HAROLD W. BENNETT was born in New Jersey on May 19, 1895. After serving in the military during World War I, He trained as a lawyer. At the time of the January 1920 Census, Harold W. Bennett was lodging at the YMCA building at 566 Federal Street, and working as a law clerk. He married Agnes Raff later that year. In 1926 he served as International President of the Y's Men, a service club connected to the YMCA.
When the 1930 census was taken, the Bennett family, which included son Judson and daughter Rosemary, lived at 2625 Baird Boulevard in East Camden. Also living at the Baird Boulevard address was mother-in-law Emily Raff. His neighbors included lawyer Samuel P. Orlando at 2613 Baird, and lawyer Lewis Liberman at 2603. Harold Bennett was then in private practice, but before 1930 ended he would be working as general counsel for the City of Camden.
Harold W. Bennett was elected to a seat on Camden's city commission in May of 1931, and re-elected in may of 1935. The 1935 election, however was later invalidated by way of a recount. Harold Bennett initially supervised financial matters for the city, but was replaced by George Brunner in early 1936.
After 16 months of legal conflict, he was replaced on the city commission by Frank J. Hartmann Jr., in October of 1936. He would return to his own law practice, making his office at 317 Market Street. He also taught classes in constitutional law at the South Jersey Law School during the 1930s.
The 1947 Camden City Directory shows that Harold and Agnes Bennett had moved to Haddon Heights. He was then with the law firm of Bennett, Bennett, & Wingate. Harold Bennett spent the rest of his days as a resident of Haddon Heights, passing away in April of 1981.
|Camden Courier-Post * June 25, 1929|
S. Keown - Joseph Wallworth - Elizabeth Verga - Harry
C. Sharp - William
Howard B. Dyer - Laura Silberg - Lottie Stinson - Harold W. Bennett - Edward R. Diebert
Bernard Bertman - L. Scott Cherchesky - Carl Kisselman - Frank Voigt - David Baird Sr.
Francis Ford Patterson Jr. - Al Matthews - W. Penn Corson - Charles A. Wolverton
Clinton L. Bardo - Col. George L. Selby - Daniel Silbers
Camden Morning Post - December 12, 1930
W. Bennett - Rabbi Jacob Herman - William E. Lard
Noah Remmer - Langham Avenue
|Camden Courier-Post * June 1, 1933|
TAX DEADLINE MAY DE EXTENDED
of the unprecedented rush to pay first-half taxes for 1933, Commissioner Harold
W. Bennett, director of revenue and finance, may extend the deadline
from 9 p. m. tonight to 9 p. m. June 7 without penalty.
director, who has asked for more help, said it was the greatest tax rush
in the history of Camden. The line of taxpayers yesterday extended past
the public health offices, almost a full city block. A large volume of
receipts also is coming in by mail, he said.
commissioner said he was unable to issue figures showing total receipts to
date, but said about $119,000 was paid in Saturday, half of which was in
cashiers' windows are open.
always have been sufficient to accommodate last-minute, payments in
said he attributed the unprecedented rush to the fact that bills were late
in being sent out, that persons wish to cash in on scrip and because
citizens have been impressed by the "educational campaign"
conducted by the city, impressing the importance of prompt tax payments.
A. Benjamin Sparks, former receiver of taxes; Otto E. Braun, formerly employed in the tax office, but now with the emergency relief, and men from the controller's and assessor's offices have been pressed into service. Bennett has asked for more from other department heads. .
|Camden Courier-Post - June 2, 1933|
Bennett Extends Time to June 8th For Tax Payment
Harold W. Bennett, director of revenue and finance, yesterday announced
definitely that the time for first-half payments of 1933 taxes has been
extended to include Thursday, June 8. Beginning today, the tax office will
not be open evenings.
declared the extension has been granted due to the unprecedented tax rush.
Five cashiers now are working and the office is so busy that it has been
impossible to total receipts. Bennett said the city commission may ratify
the extension by resolution.
commissioner intimated Wednesday that the deadline might be extended
beyond closing time tonight, the legal deadline.
|Camden Courier-Post - June 6, 1933|
TAXPAYERS CITY OF CAMDEN
You are hereby notified that you may pay your taxes to the City of Camden at any time up to and including June 8th,
to the Tax Office, City Hall, Camden, N.
J. without the addition or interest or penalty, This includes taxes due for
1933 only. You are also
entitled to a 3% discount on taxes due for the second half
of 1933 if you pay them on or before
June 8th, 1933.
|Camden Courier-Post - June 7, 1933|
DEADLINE IS NEAR
City's deadline for payment of the first-half taxes for 1933 will end
definitely tonight at 9 p. m.
unprecedented rush during the closing hours of the final day, June 1,
caused Commissioner Harold W.
Bennett, director of finance, to extend a grace period of one week.
The date of closing of the period was announced today by City Comptroller Sidney
for the first day of the extension period, McCord said, there has been no rush at the
tax collector's office. He added that adjustments relative to bills and
payment took up much of the clerks' time during the
Figures on the amount of taxes paid during the added week granted taxpayers were not available, McCord said. He indicated the number of persons taking advantage of the extension was small.
|Camden Courier-Post - June 8, 1933|
P. M. TODAY IS SET AS DEADLINE FOR TAXES
If you want to pay your Camden City first-half taxes for 1933 by mall, your letter must be in the malls by midnight tonight or else you will be penalized. If you call at the City Hall to pay your taxes, you must do it before the deadline today at 4 p.m.
An unexpected rush the last regular day to pay taxes, June 1, caused Commissioner Harold W. Bennett,, director of finance, to extend a grace period of a week. No more, extensions will be made.
That the extra week has been used to advantage by taxpayer.s is evidenced by the increasing amount of mail which has been deposited regularly several times a day in the tax office. So many payments have come in that many of the letters received this week have not yet been opened. Day and night work has been the rule in the office of City Comptroller Sidney P. McCord since last week, employees working until 10 p.m. Figures on the amount of taxes paid the past week are not available because of the rush.
|Camden Courier-Post - June 20, 1933|
City Commissioner and Mrs. Harold W. Bennett, Rose Mary and Judson Bennett of 2625 Baird Boulevard are at their Ocean City home for the remainder of the season. .
|Camden Courier-Post - June 21, 1933|
45% Of TAXES DUE COLLECTED BY CITY
Camden city tax collections for the first half of 1933, due June 1, total $1,376,920.32, or approximately 45% percent of the aggregate of $3,030, 968.93 due for the first half. A penalty at the rate of seven percent a year is assessed delinquent taxpayers.
