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constitutes the great asset of the community. And further, if such a program is to be carried out in an American and democratic way, the workers themselves must have greater lee-way and leisure in which to bear their share of the burdens and responsibilities of American democracy.
I bear a message tonight to Pittsburgh from John Burns, president of the Local Government Board of England, one of the foremost labor leaders of Great Britain, who has been hailed this fall as one of the conservative forces of the present Liberal Ministry in dealing with the important economic problems which are facing the British Empire. He has visited America and Pittsburgh as a member of various commissions, and it was on the basis of his knowledge of our situation here that I asked him for suggestions as to ways of advance, which would lead to the improvement of civic and labor conditions in the Pittsburgh steel district.
"Six days work a week instead of seven," he said. "Three shifts of eight hours instead of two shifts of twelve; no twentyfour hour shifts; better housing; counter-attractions to the saloon; more parks-open spaces; the improvement of the river frontthe humanizing of labor instead of the brutalization of toil. There you are. Those are Pittsburgh's marching orders."
One of my earliest recollections of a canvass covered geography was the prime fact which is Pittsburgh-that here the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers unite to form the Ohio. Huge economic foundations buttress this fact (oil and gas and clay and iron and coal). History in the making has rolled it into new shapes and a changing significance. The junction is the great left fist of the Father of Waters. The three rivers give the town common cause and intercourse with the Atlantic coast ranges to the east, and the mid-continental bottom lands, north and south, to the west. Their waters carry the ores and fill the boilers and douse the hissing billets of the steel makers. They are not easy overlords, this triumvirate of rivers. They carry fever which scotches one town and the next. They rise a bit too far and the fires are out, the streets
flooded. But grudgingly and inevitably, they are yielding mastery. They have been dammed and sluiced and boiled and filtered to suit the various demands of navigation and power and temperature and thirst.
The mastery they yield is to another current-the eddying peoples which make up the community and all its works—a current more powerful and mysterious than the bulk of brown waters. The War Department engineers can tell you the exact number of cubic feet which slide past either side of the Point every minute. The sanitarians can give you the number of bacteria, friendly or plague-besetting, which infect any cubic centimeter. The weather man in a high building can forecast the exact stage which the water will register hours hence. But what of the people?—they largely take themselves for granted. They rarely take the time to test their own needs or to consciously gauge the destination of the currents that possess them. They are here the strong, the weak, the cowed, the ambitious, the well equipped and the pitiful; they jostle and work and breed. For the most part they run a splendid course, but they do not keep tally, and ignorance, as ever, has meant sorrow and death and misunderstanding.
The three rivers and the resources they tap brought the people here. Environmennt is inevitable as a selective agency; but the people once here, can by their willing, mold and perpetuate or destroy the holding power of the district. Other cities have large admixtures of clerks and trading classes. I doubt if there is such another working force in the country as that which peoples these valleys. Therein lies a municipal resource worth conserving to the utmost of its potential goods. Will Pittsburgh as a community, as a democratic community, meet that responsibility? Will the industrial communities of the nation, as democratic communities, meet their responsibility?
The Function of Business Bodies in Improving Civic Conditions
H. D. W. ENGLISH, Pittsburgh
Formerly President, Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, and Chairman, Pittsburgh Civic Commission
Increasing numbers of people in America are coming to believe that chambers of commerce and business bodies generally have a very great obligation toward, and duty in connection with, civic problems.
With the exception of three or four in this country, commercial organizations, as a rule, are distinctly given over to what is called the promotion of the commercial welfare of the community in which they exist. They naturally turn to broadening markets; to better transportation facilities; currency and trade questions, and to advertising their several localities. These are regarded as the fundamentals of commercial prosperity. The three or four exceptions which have taken up civic work are in great centers and civic advancement has been quite pronounced already as a result.
Commercial organizations, however, have in the past neglected a large field which virtually effects the very fundamentals of a commercial supremacy, i.e., that a city to be great commercially must be great civicly. How can any set of business men go out from a community and ask for business confidence; for contracts involving immense sums of money when that city's public business and civic tone is so low as to cause suspicion to fall on these same business men, who, through neglect of their civic duties, have given a just cause for suspicion of civic incompetency It doesn't matter how unjust it may be to the individual. Allow the city to drift civicly upon the rocks and the commercial prosperity will soon follow.
On the other hand, organization of effort as expressed in such associations as we are speaking of present the most effective way of obtaining knowledge and suggesting remedies in civic matters which may effect commercial advance in a conservative, dispassionate way without fear of the criticism of doing so for partisanship advantage. Indeed there should be no thought of partisanship.
Organizations of this kind will make themselves felt for civic good when it is found out that they are actuated by broad principles of public policy for the whole good of the city. The fact that influential, thoughtful and active business men have agreed upon a certain policy will carry weight in a community of thinking people, and with any thoughtful legislative body. There should be no conflict between such organizations and municipal legislatures where both are seeking to solve questions for the highest good. They both should approach all municipal questions with the one desire of solving them properly and with mutual respect for the judgment of both. The most effective way, however, is through the appointment of a committee from the legislative body to hear a committee from business organizations and together thresh out the chaff and get the wheat. Each should recognize the need of the point of view of the other. The consideration of municipal problems by boards of business and technical men, apart from the municipal government and administration, is a good one, in that it causes our busy American people to think more of the government, of which we are a part, and more of their duties and not leave everything to those to whom we elect to office. The very fact that interest is aroused will cause those same people whom we have elected to be more thoughtful in their actions.
The Influence of Business Men
In Greater Pittsburgh we have fourteen commercial and civic bodies organized for the purpose of fostering trade and for civic betterment, composed of 3500 leading business men and women, all citizens. The great civic questions are taken up by some one of these organizations and by them discussed and the consensus of opinion arrived at and passed on to the others and by them in turn discussed and opinion arrived at. The final judgment
should be of inestimable value to any legislative body, and is a real contribution to the subject in hand and should have its weight in the final determination of any question by a municipal legislature seeking the highest good.
There is another feature which is not so apparent to all, namely, that municipal government generally plans for those municipal activities which either through custom or time have been found necessary, or the doing of which can actually be seen to pay in some immediate results; sometimes, alas, pay in a political way and sometimes pay in a broad public way, but at any rate, not looking a long time into the future. It is proverbially the remark that municipalities, while they always wish to see returns for money expended, are not capable of looking very far into the future and seeing benefits from money expended today which will come back, perhaps, to our children. Such things as better housing conditions, better transportation facilities, better care of the children of the streets and better sanitary conditions, the granting of franchises viewed in a broad way, sometimes look too advanced to the ordinary legislator, but it
not difficult to show to the thoughtful business man that all this counts, even counts from the dollars-and-cents point of view, let alone the matter of civic pride. So it is by the arousing of interest in such bodies of business men that we have a healthy tone in a community which operates for the public good.
The consideration of great numbers of civic questions necessary to the economy of operation, reduction of water waste, etc., can be solved much more readily, much more intelligently, by a body of business men, and civic advancement and remedial measures will only be furthered by such bodies which in the very nature of their individual business take into consideration far-reaching effects and future needs, all of which business men are accustomed to review before taking action. Perhaps no body of men engaged in voluntary work can bring to bear in the solving of civic problems so much expert knowledge or engineering skill on subjects such as engineering, filtration, flood protection, sewage disposal, smoke abatement, civic and archi