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NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
OCTOBER 22 TO NOVEMBER 3, 1967
J. M, FLANIGEN
Sunday, October 22:
The conference started with dinner at the Sheraton Carlton followed by an
address by Dr, Garrett Hardin, Professor of Biology at the University of
It is difficult to reconcile biology with urban affairs, but he did it by
tracing ethnic principles and the fact that any race, white, red, yellow,
or black has a basic love and loyalty to its own ancestry.
The talk was provocative and brought out good discussion, especially in
view of the fact that none in the group had seen each other before dinner,
Monday, October 23:
The morning session was one of orientation. We were divided into three
groups: planning, politics and private sector.
Each group discussed the subjects they thought would be of interest and
from this the program was finalized and assignments made for our day in
In the afternoon the groups were brought together for consolidation of ideas.
The evening was free for dinner and whatever we wanted to do.
Tuesday, October 24:
The morning session was led by Professor Jules Chametsky, Associate
Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts.
I seemed to be the only one in the group who thought well of his discussion.
It surprised me that a man in a relatively small college would have such a
knowledge and grasp of the situation in cities.
To me, he put his finger on the situation, and by a series of metaphors
and examples brought the search for power by different groups (air power,
police power, black power, and student power) and the resultant frustration
leading to the use of drugs to give an illusion of power. This, to me,
expressed the keynote of the entire conference: frustration.
The afternoon session was to be led by Congressman Curtis of Missouri,
but he was called back to The Capitol before he could get started. But what
he did say confirmed the evidence of frustration: more strikes, higher
interest rates, higher wages, and inflation. The minimum wage will increase
Again, the evening was free for our own desires.
Wednesday, October 25:
The morning session was led by Herbert Striner of the Upjohn Institute
for Employment Research.
This was one of the best talks we had, and he started out by saying that
everybody was an Economist, and there were two kinds: (1) The simple.
one to whom all things are simple to the simple, and (2) nothing is simple
and economics makes simple things difficult,
He mentioned the national debt, and said that as long as the gross national
product exceeded the debt there was nothing to worry about. A theory I
cannot go along with completely,
In his discussion of job opportunities he made a good point in that employers
are discouraging workers by insisting on complete investigation before
employment. If men in need of a job report and find that they cannot be
put to work until they and their records have been examined, they will
give up and stay on relief,
The afternoon session was on the political situation and the possibilities
of the 1968 elections.
The evening session was a briefing on our day in the field the next day, I
drew the trip to Montgomery County, Maryland, where they have just passed
an open housing ordinance and have qualified for urban renewal.
This trip was most interesting because of our interest in zoning and housing.
Apparently the people did not worry about the open housing because of the
high prices of homes ($30 -$40,000).
Dinner was at the Anthony House, with debriefing session later,
Friday, October 27:
This session was given over to reports and discussion of what we had seen
and learned on the field trips. The problems in Washington are not different
from Atlanta, but I believe we are handling them better. A school problem,
involving a new superintendent brought forth a meeting similar to the one
in Atlanta the week before. However, this one was carried to the courts.
The afternoon was free time soI went to see and talk with the Health Depart-
ment. about how they were handling the Alcoholics. I was very much dis-
appointed in the little time given me, but did find out that they have set up
detoxification centers in all precinct police stations, with nurses in attendance.
This is followed up with examinations and committment to a hospital if
Dinner was at the Carlton, followed by a discussion on crime and the courts
by Mr. Samuel Dash from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Saturday, October 28:
This was a summary of what we had gone over during the week; first a general
summary by the staff and then a discussion led by a couple of teams picket
from the group. I think a great deal of the week's discussion was flavored
and influenced by the march on The Pentagon, which occurred the day before
we got there.
