The Advocates-Is the Size and Scope of County Government Out of Control? 6-25-08

The Advocates

 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com.  One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio. 

 

Our special guests are the honorable Paul Feiner, The Town Supervisor of Greenburgh, NY and Ms. Joan Gronowski, a Member of the City Council of Yonkers, NY. Our subject today is, “Is the Size and Scope of County Government Out of Control, and What Can Be Done?”

 

Mr. Feiner was a Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude at Fordham University and a l98l graduate of St. John's Law School, Mr. Feiner immediately put his academic skills to good use. He led the campaign to open committee meetings of the Westchester County Board of Legislators to the public. This successful effort prompted Common Cause to name Mr. Feiner one of six national recipients of the Common Cause Public Service Achievement Award in l982. His award cited Mr. Feiner's “force of imagination, initiative and perseverance that have made an outstanding contribution to the public interest in the areas of government performance and integrity.”

In l983 he was elected to the Westchester County Board of Legislators, defeating two opponents who were supported by the political establishment. As a County Legislator he always put his constituents first. Thanks to Mr. Feiner the county Legislature adopted a number of open government reforms, including meetings with public speaking access. In l99l, he was elected Town Supervisor of Greenburgh, the largest town in Westchester County. During the past 17 years Mr. Feiner has addressed the infrastructure needs of the town. The most significant of these accomplishments took place in 2003 when Greenburgh moved its Town Hall to a new facility: 177 Hillside Ave. The building, which is partially powered using solar energy (thanks to a NYS grant), was purchased at a price significantly below market value: $6.9 million. In the early 1990s, when the building was built, the cost of constructing 177 Hillside was over $12 million. An incredible bargain! Paul Feiner is the only elected official in the United States to have based part of his salary on performance. He has tied salary increases to achievement of goals and has voluntarily returned a portion of his salary if his goals are not met. 

Spotlight Westchester Magazine named Paul Feiner the “most interesting politician in Westchester” in their “the Best of Westchester 200l issue”. Mr. Feiner was also honored by the Rotary Foundation as a Paul Harris Fellow. Mr. Feiner also began hosting a weekly interview program on WVOX Radio (l460 AM) every Friday morning in January, 2002.

Paul Feiner was the Democratic candidate for United States Congress from the 20th Congressional District in l998 and in 2000. Although Mr. Feiner lost the election to the chairman of the House International Affairs Committee, Mr. Feiner won the Westchester County portion of the district by nearly 65% of the vote. In 2007 Supervisor Feiner was elected President of the Westchester – Putnam Town Supervisors Association, an organization consisting of the chief elected officials of every town in Westchester & Putnam counties.

Joan Gronowski is a lifelong Yonkers resident, born and raised on Hawthorne Avenue. She has lived in the Yonkers 3rd district for most of her life.  Joan attended St. Mary’s Parochial School and Blessed Sacrament Academy High School, beginning her employment with the City of Yonkers shortly thereafter.

Joan is a retired City of Yonkers employee and former member of the Service Employees’ International Union Local 704, having served as the Union’s Recording Secretary for ten years. Joan worked for many years in the city’s Office of Consumer Protection, corresponding with the private sector as a liaison to resolve constituent complaints and inquiries. During the latter years of her employment, Joan became actively involved in the political process, hoping to bring about more accountability in our public officials. She became a first-time candidate herself, and in November 2007, was elected to the Yonkers City Council representing the Third District.

Meanwhile, the mission of the “Advocates” is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States. Also, over time great struggles have ensued over the control of the direction of “public policy” For example: free trade vs. protectionism, slavery vs. emancipation, state’s rights vs. Federalism, and an all-volunteer armed forces or the “draft.”

 

The Program is sponsored by the Green Briar Adult Home, in Millbrook, Dutchess County, NY.

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com and one can also see all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com.

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

Northern Italy and the End of Hostilities -6-21-08

Northern Italy and the End of Hostilities:

General Mark W. Clark,

Passover Seders in Liberated Italy,

and

Lt. General George S. Patton

April 1944 to May 2, 1945

By

Richard J. Garfunkel

June 21, 2008

 

 

This is an essay about the last few months of the Campaign in Italy, which ended on the date of my birth. It includes a very short summation of why Tito and his Communist-dominated partisans were allowed and encouraged to triumph in the Balkans and the role of then Lieutenant-General Mark W. Clark, his background and the conquest of Italy. I included some other information regarding his relationship with colleague, rival and fellow comrade in arms, Lt. General George S. Patton.

 

General Mark W. Clark was one of the most controversial and complicated of men, to reach theater command in World War II. He was born in upper New York State in what was then known as the Madison Barracks (later renamed Camp Drum in honor of General Hugh Drum in 1951) in 1896 and was raised in the Midwest in the town of Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago. He was the son of a career military man, Charles Carr Clark, who had been born in 1866 and had an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point at the age of twenty. While in military assignment in Arizona, Charles Clark was introduced to the Ezekiel family, who lived in Tucson, by a mentor of his named Major William A. Rafferty. Rafferty was interested in one of the Ezekiel’s three daughters named Rosetta, who was known as Zettie. Young Charles Clark soon became enamored with another daughter, Rebecca Ezekiel. Their father Mark and his wife were Jews, who was most probably from Romania, and first came to the west and settled first in San Francisco, then Arizona, and finally in Montana, where he operated a pawn shop and served in the state legislature.

 

Mark Wayne Clark followed his father to the Point and graduated in 1917, and it was there he was baptized as an Episcopalian. He had never been raised with much concern for the religion of his mother or father, but seemed closer to the Clarks than the Ezekiels. He was also encouraged by his mother to take the religion of his father if he wished to succeed as an officer in the American armed forces. After graduating from the Point, he served with high distinction in France during World War I. He was wounded severely by shrapnel while leading his company of the 11th Regiment, 5th Division and decorated for bravery.

