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Newspaper Page Text
ONE MAN'S OPINIONS
BY N. D. COCHRAN.
' Franchises in Toledo. The Toledo
street railway situation is interesting,
because the people there have waited
patiently for franchises to expire so
that the franchise value would come
back to the people where it belongs:
The real fighting began when
Golden Rule Jones was mayor, elect
ed as an Independent or non-partisan.
A machine council passed an- ordi
nance renewing all franchises for 25
years. Mayor Jones vetoed the ordi
nance. That was in 1903. "
It became known that council on
a certain night was going, to pass the
ordinance over the mayor's veto. As
editor of the Toledo News-Bee at that
time I called upon the people to visit
their council in person and present
Thousands of citizens went to the
council that' night and protested. The
machine councilmen were afraid to
deliver the goods to th&, company.
They laid the ordinance on the table.
When Mayor Jones died a machine
president of the council succeeded
him as mayor. Another franchise or-,
dinance was passed. Mayor Finch,
howeyer, listened to public protest
and vetoed it Another petition-in-boots
prevented its passage over his
veto by the narrow margin -of one
Prom then on the people elected a
non-partisan, or independent mayor
and city council. There was never any
chance of the franchise grabbers get
ting an ordinance by that "council.
Last year the franchise promoters
stirred up the people by reviving the
old A. P. A. agitation and elected a
solid Republican council and city ad-
ministration. That administration
took hold Jan. 1 this year. The com
pany immediately got busy negotiat
ing for another franchise.
Just before retiring last year, how
ever, the independent council passed
a three-cent fare to go into effect
March 28, the day when all unexpired
franchises would terminate. Mayor
Whitlock immediately signed it.
That is the ordinance which start
ed the present trouble. Thenew coun
cil would have to repeal "ft before it
could do anything to help the com
pany out. Public sentiment,, how
ever, was so strong that nobody dares
attempt the repealf One reason was
that all parties in the last municipal,
election pledged themselves to three
cent fares and universal transfers.
Finally, on the Monday night be
fore the franchises expired and the
independent ordinance went into ef
fect, council passed a resolution de
ciding to enforce the ordinance. And
the city solicitor decided to fight for it
in the courts.
On Friday night at midnight,'
March 27, the franchises expired and
the three-cent fare ordinance went
into effect. In the meantime, the
company went into TJ. S. court and
asked for an injunction restraining
the city from enforcing the ordi
nance, but it wasn't granted.
At midnight last Friday night peo
ple began tendering a three-cent fare.
But the conductors had orders to ac
cept nothing but a five-cent fare or
ticket, and to not eject anybody from
the cars who refused to pay the regu
lar fare. The result was that on Sat
urday and Sunday thousands of peo
ple rode for nothing. They would
tender three cents, the conductor
would refuse it, and the people rode
That is the situation now. The big.
fact in the situation, however, is that
millions of franchise value now be
long to the people. The company had
nearly $30,000,000 of securities on
property whose physical value is
much less than $6,000,000; and all the
excess represented franchise value.
And the people now demand muni
cipal ownership and operation.
The Democratic Split. It was in-,
evitable that the Democratic party;
soon or late would split as the Re
publican party split in 1912,