The Charlotte News

Sunday, July 16, 1939


Site Ed. Note: Although the last two editorials of this date were added to the site some time ago, we have discovered a couple of more which may be by Cash and so we add the first two as well. We also add the letter to the editor in the continuing saga of the vote not to support a three-cent tax without which the public library could not continue to function.

Not Old Enough Again Replies To Mr. Shipp

Dear Mr. Shipp:

Your letter to the editor of The News published July 11, in defense of the article you wrote about those who did not vote for the library, or register, was sort of far-fetched, and you failed to get all your illiterate friends' names.

Would it not be a good idea to organize your army of illiterate friends by calling them personally, several times, if necessary, to refresh their memory--before election and gain their support?

I didn't register to vote because I was called away from town by illness, but I need the library as much as any citizen or taxpayer here, so am very disappointed at the outcome of the election.

My idea in writing you wasn't criticism, but merely to call your attention to the fact that some of us have good excuses.

Published statements showed that of the 50,000 registered voters in Mecklenburg only 5,000 voted in the last city election and are now squealing because the City Council elected by the few who went to the polls are using the whip hand.

We ought to suffer for our negligence for the next two years to wake us up, but it's too bad that our culture and education must suffer too.



Not Only Blind*

Justice In These Parts Is Downright Indifferent

It would be highly interesting to go back and recount the vivid details of their misdeeds and arrests by the police, the batch of nineteen men and one Negro woman whose cases were nol-prossed last Friday in Superior Court. The mere recital of the offenses for which they were indicted by the Grand Jury or convicted in lower court sounds pretty fearsome:

"Assault with a deadly weapon... storebreaking and larceny... assault with intent to kill... reckless driving, hit-and-run... receiving stolen goods... highway robbery... bigamy... robbery... assault..."

The reason for which the cases were called off are equally illuminating:

"Witness gone... unable to locate prosecuting witness... civil action settled... in the Marine Corps... serving a sentence... witness gone... witness not to be found..."

These and, of course, the familiar terse explanation that is no explanation at all "nollepross with leave" (to reopen).

And what the whole inept business adds up to is the inefficiency of Justicia's Mill and the indifference of its production manager, the amiable, accommodating, hand-shaking Solicitor and State's prosecuting attorney, the Hon. John Carpenter.

Implacable Justice? Fiddle sticks and shucks! You break the law. The cops arrest you. The Grand Jury indicts you or the lower courts convict you. Your case is docketed in Superior Court. You may be tried. You may not. Many are. Many aren't.

Gird, Girls!*

Flex Your Franchises And Feel Your Power

Far be it from us to moralize over so amusing an interlude as the campaign for "Mayor of Dillworth." It was good fun, and 'twould be out of place to chase the smiles from the faces of candidates and supporters alike with a few dreadful platitudes. Nevertheless...

Yep, nevertheless, this unofficial election proves something. Out of 4,161 ballots cast (4,161 ballots in a neighborhood election; 5,496 in the county-wide Library election) Miss Sula Blankenship received 1,544 and was elected hands down. And what, besides her own native popularity, let Miss Sula in the Mayor's office on the fourteenth floor of Dilworth's Cosmeticians & Curb Service Building? Why, the women. Sure! They ganged up to win.

And ladies: even as you have done it in this provincial contest; even as you did it in the serious election of William Bobbitt to be Judge of the Superior Court; so you can exert your influence and make a tremendous factor for good government in the election of men (or women) of standing and ability.

Not, necessarily, that you are any more discerning mesdames, than your associated male franchise-holders, or that you can be trusted always to know what's what and who's who. But given a plain choice between superiority and inferiority, you could with ease carry the longest day of the year.

Make a note of it. Put it in those small suitcases you call pocketbooks. And when the time comes, do something about it.

