Jimmy Carter photo

Los Angeles, California - Remarks During a Televised Question-and-Answer Session With Area Residents

May 17, 1977

MR. DESMOND. This is a KNXT community event, "The People Talk to President Carter."
Ms. CHUNG. I am Connie Chung. MR. BENTI. I am Joseph Benti.

MR. DESMOND. President Carter will be here in just a moment talking face-to-face with the people of southern California for about an hour on television for the first time. Some of the people are here in our audience. They are a representative group selected at random to join us here in the studio.

Then many more people are waiting at five remote locations around southern California also to ask questions of the President. Those live cameras are located in the San Fernando Valley, in south Los Angeles, in east Los Angeles, and on the UCLA campus in Westwood and in Orange County.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.

THE PRESIDENT. Let me say before the first questions come that I'm very glad to be here. This is part of my own effort to stay in close contact with the American people while I'm serving in the White House.


I think it helps our country to have all of you know what goes on in the Government. But even more, it helps me and the other leaders who serve you to know what your concerns are, what your thoughts are, what your questions are, so that we can form a partnership in making the final decisions. I've tried to be a lot more open than some Presidents in the past in discussing kind of sensitive and formerly secret things with the people of our Nation concerning options and possibilities relating to the reduction in nuclear arms, or southern Africa, or the Middle East, or our relationships with Cuba or the People's Republic of China or Vietnam, and the same thing with domestic issues, and for me to let you know what I think, and then for you to criticize and debate among yourselves, perhaps, to ensure that I'll make the right decision.

Also, when I do make an announcement concerning very important foreign matters, I think it helps to strengthen our own country's position and influence if the other people outside our own Nation know that I speak for you and that the Congress and the people understand what I'm trying to do, because if I speak in a vacuum, just me or the Secretary of State, quite often the people know that it's in a vacuum.

So, it adds a great deal of strength to our own Government's position for the rest of the world to know that we are working in harmony, that we look at complicated questions from a common viewpoint, that we make our decisions together, and that we are united in carrying out those decisions.

I am going to, this afternoon, take questions for more than an hour. I don't have any idea what the questions are going to be; I don't claim to know all the answers. So, I might ask you to help me with the answers on occasion. But I'll try to take one from the studio audience and then alternate with the remote stations at five locations in this area.

So, if somebody in the studio audience has a question now, I guess I will--


Q. Mr. President, my name is Larry Roberts and I am the administrator of the Southeast Comprehensive Health Center which is located in south central Los Angeles. And what I would like to ask you, sir, is, what is your administration's policy with regard to national health insurance?

THE PRESIDENT. I made a speech to the United Automobile Workers, UAW, this morning in Los Angeles. And I pointed out that I would like to have established a complete national health insurance program before I go out of office. We will be developing the comprehensive proposal, the advisory committee will be meeting for the first time this week, and I would guess that I'll go to the Congress early in 1978 with the basic legislative proposal developed by us.

In the meantime, though, we're trying to do a lot of other things. We are trying to have a prevention of disease among young people, a better immunization program, more physicians, aides, and registered nurses. We're also trying to control hospital costs.

Take the hospitals--particularly among people who don't have much money. Under the recent circumstances we've had a doubling in hospital costs every 5 years. And this means that no matter what our future hospital proposal might be, or comprehensive health proposal might be, or national insurance program might be, if the cost of medical care is doubling every 5 years, we can't afford it.

So, the first basic thrust this year is for a series of proposals that will help us get hold of what we have at this time.

Early next year we'll propose a comprehensive health program.


Q. Sir, I'm from Vietnam and I'm from Costa Mesa. I'm a housewife. I want to ask the President and the people of America to help my family from Vietnam to reunite with us here.

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know how to answer your question specifically, but if you'd give your name to one of my aides, who are in the back of the hall, we'll try to investigate your particular problem and see what we can do about it.

We are very proud, by the way, of the fine citizens that people from Vietnam have made in our own country--who are our allies and friends. And I hope that we can help to reunite you with your own family.

Let me go now to the San Fernando Valley and get a question.


Q. Mr. President, my name is Garrett. I live in Sherman Oaks, California, and I'm in the automobile leasing business. Many clients that we have have been calling us up lately. They have no idea as to your new program that you want to put through, whether it pertains to new cars, old cars. People are asking me and think it would cost as much as $2,500 taxes on an old vehicle that they have that's a large vehicle. This is car country. In California, our gas mileage consumption is a lot less on a vehicle because the vehicles here have California smog pollution controls on them, whereas in other States a vehicle might get as much as 42 miles per gallon. On a small car, as they advertise in California, they only get 30, and some of the big cars only get 8, where out of town they would get as much as 13 around the city.

What is it going to do for us in this State that the market has been depressed tremendously in the past 2 weeks? Since the statement that you made about the taxes on automobiles, people are afraid to buy new cars, and they are afraid to buy used cars.

THE PRESIDENT. I think that all our projections show that at the end of the next 7 or 8 years, up until 1985, that there will be no reduction in the purchase or use of American automobiles. In fact, there is a steady growth in the use of the automobiles. The average car now in our country only gets 14 miles per gallon. It weighs 4,100 pounds. The average car in Europe gets almost twice that much on an average per gallon and also weighs, I think, about 2,700 pounds.

No matter who is in the White House, no matter what the Congress does, in the next few years we're going to have to have more efficient automobiles and also ones with exhausts being cleaner.

So, the point is: How do you accommodate the needs of our people and how do you make this transformation so it doesn't cost people money that don't have it? If we do put on the 5-cent per gallon gasoline tax, assuming that our people don't conserve enough to prevent it, then the money would be refunded to those families all over the country.

I would guess that if all this money could go back to the individual families, that someone who had a fairly efficient car, say 20 miles per gallon, and he used it, say, 10,000 miles per year, it wouldn't cost him anything because it would get as much taxes back as they've paid on increased gasoline tax. But we've got to start having more efficient cars.

As you know, the Congress has mandated, even before I got in the White House, that the average gas mileage of an automobile in 1985 must increase up to 27 miles per gallon. And this means that the average car at that time, counting old ones and new ones, too, would be about 18 miles per gallon.

So, I think that we'll have a tax incentive for those who have efficient automobiles. We will phase it in slowly enough so it won't work any hardship on anyone and if several people share an automobile instead of having one person per car, then the cost per person would be much less.