Tax receipts were made public yesterday by Commissioner Harold W. Bennett, director of revenue and finance, and Sidney P. McCord, the city comptroller. With the collections including considerable scrip, the tabulation of the receipts was delayed because of the longer time required to count the scrip; most of which was in small denominations.
Bennett and McCord pointed out that the percentage of collections is higher than they anticipated in view of economic conditions. It is greater than in many cities throughout the country, Bennett said, where they have been collecting but from 20 to 30 percent of their taxes.
The city officials also pointed out that had a payment of approximately $100,000 been received, as expected, from one of the city's largest tax payers, the city's percentage of collections would have reached approximately 50 percent.
|Camden Courier-Post - June 25, 1933|
SCRIP TO PASS MILLION THIS WEEK
Camden city scrip issued since April 1, will reach more than $1,000,000 worth when the city meets its end-of-the-month payroll with a new issue of $220,000 this week for 1500 employees.
County scrip since the first of April totals $481,000, according to County Treasurer J. Wesley Sell. Of that total, $311,000 has been re deemed. A new $25,000 county issue of scrip will be circulated this week in meeting the county payroll for 300 employees.
City and county officials said they did not know how much longer they will be issuing scrip or when they would be in a position to announce a definite redemption date.
The officials pointed out that through the issuance of scrip they have been able to meet current obligations and have averted payless paydays for city and county employees.
In addition to operating expenses, the city has to meet a total of $2,415,000 in bonds and interest due between July 1 and the end of the year. McCord said efforts are being made to have bondholders agree to refund these bonds to mature In later years, so that, along with scrip, the city will be able to conserve as much cash as possible. Cash conservation has been difficult, McCord said, because tax collections have been far below those in previous years.
County bonds maturing this year total $330,000, but these are to be refunded for later maturity under a resolution adopted by the board of freeholders June 15 which also authorized the refunding of $2,352;000 worth of bonds maturing next year. Sell said the county will not default on any of its obligations,
City Commissioner Harold W. Bennett, director of revenue and finance, said the end of June city payroll of $220,000 will be entirely in scrip, as wall the $48,000 mid-June payroll. It will be the last pay for city teachers until their return from vacation in September.
Bennett pointed out that one of the reasons scrip had to be resorted to was because the city could not borrow the money it needed to pay salaries and operate in anticipation of tax collections. The scrip, he said, conserves what cash the city receives to, meet debt items. Neither he nor McCord said he was free to reveal the amount of cash the City has on hand, nor the amount the city has received since April in proportion to scrip.
"We won't know until we balance out books at, the close of the year," he said. "I do know that one of the advantages of scrip is that less of it has been issued than the city would have borrowed cash in the market, and so the city saves at least in interest charges.
"Other than to keep the city going, I don't know what financial advantage scrip is to Camden, except perhaps for a saving in interest on loans we could not make. All I know is that scrip has enabled us to meet our payrolls; we don't have to borrow in the market, and we are conserving cash to meet our bonds, interest and other obligations when they come due. Cash receipts, how ever, are slow because of the slump in tax payments.
"The only way I see for the city to be in a better financial position is for it to receive more of the taxes due it for this and previous years. Non-payment of taxes, with delinquencies enormous during the last few years, has been one of the main reasons the city had to go on scrip. Little money was coming in and we couldn't· borrow it as in former years. So the city had to issue the scrip, a promise to pay with interest. Otherwise it would have been unable to pay its employees and it would have had to default on bonds and interest. Scrip, therefore, has kept the city going and it has been able to meet all its bills as they fall due."
Commissioner Bennett said prompter payment of taxes has been encouraged through the issuance of scrip. Taxpayers receiving it have redeemed it as taxes. In other cases, where they have cash, they have bought the scrip from others and used it to meet their debts to the city. Thus, he said the scrip has been kept in circulation and readily exchanged.
"Merchants of the city are to be commended for their co-operation," Bennett said. "They have received scrip since April for purchases made at their stores. In turn, they have met their taxes with the scrip offered by customers, many of whom have been doing their buying exclusively in Camden since circulation of scrip, thereby stimulating business here.
"In addition, various concerns and individuals have been buying up the city scrip for investment, saving it for redemption at a later date to profit by the interest it carries.
"Through scrip, city employees have been saved from going without food, clothing and other necessities. We have averted payless paydays, and we are better off than other cities, whose plight is much worse than that of Camden."
Camden Courier-Post - June 29, 1933
IN CAMDEN PASS STATE BAR TESTS
Camden Courier-Post - June 29, 1933
Beer Here Is Up to Reesman As Four Rulers Split
With four members of the city commission deadlocked on the is sue, Commissioner Clay W. Reesman last night appeared to hold in his hands the final decision as to whether Sunday beer sales will be permitted in Camden.
This was revealed when he announced that his deciding vote on the issue would ·be guided by a "sounding of public sentiment."
On April 26 Mayor Roy R. Stewart and Commissioner Harold W. Bennett declared they would vote against any resolution permitting Sunday sales, while Commissioners Frank B. Hanna and Dr. David S. Rhone declared they would favor such a resolution. Reesman asserted at that time that “it would be foolish for him to comment until the measure before the legislature becomes a law."
Measure Now Law
The state measure, which permits Sunday beer sales upon resolution of municipal bodies, became law yesterday when Governor A. Harry Moore signed it. The bill, primarily, extends the state temporary beer act until August 31.
When asked last night how he stood on the Sunday beer sale question in Camden, Reesman said:
"I can't state any opinion at this time, for I really have none. I want to sound public sentiment first. What ever the people want, that is the way I‘ll be guided," He added that he would be unable to say how much time would be required for him to arrive at an opinion.
As soon as the city commission learned that the governor had approved the measure yesterday, it met in special session and adopted a resolution calling for an additional fee from Camden beer retailers for the extended period of two months.
At the same time. the Beverage Tax Division of the State Tax Department announced that all retailers of beer and wines must make tax payments by July 7 on all purchases and sales of beer by them between April 7 and July 1.
