GOV. DUNNE AND HOME RULE FOR CHICAGO
BY N. D. COCHRAN
Gov. Dunne has signed the public utilities bill, and doubtless he will be
pounded hard by the newspapers and politicians who have been demanding
that he veto it to save home rule.
That's a human trait to abuse the fellow who doesn't do as we tell
him to do. But there is another side to this story. I believe in home rule,
too. But I don't believe in the way the people have been misrepresented by
THEIR government while they have had it.
And I don't feel like abusing Gov. Dunne because he did what he
thought was best under all the circumstances. He is governor of Illinois,
not merely of Chicago; and he promised the people of Illinois a public utili
ties bill when he was a candidate before them for governor.
He didn't promise them a bill that would leave out Chicago. He prom
ised a public utilities bill which would regulate the public utilities of Illinois
in the interest of the people.
Such a bill has been passed by the legislature; and then many or
ganizations and interests asked him to veto it as a citizen of Chicago and a
friend of home rule. He has chosen to act as governor of the state of
We have had home rule in Chicago; and there has been mightly little
use made of it for the benefit of the people of Chicago. The politicians in
power have acted as if they thought they were expected to use their power
for the benefit of their friends and themselves, rather than as if they were
representatives of all of the people of Chicago.
And while the various organized bodies of prominent citizens will in
dignantly protest, I don't imagine the great mass of the people will feel
that they will fare worse under a public utilities commission appointed by
Gov. Dunne than they have under a local mayor and council.
Many of them feel that THEY don't count In political government
The masses have seen the police department repeatedly used as aids
to influential employers in crushing the organizations of their employes.
Last year they saw the police force handled by the newspaper trust, with
the strikebreaking Paddy Lavin having headquarters in the Hearst building.
They have repeatedly voted for municipal ownership, and failed to
get it. x
They have asked for good service by street railway corporations, and
haven't got it.
They have come to believe that the public service corporations have
more influence with the so-called representatives of the people than the peo
ple themselves have.
In fact, the great majority believe that government Is run for the benefit
of the influential few rather than for the toiling many; and I don't believe
they think home rule means much to them.
If Chicago has lost home rule, Chicago can get it badk again when
the people get a local government they believe represents them; for then
they can convince any legislature that Chicago can make good use of home
rule when she has it.
After all, when you get right down to brass tacks, the people them
selves are to blame for whatever they get. They have the power to run
things to suit themselves, but they throw that power away by dividing up
into political parties on national questions, leaving the balance of power in
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