January 5, 1968
Mr. Phillip G. Marshall
110 East Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
I was most gratified to receive your letter dated December 12, and to find that you are not, in fact, opposed to fair housing (I, too, prefer that term). I couldn't really see how you could be, as I know you to be a progressive and forward looking man. But stranger things have happened, so I am really much heartened to find you taking such a really firm stand.
You make the point that Henry Maier is concerned and fearful of the efforts of enacting a strong, local, fair housing ordinance. I think, Phillip, that what he really fears are the political effects, and I think that we are sophisticated enough to realize this. He may, by this time, have convinced even himself, that all of our urban ills can be laid at the door of fair housing. But if we think about this attitude just a little, we must realize it just simply "ain't so", and that what the mayor is actually doing is masking his insecurity with his preachments on the evil effects of a local law.
As you indicate, a local fair housing ordinance would not be as effective as a really meaningful state or federal law. But it could employ reasonably effective sanctions, and it would certainly be a good start. I certainly do not mean to belittle the need for effective state and federal laws, or for better zoning ordinances, or for any other means of fighting discrimination. But the fact that there are a number of good solutions, and the fact that we may prefer several of them, in no way diminishes the need, or the demand for this one aspect now. Of course we will all continue to work for more effective legislation at all levels, and for better zoning laws; but just because we can't have everything doesn't mean we can't have something.
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