APRIL 21, 1959
NEW YORK—At a dinner the other night Mr. Carmine De Sapio, New York State chairman of the Democratic National Committee, apparently attacked former Senator Herbert H. Lehman, Mr. Thomas K. Finletter and myself. I am not at all surprised that he should feel as he does, and I think he has a perfect right to express his views.
He believes that we are trying to tear down the Democratic party in New York State, which shows that he has not understood at all the purpose of the movement. Our committee wishes to build up the party, to make members of the party more active and to give them greater opportunity for participation.
We do believe that those who run the party machinery should have consultative status, but we do not believe that they should control party policies. These policies should be made, without coercion, by party members who are given as great a voice as possible and under the leadership of such recognized public servants as Senator Lehman, Mr. Finletter, former Governor Averell Harriman and Mayor Robert F. Wagner.
I have no feeling against Mr. De Sapio as a man or as a leader. I only want to see the Democratic party become stronger in New York State and win elections. Mr. De Sapio must recognize that he lost the last election and he can hardly deny that he controlled to a very great extent the policies that brought about this defeat.
Here in New York City, and no doubt throughout most of the state, a great many people are watching with great interest the whole discussion of the city's budget. And in this connection one hopes that the decision to re-examine the Board of Education's salary schedule will really bring about some important changes. We cannot deny that teachers are not well paid and we cannot deny either that they are most important, and that if we do not offer good pay we will get poor teachers.
I feel that better pay all the way along the line might make it possible to attract better trained and more able people. With the increase in child population it may not be possible to cut down on numbers in the educational field, but in many other government bureaus better people might mean fewer people needed.
The Bolshoi Ballet started off its American appearances with as enthusiastic an audience as any other Russian performers ever experienced. But the reprimand handed out in Moscow last week to Igor Moiseyev, whose folk dance troupe performed here last year, will probably serve as a warning to the Bolshoi Ballet group. Mr. Moiseyev was censured for having given too glowing an account of life and art in the United States. Nevertheless, I think it is impossible for artists not to respond to real appreciation.
It seems strange to me that Mr. Robert Moses, New York City Parks Commissioner, who once was enthusiastic about such things, should now want to ban the Shakespeare Festival from the city's Central Park.
The real value that comes to our city through the production of Shakespeare and the fact that the performances would be open to all is so great that I cannot help wishing that his decision might be changed.
We must realize that the city pays for health and education and gives its citizens other things in return for their taxes, and this seems to be one of the legitimate expenses for education.