I think, though, that in general there won't be any adverse effect on our economy. It's got to come anyhow, and by careful planning ahead of time, whatever adverse effect does come will not make our people suffer.

Q. Yes, but as I said, Mr. President. even some of the economy vehicles that you were talking about that do get like 42 miles per gallon outside of California only get maybe 29 in California. Even some of the smaller economy cars only get 15 and 18 because of the California pollution. Now this is car country. There are a lot of poor people here that depend on automobiles to get to work. We have no mass transit. So you're asking these people, whether they have a large or small car, to pay a 5-cent tax, which many of these people cannot afford.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think we've discussed it about all the time we have. I think you're exaggerating the effect of the control on automobile emissions. You're assuming that a car gets 50 percent less gas mileage just because is has a clean exhaust. But the fact is that in the years to come, there's going to be a much closer relationship between national standards on automobile exhaust and the standards in California.

So, over a period of the next 3 or 4 years, you're going to see California standards and the national standards be about the same. We've got cars that are now being sold, at least used in California, where you have very good mileage and also very clean exhausts.

As I said earlier, no matter who's in the White House, no matter whether my energy package passes or not, in the future we're going to see much more efficient automobiles which we can produce and which we need, and automobiles with exhausts much cleaner, which we can produce and which we need.


Q. President Carter, my name is Mary Jergens and I am a housewife from Irvine. I'm going to ask you a question that I've wanted to ask ever since you started running for President.

During the Presidential campaign you said that you are opposed to abortion. But in 1972, a book was written called "Women in Need" which advocated abortion on demand, and you wrote the foreword to it. Specifically, in the foreword you wrote that women being denied abortions were suffering from a plight, and you pointed out that the 'book had suggestions for making abortions more freely available in the Nation.

I recently read a newspaper article in which it was stated that Pat Bario of your Press Office would not comment on whether you've changed your position or not since 1972. But obviously you must have, because you told us, the people, that you had. I'd like to know why, sir, because it is terrifically important.

THE PRESIDENT. I'm glad you asked me the question. It makes me feel like I'm back in the campaign again. [Laughter]

The book to which you refer--and that's just excerpts from the foreword, where it's not the total thing; it's just carefully extracted phrases--was a book about family planning. The book was written by the medical doctor who was in charge of Georgia's family planning program. The primary emphasis of the family planning. program that we had was to make sure that every child that was conceived was a wanted child, and it was designed to help parents who couldn't have children have them, and to teach parents who didn't want to have children how to avoid having their children.

I am against abortion. I think abortion is wrong and I'm doing everything I can as President to hold down the need for abortion. I don't think any woman and her partner ever have intercourse in order to create a child that's going to be destroyed by abortion. It's quite often a mistake or because of ignorance. And to think the best thing to do is prevent the conception of the child ahead of time, and this is something that I think needs to be done with comprehensive programs.

Quite often, the people who are most poor and illiterate and who have a more unstable family life are the ones who have a greater chance to have an illegitimate child.

Joe Califano, who now heads up the Department of HEW, feels the same way I do. And we proposed that the Government not help to finance abortions, for instance, and that we have a comprehensive program to try to prevent the unwanted pregnancies.

So, I am not in favor of abortions and have never been in favor, and I think if you read the whole book and read the whole foreword that you would see that I haven't changed my position.

Q. Sir, it said 3 million abortions a year by 1980 even with good contraception, in the chapter on abortion. And I know that didn't sound like what you said. And I figured that you read the book before you wrote the foreword, but perhaps you thought they were being pessimistic. So, I am glad to hear that really you assume 3 million is too much.

THE PRESIDENT. I think any abortions are too much.

Q. Bless you. Thank you.


Q. Mr. President, my name is Janet Verstina and I'm a registered nurse, live in Fullerton. I work at Canyon General Hospital.

My concern is: What are your views on the direction of the mental health movement, the cost to the country of decentralizing, reducing the number of State-run facilities and moving the patient back into the community? How do you feel about that movement?

THE PRESIDENT. I think the best way to answer your question is to describe very briefly what we did in Georgia. My wife kind of headed up the program in Georgia just as a volunteer. And she is doing the same thing for me now that I'm President. We've established a Commission on Mental Health that will make a report to me next September.

When I became the Governor of our State, there was a standard procedure that if someone was afflicted with a problem of any kind concerning mental capability, that they were put in a State institution at enormous expense to the public and with very little treatment for the children of all ages.

We changed that and shifted the patients out into the communities, created community centers. We employed retired school teachers; the mothers of some of the, for instance, retarded children taught those young people how to live a useful life at much less expense to the taxpayer. This is the thrust that I think we should institute throughout the country.

I think the children should stay close to home. If they have the capability, they should be taught to do simple chores around the home. They should be given the feeling that they have some use in their life, and I think that they should be trained to such an extent that they can provide an actual help to their parents.

But I think to incarcerate those young people or old people who have mental problems in institutions ought to be done only as a last resort, and when they are in the institutions that they ought to actually get some treatment and not just be warehoused and have the attendants just make sure they don't hurt themselves.

Q. Do you approve of California's program of reducing the number of our State hospitals? And we are doing that in California right now.

THE PRESIDENT. I favor that very strongly. I think when I went into office we had about 12,000 patients in our central hospital in Milledgeville, Georgia. When I went out of office, we had about 5,000. We created in the meantime 75 or 80 community mental treatment centers.

Q. Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. Shall we take somebody in south Los Angeles?


Q. Mr. President, I am one of the Arkansas Carters. I'd like to make a suggestion, I suppose, rather than ask a question. I'd like to address myself to the plight of the 600 or so young people in prison, in Mexico prisons, on drug charges.

Last Friday night, I don't know whether you know this or not, but one of those fellows died. He was 26 years old. His name was John Wesley Calhoun from Bartonsville, Oklahoma. For the last 3 years--our son was arrested in October of 1973--my wife and I have spent a good, considerable part of our personal funds and a great deal of time getting together parents and concerned people about the need to alleviate some of the suffering we found down there, and we found an enormous erosion of spirit among these kids. They think their lives are forfeit. They are both young men and young women and for the most part they are not criminals or of a criminal mind.