 

After the end of the war he held many peacetime positions. He was accomplished public speaker, and eventually graduated from the Army’s Command School at Fort Leavenworth, KS in the mid-1930’s. He moved up the command ladder as World War II approached. He was appointed assistant chief of staff at the US Army’s general headquarters and within a short period of time he rose to chief of staff of the Army’s Ground Forces. In 1941 he was elevated to brigadier general from the rank of lt. colonel. He rose so fast in the army that for a short time he outranked his friend and future mentor Dwight Eisenhower. As the United States entered into our first offensive actions in the European Theater, he was appointed deputy commander in chief of the Allied Forces in the North African Theater of Operations. He assisted General Dwight D. Eisenhower with the planning of Operation Torch. He, along with the American diplomat, Robert Murphy entered Vichy-controlled North Africa in mufti, and was able to take into protective custody, French Admiral Jean Darlan, one of Vichy France’s highest-ranking officers. This act of personal bravery earned Clark the Distinguished Service Medal.

 

In 1942, he as appointed the youngest three-star (Lieutenant) General in the US Army’s history at age 46. After the completion of the Sicilian Campaign, in December 1942, Clark was appointed commander of the U.S. Fifth Army. In September of 1943, the U.S. Forces under the command of General Clark landed in Italy at the Gulf of Salerno. Within three weeks the critical port city of Naples was conquered.

 

Martin Blumenson in his biography of Clark, Mark Clark, The Last of the Great World War II Commanders, wrote, “A radio message from AFHQ asked Clark whether he could absent himself from the struggle in Italy for one day. If so, he was to fly to Palermo, Sicily with seven officers and men who were to receive the Distinguished Service Cross. He joined the group and when the plane landed, found General George S. Patton and several high-ranking officers on hand. Several minutes later, another aircraft settled on the field. It brought President Franklin Roosevelt, who was returning from the Cairo and Teheran Conferences. General Eisenhower, the future head of SHAEF was with him. All who were there assembled to honor the seven men who were to be decorated, and the President pinned the medals on them. Finished, Roosevelt looked around and called, ‘General Clark.’ He motioned Clark over to him, then, to Clark’s great surprise, presented him with the award for his action at Salerno.”

 

“The President was very pleasant in his remarks to Clark. He passed over a letter he had composed in case Clark had been unable to come to Sicily. ‘I am very sorry to miss seeing you.’ Roosevelt had written, ‘but much as I wanted to see you at the front and to greet your fighting army over there, I was told I just could not go. You and your Fifth Army are doing a magnificent job under the most trying conditions imaginable. Eye -witnesses have told me about the fighting, so I know how tough it is. I have also been told of your personal courage in leading your forces, and especially your gallantry…Keep on giving it all you have, and Rome will be ours and more beyond. I am grateful to have such a staunch, fighting General.’”

 

Of course during this period Clark had to deal with the backbiting, jealousy, and seeming hatred of General George S. Patton. Carlo D’Este, in his monumental biography of Patton, A Genius for War, stated, “The only time I have felt worse, (commenting on Omar Bradley’s appointment to command US First Army, which would lead the Normandy Invasion) was the night of December 9th, 1942, when (General) Clark got the Fifth Army… “ Later D’Este wrote, “Some of his remarks were both outrageous and racist, including his repetition of a rumor that Clark had been given high command as a concession to American Jews, and some pungent observations about black troops who were tried by court-martial for capital offenses. When three men were tried for rape: Patton said, “I put two Negro officers on the court. Although the men were guilty as hell, the colored officers would not vote death – a useless race.”

 

Of course evidence of Patton’s anti-Semitism went way beyond the attitude, language and feelings of the typical white, upper middle-class, Anglo-Saxon officers that dominated the peacetime army. D’Este also reported “His (Patton’s) growing anti-Semitism coupled with despair over the fate of Germany became frequent, rambling topics in his diary. The dissolution of Germany was all a plot by America Jewish Leaders. He accused Treasury Secretary Morgenthau and Bernard Baruch of ‘Semetic (sic) revenge against Germany,’ and characterized the Jews who survived the death camps as ‘lower than animals.’”

 

Finally with all of his anti-Semitic grousing and outrageous remarks, he started to go off the edge into the virtual realm of insanity. D’Este wrote, “Patton’s flip attitude and apparent indifference to denazification were conspicuously on display at a conference held in Frankfurt. On August 27, 1945, when he spoke out against the Russians. His remarks deeply offended Eisenhower, who finally exploded, saying: ‘I demand that you get off your bloody ass and carry out the denazification program as you’re told instead of mollycoddling the goddamn Nazis.’”

 

On can easily assume that Patton knew of Clark’s background and the fact that his mother was Jewish. When Clark was appointed commander of the Fifth Army, Patton’s not so latent or barely hidden anti-Semitism surfaced on a personal basis. (Ironically Patton had a number of Jewish officers who loyally served him like his extremely competent G-2, intelligence officer, Colonel Oscar W. Koch.)

 

After the invasion and subsequent liberation of southern Italy, on the 8th of April 1944, the famous US Army Chaplain, Rabbi Aharon Paperman, who was from Baltimore and was educated at the Telzer Yeshiva in Europe, helped organize the Naples Seder with over 1500 Jewish American armed forces personnel in attendance. At that Seder, their commander made this statement:

 

“Tonight you are eating the unleavened bread just as your forebears ate unleavened bread. Because the Exodus came so quickly the dough had no time to rise. There was a time of the unleavened bread in this war. The time when it looked as though we might not have time to rise – time to raise an army and equip it, time stop the onrush of a Germany that was already risen.

 

“But the bread has begun to rise. It started at Alamein. It was rising higher when the 5th Army invaded Italy. It is reaching the top of the pan and soon the time will come when it will spread out and into a finished product.”

 

Lt. General Mark W. Clark, commander of the U.S. Fifth Army, addressing the Jewish soldiers in attendance, Courtesy of the American Heritage Haggadah, Gafen Publishing House 1992.

