Box 15, Folder 12, Document 5

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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 renort 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 reoort basically places all responsibility for the riots on
the |‘Mhite Corimunity and fails to snes any responsibility on the participa
in /the Riots. for the wanton destruction and other crimes which they corssitted.
This omission is unfortunate as it edule result in a feeling among future
potential rioters that such procedure is condoned. This possidility should

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not be overlooked Nationally end locally in attempting to deal with this
explosive situation and prevent future riots. |

The report recommends and calls for drastic actions on the part of Federal,
State, and Local sommes as ell as Vhite Comrrmities for specific actions
to correct unsatisfactor, conditions es a deterrent in preventing future riots,
It fails however to call for or vlace upon the dissident octupents 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 adecuately dealt with in
the Mayor's Merch 19 Directive, with the vossible exception of "Exmanded Lezal
Service to the Poor". “Additional corrective responsivtility in this field might
be assigned to the local Bar Associations.

The need for correcting or improving unsatisfactory conditions in the slums
_of our atties, one of the foremost of which is Rou, is Very aeeuienten and
in general the remedies ‘rooos ed and recommendations made are sound and apocar
adequate, if carried out on the local level.

With respect to Chanter 17 which deals specifically with pvrovosed corrective
measures,;some basic considerations in the housing field appear to have been over-

looked or at least they are not specifically brought out in the resort. Brief

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comment on some of these, as they affect the local housing situation in Atlanta,


Three basic factors are currently demoralizing future progress 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. _ ¥


“Second, the existing Federal policy of eiscomeging approval on sites for
Public Housing in racially; identifiable areas is hindering vrogress of the
program and preventing the construction of many wnits that are vad needed for
the lowest income families. |

Third, the legal prohibition against 221 d (3) Federall; assisted projects
nT built in governmental entities (such as netehborine counties which do not
have approved Jorkable Prozrans) is defeatinz the purpose of the Low-income
Houping Program and is placing undue hardship for providing such housing on communities
which do have workable Programs. The current polic; automatically excludes those
areas which —_ most available land and where the housing is most nesded
(near newly located industrial establishnents where the occupants could be
profitably emploved). This Committee recormends that special effort be made to
overcome each of ‘the chove indicated obstacles.

The recormendation contained in the revort that Public Housing be more flexible
in both design end tvpves of units (including toimhouses, duplexes and even single
family houses) as well as Cistribution on smaller scattered sites, is very worthy
of encouragement, in order to zet avav fron the institutional imaze of Public
Housing. In fact it would be very helpful if the Housing Authority would elininate
all of its sisns 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 hes been most seglented 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.

hood Centers should promote classes in housekeeping and



All. #OA Neighbo
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 minor offenders to attend a prescrited 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 hend with Housing Code enforcement,
‘whether it is directed by ‘the Sanitary Department or the Housing Code Inspectors.
It 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 ghettos. Similarly, it is useless to improve a residential

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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
Codee Some of the more progressive cities have such codes today. The enabling
legislation recently adopted which authorized Atlanta's "In Rem" Ordinance
providing for moving aipecuy against dilapidated residential properties instead of,
in the traditional manner, against the owners, for violation of the Housing Code,
also authorizes such action against’ poorly maintained commercial and industrial
establishnents ‘as well. All that is needed is a local implementing Ordinance.

In order to provide and encourage much desired home owmership among low-income
families, a special single family zoning district should be adapted which would
permit construction of sinsle family homes of 720 square feet or larzer on lots
having a soubor dees of £,000 square feet, with a minimum frontzaze of 50', This
would provide ample area for low-invome single family houses and would provide
increase in the density by 505 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 oe that some new low-income development 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 government to acquire the land through
an advance sequisition process, similar to the manner in which land for the Audi-
torium and Civic Center ras acquired, and turning it over to the Housing Authority,
or through expedited sale to private enterprise to:develop,.

It is also recommended that iniation of asvulopnent of at east portion of
the Federel Prison site be expedited for starting construction this summer of low-

incone housing by private enterprise.

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