And I would like to make this suggestion. Since Mexico has voiced a willingness to let these people go, I'd like to have them brought home and sorted out here. It would seem like a humane thing to do because they have suffered enormous tortures and privation and they are in very uncertain situations. They are very fearful, and it seems to me that since Mexico is of this state of mind, this treaty that's being considered back in Washington is apples and oranges, as far as the two systems of justice go.

We have been asked to come back next month to testify, my wife and I, up before Senator Sparkman's committee. But the treaty is not going, to my mind, won't work, because the two systems--one is the judicial system of Mexico--is different from ours. And we hope that you might see a way clear to give this some sort of priority treatment because these kids are losing faith and losing hope, and their lives are forfeit and they are not that bad.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.

The first visitor that I had when I got into the White House, from a foreign nation, was President Lopez Portillo from Mexico. One of the items that we discussed, quite at length, was the treaty that relates to the exchange of prisoners between our own country and Mexico.

I agree with you completely, and I will do all I can, and I am glad that you made that statement--I hope a lot of people are listening. But I'll do all I can to make sure that the young people that are from our country, who are in prison in Mexico, are very quickly exchanged.

I do believe that the treaty is the best approach to it. And in my opinion, it won't be too long before we will have this exchange of prisoners.

Q. Sir, may I make one added comment?


Q. On the Napoleonic Code, where a man could be alleged in the wrong and be incarcerated--in our system, the state has to prove its case. In Mexico, this is not true.

I talked to Professor Faut in New York City, in December, about this. He was at that time heading up this in the State Department. My wife was back for a television show with him.

It seems to me that you're asking American citizens who are coming home from those prisons in Mexico to be incarcerated in essentially their own prison for the benefit of the Mexican Government, which I think the Napoleonic Code just does not apply in our system of justice.

THE PRESIDENT. I can't debate the law with you because, unlike yourself, I am not a lawyer. But I do believe that regardless of whether we can change the Mexican system of government or they can change ours, as far as the judiciary goes, that's one question.

But getting the young people from Mexican prisons transferred to our country is something that I believe we can achieve, and I think I can assure you that it will be achieved.

Q. Their whole system was what I had in mind.

THE PRESIDENT. I understand.
Yes, sir?


Q. Mr. President, my name is Gerald Smith. I live in the city of Long Beach. I'm a hospital social worker there at the county hospital.

My questions concern the next Director of the FBI. I was wondering if you're considering anybody from California for that post?

THE PRESIDENT. I would guess we are. [Laughter] What I've done in that case is to bring together a selection committee who will serve for about, I think, 45 more days. They have now narrowed their choices down to 50 people. I understand they're going to interview 50 different people who are applicants for the job of FBI Director.

One of the people who serves on the committee, by the way, is Clarence Kelley, the present Director, to help choose his successor. He'll be leaving later on this year. And I don't know the names of the people who are being considered.

They'll make a recommendation to me of, I think, five names of the people in the whole Nation who they think are best qualified to head up the FBI, and from those five names that they recommend, I will choose, along with the Attorney General, the Director of the FBI. But I can't tell you whether or not those people are from California. I would guess, though, because of the size of your State, and so forth, that it's likely that one of them would be from California.

Q. Thank you, Mr. President.


THE PRESIDENT. Let me go to east Los Angeles then I'll---

Q. Hello, Mr. President. My name is Jimmy Lopez. I live in east L.A. I go to East L.A. College. I also support myself with photography. I first of all would like to say it's good to know that we have a President who's taking time out, as much as he can, for the people, instead of just playing politics.

I would like to go into now my topic, which concerns illegal aliens. I am to understand that you are considering amnesty to illegal aliens, which I am myself against--mainly for--really for a number of reasons, such as for those of us who are born citizens, who are working here now; we are paying social security. As I can understand, we give amnesty to illegal aliens. They would be eligible for benefits such as social security, which means we are going to take out a large cut of our social security to support these people coming from across the border, when I believe our money should go to the people who have priority, which are our born citizens.

And also, the same money, I believe, is going to the refugees who came over from Vietnam.

Sir, it's great to know that we're helping out people as much as we can from overseas and next to our country, which is fantastic. But I believe that we have priority. We bring these people over and try to help them out. How about us? They can end up using more energy, for instance, like we have a shortage of. They can end up using more fuel that we have a shortage of. And I think we should take care of ourselves first, before we try to help somebody else. We have to make sure we can help ourselves out first.

So, sure, give amnesty to the aliens, but let's help ourselves out first. That's what I really believe. Let's support ourselves.

THE PRESIDENT. With the exception of a few Indians, we're all immigrants. [Laughter] This is one of the most difficult questions with which I have to deal, and within the next couple of weeks I'll make a decision about what ought to be done about the problem with the undocumented workers, or aliens. It's a difficult thing to say.

There are three basic elements. One is, of course, to try to stop the very large number who come into this country. We don't know exactly how many come in every year, but I would guess it's approaching a million. And the number seems to be increasing every year.

Secondly, I think we do need to treat with some understanding people who have come in here perhaps 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15, 20, 25 years ago illegally, welcomed by American employers to come in and take a job when they couldn't get enough workers. And I don't think we need to go into every home in the United States and search that house to see who has and who has not an ability to prove that they are native-born Americans or have come in legally. You just couldn't do it, even if you wanted to.

So, there has to be some way to deal with those that are already here. I think the third thing that we need to do is to make it difficult, if not illegal, for an employer to encourage the illegal workers to come into this country and then not pay them fair wages, and also not pay the standard deductions for unemployment compensation, workmen's compensation, and social security. But it's a complicated question. It's a very sensitive question. If it wasn't, it would have been solved before. But my inclination is to try to do what we can to stop the large flood of immigrations coming in; secondly, to let some of those who've been here for a number of years have an opportunity to become American citizens and make it much more unattractive for employers to encourage undocumented workers to come in for employment.

Those three elements are going to be part of any solution and, of course, I'll present it to the Congress and do the best I can to get the legislation passed.

Q. Mr. President, I'm sure it would also--I'm sure one thing also to take into consideration is the effect on, mainly those people, those foreign citizens who live along the borderline, especially like around here in southern California and around Texas, those along the border, because not only will it take away more of our social security pay but I'm sure it would also mean more jobs would be taken from us. I'm sure we would want those who come over to work legally and not, to put it bluntly, to get ripped off in their pay. Let's consider those here first who are unemployed. Let them get the jobs first. Then maybe we can---

THE PRESIDENT. Jimmy, I think you have to remember that the alternative to taking action is to continue like we're doing now. And we don't want to continue as we are at the present time.