 

 

 

The next year in newly liberated Florence, (Firenze,) Rabbi Paperman, was in charge of a Pesach Seder for over 4000 men. It was held in a huge train station, which was converted into a dining hall. It was so large that it was impossible to see it all from end to end. Rabbi Paperman used white parachutes for tablecloths, and gathered fresh eggs from local farmers. He was afraid that powdered potatoes were not Kosher so he asked for money to purchase fresh potatoes from the British Army. With regards to the wine, General Clark had his private plane fly to Algiers to bring back cases of Kosher wine.

 

During a gathering called of Fifth Army Jewish Chaplains on a Saturday, convened by General Clark, a Reform Jewish Rabbi was sent by President Truman as his representative to the meeting, from the War Refugee Board. The only rabbi missing was Chaplain Paperman. Noting the annoyance and discomfort of many of the Chaplains, General Clark stated, “Don’t worry, if Chaplain Paperman said that he’ll be here, then he will be here. Today is Shabbos, and Chaplain Paperman is probably walking now from wherever he is stationed.” And so it was!

 

(Over the years the estimates of the Jews serving in the armed forces during WW II range from 4.3 to 8%. Jews in America at that time were about 3.3% of the population. In addition to the 550,000 Jewish men serving, over 340,000 women served as nurses or in other capacities. Over 11,000 Jews died fighting in the U.S. forces during WWII. Along with the 40,000+ who were wounded, 52,000 received medals for bravery, which included three Medals of Honor recipients.)

 

With the capture of Naples and its deep-water port, which was almost obliterated by the retreating Nazis, American US Army Engineers took on the daunting task of clearing it for Allied shipping. The following Italian Campaign was difficult, fraught with errors in local command and bogged down with unusually inclement weather. The Allied Forces, which were a collection of many, many national groups, encountered many command and control problems. Logistical support was quite difficult, as soldiers and equipment was being constantly siphoned off for the up, and coming, invasion of France. General Clark faced his greatest challenge at Monte Cassino, an ancient monastery, which overlooked the Rapido River. The monastery was thought to house German artillery spotters and troops. Instructions were given to destroy the edifice on February 15th, but its destruction did not make the challenge of its capture any easier. It would take until May to get past Cassino and move the final 130 kms (or 80 miles) to Rome.     

 

But before that could happen, the Italian Campaign would go on and on. Eventually the new landings at Anzio enabled the Fifth Army to create another attacking front west and north of the bottle head at Cassino. The Anzio invasion, and the deployment of 36,000 troops and 3200 vehicles, had landed smoothly, without major resistance on the beaches. The 1st Division had penetrated 2 miles inland and the Rangers had captured Anzio’s port. Of course, there the controversy and tragedy begins. General John Lucas, who was in command of the ground forces at Salerno hesitated. In his indecisiveness of neither rushing towards Rome nor getting clarifications from General Clark, he exposed his undermanned two division forces to risk without really engaging the enemy. It wasn’t too long before German forces, including the elite Herman Goering Panzer Division, and his 1st Parachute Corps under the local logistical command General Alfred Schlemm surrounded the Salerno salient. Not long after Lucas’s refusal to breakout, more German forces, the Wehrmacht’s 14th Army, commanded by General von Mackenson, assumed the control of the area’s defense. Within a week of the landing, eight divisions faced the American’s, who were be then bolstered by the arrival of the US 45th Infantry Division and the US 1st Armored Division, which brought Allied forces on the beachhead to 69,000 men and over 200 tanks.

 

After a postponement of a few days, the German forces added five more divisions to the Anzio area and Field Marshall Kesselring, who was in operational control of Italy ordered an attack for February 1st. In between Lucas ordered his own gambit, a two-pronged attack on the Alban Hills, coordinated with a British attack on Campoleone. The British effort failed, as the German forces counterattacked. Stalemate ensued as both sides slugged it out for weeks. Eventually both sides bogged down.

 

Within a month and a day, Lucas was relieved of his command and replaced by General Lucien Truscott. Both forces bogged down, and operations by the Allies were virtually suspended until the spring. General Truscott, who took command of the VI Corps, worked with his staff to on plans for a decisive attack in coordination with British General Harold Alexander, who was in overall command of all of the Allied Forces in Italy. This plan, which called for an attack on the vaunted Gustav Line, was called Operation Diadem, and would later be referred to as the fourth Battle of Cassino. Of course controversy would ensue over General Clark’s interpretation of his orders, and instead of following Alexander’s orders to attack through Cisterna, and into the hills to cut Route 6 at Valmontone, Clark was determined to strike at Rome.

 

In his later writings he stated, “We not only we wanted the honor of capturing Rome, but felt we deserved it… Not only did we intend to become the first army to seize Rome from the south, but we intended to see that people at home knew that it was the Fifth Army that did the job, and knew the price that had been paid for it.” Of course this change in direction, and Clark’s refusal to attack the Valmontone Gap, prevented the destruction of the German 10th Army.

 

Many historians believed that Clark’s actions and his change in the plans of Operation Diadem failed in its objective to destroy the German 10th Army, and condemned the Allies to a further year of brutal combat notably around the Gothic Line, which I described earlier. Churchill defended the whole Anzio operation, and as a consequence of the effort German High Command dropped plans to transfer five of Kesselring’s best divisions to North West Europe. This fortuitously would help Allied operations in the post Normandy invasion days.

 

Of course, as a consequence of these momentous happenings, Rome was liberated in early June of 1944, and on July 25, 1944, there was an NBC broadcast sponsored by the American Jewish Committee. The NBC network, in cooperation with the AJC hosted a special broadcast of historical significance with the first Jewish broadcast from Nazi occupied territory, now liberated by the Allies.

