The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—It must give deep concern to all of us who realize how careful we must be not to have some accident, or incident, bring on a war. The attack by Communist-marked planes on one of our Navy planes over international waters in the Sea of Japan is one such example where extreme caution had to be exercised. And there have been a number of these so-called "mistakes."

Therefore, I think in every country the defense forces should be very carefully briefed against carelessness, because such carelessness—if that's what it is—might bring on a war which, of course, the heads of governments are being extremely careful to avoid. A war today may mean near total destruction, and the heads of government know this and so should every officer and enlisted man.

I was gratified to see in one of our newspapers recently that the Governor of Maine and the Prime Minister of New Brunswick, Canada, have suggested that Campobello Island, or at least some part of it, shall be made an international shrine.

I imagine this would include the purchase and preservation of the land and the house which once belonged to my husband. He was very fond of the waters lying all about this island and he cruised far afield. Until his illness I think he enjoyed his holidays on the island itself as much as any other relaxation in his busy life.

It was there, of course, that he contracted polio, but the seeds of the illness he had brought with him and it only developed after his arrival. After his illness he was unable to do some of the things he had most enjoyed, and so he returned only twice for brief periods to the island. But he always remembered it with affection, and if this suggestion should go through I am sure that it would have pleased him.

I see that a large number of taxicab drivers in New York City appeared before the City Council to protest the 10-cent tax it was about to pass on all taxi rides.

I cannot help but feel that the financial advisers to Mayor Robert F. Wagner who suggested this tax hardly realized what bitterness it would cause among the cab drivers. The taxi drivers, of course, feel that it makes very little sense to ask people to pay 10 cents whether their total taxi ride costs them 35 or 40 cents, or whether it costs them $5 or $6—to get to an airport, for instance.

If this tax is passed by the Board of Estimate and signed by the mayor, it is going to irritate the drivers every day of their lives because it will affect their daily income. Many people, accustomed to using cabs for short rides, will probably consider the tax as what they would have paid in a tip and, of course, this will cut into the income of tips which have come to be counted on by a driver as part of his regular daily wage.

Personally, I don't like tipping because, like many others, I would prefer to feel that everyone is adequately paid for the work he is hired to do. But tipping is still a recognized and accepted remuneration in our country and many people look upon it as part of their salaries—which it is, of course, in the case of the taxi drivers. One thoughtful driver told me he would have preferred to pay more for his license. Such an increase in one payment thus would not cut into the total of every day's income.

Because of these deep feelings on the part of the taxi men, I am sorry that Mayor Wagner's financial advisers put this tax on the agenda. I wonder whether the $20,000,000 a year it is expected to bring in could not have been found in some more effective and less annoying way.


(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 18, 1959

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.