Tax Experts Coming
To assist retailers in determining their tax liability representatives of the Beverage Tax Division will sit far one week, from July 1 to July 7, in seven South Jersey towns, as follows: Camden, Room 212, court house annex; Burlington, city hall; Bridgeton, court house, July 1 and 3 only; Atlantic City, Room 729, Guaranty Trust building; Gloucester City, clerk's office, city hall; Cape May Court House, court house, July 6 and 7 only; Salem, city hall, July 5 only;
Retailers who have purchased beverages from any source outside New Jersey will be subject to a tax of three cents a gallon if the tax has not already been paid by the manufacturer or distributor.
Mayor Stewart, in expressing his opinion on Sunday beer sales, declared it would have a bad effect on the community and its people, and that employees of restaurants and inns were entitled to a day of rest as other workers.
Commissioner Bennett declared sale of the beverage would not help observance of the Sabbath. Commissioners Hanna and Rhone took the view that Congress had legislated 3.2 percent beer as non-intoxicating, and that it was therefore as equally non-intoxicating on Sunday as any other day, and that its sale would make little difference.
New Fees Cited
The Beverage Tax Division also pointed, out yesterday that the extension beverage act require manufacturers to pay an additional license fee of $400, and distributors an additional fee of $100 if their licenses are to be automatically extended. Security for the extended term must also be furnished and acceptable to the State Tax Commissioner.
Licenses for the extended period will be issued in South Jersey at the offices of Deputy Beverage Commissioners Frank B. Middleton, Jr., in Camden, at 130 North Broadway, and Frederick Stahle, 4105 Sunset Avenue, Atlantic City.
Various South Jersey communities, following the lead of Camden, are expected to announce new additional fees far municipal licenses before a week has passed.
The city resolution provides that the additional fee must be paid to Frank S. Albright, city clerk, before tomorrow night, and that all the beer regulations adopted, by the city April 6 remain in “full force and effect."
Under the measure, according to Albright, distributors in the city that do not pay a state beer license must also pay an additional $50 fee.
Retail beer servers began paying their new fees shortly after the city commission passed the resolution.
In approving' the state measure, Governor Moore said:
"I am constrained to sign this temporary act, which expires .at midnight, August 31, because without it there would be no effective regulation whatsoever covering the manufacture and sale of beer.
"Then too, each municipality must determine for itself by, resolution of its governing body whether the sale of beer shall be permittel1 after 1 p. m. an Sunday. Without such action, it cannot be legally sold."
The governor signed the measure at 12:30 p.m.
Before Moore reached his decision to approve the bill, it had been a question for several days whether he would veto it because it contained, no provision for a referendum on Sunday sales, as proposed by the Democratic legislators in Trenton.
Camden Courier-Post - June 30, 1933
Won't Rule on Sunday Beer Sales Unless People Demand
"The Camden City Commission will take no action on the Sunday beer sale question unless the people express a strong desire for Sunday beer."
This is the declaration made yesterday by Mayor Roy R. Stewart.
And not only are members of the city commission divided on the Sunday beer issue but saloonkeepers are themselves.
Fred J. Stuebing [owner of the Stag Cafe- PMC], president of the Camden County Beverage Dispensers' Association, revealed that some members of the association are against Sunday sales and some are in favor of it.
"We have not gone on record for or against Sunday sales." Stuebing said. “Some of our members are against it. The question will be brought up at our own meeting a week from today.
Wants His Day Off
"Personally, I would not want to keep my place open on Sunday afternoons. I want a day off after working all week. I might open up for a while Sunday evenings, though, if it were permitted."
In the event of a resolution being introduced in the city commission to permit Sunday sales after 1 p.m., the final decision would rest in the hands of Commissioner Clay W. Reesman since he has refused to commit himself on the issue, while Mayor Stewart and Commissioner Harold W. Bennett have announced against it, and Commissioners Frank B. Hanna and Dr. David S. Rhone have pronounced themselves in favor of it.
"I don't think there is any insistent demand for Sunday beer," said the mayor. "If there is, I haven't heard about it.
"Furthermore, I see no real reason for Sunday beer. In the so-called good old days before prohibition, saloons were closed on Sundays. Why should they be opened now?
"And as I said in a statement some time ago, the men and women employed in the retail beer business deserve a day off a week for recreation and worship just as any other workers .
"The City Commission will take no action unless the people express a strong desire for Sunday beer."
There was a rumor in circulation yesterday that quite a number of Camden saloonkeepers had been "interviewed" by certain politicians on the Sunday sale situation.
"You don't want to sell beer on Sunday, do you?" is the question that is said to have been put to them. And it was put in such a way that a negative answer was expected, the rumor has it.
This report apparently is borne out by the attitude of Mayor Stewart. The mayor's statement came as a surprise particularly in view of the fact that Camden saloonkeepers recently contributed to a fund for the purpose of having the ban on bars removed and also to bring about Sunday sales.
Camden saloon and restaurant keepers have been complaining because the roadhouses in the suburban districts were permitted to sell beer on Sunday and that they also were allowed to remain open later that the closing time specified for similar places operated in the city limits.
These same Camden saloonkeepers also have complained about the political clubs within the city being permitted to remain open after the regular closing hours and also that they have been allowed to remain open on Sundays.
New Licenses Granted
Meanwhile, City Clerk Frank S. Albright yesterday announced approval of 19 new applications for retail beer licenses, bringing the total in the city to 239. Three new wholesale licenses also were sanctioned.
Following are the retail permits:
John Pennington, 818 Broadway; Salvatore Spitalore, 201 Royden Street; Samuel Friedenberg, 575 Van Hook Street; Fred Steubing, 318 Market Street; Frank Markiewicz, 673 Ferry Avenue; Matthew Orland, 3, 5, 7 and 9 Ferry Walk; Anthony Laskowski, 1200 Everett Street; Albert Ross, 1425 Mt. Ephraim Avenue; Samuel Hurwitz, 703 Chestnut Street; Clito Viviano, 522-524 Walnut Street; Harry Adams, 406 North Seventh Street; Daniel Cirucci, 305 Benson Street; Charles A. Bieri, 318 Kaighn Avenue; Max Kleinfeld, 101 Chestnut Street; John MacDougall, 839 Market Street; Alexander Wrightson, Southwest corner Ninth and Chestnut Streets; David Plasky, 2362 Broadway; Luigi Corda, 702 South Second Street, and Irving Cartin, 201 Mechanic Street.
|Camden Courier-Post - June 30, 1933|
WILL CANCEL TAX PENALTIES IF PAID UP BY DEC. 1 Rulers
Adopt Resolution Not to Charge Interest Prior to 1933
Property owners in Camden city will not have to pay interest or any penalty on delinquent taxes and other municipal levies if they meet them before next December 1.
