control tower to bring you in? And I should like to ask the gentlemen on the Hill, What must we do to dramatize the need for air safety? Must we have four or five crashes and the loss of human life to wake them up?
I would like to suggest to you, General – and I commend you and the committee that has been responsible for the conduct of these conferences – that it might be a good idea to call another conference on air safety.
While we are talking about it, there are many ways that life is lost and endangered in addition to fire, automobile traffic, and airways. Up on the Hill we of the cities are interested in the removal
of a cancerous growth that is eating into the vitals of all our great industrial cities, slum areas, breeders of crime and disease, while a nonchalant attitude is taken by our representatives, who state that while it is important, perhaps, that veterans and other citizens be provided with housing, and while it would be a good thing to remove and clean up these slum areas, that is a matter than can wait for another year.
What kind of mental processes must be going on? Are they mindful of what you are doing here? I think the country is, and it seems that under the very figurative noses of Congress they should be alerted to these dangers that frighten the country.
I do not know of any group that is more appropriate to be represented here today than the United States Conference of Mayors. This is strictly a city problem. I am reminded that quite some time ago I saw a copy of the first proceedings of the first Board of Trustees of the Village of Detroit. It was a record of the first meetings of any public officials, of what is now one of the country’s great dynamic industrial centers. In that were the first ordinances that were passed; the first paid public officials were hired and their salaries fixed.
Perhaps it will interest you to know that the first ordinances that were passed by the first Board of Trustees of the Village of Detroit were fire ordinances, and they provided that at each house or cottage there should be a ladder with so many rungs on it, a barrel containing so much water; and the first employees were two inspectors to see to it that the provisions of the ordinances were carried out. The first police powers and the first penalties were imposed for violation of those ordinances. It reads somewhat humorously.
I found out that Widow Campbell was fined $1.50 because she had a couple of rungs out of her ladder. Somebody else’s barrel was not full enough of water.
This is strictly a major problem of cities and communities. I was very much interested in the address of the state fire marshal. I have not yet met a fire marshal, as such, who has ever thrown a pail of water or helped a child down a ladder. We had a rather disastrous fire in a neighboring community, and I asked a group of our firefighters, led by our present marshal, to make a study f that fire and come back and tell us what we would have to do in order to be assured that such a catastrophe would not happen in our city. They brought back a very enlightening report, very well done. Summed up, it somewhat paraphrased the great statement of Winston Churchill when he said. “Give us the tools and we will do the job.” There was not a recommendation in the report that proper finances could not cure.