The Charlotte News

Thursday, July 6, 1939


Site Ed. Note: Below is a response, sophomoric though it soundeth, to the previous day's letter to the editor from book-page editor Cam Shipp. Shipp would yet respond to the youthful and perhaps callow writer, as the saga on the seemingly hapless library continued.

A Retort To Mr. Shipp On The Library Vote

Dear Mr. Shipp:

Your very sardonic and satirical letter appearing in The Charlotte News, copy of July 5th, is addressed to the wrong people! You seem to think that it was a vote of the majority that closed our municipal library. Do you sincerely think that if all the voting population of Charlotte had voted the doors of the library would be closed today? Do you think that the library was closed merely because in order to operate it any longer taxes would have to be levied higher? Perhaps the people chose to find out where all their money had been going since 1903! In the postscript you seem to believe that editors are just FAIRLY literate; well, some of them are!

Certainly, Mr. Shipp, in your next letter, you might implore more people that are entitled to vote TO VOTE, instead of razzing the few that took the time to register and then vote!



Smart Deal

Hard Money Boys Left With Bag To Hold

Conservative hard-money Republicans and Anti-New Dealers in the House must be feeling thoroughly sold. To carry out their purpose of slapping the President in the face by depriving him of his powers further to devalue gold, they formed one of the clearest combinations ever heard of in Congressional history and actually ganged up with the silverites from the West-in return for their votes against the devaluation power, themselves swallowed the bitter pill of raising the price of domestic silver from 64.64 cents an ounce to 71.11 cents an ounce. The latter was a plain steal, since the world price of silver was then around 43 cents and has since fallen to 38 cents. But the hard money boys salved their conscience by writing in a provision that the Treasury could not buy any more foreign silver.

But look what the Senate did to all that before it finally passed the monetary bill yesterday. First, it restored the President's devaluation power. Next it cut out the ban on the purchase of foreign silver, and domestic silver. It left the mandatory price precisely where the House had placed it-at 71.11 cents an ounce. What the hard money boys, who are also the economy boys, had got out of their slick deal was precisely the bitter pill and nothing else-the fact that hereafter the Treasury will be paying the difference between 38 cents and 71.11 cents for each ounce of some useless stuff dug out of the U.S. ground, to be put right back in the ground again!


Literary Form Made Complete By Japs

The writers of the old-time novels were just plain pikers. In our youth, we used to palpitate joyfully when we read that Handsome Harry or Deadwood Dick "raised his trusty rifle, Old Betsy, and 40 redskins hit the dust." Later on we learned to giggle superciliously over that, in the tremendous sophistication of adolescence. But always we retained in our heart a certain sadness. The dime authors (they were really five-cent authors, of course) never, indeed, plunged us into the depths of grief by killing off any of our heroes. But invariably they did kill off some minor person of the cast, sometimes the Chinese cook, sometimes Charley, the long drawling cowboy; sometimes Old Joe; sometimes Mr. Cyarter from Virginia, who had gone wrong but, remembering his mother, had a sudden change of heart. And always it seemed to us that it was somehow unnecessary and unfair to pick on the little people like that. Why not, we thought, have everybody happy, save of course the wicked redskins and the rustlers and the hold-up men?

Which is why we like the Japanese spokesmen. For one thing, they pitch everything on a larger scale. But, most of all, they know better than that last. Yesterday, for instance, they reported that, in a "great awe-inspiring battle" over Mongolia, involving 150 planes, Japanese airmen shot down 53 bad old Red ships and their crews, but that they themselves "suffered no losses." Not even a reformed Chinaman turned pilot for the Mikado. Who said that the notion of continual advance for the race is all a delusion? That, masters, was at last the perfect dime novel.

Hope Resurgent

The News Suggests A 3-Cent Tax For Library

Where there is a will, there usually is a way. And the very evident will of the people of this community to retain their public library has expressed itself vociferously, though, alas, belatedly. The way seems to have been provided by the means of another election on a Library tax lesser than the 5-cent proposition which was so sharply defeated.

It seems, indeed, that subject to the consent of the County Commissioners in calling another election, all that needs to be done is to vote and resolve all our difficulties through diligent exercise of the franchise. But it is not so easy as it might first appear. For one thing, five out of every nine votes cast in the election were adverse, and we shall have to assume, in the want of evidence to the contrary, that the proportion is representative. That is, there were as many people unfavorably inclined to fail to register as there were of those favorable and remiss. For another, it must not be overlooked that even if a second election carries, the Library will receive no appropriation until the next fiscal year commencing July, 1940; so that its reopening for the interim will have to be managed by extraordinary measures.

The greatest care and forethought will have to be taken to assure the primary step, the carrying of a second election. With that in mind, The News suggests that the County Commissioners, if they call the election, fix the minimum proposed tax rate at present, the tax which they previously covenanted to levy. That will overcome much of the objection of the taxpayers, will give the Library enough for which to operate, and will obviate the undesirability of submitting a higher tax than it is intended to apply.

Do we hear a second to the motion of a 3-cent tax?

Poor GM!

Not Knowing Which Union To Deal With, It Suffers

Heave a sigh for General Motors, caught in an alphabetical tangle. Given UAW to deal with, the corporation managed to get along in its labor relations, after a fashion. True, contracts that it signed with the union didn't seem to be binding upon any party but that of the first part, and had unauthorized strikes and capricious quickies to contend with. Nevertheless, when it came to bargaining under the law with chosen representatives, the corporation knew where to go.

But in time UAW, like the fabulous serpent which subdivides itself and runs off in different directions at the approach of danger, split up into divisions each claiming exclusive legitimacy and preponderance. Instead of simple UAW, GM had UAW-CIO and UAW-AFL to deal with. Not daring to recognize one or the other, and thus run afoul of the provision in the Wagner Act against favoring one union over another, GM appealed to NLRB. But NLRB, accustomed only to adjusting disputes between employer and employees, was mizzled, and didn't know what to do. So UAW-AFL called the strike because GM would not recognize it as the bargaining representative of the employees. And now UAW-CIO has done the same thing.

Time To Talk

If Smith Knows Anything He'd Best Tell It All

Back in New Orleans, Dr. James Monroe Smith, charged with embezzling the University of Louisiana's funds, says they he is "not going to be made the goat," and hints "I'm sorry I went away. I was ill-advised to leave...." All of which sounds as though he had a good deal to tell-a good deal which would implicate others. Maybe, by "ill-advised," he merely means that he advised himself badly. And maybe he is merely sounding off to easy his nerves. But it does not seem probable. A total of half a million dollars in LSU funds is alleged to be missing. And the grand jury has so far found ground to charge Smith himself with embezzling only $100,000 of that. Moreover, it is well-known that throughout his career at LSU he has functioned simply as a stooge for crooked politicians of the Huey Long gang. Did he get that other $400,000-and for himself? And if not, who did get it?

Altogether, the best thing the fellow can do is to tell all. Certainly, the nation in general has no desire to make him the goat. He must take into account, of course, the fact that many Louisiana courts are dominated by the Long gang, but it is probable that decent public opinion in that state will force the trial into one of integrity. And if that happens, and his testimony results in bringing the Long gang to justice-he can't, certainly, hope to get off scot-free, if the charges against him are proved; but it is more than likely that he can hope to get off a good deal easier.


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