That assurance was given in a resolution adopted yesterday afternoon by the city commission in special meeting.
The waiver of interest and other charges applies only to levies delinquent prior to this year, according to Commissioner Harold W. Bennett, sponsor of the resolution.
Bennett said the delinquencies of the years prior to 1933 total more than $4,000,000, on none of which the city will make extra charges if the bills are met before December 1.
Bennett explained that through the measure, the city is taking advantage of a recent act of the state legislature permitting municipalities to waive interest and penalties in the case of delinquencies. The state act was passed early in the year. Bennett explained that the city did not take earlier action because it was necessary to study the situation in detail to determine whether it would be advisable.
"The city commission has concluded that by waiving the interest and penalties on delinquent taxes and other municipal levies that every property owner will be given an equal opportunity to meet his overdue obligations to the city," Bennett said.
Asked if the city commission considered the new arrangement unfair to property owners who have been meeting delinquent taxes and paying the interest and penalties, Bennett said he and his colleagues did not, because the state act had not been passed last year.
"It the state legislature had pass ed the act last year, we would have adopted our measure then," Bennett said. "We seek to be fair to all concerned, and we feel that we have. The fairness of the new arrangement, we feel, overlaps anything that would seem unfair, but which in fact is not."
|Camden Courier-Post - August 10, 1933|
BEER PLEAS FACES TEST TODAY
The Camden City Commission may consider a Sunday beer sale ordinance today.
That was admitted last night by several members of the commission, although all claimed they had no idea who would advance the ordinance.
A conference of the commission is scheduled for noon, prior to today's regular meeting at 2:30 PM. It is believed that if an ordinance is to come up it will first be considered in caucus.
Request for Sunday beer was made in a resolution adopted unanimously by the Camden County Division of the New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association.
Proprietors of more than 60 of the city's leading establishments voted in favor of Sunday beer at the time the resolution was adopted, a week ago.
Copies of the resolution were sent to each member of the city commission. They pointed out that "several communities bordering Camden permit the sale of beer in Sundays."
Commissioners Frank B. Hanna and Dr. David S. Rhone are known to favor Sunday beer sales. Mayor Roy R. Stewart and Harold W. Bennett, director of finance, have expressed disapproval of it. Commissioner Clay W. Reesman has been straddling the issue.
February 4, 1935
Camden Courier-Post - August 29, 1935
W. Bennett - Mary
Kobus - George Brunner - Frank
J. Hartmann Jr. - Otto
Frederick von Nieda - E.G.C. Bleakly - Diamond - W. Gentry Hodgson
Camden Courier-Post - August 29, 1935
S. Woodruff - Elizabeth C. Verga - Emma
Hyland - Harry L. Maloney - Hotel
Hartmann's Plan to Shift Assessor's Office Hit by Mayor
Frederick von Nieda, in a statement issued yesterday afternoon, severely censured
In reply to Hartmann's statement that the mayor and Commissioner Harold W. Bennett, Republican minority members of the Camden City Commission, are "cry babies," von Nieda charged Hartmann with "playing politics" on the eve of the general election here November 5.
Von Nieda declared Bennett's business training as a lawyer qualified him far better to direct the operation of the assessor's office in comparison to a "great merchant who has had several years business training in selling electric light bulbs."
Question of Reductions
In answer to Hartmann's charges that politically favored property owners received reduced
Von Nieda further charged Hartmann with "having his eye on the $20,000 payroll in the assessor's office." The mayor also declared the New Dealer commissioners were prohibiting Republican workers in the municipal government from participating in politics but did not restrict the Democratic employees.
The latest attack of von Nieda on Hartmann further widens the breach between the two commissioners who once fought side by side for civic improvements and lower taxes. It was von Nieda and Hartmann who were largely instrumental in formation of the New Jersey Congress of Civic Associations. In fighting for civic betterment here, the two men on many occasions spoke from the same platform. The split came prior to the election of von Nieda to the City Commission.
The mayor's statement follows:
"At every commission meeting, and in the public press, I am hearing Mr. Hartmann throwing so many bouquets at himself that I am beginning to think he is the only honest man in Camden and the greatest city commissioner any city ever had.
"I am sure that the taxpayers may expect next year the lowest tax rate in 20 years if we can believe all he says about the savings he has already effected, such as $50 on drinking cups, and so much money on electric juice at Delair. From this one item alone, Public Service stockholders may expect a big cut in their dividends next year.
"And the great reforms in Public Service he has accomplished, according to his own say so!
"Now he modestly proposes to transfer the tax assessment department from Mr. Bennett's hands to his own—he can manage it so much better, you know.
"Why not? What does a lawyer of
Mr. Bennett's experience know about real estate values as
"The voters or Camden at last Spring's election were mistaken when they gave Mr. Bennett a larger vote of confidence than they did any other city commission candidate — even more than the wonderful Mr. Hartmann.
"But he is not playing politics— only he has his eye—so he says—on that $20,000 payroll in the assessor's department and he will probably say he wants to take charge to reduce the payroll. Well, Democrats have become quite expert in reducing payrolls—even of worthy Democrats—but not of the payrolls of Democratic office holders. And the tax assessments must be changed by Nov. 1. Why did he not say before Nov. 5? Aye, there's the magic date.
"His explanation that Nov. 1 is tax appeal date shows some little ignorance on his part. The city board does not handle appeals, and the county board began that job on Aug. 15. The city board on Oct. 1 fixes the assessment values for 1936. I am glad that Commissioner Hartmann corrected that statement later.
"Little errors like that do not bother such a great expert as Mr. Hartmann.
"He also said—as I recall it—that some of the big taxpayers had secured reductions—he could not mean this year because the county board has not yet reported its findings—so of course he meant last year's reductions.
"But did hot Mr. Hartmann forget that last year the county tax appeal board was Democratic?
