, U.S. SENATOR FROM
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Senator KEATING. Mr. Chairman and Senator Gruening, I have a prepared statement in support of my bill S. 2397, to establish a Department of Urbiculture.
I happen to feel we have progressed to the point where we can take a step beyond that suggested by Senator Clark. However, I support the proposal which he makes if this committee concludes that we are not yet ready to create a Cabinet-level department. My feeling is that a legislative committee, bolstered by proper hearings, knows enough about this problem to decide whether there should be a new Government department or whether a study commission is more desirable at this time. With the agreement of my friend, Senator Williams, he has permitted me to intervene at this point to file my statement, and I will not detain him any longer.
Senator HUMPHREY. We will accept your statement, Senator. Senator KEATING. Thank you.
Senator HUMPHREY. I read with considerable interest your comments in the Senate at the time you made this proposal and I will say I think it has genuine merit. It follows along the lines of a proposal made by Senator Clark a year or so ago for a Department of Urban Affairs. The material you presented in the Senate was very helpful to me.
Senator KEATING. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I appreciate very much having this opportunity to present my views on my bill, S. 2397, to establish a Department of Urbiculture. I also welcome, incidentally, an opportunity to comment on the proposal advanced by my colleague, Senator Clark, S. 1431, for a joint executive-legislative study of metropolitan problems.
At the outset I want to commend the committee for scheduling these hearings on a subject which I feel demands early and decisive action by Congress. I am firmly convinced that unless we take bold and imaginative steps to solidify and coordinate efforts to aid our urban centers, their present deterioration can turn into a ruinous collapse.
It is my feeling that a Federal department of Cabinet stature, which would draw together the many facets of Federal efforts to help our cities, offers the best hope for remedying the plight of our urban areas. However, I am sympathetic to the proposal of my colleague, Senator Clark, for the creation of a Commission on Metropolitan Problems to look into the proper relationship of the Federal Government and our cities. I realize that his proposal is based on an objective appraisal of the temper of Congress, which traditionally, and rightly so, is slow to take as big a step as I propose. Nevertheless, I feel that we have had enough studies to convince ourselves of the need for a centralization of Federal activities affecting metropolitan areas. There is voluminous evidence to support the proposition that the problems of our cities should be considered and coordinated under a single Cabinet-level officer and department.
Thus, although I certainly applaud the study approach—and would certainly back it if my proposal has no chance of enactment—I think the time has come for decisive action rather than further research into this problem.
Mr. Chairman, I think we can all agree that the problems which confront our cities must concern all of us, no matter where we happen to live. I hope we can agree that they will only be solved by à sound and reasonable alliance between the Federal Government and local and State governments.
I am sure, also, that we are familiar with the problems which have beset our cities with increasing intensity in recent years. They range from slums to juvenile delinquency, from crime to finances, from water and air pollution to parks and recreation areas. They include problems of public works and employment and suburbs and revenues.
This country has become a Nation dominated, numerically, at least, by city folk. Roughly three out of every four American citizens livé in urban areas, and the trend toward an ever-decreasing agricultural population indicates the concentration in cities will increase in years ahead.
In many cases, of course, urbanization has occurred at such a rate that it has been literally impossible for our communities and their leaders to cope with it. They have struggled, and struggled hard, to meet these challenges, but with varying and often disappointing results.
However, the leaders in our urban centers are not blameless. In many cases, their inability to throw off shortsighted thinking and planning has speeded the day of decay and self-strangulation.
The shocking fact which must be recognized by all concerned-and the sooner the better—is that unless we get some fresh thinking on the future role of our urban areas, the capacity and strength of our Nation will be injured. What we need to do is to encourage and stimulate creative thinking about the tomorrows of today's cities. We need to enlist the talents of our best thinkers in the cause of saving our metropolises.
The need today is for a wise and prudent doctor to come to the rescue of our sick cities. By means of a Cabinet department charged with this task, we can prod the Nation's thinking and planning so that the basic role of the old cities can change to meet the challenges and needs of the 20th century.
In the days of Abraham Lincoln, the special needs of our agricultural population were recognized with the creation of the Department of Agriculture. It is only just that we grant similar concentrated attention to the problems of the increasing numbers who live in our cities. The proper recognition, and concomitant high-level planning and coordination so badly needed to solve our urban problems lies in the creation of a Department of Urbiculture.
