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Senator JAVITS. Those are complaints.
Senator Javits. These are complaints which the agency issues
Mr. MAGEL. The administrative agency has only this year had the right to initiate complaints.
Senator Javits. Nonetheless, you are giving us the global figure of complaints filed, 500 per year. What percentage is that of the aggregate real estate transactions in residential housing in New York State !
Mr. MAGEL. We have no idea.
Senator Javits. How many cease-and-desist orders have been issued since the commission came into being?
Mr. ELMSTROM. Cambria Heights is the only one I am familiar with. I know of no others in our State.
Senator Javits. Now, Laurelton and Cambria Heights are by no means the most significant real estate areas in the State?
Mr. ELMSTROM. Oh, no; they are one small segment of our State. Senator JAVITs. Of course. You have an enormous area.
I notice on page 3 you state that since some of our local communities in New York State have also enacted some of these laws, property owners are confused and bewildered.
Who was confused and bewildered, and how?
Mr. ELMSTROM. The reason for the confusion-again it is an administrative one. We have in the State, as you well know, a human rights commission. You know that many of our cities also have human rights commissions. You know that the attorney general has power in this field. All anyone has to do is file a complaint. He does not have to justify his complaint particularly to file it. I know in my own area, I have made a check, and I do not think 1 percent of our knowledgeable people, after all the years our bill has been in existence, have any concept that there is such a bill and that it applies to them. I would certainly furnish documentation for that with names of doctors and lawyers, who, when you tell them that this bill applies to them, say, “Absolutely not, never heard of such a thing." We are furnishing copies of this bill continuously, trying and hoping to educate our people with it. But it is a tragedy that very few of them are aware of this bill. They go about their business in their own way.
Senator JAVITS. Does that not rather indicate that the administration of the antidiscrimination law in New York has not in fact been the big chaotic, bewildering and confusing mess that you have described in your statement ?
Mr. ELMSTROM. No, sir; it does not. I am speaking of my own area. We have no particular problem in Saratoga. I live in a village of 5,000 people. It is quite a little different up there. I was merely referring that to my own area.
But there is confusion in many areas of our State. They are spotty areas.
Senator Javits. Can you cite specific areas that justify your statement that there is chaos or bewilderment and confusion? Which areas?
Mr. ELMSTROM. We started off with the Cambria Heights—Laurelton area, right there. There has been a great deal of trouble in Yonkers, N.Y., and I believe in most of your major cities. And I was thinking also of Buffalo, which has had problems with this bill.
Senator Javits. Is it not fair to say that there is no widespread outcry against this legislation in New York?
Mr. ELMSTROM. I cannot say that, because there is no way that I could possibly know. We have found that when people find out about this bill, they cannot understand why it should be in existence. I believe quite frankly, if I may say so, if this were put to a referendum of the people in New York State, the bill would be soundly rejected. This is my personal belief.
Senator Javits. That is your personal opinion. But this has been on the books now since 1959, and there has been no real effort to repeal it, has there, in the legislature!
Mr. ELMSTROM. No.
Senator Javits. Or to defeat the people who sponsored the bill in the first place?
Mr. ELMSTROM. Well, after all, one bill like this is only part of the legislator's work and there are many things that defeat them or get them into office. No, I could not attach directly to the bill —
Senator Javits. Has your association passed any resolution denouncing this New York State bill?
Mr. ELMSTROM. We stand in opposition to the bill.
Senator Javits. But you have passed no resolution denouncing it, have you?
Mr. ELMSTROM. No, sir.
Senator Javits. Have you sought in any way to raise public sentiment against it?
Mr. ELMSTROM. Yes, sir.
Senator Javits. In other words, your members are unhappy, at least some of them, as far as you know, is that right?
Mr. ELMSTROM. Well, we do not like the bill. Obviously we live with any law and we follow it strictly to the letter. But we would feel, quite frankly, that the bill is not necessary in New York State and is not serving its intended purpose.
Senator Javits. But there has been no organized effort by you or any other group to bring about its repeal!
Mr. ELMSTROM. Because of the situation in New York State, where the people do not have the right of referendum, it would be politically impossible, we feel, to get the New York State Legislature to change this law.
Senator Javits. But you have fought a lot of other legislative battles in New York law, have you not? On other things such as taxation?
Mr. ELMSTROM. Yes.
Senator Javits. Correct; but not this one. Have you engaged in a legislative struggle on this one? Mr. ELMSTROM. No. Senator JAVITS. Thank you very much.
Senator ERVIN. Let me make some contributions to the effort of New York City to bring about integrated housing. I would like to read into the record a statement which appears on page 30 of Alvin Avins' book entitled “Open Occupancy Versus Forced Housing Under the 14th Amendment":
Moreover, the New York City Housing Authority admitted keeping an average of at least 65 apartments in pubic housing in Negro areas vacant rather than rent them to waiting Negroes in order to obtain whites and better integrate them. This resulted in the rental loss, in one reported project alone, of $115,000 in less than a year. Refusal to sell to needy Negro tenants to promote integration in Negro areas became so widespread that the New York State Commission Against Discrimination was provoked by complaints of a number of Negro families to investigate the situation.
And also I would like to read this about the New York City antidiscrimination ordinance by the same author. This book was published in 1963 and he says, “Three years ago”—which would have been in 1960:
Three years ago, this author pointed out the following facts:
When the law (New York City's anti-discrimination ordinance) first went into effect, the City Commission on Intergroup Relations, the administrative body charged with the administration of this ordinance, received an annual appropriation of $358,050. A year later, only 27 complaints were adjusted to the satis faction of the complainant or the Commission for a total cost per dwelling unit obtained via the anti-discrimination law of over $13,000. With this money, the city would virtually have built each of the complainants his own apartment or house.