Not Finding Fault
"I am not finding fault with what the board then did—maybe they were right—but |Mr. Hartmann has seen fit to criticize their actions and yet politically he sleeps in the same bed now with them. Really, he should know also that the city board makes the original assessments, and appeals for reductions are appeals against the values fixed by them.
"Evidently, Mr. Hartmann proposes to make the city board a board of appeals over its own valuations.
"But to get back to the political aspect, because after all I am convinced that politics is the real motive for this gentleman's peculiar anxiety at this critical time for changing the assessment department over to the department of ash collections and street cleaners.
"You see there is quite a similarity between real estate values and ashes and street dirt, which after all are real estate in the making.
"But there is no politics in it, says Commissioner Hartmann. But we will have to judge the gentleman not by what he says but rather by what he does. No politics either, I suppose, in that just before November 5, the new liquor excise board was-created.
"Mr. Hartmann, of course, did not have in mind the possibility of some one quietly slipping the word to all liquor license holders to be good on election day.
"Is it not strange also that only this past week more than a dozen Republican office holders were fired and similar number of New Dealer Democrats hired in their stead?
"And this just a. few days before election?
"Mr. Hartmann is fond of citing the alleged shortcomings of the former commissioners (of which I was not one), and yet he voted for Clay Reesman to be city clerk, who was a city commissioner for eight years from 1928 to 1935.
"So why does he prate so much about the mistakes of Mr. Reesman and his colleagues?
"No politics in Mr. Hartmann's department! What a laugh?
"Only recently he sent out notices warning city employees not to engage in political activity. But that only applies to Republicans, because Mr. Hartmann has recently helped appoint several Democrats and New Deal Ward leaders to public office.
"Some of them have been politically active this past week and that not even outside the sacred precincts of the City Hall, and during office hours at that.
"Let any Republican officeholder be likewise guilty arid off will go his head.
"No, indeed, Republicans, even after office hours must not even attend political rallies.
"Who made him the Dictator over the party principles or party loyalty, even of office holders after office hours? Since when did he become bigger than the legislature itself?
"But Mr. Hartmann is going to have stool pigeons at the Republicans rally next Saturday, at least that threat has been whispered around the City Hall this past week.
City Hall on Nov. 5
"New Deal City Commissioners themselves can play politics right in the City Hall itself every day and their appointees can and do attend Democratic nightly gatherings and they can and do engage in all sorts of political activities.
"I wonder if Mr. Hartmann will have stool pigeons in the three downtown wards on election day to watch his New Deal Democrats recently appointed in order to see if they are then politically active. Will he see to it that these New Deal leaders remain on duty at the City Hall on election day?
"It will be Quite interesting for inquisitive voters to visit the City Hall on that day so that they may take note of the many Republican officeholders whose compelled presence there will be so necessary for the protection of the otherwise empty City Hall corridors. The sauce for the Democratic goose ought to be the same for the Republican gander.
"And this is supposed to be a non-partisan majority, now in control of the City Hall.
"I am wondering if Mr. Hartmann thinks the voters of Camden have forgotten the pre-election pledges of this same majority?
"And does he think the people of Camden are being fooled by his boastful cry of 'No politics—no politics'?"
Hartmann answered von Nieda's attack last night with this statement:
"It was very kind of Mayor von Nieda to advertise my business. I will admit I have somewhat neglected my private business for some time in order to devote all of my time to city affairs.
"The only thing the mayor forgot to say was that I sell the lamp bulbs to which he referred, at Eighth and State streets.
"I hope he will remedy this oversight in his next public utterance concerning me".
|Camden Courier-Post - February 11, 1936|
THE EDITOR'S MAIL BAG
Bennett and Wiggins
It is certainly gratifying to note the appointment of Dr.
U. S. Wiggins on the advisory committee recently authorized by our
city commissioners. Commissioner
Bennett exemplified fair play in the naming of the doctor, in not
forgetting the colored citizens of our town. He also showed good
judgment as Dr. Wiggins is splendidly qualified to cope with problems
that will confront the new committee.
selection of a man of this type will, (or at least should) meet the
approval of all of Camden's colored citizens. Dr. Wiggins by hard work
has steadily forged to the front since coming North from the State of
Georgia. Feeling qualified, he placed himself before the electorate of
our city as an aspirant for the high office of city commissioner during
the last campaign, withdrawing for reasons which he clearly stated by
way of the press, radio and platform. It seems to me that he is
logically the man of our racial group to
have been named on this new committee.
us encourage Dr. Wiggins in every way possible as he functions, and not
raise the familiar old cry that "somebody born in Camden should
have been given the honor." Honor comes after hard work!
so as one citizen of Camden I congratulate Commissioner Bennett for not
forgetting the colored people and a host of women join with me in
congratulations for Dr. Wiggins and in wishing him success.
WILDA ROBINSON TOWNSEND,
|CAMDEN COURIER-POST - FEBRUARY 14, 1936|
ordinance approved on first reading January 29 amending the present law
regulating the distribution of circulars was voted down by the· city
commission on second reading yesterday, after a public hearing.
hearings scheduled on five other ordinances were postponed. These
included three refunding measures, one amending present laws designed to
stop littering the streets, and the other extending the closing time for
to the circular ordinance, which would have restricted the size of
such advertising matter to 6 by 4 inches and required a
permit and tax fur distribution, was voiced by merchants and
representatives of the Socialist and Communist parties.
hearing was a noisy one, with sporadic outbursts from the audience
causing Mayor Frederick von
Nieda to rap for order frequently.
David Epstein, attorney representing the South Jersey Grocers
Association, with a membership of 200 independent grocers, was vigorous
in his opposition to the amendment. He argued that circulars provide the
only means for members to advertise their wares and said the proposed
size hardly meets their requirements. Present circulars are 12-1/2
by 19 inches in size, and
have been used over a period of years, Epstein said. The lawyer also
objected to levying a tax, pointing out that each distributor is forced
to take out a $6 license now.
Harold W. Bennett said
many justifiable complaints had been received declaring porches, steps
and yards were littered with circulars and other advertising matter. He
said such papers should be attached securely to doors or handed in.
merchant, said he would favor the ordinance if the size was increased to
12 by 22 inches.
chorus of boos caused Mayor
von Nieda to demand order. Levinsky said he agreed that
"newspaper circulars," or thick, bulky ones, should be
drew an objection from Joseph Murdock, local theatre manager, who defended
multiple page circulars issued by him, in advertising motion pictures.