 

With regards to Italy after Rome’s surrender, a new fascist government was founded in Northern Italy for a short period of time, but collapsed. After the fall of Rome Marshall Albert (Smiling Albert) Kesselring was reinforced with eight new divisions of varying quality (one from Denmark, Holland, and Russia, with two from the Balkans and three German ones from the eastern Front) and also the vaunted Herman Goering Panzer Division. With these forces, in the wake of the fall of Rome, he established a strong defensive line from Grosetta on the Western coast, not far from the off shore island of Elba (of Napoleonic fame) to the eastern coast of the Adriatic. He fought strong delaying actions, but by August of 1944,as he was forced to re-establish a strong defense in the Po Valley, called the new Gothic Line.

 

Attacks on the Gothic Line were concentrated in the east under General Harold Alexander's 15th Army Group and its British 8th Army. With Polish and Canadian forces they were able to move up the coastline from Rimini to Revenna and challenge the Gothic Line's forces commanded by General Vietinghoff's 10th Army. In the east General Mark Clark's army of American and British Corps enveloped Florence (Firenze) on the Arno River and advanced northward to challenge German General Lemelson's 14th Army. As the winter set in, a weather related stalemate ensued between January and March 1945. Eventually Kesselring was recalled to Germany to support the actions on the Western front, Alexander became commander of the Mediterranean Theater, and Clark succeeded Alexander as commander of the 15th Army Group. (Patton had never been in command in Italy, but had operational command of American forces in Sicily, and shared the responsibility of reducing and destroying German forces with the British commander General (later Field Marshall) Bernard Law “Monty” Montgomery. His actions disturbed the Anglo-American high command and he was later shipped off to Great Britain to command a faux army in East Anglia, near Dover, and across from Calais to divert German attention from Normandy.)

 

In the Po Valley, rough terrain, and stubborn German resistance handicapped the Allies. The Allies had 4000 planes to the Axis powers total of 200 of all types and this air superiority started to attrite supply lines and whatever was left of German armor. Vietinghoff requested from Hitler permission to orderly withdraw, but was ordered to stand and resist in place. At the end of March the Allies attained the three “Rs,” rest, reorganization and re-equipment. But they were a polyglot command and with the reassignment of three British divisions to the Western Front, they were now reinforced with new formations that included the Jewish Brigade, the 42nd Regimental Combat team of Japanese-Americans and a Brazilian Division. The 15th Army Group had already included; American, British, New Zealand, Canadian, Newfoundland, South African, Gurkha, Indian and Polish units. The language and logistical problems were extraordinary and daunting to the supreme command. By late April 1945, General Lucien Truscott's 5th Army had penetrated deep into the Po Valley, and by the 23rd Bologna fell to General Keyes II Corp.

 

Italian Partisan bands operating throughout their rear areas further compromised the German forces. These partisans were trained and partially armed by Allied agents of the OSS (The OSS or Office of Strategic Services and the for runner of the CIA and was led from Washington by General William Donavan). It was estimated that by April 1, 1945 there were over 50,000 of these irregular troops (guerrillas) in Northern Italy. Though the German command was never under the illusion of victory or relief they still fought very hard. Eventually when Hitler's death was confirmed General Vietinghoff surrendered on May 2, 1945, (my birthday) all of his forces. Through all of this, and as the German forces were divided, enveloped and destroyed, the Allied forces reached the Austrian frontier. New Zealand forces also received the surrender of German forces in Trieste.

 

Of course, by this time, Yugoslavian forces under Marshall Tito were also moving towards Trieste as they routed German and Croatian units. The Germans were caught between the Allies in northern Italy, the Italian Partisans and the Tito's forces. By that late date, many of the American and British forces were worn out. In truth, with the polyglot forces under Allied command, with the rough terrain, the logistical nightmare, and the active partisan forces in the area, the battle for Northern Italy was not easy. The Alexander and Clark commands were never given their proper due.

 

With regards to Yugoslavia, the Allies had no interest. They were never convinced or concerned about a post-war Soviet domination of the Balkans. Tito had grown in strength and the Allies were decently happy with him and saw no economic imperative in Yugoslavia. If anything the British were only interested in Greece and we wanted Italy to remain in one piece. Also Tito was seen as quite strong, and if there were any worries about the Soviets, Tito was seen as a nationalistic bulwark. Later on, Tito proved that he was independent of Soviet domination.

 

The next real crisis in the Balkans came decades later in the wake of Tito's death. The nine subgroups that made up that amalgam state started to seek their own self rule, and the ancient rivalry and bad blood between the Croatians (once run by the former Nazi-allied Ustashi Movement) and the Serbs erupted. With all the tough fighting, the Allies weren't in any mood to get into another fracas in the wild topography of Yugoslavia. With the occupation of Eastern Europe by the Soviets, the old dynasties that had run Bulgaria, Hungary, Roumania and Yugoslavia had been deposed and the ethnic rivalries were suppressed!

 

In essence it wasn't far from what the planners had desired. Unfortunately they had not envisioned a Soviet bloc becoming a new empire. In truth it was “reality on the ground” that won out. We were not willing or able to challenge Soviet hegemony in that area of the world. The Soviets had proximity, men, and eventually all the “new” politicians. American presidents from Truman through Reagan saw the futility of overthrowing Soviet rule by force! From Churchill's historic “Iron Curtain” speech, containment became the policy rather than confrontation. 