Q. I am Burdell Moore. I am a member of the board of directors of Watts Health Foundation, and I am an all-around community worker, especially in health. And I would like to know these jobs that you are considering in HEW and SBA. And I see that you--and I would like to know how many of these jobs are--will any black person be appointed to these jobs?

As you and I know, we are the only group of people, especially here in .California, that didn't play tic-tac-toe during your election. [Laughter] We gave all our votes to you.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you. I can assure you that there are no jobs that will be offered for which black people will not be considered, and I think we've established now a very good acceptance at the top levels of Government and I hope it'll go down through all the levels of government for a showing that black people can serve well.

We've got, as you know, our Ambassador to the United Nations, we've got the Director of HUD, which is in charge of all housing and urban development programs, who both happen to be black; the Secretary of the Army also happens to be black, and within those departments, not only the top level, we are hiring a lot of people who---

Q. But they didn't come from California, and that's what I'm interested in. And my health center is in .one of the biggest designated poverty sections of all and my house still--Martin Luther King is in there---

THE PRESIDENT. I've been there.

Q. I know you've been there. And you also know that we didn't, as I say, play tic-tac-toe with you in the election, and we do not expect for you to play tic-tac-toe with us in these jobs.
Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. Let me go to UCLA; and then I'll be back. The lady in the red dress, I will get you next.


Q. Hi. My name is Torve Carlson. I live in west L.A. I major in motion pictures here at UCLA. My question is this: Why does your energy package ask the American people to sacrifice more than it does the large corporations?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't believe it does, Torve. I believe we've got a well-balanced energy package. The thrust of it is that we have got to conserve and quit wasting energy. There are several things that we've done, I think, to make sure we don't favor the large corporations. For instance, the oil companies will not be permitted to raise the price of the oil that has already been discovered. We are requiring that many of the companies around the Nation that presently use very scarce oil and natural gas shift to coal. They pay their share of the taxes and they don't get any of the rebates.

As we increase, for instance, the price of gas, natural gas, the homeowners will be refunded the amount of increase in the tax on gas, but businesses will not. But I think in balance, neither the private citizens nor the large business managers, say either one, get an unfair advantage. The energy package is now being debated in the Congress, and I think if there are any inequities or unfairness about it, they were caused by error on our part; they'll be corrected. But I don't think it is an accurate assessment to say that business gets a break.

Q. Why wasn't solar energy given more of a push?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, there is. In the past we've spent almost all of our money on nuclear power research and development, particularly with heavy emphasis on the breeder. I don't think we need to build the breeder reactor anytime soon.

I've terminated that project and I hope the Congress will go along with me. And we're going to shift a lot of the research and development money that used to go almost exclusively for nuclear power research into solar power. So, we're going to get a much heavier emphasis on solar energy in the future.

Q. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you, Torve.


Q. Thank you, Mr. President, I love you, too. [Laughter]

Mr. President, pregnant addicts and juvenile drug abusers and battered children have absolutely no resources for which to turn. Will you be setting aside some special fund to help these people?

My name is Marion Grendell. I'm the division chief for the Narcotics Information Service under the department of community development.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, the Director of the drug program in the Federal Government now is Dr. Peter Bourne, who was also the director, just coincidentally, in Georgia when I was Governor. He went from me to Washington and stayed there several years before I got to be President.

The major effort in the drug field, of course, is the treatment of addicts and, of course, the prevention of addictive drug abusers being brought into our country.

Under the comprehensive health proposals that we are pursuing, including the mental health programs as well, there is a recognition that alcoholism or drug addiction are not only preventable but also can be treated after a person is addicted.

There's also a need for us to recognize that you don't have to have scarce and exotic drugs like heroin before somebody can be damaged, because barbiturates, for instance, are by far the major cause of death among all drugs, and they are prescribed sometimes. Sometimes they are not even controlled by prescription. So, a comprehensive analysis of the entire drug field, including both alcohol and the addictive and non-addictive drugs, plus a treatment of those who are damaged by the drugs, will be a part of our prevention program, our crime control problem, our community treatment program, and also our comprehensive health program.

Q. This is a special program, Mr. President. What we have is the average--I have been in this field about 22 years. Women have absolutely no specialties where the addicted pregnant woman is concerned, the stringent rules and regulations. And also for housing juvenile drug abusers, they almost have to become hard-core before we can get places to put them, and also the battered children, which is really an intricate part of this drug abuse.

So, I'm hoping that you'll take a look at that and give us a little special fund toward it.
Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.

Let's go to Orange County. I see I have a very young interrogator there.


Q. Hello, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. How are you?

Q. I am Linda Gashler and this is my daughter Jennifer, and I am a housewife in Orange County. Mr. President, my husband and I and my daughter are all apartment dwellers here in Orange County. Some day we'd like to have a house. However, I am not sure if you are aware, but the average cost of a single-family dwelling in Orange County is now well over $100,000.

I would like to know, Mr. President, is there any way that the Federal Government can help us out and get some housing?

THE PRESIDENT. 'I think so, Linda. I'd like for you and your Jennifer and your husband to have a home of your own if you want it. We've just begun to address the housing question. I think this last month we had the highest rate of new homes that were begun to be constructed in the history of our country.

We're trying to hold down interest rates as best we can. We're trying to supplement low-cost housing, and we're trying, through the community block grant program, under the Housing and Urban Development Department, to set aside I think about $7 billion for the reconstitution of neighborhoods, the repair of old homes and the guarantee of loans for young families like your own.

I don't know what the income of your husband might be, but I think it's going to be perhaps quite difficult for him to purchase a $100,000 home in the first few years of marriage. I know I couldn't have afforded it. But I think for a more modest home, perhaps one that has been used in the past but still have a lot of living to be done in it, that you all might be able to afford it.

I think that we have now gotten the housing industry turned around. As you know, it was in a dormant stage. And with the comprehensive guarantee of home loans, the repair capabilities and the community block grant program, combined with the lowest interest rates and the least inflation that we can maintain, perhaps you'll have a chance in the future.

I wish I could give you a better answer than that, but I can't.

Q. Thank you very much, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. Good luck to you, Linda.
Yes, sir, in the red jacket?


