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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 nr 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 the 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,
. however, listened to public "protest
and vetoed it. Another petition-in-boots
prevented its passage over his
veto by the narrow margin of one
From then on thepeople 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
t solid. Republican council and city ad
' ministration. That administration
took hold Jan. 1 this year. Theconi
pariy 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' a'n'utiexplred
franchises would terminate. Mayor
Whitlock immediately signed it.
That is the ordinance which start
ed the present trouble. The new coun
cil would have to repeal it before it
could do anything to help the com
pany out. Public sentiment, how
ever, was so strong that nobody dares
attempt the repeal. One reason was
that all parties in the last municipal
election pledged themselves.tdthree
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 atL midnight,
March 27; the franchises expired, dnd
the three-cent fare- ordinance went
into effect. In the meantime, the
company went into U. S. court and
asked for- an injunction restraining
the city from enforcing the ordi
nance, but 'if 'wasn't granted.
At midnight last Friday" night peo
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 regular-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
muchless than $6;000,000; and all the
excess represented franchise value.
And the' peoplenow 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,