 

At the end of hostilities, as to General George S. Patton, he was eventually relieved of his command of the Third Army in late September of 1945. It seems that his outlandish statements, his problems with Eisenhower’s staff, and the final report about his administration in Bavaria caused his final dismissal. In an audience with General Eisenhower, General Clarence Adcock and Professor Walter Dorn, an academic who was brought in to root out of Germany of all of its Nazi influence, Patton’s fate was sealed. It wasn’t really his ranting and raving about Jews and the Russians, but his failure when he replaced the old Nazi cadres with new ones. Dorn was quoted as saying, that Bavarian local rule was rife with Nazis, “little better than the Nazis it replaced.”  In a few months, on December 9th, Patton would be seriously injured in an automobile accident, which happened in the northern suburb Mannheim suburb of Kafertal. His new driver, one Pfc. Horace Wooding, a 19 year-old kid, who wasn’t the most responsible soldier or driver, wound up running into a truck which had made an un-signaled left turn across the road. The drivers of both vehicles suffered slight injuries because they were braced for the collision and were later exonerated from all legal responsibility for the accident. General Patton wasn’t so lucky, and suffered a broken neck along with serious cuts and lacerations to his face and scalp. It seems that he was sitting on the edge of his seat and looking out the window at the point of impact, and he was hurled forward into the partition that separated the drivers from the spacious back seat of his 1939 Cadillac. He would survive the accident, but was immediately paralyzed. Despite heroic efforts that stabilized his wretched condition, he died in his sleep less than two weeks later on December 21st, 1945. At just past the age of 60 years, General George S. Patton passed into the portals of history. He was buried on December 24th, in midmorning under a dignified white cross in the American military cemetery in Hamm, Luxembourg along side a young GI from Detroit was killed during the Battle of the Bulge and with 5075 other American heroes. After the war, Patton’s diary was expurgurated of nearly all of its colorful, to say the least, language and more controversial assessments, and was published as War As I Knew It. It was a huge bestseller and remains both in print, and in my personal library.

 

General Mark W. Clark would receive many more assignments, which included being promoted to a full four star General in March of 1945. At the war’s end he was appointed Commander of Allied Forces in Italy and, later U.S. High Commissioner of Austria. He served as a deputy to U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall in 1947 and helped negotiate the treaty with Austria and the occupying powers. Later on he was given command of the Sixth Army, which was based at the Presidio in San Francisco. He would eventually relieve General Matthew Ridgeway in Korea in 1952 and it was Clark who proceeded over the cessations of hostilities with the North Koreans and signed the official cease-fire documents in 1953. After his retirement from the active list of the Army he served as president of The Citadel from 1954 through 1966, in South Carolina. One can visit the campus of the Military College in Charleston, and marvel at the unique architecture, the black and white squares of the assembly yard, and the hall and museum dedicated to Clark. General Clark, the author of two volumes of his memoirs, Calculated Risk and From the Danube to the Yalu, died in 1984 and is buried at the campus, not far from Mark W. Clark Hall. (In one of our trips through beautiful Charleston, we visited The Citadel and spent some time in Clark Hall viewing and reflecting on the life and achievements of Clark.

 

History is full of incredible ironies. The lives of Eisenhower, Clark, and Patton were quite interwoven and no one in the late 1930’s could have even dreamt of what would happen to their lives and careers. Ironically, Patton, who was regarded as one of the most capable generals of the 2nd World War, faced its conclusion in semi-disgrace. His untimely death rescued him from much of the criticism he inflicted on himself. He became to later generations the “stuff” which legends are made of. Both Clark, and Eisenhower, had meteoric careers, which were assisted more by their excellent diplomatic skills than their military tactics or grand strategy. Because of these attributes they were vaulted quickly passed the more blunt, unforgiving, and bombastic Patton. Both Eisenhower and his protégé Mark Clark lived long and productive lives and though they trod quite different paths, they were highly honored and now relegated to the honored past.

 

Summer Roosevelt Reading Bookfest at Hyde Park 6-21-08

Summer Roosevelt Reading Festival at Hyde Park

June 21, 2008

Richard J. Garfunkel

 

One could have not wished for or been granted a more beautiful day in the once sleepy hamlet of Hyde Park, NY. Over the years I have been blessed with pretty decent weather whenever I have made the trek up from Lower Westchester County to the Dutchess County homes of the Hyde Park Roosevelts. On a day like yesterday where the sky was a beautiful azure, the air was crystal clear, and the humidity was almost non-existent, one could understand how the late President always longed to return to Springwood. But, of course, during his 12 years and a few months as our greatest president he returned approximately 200 times.

 

Of course in those day Hyde Park was a sleepy hamlet, but today one still has to drive up the long sloping road (route 9) from Poughkeepsie to get to Springwood. As one reaches the crest of the rising hill, one goes past the right hand turnoff to St. Andrews Road, where one could, if they wished, to then head down to Val-Kill Cottage, Eleanor’s home. Meanwhile it is about a third of a mile more on Route 9, on the left, and one can see the old stonewall, which marks the eastern boundary of the presidential estate. In the 17th Century, the Stoughburghs were the first European Dutch people who settled in that area called Crum Elbow Creek. In 1812, the community was officially named Hyde Park after one Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, who was a Governor of New York.

 

By the way, Poughkeepsie, which is the county seat of Duchess County, where Hyde Park is located, was founded in 1687 and incorporated as a city in 1854. For a short time it was the capital of New York (1777) and its population (in 2000) of 29,871 is only slightly more that it was in 1900 (24,029). The Poughkeepsie Journal is the 3rd oldest newspaper in the United States and it is the home to Vassar and Marist Colleges.

 

Well having a bookfest and reading at Hyde Park, which featured historians giving readings from their most recent literary contributions was, and is, quite fitting. President Roosevelt had a wonderful book collection that stood along with his other collecting interests. To any casual observer, or interested party in the president’s habits of life, one would readily know that he was a famous stamp collector and that he had one of the most extensive collections of naval prints. I haven’t come across a book categorizing his print collection, but I do have two interesting books that chronicle his philatelic interest, “Franklin D. Roosevelt: the Stamp-Collecting President,” and “Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Stamps of the United States 1933-45.” They were both written by Brian C Baur and were published by Linn’s in 1999 and 1993. One book analyses FDR’s influence regarding which United States stamps were printed and offered for sale to the public during his tenure in office, and the other chronicles his own extensive collection and its disposition in a series of auctions held by H.R. Harmer, the international stamp auction house. Because his children and grandchildren did not seem interested in the President’s extensive stamp collection, the executors of his estate, James Roosevelt, Basil O’Connor, the president’s former law partner, and family friend Henry Hackett decided to sell his stamps at public auction so others might have the opportunity to own something from the president’s collection.