Q. Mr. President, my name is Randall Tucker from Fullerton, U.S. Navy retired, and my question pertains to the military.

What percent of commissaries do you expect to be closed in the next 4 years, and what area will be affected the most, and why?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't expect any appreciable number of the commissaries to be closed. The only proposal that I've ever heard about the PX's or the .commissaries, is that they be self-supporting; that enough be charged in the prices of the goods that Navy and other military people buy just to pay the cost of operation of the commissary. But I don't think that's too tight a constraint to put on the military personnel.

I was in the Navy for 11 years myself. And I can't remember now. I wouldn't have any way to know if the commissaries paid their own way. But I don't think it's unreasonable for the taxpayers to demand that the military at least pay enough for goods they buy to cover operating expenses.

Q. Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, in the San Fernando Valley?


Q. Mr. Kit Rhodes from the San Fernando. My question is about postal subsidy. We can put a man on the Moon, we can get TV pictures back from Mars, and yet it still takes 2 days to get a letter from down the street. We subsidize airlines, trains, airplane manufacturers, and yet the post office money is a cutback. Why is this?

And also with the reduction of service, Saturdays dropped, reluctance to hire, and all the methods that the Postal Service is trying to cut back on moneys to keep within their budget, it's just cutting down on service to the people.

Mr. President, will you support a postal subsidy bill and bring up the service to the quality that the people expect and deserve?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I haven't even been in office 4 months yet. [Laughter] I haven't been able to do much about the post office. The history of the independent post office structure which we presently have, as you know, has been one where the Congress quite frequently has approved postal subsidies so that the rate of mailing can be maintained as low as possible.

I wouldn't want to make a promise to you now that no matter what happened in the future I would support a postal subsidy bill. But I certainly will do all I can.

As you know, the President has no authority over the post office at all. But I'll certainly do all I can to study the question. I'll just have to reserve the right in the future to decide when to join with the Congress, as has been the case in the past, in putting tax money in addition to the mail rates charged. I don't know how to answer that question any better.

Q. Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. I'm sorry. But the post office is one of the things, as you know, that's no longer under the President. It's primarily under the Congress.


Q. Bob Gabler from South Pasadena. Mr. President, I'd like to give you a three part before-and-after question. First, in very general terms, you expressed hopes in the campaign, gave us hope in the campaign, that you'd be able to reorganize the executive branch for more efficiency and hopefully less interference in their daily lives. Having been on the job for 4 months and coming against the hard rocks reality, do you still have such hopes? What do you see as the future role of the Federal Government, and what role for the State government?

THE PRESIDENT. Fine. You want to ask the other question now?

Q. I'll give you all three if you like.

THE PRESIDENT. All right. Go ahead.

Q. Second, more specifically.

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know if I can answer three, but go ahead. [Laughter]

Q. Again, during the campaign you expressed that the control of natural gas for 20 years had proven counter-productive, that we discouraged new supplies and encouraged wasteful use. Then in your energy speech, I see you've now changed to a position of extending price controls even to local gas that's not interstate commerce, and, of course, continuing oil controls forever. Could you show us the reasons that caused you to reassess your position on that?

Then, the last one is, again, at some risk to yourself during the campaign, you expressed the opinion that in tax reform we should remove the double taxation on dividends. What is your current position on that? So, recapping: The role of the Federal and State, gas and oil controls, and double taxation dividends.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, in the first place, I do think that we have an excellent chance completely to reorganize the executive branch of Government to make it more efficient, more effective, more open, more sensitive, and more competent. We've already begun along this road.

The Congress has now given me authority to carry out reorganization. I would guess before the end of next month, I would have the first plan submitted to the Congress relating to the Executive Office of the President. We'll follow with the multiplicity of agencies that now relate to equal employment and we'll go into electronic data processing and other major shifts.

We also are setting up a new department of energy which is part of a reorganization plan. I think that in the Federal-State relationships, my own inclination is to give the local and State governments as much authority as they can and will assume.

Whenever there's a choice to be made between the Federal Government doing something and the State or local governments doing something, my preference is to let the government do it that's closest to the people. I try to mirror in every decision I make that basic philosophy.

On natural gas decontrol, we are, in effect, decontrolling natural gas to a major degree. We're setting the price on natural gas at a level, the same as oil, and its equivalent heat value. The one thing that you mentioned there is true. We are proposing that there be a blending in, in the future of gas that's produced and sold within a State, compared to the gas that's produced within a State and shipped across State lines.

Now we have an extremely high price being charged in States that produce natural gas, particularly like Texas and Louisiana where the price of gas is over $2 at the wellhead. In addition to that, we have a great scarcity of gas being shipped across State lines. So, I think that to make all of them being under the same degree of regulation and to let the price of new discovered natural gas go up at the same level with oil, is a good approach.

On the double taxation of dividends, I'll have my first meeting this week on a comprehensive tax reform package. One of the hopes that we still have and will maintain is to remove the double taxation of dividends.

Q. Thank you. We appreciate your being here.

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, sir. South Los Angeles. Go ahead.


Q. Mr. President, I am Jule Blake from Wilmington, California. My question today is, how much more rip-off must the people that pay social security will be able to realize in your administration due to the fact, I, with 79 quarters into social security and I've been disabled since 1969. I cannot get a dime. I have a daughter that's 14 years old. She can't get a dime. I have gone to five medical specialists and all said that I'm permanently unfit for duty to perform any type of work.

But at the same time we have a guy that heads the social security department known as the referee to some people, but to me he's just another rip-off artist because the doctor says no work, and you go before him and he said, well, go find something light to do. And I've been looking for that light job and I haven't been able to come up with it yet.

And at the same time, if we must have this referee, why can't we have a jury along with the referee rather than just one guy sitting at the end of the table ripping off the people in the social security department?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I hope we'll have less rip-off under my own administration than we have had in the past.

The question that you've asked me is one that I cannot answer as President. But I'd like to have your--if you'll let me know what your name and address is, by writing me at the White House. And just point out that you asked me this question. I'll try to look into your particular case, or at least have the director of the Social Security office do it.

We now have a social security system that is rapidly going broke because we've paid out more benefits than we're taking in. And in the last week I've submitted to the Congress a proposal that will make the social security system be sound once again and take in enough so that we can have a reserve supply, and you can depend on it the rest of your life.