That is the end of the quotation. The author adds this:
Four years of experience has simply reinforced the above observation. During this period, the City Commission's budget rose to almost a half million dollars. It had 1,167 cases, but only 101 complainants eventually got apartments through the agency's efforts. This averages almost $20,000 per apartment.
Now, those are some observations by a man who has made a study of the New York situation. It seems to me if those observations are correct, it would be a better policy for the Federal Government just to undertake to build everybody a house or get him an apartment. It would be cheaper.
Mr. ELMSTROM. It was originally enacted in 1959, I believe. Then it was amended as it now stands in 1963.
Mr. AUTRY. As you probably know, the Attorney General has given as one of the chief reasons for proposing this bill the elimination of the ghetto; throughout his statement he alluded to the problem of the ghetto. Have you noticed any marked impact on "ghettoes” since the enactment of the New York law?
Mr. ELMSTROM. The word "ghetto" is a very bad word. I do not like it.
Mr. AUTRY. It is the word the Attorney General uses.
Mr. ELMSTROM. I do not quite know what the exact definition of this word is—but if I interpret it correctly, I cannot conceive that there has been one single change. The area might have changed. It might have moved from here to here, but I know of no instance of elimination of so-called ghettoes. I myself was brought up in what was referred to as a slum of Brooklyn that might very well have been referred to as a ghetto in this interpretation.
Mr. Aurry. I quote from page 9 of the Attorney General's statement:
For example, in Harlem, 237,792 people lived in a 342-square-mile area, or 100 people per acre.
I suppose those figures are for this year. Is this a substantially lower concentration than existed in 1959 when the law was passed?
Mr. ELMSTROM. I would have to check the figures. I could not answer you.
Senator Javits. Just one question, Mr. Chairman, if I may.
Senator Javits. These figures would be materially affected, would they not, by the in-migration of Negroes or Puerto Rican families to New York In other words, you could not take the absolute figure of diminution or increase of the concentration of minority population, in Harlem or Bedford-Stuyvesant or the East Bronx, and stand on these alone. If you want to get an evaluation of the impact of the New York law, you could not get it solely by the absolute population content of these areas even if you define the areas, at a given stage; is that not so?
Mr. ELMSTROM. I agree with your statement. Many more things would have to enter into this determination.
Mr. MAGEL. May I comment on Mr. Autry's question? It is my impression that he was concerned with the ethnic or racial makeup of an area which he calls the ghetto. By the old definition, the ghetto is something you cannot move out of. I think we refer to it as a heavy ethnic concentration or racial concentration. Our experience under the law, the exact point Mr. Elmstrom was making, and the law in the Laurelton area, is that what really happens is you cannot totally achieve integration, simply because buyers and renters still may discriminate. As a result, you find the heavy ethnic concentration areas moving from one part of a community to another rather than being integrated. It is the goal, I assume, of all proponents of legislation of this type to achieve equal and spreadout opportunity in this field, and, frankly, this law practically prohibits it, because no individual can refuse to sell, when he wants to
Mr. AUTRY. Voluntarily integrated neighborhoods, then, under this bill or under the New York State law, would be, by the letter of the law, prohibited!
Mr. MAGEL. Yes.
Senator Javits. I do not understand what you mean by "prohibited.” Would you explain what you mean?
Mr. AUTRY. The subcommittee has received some statements to the effect that voluntary integrated neighborhoods around the country are maintained by self-imposed voluntary quotas.
Senator Javits. I agree that it is self-imposed. I understand.
Mr. AUTRY. In that connection, just one more question. The Attorney General also based part of the constitutionality for this legislation on what he considers an adverse impact on commerce by discrimination. Now, in your experience with the New York State law, has there been less discrimination and has the flow of commerce improved since enactment?
Mr. ELMSTROM. Are you addressing that to me? ?
Mr. ELMSTROM. It is impossible for us to conceive, with all due respect to the Attorney General of the United States, how a private citizen selling a private home to another private citizen can in any way, manner, or form, be related to the commerce clause. We believe this bill is reaching way beyond any intent of the commerce clause of the Constitution. It is not conceivable to us that this would apply either on a State basis or a national basis.
Mr. AUTRY. Did you notice any change in the flow of commerce because of the impact of the enactment of the New York State law? The Attorney General, of course, alleges that this law would change, would help the flow of commerce because discrimination would be abolished.
Mr. ELMSTROM. I cannot conceive at all that it would help the flow of commerce. I would answer definitely not in my opinion.
Senator Ervin. It is always bad to put an interpretation on another man's language, because you can misinterpret what he was saying, but I think the Attorney General's theory was that if you deprive all real estate owners of the right to choose the persons to whom he would sell, then all Americans would move from one State to another in order to get housing under the provisions of this bill. Do you think it would have any such effect as that?
Mr. ELMSTROM. Well, I do not know.
Senator Ervin. On behalf of the subcommittee, I wish to thank you for making your appearance here and giving us the benefit of your views.
Mr. ELMSTROM. Thank you for allowing us to come.
(Whereupon, at 12:10 p.m. the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene at 2:30 p.m. the same day.)
Senator Ervin. The subcommittee will come to order.
Mr. AUTRY. The first witness this afternoon is Mr. Andrew J. Biemiller, director, department of legislation, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.
Senator Ervin. On behalf of the subcommittee, I want to thank you for making your appearance here and giving us the views of the organization which you represent, on this legislation.
STATEMENT OF ANDREW J. BIEMILLER, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT
OF LEGISLATION, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR AND CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS; ACCOMPANIED BY THOMAS HARRIS, ASSOCIATE GENERAL COUNSEL
Mr. BIEMILLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. For the record, my name is Andrew J. Biemiller. I am legislative director for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. Accompanying me is Thomas E. Harris, our associate general