 

Harmer’s inventoried the president’s massive collection, of which many of the stamps were loose and therefore not placed in albums. They realized that they would have to hold a series of auctions to accomplish their mandate. The four auctions over seven days, held throughout 1946 from April to December, realized over $225,000 for a collection appraised at about $80,000. The famous naval historian, Samuel Eliot Morison once stated that, “If Franklin Roosevelt had never been elected president, he would have been famous for being a collector.” On the other hand, if he had only served one day in office, he would have been famous for being elected without the ability to walk!

 

So the library is the home to the more than 15,000 volumes that were in the president’s possession on the day of his untimely passing. In a sense, the library was the first repository for his collection of books, then his public papers for research, then his naval prints, his naval ship models, and the thousands of artifacts of his presidency, which included gifts he received during his lifetime, before and during, his presidency.

 

The book reading festival, held at the Wallace Center featured a number of authors who have written recent books on the various aspects of FDR’s time, personality, programs and personal life. The writers and the contributors to the festival were the following, Anthony J. Badger, author of Prosperity Road: The New Deal, Tobacco and North Carolina, Gary Brechin, who is working on a team to document and map the legacy of the New Deal public works in California, Kathryn Flynn, The New Deal: A 75th Anniversary Celebration, Harry S. Goldsmith, A Conspiracy of Silence: The Health and Death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Linda L. Levin, The Making of FDR: The Story of Stephen T. Early, America’s First Modern Press Secretary, Joseph Persico, Franklin and Lucy: President Roosevelt, Mrs. Rutherford, and the Other Remarkable Women in His Life, Amity Shlaes, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, Andrew Schlesinger, co-editor of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Journals 1952-2000 (this 800 page book has 100 pages devoted to the Roosevelts!), his half-brother Robert Schlesinger, White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters, Will Swift, Roosevelt and the Royals: Franklin and Eleanor, the King and Queen of England, and the Friendship that Changed History, Nick Taylor, American Made : The Endearing Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work, and Steve Vogel, The Pentagon: A History: The Untold Story of the Race to Build the Pentagon. (General Leslie Groves built the Pentagon and also was the head of the team that constructed the Manhattan Project.)

 

In the time I was there, I was able to listen in on the talks given by Joseph Persico, Nick Taylor, Andrew Schlesinger, Amity Shlaes and Harry Goldsmith. In between their readings, most of the authors were seated at tables in front of the library bookstore and people were able to get their books signed and digress with the authors. I was able to meet Joe Persico, Nick Taylor, Dr. Goldsmith, both Schlesinger brothers, and Mrs. Schlesinger, and Amity Shlaes. I was most gratified to be able to get some time with Joe Persico, who has written some excellently received biographies. Persico, who is a tall and incredibly distinguished–looking gentleman, was the chief speechwriter for Nelson Rockefeller when he was governor and vice-president. He has written books on Edward R. Murrow, the Rockefellers, Nuremberg, WW I’s Armistice Day, and the bestseller, Franklin Roosevelt’s Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage. I just finished his book on Franklin Roosevelt’s relationship with Lucy Mercer, and other women who influenced his life. It is wonderfully researched and it is an important contribution to the understanding of Roosevelt the man, and his need for adulation and warmth from the women that surrounded him and entered his exclusive circle.

 

Coincidently I met again another FDR collector, Gary Schultze, who had acquired a cane owned by the president. I had a picture of FDR using that same cane when he met with Marshall Foch, in probably the late 1920’s.  We had met originally at the FDR Library’s opening of the “100 Days” exhibition in March. Tonight on PBS International there was Gary Schultze. He had collected a “short snorter,” from it seemed the possession of Harry Hopkins. A “short snorter” was a piece of currency that was signed by servicemen in London during World War II. It was used as a type of remembrance regarding the passing acquaintances of men at war, who met at the local pubs and had a ”snort,” or a little shot of whisky. It seems that Harry Hopkins, FDR’s confidante and special emissary, had a 10 Shilling note with the autographs of many of the great figures of World War II. Some of the names on that bill were FDR, Churchill, Eisenhower, Harriman, Patton and others. Wow am I jealous!

 

Gratefully, for the library and the bookstore, the Wallace Center was crowded with all sorts of FDR aficionados and visitors of all ages.  During the lunch break, I was able to slip quietly out to the graveyard in the Rose Garden and the big house overlooking the Hudson. In the silent beauty and quietude of the Rose Garden with its solitary marble grave marker, I met a few people and we talked about the Roosevelt legacy and how he helped save the world. FDR, known as the “Indispensable Man,” said that there was in reality no indispensable man. Do I think that he really believed that? I am not sure. Like all humans; great and not so great, Roosevelt was not perfect, and, believe it or not, he has had his detractors. But, all in all, he continues to fascinate new generations of Americans and an unlimited number of people from abroad. Maybe it was his charm, charisma, leadership, or maybe it was the fact that he was able to overcome polio, paraplegia and the depression that resulted from his inability to walk. His story continues to be compelling, and Ms. Cynthia Koch, the Director of the Roosevelt Library, in her glowing introduction of Mr. Joseph Persico, said that this year alone 87 new books were published about FDR, the New Deal, and his personal affect on the world he lived in and dominated.

 

With all that in mind, FDR remains the model of the great democratic leader. FDR’s biographer, William Leuchtenberg, said, In the Shadow of FDR,  “The shadow cast by FDR has created an imposing set of challenges with far-reaching consequences. Each of his successors has known that if he did not walk in FDR’s footsteps, he ran the risk of having it said that he was not a Roosevelt but a Hoover. Yet to the extent that he did copy FDR, he lost any chance of marking his own claim to recognition. The efforts of Roosevelt’s successors to deal with this dilemma – to prove their fidelity to FDR while distancing themselves from him- has done much to shape the course of events from the spring of 1945 to the present.” 