I presume that the difference in your own case is that the social security administrator or referee, as you call him--I think he's referred to also as a rip-off artist--[laughter]--doesn't agree that you have a disability adequate to draw payments; is that correct?

Q. Well, that's his opinion, but the five doctors, including the medical authorities at the Government hospital, the Government doctors that found me permanently unfit in 1969, and it's their medical record that shows that I'm permanently unfit.

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think I can handle it here on the television. If you'll contact me at the White House, either call and say that you were on this program and give me your name and address; I'll ask the director of the Social Security Administration in Washington to look into your particular case. Okay?

Q. I thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT. You're certainly welcome.
Yes, ma'am?


Q. My name is Lillian Abelson, and I come from the city of Santa Monica. We were blessed to have Arbor Day and blessed by Governor Brown on Sunday, and now to come here, be with you is just a thrill of a lifetime.

My question is this: I am interested in the visual environment of our city. It's a small city and like you said, you'd rather have the city officials take care of town things. But my question is this: How can we encourage the out-of-town landlords to take pride in upgrading their business neighborhoods?Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you. Well, I think if all of the residents who occupy the apartments and homes would contact the landlords, that might help. I think if your city officials were approached by those same residents, and if unsightly occurrences were pointed out, that would be helpful.

I think if any law is violated about an improper maintenance of property, that would certainly be worthy of the attention of a lawyer or the judicial system.

I don't know how to answer your question, not knowing the circumstances, but I believe that most landlords, if brought face-to-face, either with their tenants or with the city officials, or with the law, depending on the degree of their violation of propriety and duty, I think you would get their attention. But I don't know how to answer your question better than that.

Q. Mr. President, may I just add something?


Q. What about the graffiti? I know we're working on these spray cans. They're going to be outlawed at a future date. Could there be some kind of a--like a fund put aside in the city or somewhere where the residents or business people can go and buy a couple of gallons of paint to clean up the walls that have been sprayed--on their neighborhoods or homes?

THE PRESIDENT. I think that would be a good idea.

Q. Great. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. East Los Angeles?


Q. Good afternoon, Mr. President. My name is Rick Arroyo. I live in east L.A. I work for the Southern California Rapid Transit District. I'd like to know your ideas on mass transit, when we've got so many cars polluting our city and plus the fact that the fares are a little outrageous for the people that are living on fixed incomes.

THE PRESIDENT. It's inevitable in the future that we're going to have more efficient cars, as I've already mentioned; cars with cleaner exhausts, which I've already mentioned; more people riding per car than we've got now and a strong shift toward rapid transit.

In a city like Los Angeles, where people are spread out so much, I think you probably have about the same number of people per square mile as Atlanta, say 800, you don't really need the highly expensive subway and rail system as much as some communities do.

In New York City, for instance, or Manhattan, they have over 20,000 people per square mile, and they need to go underground because of the density of population. But I would guess that in the future there'll be a lot greater attention paid by the Federal Government and its aid programs, and also by local governments, and demands from commuters to use rapid transit.

My own guess is that the first step ought to be, though, toward a bus system, probably rubber-tired bus, maybe later even propelled by electricity for the time being, propelled by gasoline or diesel oil-and I would guess it'll be a long time in the future, if ever, before Los Angeles will have to make a major move toward any sort of rail transportation system.

I would guess that as the prices of energy go up in the future, no matter what the administration might think, there's going to be a shift in the directions that I have outlined to you. So, I'm strongly in favor of increasing the rapid transit systems, but in a city like Los Angeles, I would say that surface transportation probably without rail would be the first major move.

Q. What would you do to better the system here in L.A.--not necessarily here in L.A., but throughout the Nation? Get a better system for the people? Maybe they'd want to leave their cars home and take a bus to work.

THE PRESIDENT. I know. I don't know. When I was Governor of Georgia, when I was in the legislature, we set up the Atlanta Metropolitan Rapid Transit System, and we put a limit .on the fares of only 10 cents. Obviously, when you have the lower fares, more people use the buses, you get more cars off the road. But this meant that we had to supplement the expenses because 10 cents doesn't pay the total operating costs.

So, the people voluntarily voted for a 1-cent sales tax, all of which went to support the rapid transit system. I believe that it's accurate to say that those who had their own automobiles were very glad to pay a 1-cent tax to cut down on the traffic during working hours, and to see more people shift to the rapid transit system.

So, there's such a wide range of kinds of communities that it's almost impossible to say what would work in Atlanta would also work in Los Angeles, and vice versa. But I think there's going to be a major thrust of both Federal and State and local governments toward a more rapid transit system, each one of which will have to be designed specifically for the community involved.


Q. Mr. President, I'd like to ask you about the possibility of coal being used to fire some of our power generators here in southern California, and how far away the possibility .of that just might be. We're currently buying most of our natural gas from Texas now and we do have some natural gas underground here that we could get out, but it wouldn't last a long time. How far away do you see that as being and do you think we should be encouraged to start extracting the natural gases and low-sulfur fuel that we have here now?

THE PRESIDENT. California has a unique energy problem, or opportunity. In the first place, you've got an extraordinarily small portion of your energy from coal. In my own home State, Georgia, 85 percent of all the electricity is produced by coal. In California, practically none of it. I would guess that over 90 percent of your own energy needs in this State come from oil and natural gas, but maybe 4 or 5 percent coming from hydroelectric power dams.

I doubt that in the southern part of California, where you have a very serious air pollution problem, that there would be any early prospect of shifting to coal because there's no doubt that coal creates more air pollution than the oil and natural gas do.

We have experiments going on, as you know, with what's called--you're probably familiar with the fluid bed combustion system where coal is very finely ground and kept suspended in air, and it burns almost completely and the exhaust is relatively clean. And of course, you have very expensive scrubbers that go into the stacks as well. But I would guess that southern California, because of air pollution problems, would have very little prospect in the immediate future of shifting to coal.


Q. In your energy package, I noticed that there was not any particular emphasis on beginning to extract new oil and new gas within the United States. And when you were campaigning for the Presidency, I recall that one of your major goals was that of balancing the budget. And the deficit in our balance of payments is brought about by the purchases of fossil fuels from the OPEC nations. Why haven't you put more emphasis on the extraction of fossil fuels here within the United States?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, as a matter of fact, we have. I think if you read the proposal very carefully you'll see that newly discovered oil, for instance, has a price on it equivalent to the international oil price, which is about $13 per barrel, which is an adequate incentive for exploration in the most enthusiastic way.