Frank J. Hartmann,
original sponsor of the ordinance, then moved that it be tabled.
S. Danenhower, Camden and South Jersey organizer for the Communist party,
objected that the measure should be killed outright "in the interest
of the working classes."
called for action on the ordinance, and it was voted down by unanimous
When the refunding ordinances were laid over for the third time, Bennett said quickly action was necessary, and asked that the mayor be authorized to call a meeting before the next regularly scheduled session, to handle the matter.
|Camden Courier-Post - February 20, 1936|
FUND PLAN; APPROVE
W. OLIVER KINCANNON
under Chapter 77.
that with what security you can give by resolution or ordinance, but
Disregard Chapter 60.
a business rather than a political basis.
an active Interest In the management of Camden County as well as Camden
city, acting as a committee of inquiry on county management.
are some of the points of advice given to the City Commission yesterday,
at a special meeting of the Commission, by its Citizens' Advisory
trip-hammer style, James W.
Burnison, chairman of the advisory group, read a report that
followed with these recommendations:
politics and work as a unit.
expenses and stay within your budgets.
a complete and honest budget.
the taxpayers decide when an emergency exists that requires an addition
to the budget. Fight shy of gamblers' Interest rates.
default; it's too costly.
on a cash basis and stay there.
every taxpayer in the city realize and live up to his tax
about Camden city and county in a patriotic rather than a political
to Act Quickly
commission voted to take quick action by passing a motion introduced by
Commissioner Harold W. Bennett, director of revenue and finance.
motion empowers Bennett to call, as quickly as possible, a meeting of
the commission, representatives of its advisory committee, the finance
committee of the board of freeholders, representatives of the city's
bonding attorneys, Hawkins, Delafield and Longfellow, representatives of
Lehman Brothers and other bond houses to determine what arrangement can
be effected to solve the city's financial problems. Setting forth that
it is not our intent or desire to criticize the performances of past or
present city officers, " the report nevertheless, contained
frank condemnation of emergency deficiency appropriations for items that
are and were left off budgets.
also implied condemnation
of all the city budgets
since 1930 and pointed out: "That Camden City receipts
running behind expenditures approximately $1,000,000 a year since
yearly budgets do not at present, and did not in the past, in the opinion of your committee, give a frank
clear picture of anticipated income and expenditures.
job of contacting bondholders to
procure interest reductions, "your 'committee finds, has not been handled as frankly as
it deserves. We can find no evidence of a sincere effort to layout a program and attack this problem logically. No
more than 30 cents can be lopped off the tax' rate if the contacting
program were completely successful. The committee has failed to receive a requested report of efforts to contact
committee was convinced that it is futile to expect any large-scale
interest cuts from bondholders.
of Rate Cut
believes the majority of high interest-bearing bonds can be refunded at
substantially lower interest rates
if constructive action is taken immediately. The committee has been
informed that the state has refused to accept "reasonable
rates" on the city's bonds held by the State.
"the present difference of opinion on this subject among members of
our present city commission would in itself effectively block any real
work along this line, " and "We feel that real results along
this line require a united front on the part of our commission and the county freeholders." "Our
sinking fund, we are informed, is stuffed with our own frozen paper.
Such financing, in our estimation, kills the purpose of such
present plan of singling out a
few wards in our city and call
tax sales is neither fair to the delinquent taxpayers in these wards nor
is it fair to the taxpayers throughout the city."
concluding his reading of the summarized report, Burnison informed the
commissioners the committee has completed a detailed report of "40
to 42 pages of homework for you" and said that will be submitted
will contain detailed recommendations, including some errors in figures
and in judgment, but we ask that you disregard the errors and use the
good in it,"
when he mentioned
30 cents as the maximum figure to be lopped from the tax rate of the
city were completely successful in obtaining interest reductions, he
figured that would be the result if the city got 2% to 3 percent rates on all its bonds..
a large number of these bonds you can't hope to refund at lower interest
rates, as the rates already are low. You couldn't get under 4 or 4%
percent on your first refunding under Chapter 77 and almost all of the
bonds not immediately refundable are around those figures, " he
Bennett immediately opened up argument concerning what the committee
thinks will replace his favored refunding plan- Chapter 60 combined with
Objection to 60 Plan
seems to give the other fellow more advantages than us; that's our
objection to it,"
you have been assured from some source that we can avoid an increase in
the tax rate without adopting Chapter 60," Bennett said and
see no way of keeping down this year's budget without 60. Politics is
out in my argument, but I honestly believe 60 and 77 combined make the
only plan for us. Under the present plan the rate will go up this year.
Won't you tell us your source of assurance that it will not?"
did not answer the question immediately and Bennett said: "We would
have to pass resolutions committing us to procedure similar to that
under Chapter 60, wouldn't we?"
Burnison answered, "but not binding you to as close supervision.
You can't continue to exceed receipts and improve conditions
Bennett said, "give us the advantage of your sources assurance.”
Brothers (New York bankers who have handled many of the city's bonds in
the past and were interviewed last Friday by the advisory committee)
also said if we showed a sincere frank idea of economizing and staying
within our budget, the bondholders would accept our bonds without
necessity of recourse to Chapter 60.
said 60 'meant no more to the
bondholder than resolutions and ordinances, if you get together and go on record to
give security and then do it.
don't think the city commission should have any compunction in binding
itself not to exceed the budget. Then, if you find it is impossible for
you to operate on what you are taking in under the present tax rate,
call in a group of taxpayers say
200 of them-and explain the situation and raise the tax rate.
reasonable man or group will
see the necessity and logic of that. They will go along with you.
under Chapter 60 you put yourself under a rigorous unbending set of
Mrs. Kobus Urges Action
quit arguing and do it," Commissioner Mary
W. Kobus suggested, and
Mayor Frederick von Nieda asked: "If we take an average of the
income for the past three years would you not consider that average for
that point Bennett made his motion for power to call a special meeting
of the freeholders, commissioners, citizens' group, bond attorneys and
bond dealers, and it was passed unanimously after Commissioner George E.