 

Unfortunately I had to get back to Tarrytown, and I was unable to listen to and meet all of the authors. For sure most of them had one thing in common, the recognition that FDR’s exalted place in history, as one its greatest and most innovative leaders, is assured. I am left with the following piece from In the Shadow of FDR.

 

William Leuchtenberg, remarked in the preface of his book, “more than two decades later the Time-Life correspondent Hugh Sidey wrote of a White House gathering that drew a number of Washington dignitaries to honor FDR.”

 

“You could stand on this Tuesday afternoon in February of 1967 and look out over the faces in the East Room of the White House and suddenly understand that Franklin Roosevelt still owned Washington. His ideas prevailed. His men endured. The government that functioned now was his creation perhaps more than that of any other single man.”

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Eilat Alternate Energy Conference at the American Jewsih Congress 6-20-08

The Eilat-Eilot Alternate Energy Consortium

Conference

American Jewish Congress

June 20, 2008

By

Richard J. Garfunkel

 

 

On Friday, June 20, 2008, the Hon. Paul Feiner, Supervisor of the Town of Greenburgh, NY, Ms. Allegra Dengler, Greenburgh Energy Conservation Coordinator, Glen Hockley, Member of the City Council of White Plains, NY, and myself, Richard J. Garfunkel met at the American Jewish Congress offices at 825 3rd Avenue, NYC, NY, with John A. Berenyi, Senior Advisor, of the Energy Task Force for the American Jewish Congress, and representatives from Eilat- Eilot Environmental Unit, Eilat, Israel. Ms. Dorit Benet, the Director of the Eilat-Eilot Environmental Unit and her colleague Mr. Noam Ilan, the Business and Technological Director EE Renewable Energy Authority gave us an overview of what the Eilat Region's consortium of alternate energy firms were developing for both domestic use in Israel, and for potential needs in the United States. With regards to skyrocketing oil prices, the worldwide escalation of energy usage and environmental consequences of greenhouse gases exacerbated by fossil fuel, the development of clean and renewable energy becomes more and more critical each day.

 

In the Eilot-Eilat District, renewable energy is a catalyst for development. The free ranging discussion covered topics that included the following: Renewable energy, focusing on solar energy mapping of private and public buildings, which could include large box stores, new building codes on sustainability and resiliency, current upgrading of schools, institutions and public offices. The cutting-edge technology that emanates from the Eilot-Eilat region includes sophisticated  wind/solar farms, passive cooling towers, algae bio-fuel, biogas from municipal waste, solar turbines, solar thermal power, and alternate fuel emerging communities.

 

Part of this discussion involved the creation of jobs through the establishment of these type of industries in commercial or NY State Empire Zones. As part of their the work, through their regional authority, the following has been developed: industrial zones, energy conservation, branding, education, pilot projects, technological centers and the creation of academic programs.

 

Westchester County, and its villages, towns, and cities can use, commercial development, job creation, alternate-energy programs, environmental education regarding both conservation and smart growth with a focus on sustainability and resiliency.

 

Therefore, in conclusion, we need a program of solar energy mapping, the integration into the internal engine municipal fleets of alternative-energy vehicles, and a program regarding smart growth. The partnership with emerging technologies coming out of the Eilat-Eilot Region could be critical regarding the transition from fossil fuel to alternate energy sources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Advocates- Grace Chang and Jin Jin the Dragon 6-18-08

The Advocates

 

Wednesday, June18, 2008, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com.  One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio. 

 

Our special guest is Ms. Grace Chang, who is the author of the “Jin Jin Dragon,” which is about China. It presents a colorful world that is both exotic and lush. It is an overview of Chinese characters and especially the Chinese Dragon.  Ms Chang will discuss the meaning of her book, the significance of the “Dragon” in Chinese folklore and mythology, reflect on the coming Olympic Games and tell us about her life growing up in Beijing near “The Forbidden City.”

 

Ms. Grace Chang is from a family of famous Chinese entertainers. She learned magic tricks in the courtyards of the Forbidden City, which was the home of the Chinese imperial palace from the mid-Ming Dynasty, in the 1400’s to the end of the Qing Dynasty between 1912 and 1924. The last imperial monarch Puyi was removed finally from his residence in 1924. After the invasion of China, in the 1930’s, the Japanese enthroned “Henry” Puyi as the puppet head of its Manchurian colony, known then as Manchukuo. 

 

Ms. Chang entered into the world of entertainment through the influence of her father who was a radio and stage personality. Ms. Chang was an illusionist and ringmaster, who created, performed and directed her own shows in a nationally acclaimed circus. Today she lives in Brooklyn with her family and has devoted many years to helping American families adopt thousands of Chinese children.

 

Meanwhile, the mission of the “Advocates” is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States. Also, over time great struggles have ensued over the control of the direction of “public policy” For example: free trade vs. protectionism, slavery vs. emancipation, state’s rights vs. Federalism, and an all-volunteer armed forces or the “draft.”

 

The Program is sponsored by the Green Briar Adult Home, in Millbrook, Dutchess County, NY.

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com and one can also see all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com.