We've had a substantial increase in recent years in the amount of money spent for oil exploration, the amount of wells drilled. The fact is, we're just running out of oil. And we've had on an average, I'd say the last 6 or 8 years, of about a 6-percent reduction every year on the amount of oil that's produced in the United States. We're going to continue to go down, in my opinion.

If we set an extremely high price for newly discovered oil, even above the international price, which will be impossible, I don't think we would still have enough oil discovered to bring back the American production above what it is now. We are trying to cut down on the amount of oil imported. We project that by 1985, unless we do something about conservation, we're going to be importing about 16 million barrels of oil every day. Now we're importing about 7 million barrels per day.

If we go through with the energy proposal that I've given to the Congress, then we can actually cut down on the imported oil by 1985 to about 6 million barrels a day. But we are robbing the American people, really, and have a very serious negative balance of trade, because we are buying so much oil overseas. We now waste about exactly as much energy in our country that we could save as we import in oil from overseas.

So, we have given the oil companies enough incentive to explore for new oil and natural gas by letting their price for oil come up to the international price. But in spite of that, we're just running out of oil.

Q. I understand. Thank you.



Q. Mr. President, my question--like some of those you've already had--comes out of my personal situation. I'm finishing a doctorate, but with college enrollments down, jobs of research disciplines are pretty scarce.

I'm wondering, with all of the emphasis on public works, if there is a plan in your unemployment program to help keep young scientists and scholars, especially the newly trained ones that aren't ensconced already in universities, in work and working for the country?

THE PRESIDENT. What is your special field?

Q. I'm in experimental psychology.

THE PRESIDENT. Very fine. I think that it's going to be a very good chance for you to have employment.

Q. I hope you're right. I am not fishing for a job.

THE PRESIDENT. I think we're going to shift more and more in the future looking at matters from the historical perspective towards the sciences that deal with human beings and with the quality of life, and with expansion of the enjoyment of existence and with better health opportunities, the assimilation of more knowledge and the working of the human mind. I think no matter what happens, that's going to come to pass.

So, I think that we also are going to see that our country has gone too far in letting other nations get ahead of us in basic research and also, of course, in applied research. And I personally have had a background in conventions, maybe we ought to move in the other direction, not only in the human sciences that you referred to and that I have talked about but also in the earth sciences for the preservation of the quality of the environment, and the dealing with the energy shortages.

So, I think that as we explore persons' interrelationships in the future that there's going to be a heavier emphasis on research and development than there has been in recent years.

Q. Can I just ask---


Q.---do you see research needs being so closely coupled to college enrollments in the future?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think we've done a very good job in the past in trying to interrelate the graduates of college with prospective job opportunities. Obviously, when you go into a graduate program like your own, which probably took 3 or 4 years above the undergraduate level, you have to guess 4 years in the future what the opportunities are going to be and what the needs are going to be.

Although it's never going to be an exact science, I think we've got to go a long way in higher education institutions and also in the Government, particularly the Department of Labor and so forth, Department of HEW, in trying to match in a predictable way the jobs that are going to be available, and that graduates are going to be coming out of our colleges, so the jobs will be there when you get ready to graduate. It's not an exact science, obviously, but I think we'll be better off in the future than we have been in the past.
Good luck to you, by the way.

Q. Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT. You have a beautiful smile.

Q. So do you. [Laughter]


Q. Welcome to California, Mr. President.


Q. Margaret Myers. My question is in regard to the 55- or 65-year-old American who is forced to retire at this age with a very small income. My question is, would you sign and support Congressman Claude Pepper of Florida in his bill to eliminate forced retirement in the public and the Federal sector? And thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. I presume that you mean the forced retirement that exists below the age of 65? I think I would support that. I'm not familiar with the detailed legislation, but it seems to me unfair---

Q. Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT.---to force retirement from the public sector until you reach the age when you can retire on social security. Yes, ma'am. Thank you.


Q. Mr. President, my name is Mike Robbins. I have two quick things I'd like you to respond to. I'm wearing two hats today. Number one, I represent the California political network, many of who are here today. Raise your hands. You all there--members of the network.

Okay, we banded together during your campaign to assure your victory in the black community. I'm sure that you know that we were very successful. What we would like for you to also be aware of, at the present time, there are no provisions for any input from our organization, and many of those throughout the country into your administration, in terms of policies and employment opportunities. And we'd like for you to consider---

THE PRESIDENT. Just one person in the United States that's talking to me right now, and that's you. [Laughter and applause]

Q. Very good.

THE PRESIDENT. So you've got a direct input right this minute. [Laughter]

Q. Also, I'd like to let you know that I'm representing the Health Systems Agency for Los Angeles County. We're very much concerned with the fact that your cost containment bill, also public bill 93-641, which established the HSA's-we have a unique situation in Los Angeles County inasmuch as 85 percent of the hospitals in Los Angeles County are under the 4,000 admissions per year.

I'd like for you to take a look at that because we have a particular situation there. Also, we need to have the individual HSA's have more authority and the time for evaluating the needs for certificate of needs. Presently we can only review and comment. And we'd like to have a little more time.

Thank you very much, sir, and welcome to California.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you. I think you probably know that one of the major things that we've got to do is to control the rapidly increasing prices charged by hospitals for treatment. We have now reached the point where the cost of hospital care is doubling every 5 years. Since 1950 the hospital costs have gone up more than a thousand percent. So we're not trying to work any hardship on treatment centers. But we just want to put kind of a lid on how much the prices of hospital care go up every year. But that comment's very good for me. It'll be a lot of help.
Let me go to Orange County now.


Q. Hello. My name is Linus Rawls. I'm 17 years old. I live in Orange City in Orange County. I work at Hunter's Books here in Bassin Square.

California is headed for a serious drought. I'm wondering if we could get a Federal grant for the research and development of a water treatment plant to change sea water into drinkable and usable water. CBS "60 Minutes" last week had a program on an Arab country that was doing just this. And I'm wondering why we can't do that also.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you. We've had, as you know, research projects for desalinization plants, Linus. But so far, at least, we've had enough plentiful fresh water so that it's much cheaper than the very expensive water derived from sea water.

