Fairfax County developer-attorney John T. Hazel Jr., president of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, said yesterday that regional businesses "must accept a significant role in a long-term solution" for the "tragedy of unemployment" in the District of Columbia.
Hazel, speaking to 1,100 people at the Board of Trade's annual luncheon at the Washington Hilton Hotel, declared that D.C. unemployment "is just as regional [a problem] as transportation and water pollution. When more than one quarter of those who seek work in the District are without a job, we in the suburbs who are enjoying unprecedented job expansion have a serious problem."
September figures place D.C. unemployment at 8.6 percent and suburban unemployment at 3.1 percent.
Hazel, talking with reporters afterwards, said he had seen figures indicating that the number of jobs had increased by 17 percent in Fairfax County since 1980 while declining by 2 percent in the District. "I don't think you can keep that imbalance going on forever," he said. "I think the business community is going to have to work overtime to put those people to work."
Hazel said that the Board of Trade might try to broaden its summer youth employment programs into general employment programs "because the problem is really not youth anymore. It's youth, yes, but it's also much greater than that. . . . I think it's going to be a more year-round, broader jobs program. . . . We need real jobs," he added. "We don't need make-work, get-acquainted projects."
Julia M. Walsh, head of the Julia M. Walsh & Sons brokerage firm, who will succeed Hazel as president of the Board of Trade next month, said that D.C. unemployment is "very high on my agenda," along with economic development. She said she planned to focus on both subjects.
Thomas G. Pownall, chairman of the Martin Marietta Corp. of Bethesda, discussed changes in his firm in the wake of its battle with the Bendix Corp. Although Martin Marietta beat back Bendix with the help of Allied Corp., the struggle left Marietta $1.2 billion in debt.
After the battle, Pownall said, "We undertook to achieve two prime goals simultaneously -- serving long-term strategic objectives and at the same time bringing debt under control." As a result, Marietta has moved out of the cement, textile dye, industrial and aluminum businesses, and more heavily into defense, communications, information management, energy systems and new materials. Martin Marietta has all but eliminated the debt incurred in the takeover fight.
The Board of Trade gave community service awards to Donald J. Sullivan, executive director of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and to IBM, represented by Kent T. Cushenberry, IBM's director of corporate community relations.