Brunner seconded it.
reserve the right own discretion about dealers will be asked” Bennett
may be that Lehman Brothers are the only ones who will trust us,"
Burnison said. "They know the lines we are working along. They work
with other houses, and there may be other sources of credit we can
42 of the largest cities in New Jersey with 62 percent of all at the
ratables of the state are under Chapter 60 now," Bennett said.
percent could be wrong,"
Burnison answered and laughed, adding:
"In my opinion, those cities going under 60 haven't looked very far
what we have done," Bennett replied. "My department has done
that and that is why we are advocating 60.”
there are members on our committee
who know a good bit about that sort of thing and they say the city is justified in not going
under 60," Burnison said.
Legislature is going to pass a new budget law that will act just the
same as Chapter 60, though it will not be passed in time to effect this
year's budget," Bennett said.
Burnison, "I'd think the commission would prefer to adopt a
safe course voluntarily than to be forced into it."
have no assurance that those who will have charge of the city's affairs
for the next 15 or 18 years will follow the course we lay down for
them," Bennett said and added: "Past political experience
shows that they won't."
brought the argument to a close and
Burnison, questioned by a reporter,
are not unalterably opposed to Chapter 60. We oppose it, yes. We believe
under 77 a better job for us can be worked out."
City Comptroller Sidney P. McCord, with an aide, attended, and a stenographer from Commissioner Bennett's office took a complete report of the proceedings.
|CAMDEN COURIER-POST - JANUARY 18, 1938|
George E. Brunner
Camden Courier-Post - February 4, 1938
GROUP WINS HOUSING BILLS GOAL
A long and hard-fought campaign to obtain housing bills which will enable New Jersey municipalities to secure Federal funds for slum clearance and low-cost housing resulted in a moral victory for members of the Camden Municipal Low-Cost Housing Committee yesterday.
The local group, which several weeks ago inaugurated a statewide movement to obtain the legislation and to eliminate political chicanery in the legislation, returned last night from Newark after attending a stormy session that lasted more than four hours.
S. Raymond Dobbs, executive secretary of the Camden committee and acting secretary of the state conference of low cost housing committees, said the members of the local and state groups are satisfied with several amendments to be made to the present bills.
Four Housing bills will be presented in the Assembly next Monday night, Dobbs said. They will be introduced by Assemblyman Jennie A. Pilch, of Morris County, chairman of the Assembly housing committee. Assemblyman Oscar R. Wilensky, of Passaic County, majority leader of the House, will ask for their passage under suspension of rules, Dobbs said.
Publie Hearing Set
Mrs. Pilch has granted a public hearing on the bills to be held in the Assembly chamber next Wednesday at 1 p.m. The public hearing was requested by the Jersey City Chamber of Commerce.
"The members of our local group and those in the state conference feel a good job was done, "said Dobbs. "We didn't get everything we wanted but at the same time we are confident these bills will be adopted and Camden will get its share of Federal money from the U. S. Housing. Authority."
Dobbs said Wilensky agreed to limit the authority of the state director of housing, set up in two of the bills, to municipalities under 50,000. In the original bills Camden and other cities would have to get written permission from the director before the City Commission could appoint or elect a housing committee.
Another bill was amended requiring the state director to forward to the U. S. Housing Authority with in 20 days all applications for Federal money for slum clearance and low cost housing.
This amendment, Dobbs said, will prevent the state director from arbitrarily deciding whether or not Camden or any other municipality has the legal right to apply for Federal money.
The bill also designates the State Housing Authority as an advisory agency to the state director. In the opinion of Dobbs the state authority will be shorn of much of its power in the matter of housing matters in the state.
The four bills as amended will give Camden and other municipalities even greater autonomy than when they were first drawn, Dobbs declared.
Frederick Pitett, a retiring building contractor of Bergen County, is named in the bills as state director of housing, Dobbs said. The bills provide for a deputy director to be paid $4000 annually. Pitett's salary will be fixed by the joint appropriations committee of the Legislature, according to Dobbs.
Those representing Camden at the conference besides Dobbs were Charles F. Hollopeter, local committee, chairman, and acting chairman of the state group; Commissioner Harold W. Bennett, counsel, and Joseph N. Hettel, technical adviser to the Camden committee, and Horace R. Dixon, committee secretary,
The State Housing Authority was represented by Frederick W. Ehrlich, chairman; Harry I. Luftman, secretary, and Charles H. Ziegler and Mrs. Isora B. Somers.
Maurice Kaltz, solicitor for the New Jersey State Building and Construction Trades Council, also was present. Members of the Assembly housing committee, J. H. Schneider, counsel for the U.S, Housing Authority, and officials from other cities attended the session.
An observer was Albert Reitman, secretary to Senator Charles S. Loizeaux, of Union county, president of the State Senate..
|Camden Courier-Post - February 5, 1938|
MAYOR AND MRS. KOBUS OPEN BAZAAR TOMORROW
Mayor Brunner and Commissioner Kobus will open the bazaar to be held by the ladies auxiliary of Sons of Israel Synagogue tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday.
The bazaar will be staged at the Talmud Torah, with a supper starting the festivities at 6 p. m. tomorrow.
Camden Courier-Post - February 9, 1938
May we not at this time proffer a suggestion to Mayor Brunner, Eddie Kelleher and the other party sachems that should be a sure-fire plan to make Camden county safe for Democracy? We advise that the Democrats gather a fund of $4000, the money to be expended in giving testimonial dinners to Republican leaders, near-leaders and persons who figure themselves to be both.
Engage tables enough to accommodate about 350 persons. Invite representatives of all the various G. O. P. factions in the county, give a half dozen tickets to boisterous Democrats, so that the latter can sit back in their seats and enjoy the subsequent dogfight on a full stomach.
This idea that I am advancing to register about 5000 more Democrats in the county and paralyze the remnants of the once-powerful county G.O.P., was born when I attended the recent testimonial dinner to Louis Bantivoglio, freeholder from the Fifth ward.
Naturally my attendance was purely in a professional capacity. Speeches were made by divers and sundry spokesmen, the high-light being the sales talk for Bantivoglio and Baird by David Baird, Jr. The latter waxed wrathfully but warily in castigating the "half-breeds," as he once sarcastically termed the Republicans of the ilk and stature and political. leanings of Commissioner Mary W. Kobus.
Rarely, too, have we ever attended a banquet, either in the capacity of guest or reporter that ever awakened so many echoes of the past as did the dinner to the Fifth ward freeholder.
