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Status: Complete

[Letterhead: Law Offices Philip G. Marshall and Marjorie L. Marshall
119 East Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Telephone (414) 271-3943]

December 13, 1967

Hon. Vel. Phillips
Common Council
City Hall
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201

Dear Alderman Phillips:

My sister Elizabeth tells me that you are laboring under the impression that I am opposed to open housing (or fair housing, which I think is a better word).

I want you to know that I am thoroughly in favor of the most effective legislation we can obtain to accomplish complete open housing for all in either the sale or rental of any and all housing units.

The only question, Alderman Phillips, is how best to accomplish this end. My friend Henry is fearful of the side effects of attempting to do it piecemeal. I am not so concerned with that as I am with the danger of isolated local action stymieing the efforts to enact effective statewide legislation.

Governor Knowles, I notice, speaks of this being an appropriate field for "local option". There should be no such thing as the local option to be prejudiced.

As a lawyer I know I don't have to belabor the point with you that a local ordinance (even with the most severe forfeitures possible) does not provide any really effective sanctions such as is possible under either state or federal statutes.

However, the whole cause has now become so thoroughly seeped in emotion that perhaps the passage of a local ordinance is important as a symbol of right, even though it advances the cause but slightly, if at all,

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