It is true, of course, that the Federal Government has exhibited its concern with city problems by means of a variety of important programs. These include activities in the fields of housing, urban planning, sanitation, pollution, and many others.
Unfortunately, these activities are spread throughout the Federal Government. They are carried out with little heed for coherent or coordinated planning or consultation. They often overlap or fall short, simply because of cross wires and ineffective cooperation among the agencies concerned.
By means of establishing a department, and authorizing the President to submit to Congress reorganization plans providing for the transfer of many of these functions to the Secretary of Urbiculture, my bill would permit concentration under unified direction of many of the activities through which the Federal Government directly helps municipalities.
I want to emphasize that this department would not seek to institute new Federal programs in urban areas.
in urban areas. It would not be charged with the responsibility for finding new Federal activities oriented to our metropolises.
But it would distinctly be delegated the task of providing guidelines, advice, programing and planning assistance, and overall cooperation and coordination of reasonable Federal programs to help our cities and localities solve their own problems.
This new department should operate on the philosophy that the best answers to the problems of the people lie as close to the people as possible. If there must be governmental assistance—if individual and private enterprise and initiative cannot do the job—then let it come from that level of government as close as possible to the people. Surely, experience has shown all of us that grassroots answers to problems are the most efficient and economical.
However, in the great task of solving the problems which today confront our cities, I feel the Federal Government can and must contribute much. But we can do a lot better and more effective job of it.
In addition to the Presidential power of reorganization, my, proposal includes the creation of an Urban Advisory Council consisting of persons outside the Federal service with broad experience and interest in urban and related problems. The Secretaries of Labor, Commerce, Health, Education, and Welfare, are designated as ex officio members of the Council, and the President could also name other Federal officials to serve as ex officio participants in its work.
This Council could provide fresh, long-range thinking about metropolitan issues and would complement effectively the Secretary of Urbiculture's responsibility to conduct continuing studies of problems peculiar to urban areas. For example, the Council could seek permanent solutions to the complex problem of payments to local
governments of sums in lieu of taxes for property occupied by the Federal Government. It might deal with the increasingly vexing problem of revenues for the old inner cities in the face of the accelerated flight of taxpayers to the suburbs.
The Department of Urbiculture would also make planning facilities available to cities which they could not otherwise afford. The Department could act as a clearinghouse for information on the experiences and studies of various urban groups, thus enabling city fathers to learn from the lessons of others. I would hope this facet of the department's operation would help municipalities to avoid confusion, duplication, and wasteful expense in the fields of research and planning. In the long run, these savings could be turned into actual construction of buildings, sewage plants, and roadways by the cities.
In this connection, Mr. Chairman, I want to repeat my conviction that by this kind of integration of mature social knowledge and proven urban planning, tremendous amounts of money can be saved. This would result, most directly, from the elimination of numerous research projects which waste money on trivial and futile endeavors, and from savings resulting from the alleviation of duplication in the activities of the Federal Government to aid urban areas.
As I have indicated, the answers to these problems must come through the coordinated work of both local and national governments. It will best come through the creation of a Federal department operat
а ing on the idea that the proper role of the Federal Government is that of a leader and coordinator of plans and programs, and of a developer of guidelines for solving problems at State and local levels. It would not disturb the philosophy that grassroots answers are often not only the cheapest but the best. It would emphatically not work on the assumption that all our metropolitan problems can or should be solved from Washington.
That is what the reorganization plans to be initiated under my bill would seek to achieve. And while I am sympathetic to the approach embɔdied in Senator Clark's proposal, I simply do not think we need any more study.
İt is essential that we take swift and effective action to amend the existing situation. It is time for Congress to recognize the new way of life in America. Just as the pony express would not suffice today to fill our transportation and communication needs, so an outmoded system of dealing with gigantic municipal problems leaves much to be desired.
A Department of Urbiculture would go a long way toward continuing and centralizing the proper responsibilities of the Federal Government to help urban areas help themselves. I am pleased that this proposal has gained the support of numerous organizations and leaders in this field. Their views, based on intimate knowledge of the plight of our cities, should be heeded by Congress.
Mr. Chairman, there is no greater challenge to our internal welfare today than the decay of our cities. We shall not find the answers to this callenge in timid, halting, or half-hearted measures. We must take bold action, action attuned to the realities of present-day living and mid-twentieth century problems.
Such an action is the establishment of a Department of Urbiculture. I urge the committee to give careful consideration to this significant