Innocents In Camp

They Need To Study The Late Rudyard Carefully

It is somewhat of a pity that the late Rudyard Kipling is no longer so popular as once was the case. For if the 34,000 young men who have just been drafted into the British Army were thoroughly grounded in his writings they might escape an unpleasant shock. As it is, they go into service under the enticement of a solemn order applying to everybody from top-sergeants and generals down (that, as all army men know, is the correct order of authority), that there shall be no "rudeness, bullying, or sarcasm" for them, but politeness and consideration.

"Will you gladly step this way, Mr. Atkins, please?

"Dinner is served, Mr. Atkins, and will you have liver or lamb or kidney for your joint?

"No, I am sorry, Mr. Atkins, but it is not the right foot which is put forth first but the left. Ah, there you have it. We'll have three stars on your collar yet. If you would hold your chin a little higher, sir, and pull in your stomach a little--splendid!"

But alas, for that. Orders or no orders, the nature of top-sergeants and generals, not to say colonels and captains and lieutenants and common garden sergeants and corporals, is incorrigible, as every old army man knows. And if the young men only knew their Kipling as they ought, well, they'd know to expect polite consideration on only one occasion, thus:

Oh, it's Tommy this and Tommy
And check 'im out, the brute!
But it's please to walk in front, sir,
When the guns begin to shoot.

Playing With Fire

If Union Labor Plays This Way Much Longer, It Will Lose Support From Public Opinion

Such tactics as union labor is using in the WPA strike at Minneapolis, apparently with the tacit consent of the American Federation of Labor, are marvelously calculated to break down public sympathy for the union idea.

The men involved in the strike are a comparative handful of "skilled" craftsmen, such as carpenters and brick layers, most of whom belong to the unions. And what they are striking about is not that anybody proposes to cut their pay but simply that it is proposed that they shall deliver an honest day's work for it. A hundred and thirty hours a month, the new schedule, comes to 32 1/2 hours a week, certainly no slave's stint. But hitherto these men have been paid by the "prevailing union scale." And that scale is calculated on the fact that private employment for most of these crafts has for many years been exceedingly spotty--so spotty that on average they can find employment only a few months out of the year--with the result that the scale has to be high if they are to make any kind of a living at all. But this matter of spottiness of employment has no relation to the case of the men on WPA. These are employed every month in the year--regularly draw their $93 a month pay, which comes to a good deal more than the average pay of the union craftsmen in private employment. And all on earth the scale amounts to in their case is that they have been enabled to earn their pay in a very few hours a month--often less than 30.

The AFL and the CIO maintain, indeed, that it is necessary to retain the union scale on WPA projects in order to keep contractors from beating it down in private employment. But when you look at that closely, it seems exceedingly dubious. The building trade unions are among the most powerful in the country. At a word they can stop work on almost any construction project anywhere, they have heavy war chests, and by the record they have almost always won their strikes. In view of that, the notion that contractors, with forfeits hanging over their heads, are going to attempt to buck the union scale looks a good deal less than plausible.

The President is probably right--and these men probably have no right to strike at all. A demonstration strike, perhaps. But beyond that--??? They are striking against the public bounty. And more than that, when they strike, they throw many thousands more of innocent and unwilling people out of work.

But whatever their right to strike, there is no question at all that when they pick on a hundred poor women employed on a sewing project who do not belong to the union and who have absolutely nothing at stake in this quarrel (their hours are not affected), who simply face the prospect of going hungry if they strike--when they pick on these unfortunates, demand that they strike too, and being refused, take to physical violence against them, to creating riot in which many of the women are injured and cops and others killed, then it is high time a stern halt be called.

The right of labor to organize into unions for its self-protection is indubitable and, given reasonable goodwill on both the employers and the employee side, it ought to be the best method of adjusting labor relations. But labor has no right at all to organize for the intimidation of government and for the hounding of the helpless unfortunate. A little more of this sort of thing and a little more of such interminable jurisdictional fights as that to which General Motors is having to put up with, and union labor is going to find public sentiment ranging up solidly against it.


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