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

Mt. Vernon Boys and Girls Club Remarks 6-17-08

Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club

Remarks

By

Richard J. Garfunkel

June 17, 2008

Ristorante Buena Sera

Mount Vernon, NY

 

 

Nice saying hello to all (some of you I know were not there!) of you tonight in Mount Vernon. To reiterate what I said, the community of Mount Vernon must look outward, not inward in its approach. It must be able to tell a story reflective of an ongoing need, and to make that story compelling. MV is in competition with many communities that are, or have been on the wane, over the last three decades since the emergence of the “new right,” agenda, which focuses on self-reliance, divide and conquer and tax relief for the wealthy along with the shrinkage of federalism. In the spirit of that focus, Mount Vernon, not unlike other aging, violence plagued, and debt-strapped municipalities, must look to establish “smart growth” to attract new people, new capital and therefore a new future. By having a workable philo-practical vision, the city can turn the corner. The first essential is to get its house in order, vis-à-vis its youth. The “Boys and Girls Club” can, with the proper funding and leadership, ease the path to “access to opportunity.” Building a new “Boys and Girls Club” Center at Memorial Field for the 13 to 18 year old age group would combine both needs, the need for a new field complex and the need for an expanded youth center. Making the track all-weather and the field synthetic, the facility could be enclosed in the late fall and winter and used for not only indoor track, but commercial usages such as large health fairs, collectible shows, and other commercial endeavors. The key to moving ahead is “sustainable and resilient” growth. It must be able to generate revenues to amortize its debt and add needed extra dollars to enhance the city's treasury. The second effort for the youth of Mount Vernon is school reform, which will serve as a new anchor to keep families in Mount Vernon, attract newcomers and to establish a new generation with solid “roots” in the community. People who stay will be then willing to invest in their future by investing in the city.

 

With regards to the new Memorial Field, there is adequate parking across the street at Hutchison Field and MV could become the center for indoor winter track and field and Section I football playoffs. It will also attract more and more shoppers to its new and vibrant shopping area anchored by Target. MV's location is great and with the continued escalation of gasoline costs, traveling to Rockland County and West Point for sporting events might and will probably become prohibitive. If the field and its stands are rehabilitated in the right way, the possibility of minor league baseball could also take hold in Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon has produced an inordinate amount of successful entertainers, in and outside of sports, therefore why should it not have a state of the art multi-use facility? From my perspective there must be linkage between the various elements that make up any community. There must be connectivity regarding educational reform, sustainability of the municipality's financial profile, rehabilitation of its core center city, with an emphasis on entertainment, arts and high tech education, jobs, and smart growth regarding energy, and its usage. Even the possibility of having an indoor basketball tournament under the “bubble” could be envisioned. All these things are possible with the right vision and a reasonable plan of action.

 

 

The Advocates – Energy, Alternate Fuels and Conservation 6-11-08

The Advocates

 

Wednesday, June11, 2008, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com.  One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio. 

 

Our special guests are Ms. Allegra Dengler, who is in the studio, and Mr. Ken Brooks, who is reporting from the Brookings Institute in Washington DC, and their Conference on Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles.  Today’s topic of course deals with energy, alternate fuels and ways to conserve our conventional usage of fossil fuel.

 

Allegra Dengler was a former Dobbs Ferry Village Trustee, is a member of the Sierra Club, serves on the New York Democratic Lawyer’s Council HAVA Committee (Help America Vote Act), and is a member of the Progressive Democrats of America Election Protection Working Group.  She was a candidate for the Greenburgh Town Board in 2005 and narrowly lost election for Mayor of Dobbs Ferry.  She is constantly working, along with the League of Women Voters, and other groups, to insure that New Yorkers have the proper paper ballots when the current lever machines are replaced under our new law.  Ms. Dengler, who has been an active watchdog regarding the Hudson River and Indian Point, is currently the new coordinator of the Greenburgh Office of Energy Conservation.

 

Kenneth R. Brooks founded Go-Eco in October of 2007. Ken also serves as the managing partner of the highly successful branded-entertainment agency, CAE (Creative Artist Enterprises Group). Under his leadership, CAE has helped some of America’s most notable brands, including Pepsi, RJR, Sirius, GM, Pennzoil Quaker-State, Greyhound, McDonald’s and others, establish mutually beneficial relationships with celebrities, from the world of television, film and music. Ken is also seasoned angel investor, and was one of the earliest and largest financial backers of MLG (Major League Gaming). MLG is the world’s first professional gaming league, and recently secured $10,000,000.00 in venture backing, as reported by the Wall St. Journal. As founder of Go-Eco, Ken leads the strategic direction of a new type of company, one that will help give shape to our nation's sustainable transportation infrastructure. He is also working with a team to bring hybrid vehicles to one of Westchester’s major cities. Ken is a resident of Westchester County.

 

Meanwhile, the mission of the “Advocates” is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States. Also, over time great struggles have ensued over the control of the direction of “public policy” For example: free trade vs. protectionism, slavery vs. emancipation, state’s rights vs. Federalism, and an all-volunteer armed forces or the “draft.”

 

The Program is sponsored by the Green Briar Adult Home, in Millbrook, Dutchess County, NY.

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com and one can also see all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com.

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

The Advocates- Conservatism in America , Part II 6-4-08

The Advocates

 

Wednesday, June 4, 2008, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com.  One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our special guest is Mr. William J. Bernstein, who was raised in Mount Vernon, NY and is currently retired in the State of Florida. Mr. Bernstein was educated in the Mount Vernon School system, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pennsylvania State University with a major in history. He is a graduate of the prestigious New York University School of Law. During his long career he has been employed by the National Labor Relations Board, (NLRB), the New York City Office of Collective Bargaining, New York University and the Coca Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia. He has served on the following boards: The Georgia Business Forum, The Atlanta Region of the Red Cross Blood Services, and the New York University Law School Industrial Relations Council. He has also represented United States employers at the Organization of Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD). This group promotes international standards for employment.

 

Today’s program will focus again on “Conservatism in America, What Does it Really Stand For?” In the recent New Yorker magazine, Mr. George Packer has written a provocative article, “The Fall of Conservatism, Have the Republicans Run out of Ideas?” Mr. William J. Bernstein will participate in Chapter 2 of this discussion about conservatism and its future.

 

Meanwhile, the mission of the “Advocates” is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States. Also, over time great struggles have ensued over the control of the direction of “public policy” For example: free trade vs. protectionism, slavery vs. emancipation, state’s rights vs. Federalism, and an all-volunteer armed forces or the “draft.”

 

The Program is sponsored by the Green Briar Adult Home, in Millbrook, Dutchess County, NY.

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com and one can also see all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com.

 

Richard J. Garfunkel