In Israel, in Saudi Arabia, in Iran, as you pointed out, where energy is fairly plentiful to provide the heat that's required, and where water is extremely scarce, it is economically feasible to desalinate or take salt out of water to make it drinkable.

I think in the future this will be the case in our own country. The basic research and development has been done, and once you get to the production plants like I've just described, then you really are searching for, little bit more efficient ways to perform the extraction of fresh water.

I'm going to leave here in just a few minutes and go to the Fresno area to visit some farmland to see how seriously the water level has dropped because of your long-standing drought, and to see what prospects might be existing next year unless you get some rain in some parts of California.

We will continue the research and development program and desalinization plants. But I think the easiest and the best and most fruitful and inexpensive thing to do about fresh water is to have a strong conservation program and quit wasting it.

We now have seen, for instance, in Marin County, north of San Francisco, that when they really tried, they cut back on the use of fresh water more than 50 percent. Los Angeles has now set a goal to cut back on fresh water use by about 10 percent. The mayor told me this morning that he could very easily go to 25 percent. But I think rather than spend an awful lot of money going to very expensive desalinization plants, the first step ought to be to go to very strong conservation efforts, and not waste the fresh water that we have.

Did you have a follow-up question, Linus?

Q. Well, in other words, you're saying that we're not going to go thirsty, but we probably will lose some crops this summer?

THE PRESIDENT. I think it'd be a very difficult thing to plan on water derived from desalinization plants to irrigate crops. It's so extremely expensive and it takes such a large amount of energy.

So, to make water for drinking purposes in cases of extreme drought, desalinization is probably effective because it's such a precious way to use water. But to produce water from sea water to irrigate crops, I don't believe that you or I will ever see it in our lifetime economically feasible. It'd just be entirely too expensive.

One more question, and then I have to go to Fresno. Yes?

Q. My name is Doug Patton. I am an industrial designer at Cal State, Long Beach. My question is, in view of your outlook and stance on human rights, and in view of the fact that in the past the U.S. has often supported South Africa in the United Nations, can you tell me if we will continue to support our interest in South Africa by offering support in the U.N. or not?


THE PRESIDENT. We're trying as best we can to make changes in South Africa. We have just formed, under the leadership of Andrew Young, who's our Ambassador to the U.N., a five-nation proposal to prime Minister Vorster from South Africa, to try to get them to withdraw the white domination of Namibia, which was formerly a German colony of southwest Africa.

Vice President Mondale has just finished a visit to Portugal and Spain. He's going to Yugoslavia and then he is going to come back to Vienna. Prime Minister Vorster from South Africa is coming to Vienna to meet him to talk about the shift in South Africa away from the racially discriminatory practices known as apartheid. We're doing the best we can to bring about these changes.

There have been 25 or 30 nations in the last couple of months that have let it be known to us that they've taken good steps toward preserving human rights. I believe it's accurate to say that there's hardly a government in the world right now that's not trying to do a better job on human rights, partially because we've made such an issue of it.

As you know, all the signatories of the Helsinki agreement--I think there are about 35 of us--will go to Belgrade later on this spring to assess how well our countries have done in the field of human rights. We're not perfect ourselves.

Since I have been in office, for instance, I've changed the regulations so that American citizens for the first time can visit any foreign country. In the past, we had very tight constraints on visitors visiting back and forth. But we're not supporting South Africa. We are very eager to see, and willing to use, all the leverage that we can to bring about an end to racial discrimination in South Africa and an end to the apartheid system where the black people have to carry passes and have special constraints on them, and the white people don't.

But we don't have the authority short of war, which we wouldn't consider, to go in and just change the structure of their government. But we're not only trying to move ourselves but we're trying to get other nations to join in with us.

You might be interested in knowing that the other four nations that have joined with us with the help of Andrew Young were: the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Great Britain and Canada.

We've gone to Vorster now and given him a request--a little bit stronger than a request, saying that if you don't do something about Namibia, then we're going to take strong action against you in the United Nations.

Let me say how grateful I am to all of you for letting me come to be with you. I don't claim to know all the answers. I'm just like you are. I'm searching for the ability and the understanding to do a good job as President. And I need to have your support when you think I'm right, and your strong expressions of criticism when you think I'm wrong.

I think though that I will minimize the mistakes that I make by staying close to you. The questions that I've 'had today are very broad in their scope, from .dealing with South Africa, about apartheid, to how to have a more beautiful city, and to stop graffiti, in a place near one's home. This is a kind of sense that I need as President to understand what is of concern to you.

I'm very grateful that you've come today. I'll try to do the kind of job that will make you proud of your own country because I think that we make mistakes on occasion, but I think it's good for us to remember that as free people we still live in the greatest country on Earth.

Q. Mr. President, why has it taken you so long to come back to California?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I've been very few places since I've been in office. I've only been to Plains once. So I've been to Los Angeles as much as I've been to my home.

I think the first few months that I am in the White House, possibly this first whole year, I need to stay close to my work. I've got so much to learn, and we've approached some major questions that have been ignored for a long time. The energy policy should have been done a long time ago, I have had to do that. The basic welfare reform package, we'll be ready to go with that this year.

We're working on health. We're working on social security. We're trying to deal with the Middle Eastern questions. We're trying to deal with the Russians on SALT, and this is a time consuming thing.

And I might add that I really enjoy it. There's no place that I would rather be than in the White House late at night in my office working on things that I think are both important and stimulating, and also very exciting. But I'll come to California every time I get a chance.

Q. Thank you. Is there anything that you heard today that you think might cause you to change policy?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think some of the questions about health care, for instance, the pregnant women who are drug addicts and the children who get--the battered children--it's hard to know where to place those particular programs. Is it under the drug treatment program? Is it under the health program? Is it a comprehensive thing? Is it better to give direct financial aid to local communities and let them do it?

But I was impressed today with the large number of questions that related directly to health.

Q. Mr. President, we've been asked to let you go because you have to go look at our drought.

Note: The program began at 12:30 p.m. at KNXT-TV studios in Los Angeles. The President answered questions addressed to him by members of the studio audience and people located at five other locations in the Los Angeles area. The President was introduced by KNXT-TV general manager Chris Desmond.

Jimmy Carter, Los Angeles, California - Remarks During a Televised Question-and-Answer Session With Area Residents Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244352

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