Box 5, Folder 6, Document 24

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Report Required by Mayor's Directive of March 19, 1968
on "U.S. Riot Commission Report


The entire report is quite comprehensive and well done. The Committee
deserves credit for so thoroughly analyzing and developing such a -comprehen-
sive report on such an involved and explosive matter.

In general the report has ‘signaled out and effectively treated many of
the major issues involved. Little fault can be found with its principal
findings and recommendations.

However, the report basically places all responsibility for the riots on
the White Cornmunity and fails to place any responsibility on the participants
in the Riots for the wanton destruction and other crimes which they cormitted.
This omission is unfortunate as $+ ‘could result in a feeling among future
potential rioters that such procedure is condoned. This possidility should

not be overlooked Nationally and locally in attempting to deal with this
xplosive situation and prevent future riots. )

The report recommends and calls for drastic actions on the part of Federal,

tate, and Lodal covernnents as ell as ‘Ihite Communities for specific actions
to correct unsatisfactor); conditions as a deterrent in preventing future riots.

It fails however to call for or place upon the dissident octunants of slum areas

any constructive efforts which they themselves should take to improve their


Of the special recommendations contained in Chanter 10 of the report, it
appears that corrective measures for all of them are adequately dealt with in
the Mayor's March 19 Directive, with the possible exception of "Expanded Lezal
Service to the Poor". Additional corrective responsibility in this field might
be assigned to the local Bar Associations. |

The need for correcting or improving unsatisfactory conditions in the slums
_of our athens, one of the foremost of which is using, is ‘ald: dbsinaited end
in veneral the remedies prooosed and recommendations made are sound and apoear
adequate, if carried out on the local level.

With respect to-Chaster 17 which deals specifically with provosed corrective
measures,;some basic considerations in the housing field appear to have been over~=
Looked or at least they are not specifically broucht out in the resort. Brief
comment on some of these, as they affect the local housing situation in Atlanta,



Three basic factors are currently denoralising future urogress in local
low-income housing construction in Atlanta:

First, is the local opposition to multi-family housing, particularly
Public Housing. Progress must be made in facilitating rezoning of necessary
sites to meet Atlanta's low-income housing needs, if adequate progress is to
be continued in this important field. 5s

- Second, the existing Federal policy of dis cowragtng approval on sites for
Public Housing in racially identifiable areas is hindering progress of the
progran and preventing the construction of many wits that are badly needed for
the lowest income families. : |

Third, the legal prohibition against 221 d (3) Federally assisted projects
being built in governmental entities (such: as neigtbertay counties which do not
have approved Workable Programs) is defeating the purpose of the Low-income
Housing Prozram and is placing undue hardship for providing such nanatie on cormunities
which do have Workable Prozrams. The current policy automatically excludes those
areas which have the most available land and where the housing is most needed
(near newly located industrial establishments where the occupants could be
profitably emploved). This Committee recommends that special effort be made to
overcome each of ‘the Shans indicated obstacles.

The recormendation contained in the report that Public Housing be more flexible
in both design and types of units (including toimhouses, duplexes and even single
family houses) as well as distribution on smaller scattered sites, is very worthy
of encouragement, in order to zet avay from the institutional imaze of Public
Housing. In fact it would be very helpful if the Housing Authority would eliminate
all of its signs at the entrances to projects advertizing to the public in effect
that "this is a low rent Federally subsidized housing project".

Emphasis in the report on application of the Housing Code in substandard and
depressed areas is ver, appropriate, however the feature that could be most effective,
and which has been most nezlected in Atlanta, is not mentioned; that is tenant
responsibility. This should and must be stressed continously, in order to get
more effective results fromthe Housing Code,

All #£OA Neighborhood Centers should vromote classes in housekeeping and
property maintenance by occupants of rental housing. Instruction in this field
should be instituted, perhaps at night, to which classes the Housing Court could
sentence skeet offenders to attend a prescribed number of sessions, in lieu of
monetary fines or jail sentences for code violations, in a similar manner to the

procedure now being practiced in Traffic Court of sentencing minor offenders to

attend sessions in Traffic School.

The cleanup of premises, effecting commercial and industrial, as well as
residential properties, is another important factor in improving the ghettos.
The condition of premises should go hand in hand with Housing Code enforcement,
“whether it is directed wy the Sanitary Department or the Housing Code Inspectors.
t is quite futile to improve the living conditions of a dwelling unit and not

require the immediate premises and surrounding areas to be cleaned up and kept

clean, especially in the ghattos. Similarly, it is useless to improve a residential

property and leave the commercial or industrial propérties’ in the same vicinity in

a disgraceful and disreputable condition.
Atlanta needs badly a Commercial and Industrial Code, just as it has a Housing

Code. Some of the more progressive cities have such ccdes today, The enabling

legislation recently adopted which authorized Atlanta's "In Rem" Ordinance

providing for moving directly against dilapidated residential properties instead of,

in i traditional manner, against the owners, for violation of the Housing Code,
© authorizes such action azainst poorly maintained commercial and industrial

es ablishments ‘as well, All that is needed is a local implementing Ordinance.

In order to provide and encourage much desired home ownership among low-income


families, a special sinsle family zoning district should be adopted which would

permit construction of sinzle family homes of 720 square feet or larszer on lots

having a ere of £,000 square feet, with a minimum frontzaze of 50', This
would provide ample area for low-income sinzle famil:; houses and would provide
increase in the density by 0% and reduce the cost of lots by 33 1/3% from that now
authorized by the current applicable 2-5 single family residential zoning district,

It is psesipetied that some new low-income develooment be iniated as soon as
possible this summer in the Model Cities area, by selecting at least one limited
area (perhaps four city blocks) in the heart of the most dilapidated portion of the
area and obtaining authority from the Federal governm-nt to acquire the land through
an advance acquisition process, similar to the manner in which land for the Audi-
torium and Civic Center res acquired, anc turning it over to the Housing Authority,
or through expedited sale to private entervrise to:develop.

It is also recommended that iniation of decclouncnt of at ean os vortion of


the Federal Prison site be exoedited for starting construction this summer of low-

incorne housing by private enterprise.

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