MRS. KOBUS ELECTED LOUIS
First came the information from friends of Commissioner Kobus that she was responsible for the election of Bantivoglio from the Fifth ward as freeholder. In view of the fact that Squire Baird seemed to feel that the freeholder's election was a personal triumph; this appeared strange to yours truly.
We moseyed about, however, and discovered that whether the squire likes it or not Mary W. Kobus and her minions did elect Bantivoglio. The leaders of the Kobus faction who put, the thing across were headed by a woman named Madeline Salvatore and a gentleman named "Bucky" Branch.
Bantivoglio was elected by something less than 40 votes, These votes could easily have been given to his opponent but there were strategic reasons why the Kobus faction didn't want a Democrat chosen from the Fifth ward.
So Branch, who is a policeman, I believe, and who was not working on election day, it being his regular day off, went into his precinct and put over the votes that elected Bantivoglio .
And Mr. "Bucky" Branch, I have been informed, has been so sore at the fact that he did elect Louis Bantivoglio that he moans and cries and berates himself ever since the trick was turned ..
Politicos who told me the story about the Kobus support for Bantivoglio gave a rather sensible reason for the step that was taken by the anti-Baird folk. The New Dealers among the Republicans sensed that the division between the Republicans and Democrats in the 1938 Board of Freeholders was going: to be exceedingly close.
Too close, in fact, to take any chances. So it was decided to support Bantivoglio in the Fifth ward, because he was a regular Baird Republican and couldn't be won to the coalition, The reasoning of the Kobusitees was clear and correct.
Had Bantivoglio been beaten by a Democrat, the board would have been divided equally, The Democrats would then have been able to deal with an individual rather than a faction, One vote would have given either side control. Thus by putting Bantivoglio across the Kobus faction made it imperative for the Democrats to deal with that clique; in fact Brunner and his minions had to do that little thing.
In view of this analysis I'm con tent to believe that the Kobus claim that the New Dealers elected Louis Bantivoglio is absolutely okay.
LADY " COPPER" NOT TRADE PARTY
Now don't get the information askew. Mrs. Kobus had no official or personal hand in this matter. It was the keen thought of some of her lieutenants, whose judgment appears to have been excellent, that fashioned this plan and executed it.
Meanwhile numerous politicos have been jibing Baird's statement that he would "rather have one Louis Bantivoglio than 1000 ingrates.". These political seers and soothsayers declared that such a declaration proved that its author was all wet in his political judgment and short sighted in his political history.
These politicos ambushed Mackay the other day, crammed him. into a corner and told him that if it "hadn't been for Bantivoglio Baird would have control of the city commission today."
These chuckling anti-Bairdites not only bearded me in my den, but dared me to disprove their statements by taking a look at the record. A stranger to politics in Camden, I didn't know the import of this statement until I squinted at the ward returns for the 1935 city commission election.
There in black and white is the proof that Baird lost the city commission fight because of the Bantivoglio-Leo Rea alliance in the Fifth ward. Just to take a look at the record again and to refresh jaded memories, the regular Baird slate received the following votes in the Fifth ward:
Bennett, 1016; Leonard, 1001; Lummis, 962; Rhone, 963; von Nieda, 1081. The New Deal ticket, then supported by the Messrs. Bantivoglio and Rea, polled these votes;· Baker, 1032; Brunner, 1022; Hartmann, 1001; Kobus, 1024, and Reesman, 930.
Leonard and Hartmann polled exactly the same vote, 1001. And the recount revealed Hartmann a winner by SEVEN votes, the box score showing Hartmann, 17,338, and Leonard, 17,331. And the Fifth ward turned the trick, for it would have been easy for Louis and Leo to have given Hartmann the same vote that Reesman received, or 71 less, and elected Leonard. There would have been no recount then.
Which scrutiny of the returns would seem to show that Bantivoglio as a friend of the squire proved his valor and vigilance in the cause by seating a New Deal commissioner and owing his seat in the Board of Freeholders to the Kobus clan.
In connection with this fund which the Democrats should raise to give testimonial dinners to G.O.P. leaders et cetera we might suggest that on each occasion they have, David Baird Jr., named for a new office. In order, that my friend, Florence Baker, can show her loyalty and friendship to the Old Guard Field Marshal by asking his election to the said office.
This suggestion to, the Messrs. Brunner, Kelleher and the others is made tax-free, and no charge for usage. If that scheme doesn't make Camden county safe for Democracy, nothing will.
|Camden Courier-Post - February 12, 1938|
|Camden Courier-Post - February 14, 1938|
AND WHAT THEY ARE DOING
By M. IRENE FROST
THE committee on race relations of the Camden Young Women's Christian Association, whose endeavor it is to promote greater understanding between the races, is participating in the nation-wide celebration of Negro History Week now in progress.
The committee is sponsoring an extensive program covering both the youth and adult membership and including three broadcasts. Today, Mrs. Harold W. Bennett, of this city, will speak over Station WCAM at 2.15 on "Race Relations and Good Neighbors." On Wednesday, Mrs. Wilda Townsend will broadcast over the same station at 2.30 on "Contributions of the Negro to the Culture of America." A recital will be given over WCAM at 2.30 on Friday by James Marshall Wheeler, pianist, and Lawrence Lawson, tenor.
Following a short business meeting of the board of directors of the Camden Association tonight in the headquarters, Miss Marjorie Penney, executive secretary of the Young People's Interracial Fellowship of Philadelphia, will speak.
Girl Reserves have been invited en masse to a meeting on Thursday night in the headquarters, to hear Allan Freelon, one of the nation's leading artists, and supervisor of art in the Negro schools, of Philadelphia. Mr. Freelon, who will speak at eight o'clock, will also exhibit some of his work.
The Frances Harper branch committee of management will be piloted by the following new officers for 1938: Mrs. C. T. Branch, chairman; Mrs. Sadie Wright, vice chairman; Mrs. Howard Primas, secretary; Mrs. Louis Smith, assistant secretary. Dr. M. O. Lee will speak on "The Makers of Negro History". next week before the Phyllis Wheatly Club of the branch..
February 23, 1938
R. Dixon - Frank
J. Hartmann Jr. - Harold
W. Bennett - George
Mary Kobus - Joseph N. Hettell - S. Raymond Dobbs - Rocco Palese
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