The evening session was at the Washington Gallery of Modern Arts. This
was the only session I could not take and left after about an hour. However,
they did show some movies of the march on The Pentagon, If it was to
show prowess, it was a flop. I was certainly proud of the Army in the way
they handled the situation - just plain,firm discipline,
Sunday, October 29:
The morning was free and several of us went to church, others found other
The afternoon was a trip to Columbia, the new city between Washington and
Baltimore. This was most interesting to see a city planned for 100,000 from
the ground up. A central core of business surrounded by 6 or 8 "villages"
of homes with shopping and recreation for each. A pavillion type theatre has
been provided and contracts signed for top grade performances. The streets
and walkways are so arranged that children can go to and from school without
crossing a street. Mini-buses handle traffic to and from the main shopping
area. Several industries have located in the city.
Monday, October 30:
The morning session was on government and covered everything from municipal
to the Federal Government, It was brought out that there was a gap between
the cities and the Federal Government that must be filled. The state must do
Metro government has been rejected by the people in practically all cases.
Combined city and county has worked in a few cases. One in particular is
Nashville, which was represented at the meeting. Maryland has practically
all county government. The Council of Governments (COG) in Washington
seems to be an answer, temporary or interim, at least, but a stepping stone.
The discussion was continued in the afternoon with John Gunther, Executive
Director of the Conference of Mayors, and Walter Scheiber, Executive
Director of the Washington Council of Governments. I was pleased that
Mr. Gunther spoke very highly of Atlanta in his remarks. There is no
reason why our Council of Governments will not work.
The evening was free,
Tuesday, October 31:
The day's session on urban technology and systematic management was a
general discussion on how technology can be fitted into politics and vice
versa, A very interesting discussion on the age old problem of trying to
bring these two sides together.
The evening meeting was supposed to be at the Potter's House on churches
and cities, but because of a mix up on bus schedules we could not get in to
the place. Congresswoman Edith Green of Oregon was the leader.
I was anxious to hear this because I think there is a place for the church in
the inner city and have been interested in our own efforts with St. Jude's
House, Emmaus House and the Kirkwood Center.
Wendesday, November 1:
Before the morning session started a man from the Academy of Science
came in and posed a question: "If you had several million dollars to spend
in your city, what would you do with it?'' There was little offered until I
stuck my neck out and said I would spend it on education, making a balanced
program of education and recreation available to all children. This would be
a year-round program and would also include arts. This opened the flood
gates and some very interesting discussion followed.
The regular session on the politics of the situation was led by staff members,
The afternoon was free and I took the time to call on some friends, including
Dick Russell and Herman Talmadge, but found them both busy on Committees.
The evening session was at Howard College and I think this was a mistake
for we did not get a chance to see their plant, The session was very
interesting tome. It was led by Dr. J. P. Speigel of Brandies University,
It was mostly statistical data, which probably accounted for the unfavorable
comments of some.
It was an analysis of the cause of riots and disorders and an attempt to
relate them to events and conditions. However, when they seemed to
have established a trend, a riot would occur where least expected.
Thursday, November 2:
In this session, the discussion was led by Congressman Joseph Karth of
Minnesota and Congressman McDade of Pennsylvania. Both were good and
made a very good presentation of the view from Capitol Hill on crime as
the number one problem today.
Figures quoted indicated that 50% of crime is committed by narcotics, and
this cannot flourish without corruption. Also quoted was an estimate that
the annual take of crime if $7 billion - the major sources being narcotics,
loan sharks, numbers racket, and slot machines.
The afternoon session was led by Mr. John Baker of the Agriculture Depart-
ment, Contrary to expectations, his talk was not on farms and produce,
but on planned use of land to prevent slums and poverty in rural areas.
One example he gave that was news to me is an organization of South Georgia
counties around Jesup, Baxley, Lyons and Reidsville. Here an effort is being
made to promote industry to provide jobs and job training and stop the migration
to the cities,
To sum up the entire conference, I would say it was well planned and
excellent in subjects chosen. To express the findings in a few words,
I would say the people, all people, are frustrated and want to be heard,
to feel that they have a part in making things go,
There was considerable talk of 'power structure" to which my reply was
"We do not have a power structure in Atlanta,"
J. M. Flanigen
November 23, 1967