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Newspaper Page Text
YOU CAN'T BLAME THE PHONE TRUST FOR
GRABBING OFF THE AUTOMATIC PLANT
$ BY N. D. COCHRA'N
I don't blame the owners of the Bell Company for trying to get rid of
competition or possible competition in Chicago. .
I don't blame them for buying up the Automatic and thrpwing it on
the junk pile if they can get away with it.
It's -BUSINESS. The duty of the directors is to protect the interests
of the stockholders. And it would be worth millions of dollars to the stock
holders if the Bell Company could buy the Automatic, wipe it out of ex
istence and GET CONTROL OP THE AUTOMATIC ELECTRIC CO. AND
ITS PATENTS FOR AUTOMATIC PHONES.
For control of the patents would help the Bell Company, not only in
Chicago, but all over the country possibly all over the world.
Independent telephone companies all over the country understand and
appreciate the importance of the Chicago situation, and what the purchase
of the Automatic by the Bell means to THEM for independent phone com
panies all over the country have protested to the government at Washing
ton against the Bell being permitted to make this purchase.
This protest has been made to Washington on the basis of the agree
ment made by the phone trust with the government, to buy up no more
other companies. '
So far as the Automatic system in Chicago is concerned, under tunnel
management, it is not now and never has been REAL COMPETITION. The
telephone franchise was used as a trick to get a franchise for a freight rail
way system under the business district of Chicago.
Having got what they really wanted, the tunnel promoters now are
quite willing to turn the automatic system over to the trust for what they
can get for it, and not be bothered with a phone system.
And the deal now on contemplates a purchase price of about $6,000,000.
And that would be like picking that much off a Christmas tree for the tun
But while I do not blame the Bell people for getting council to give its
consent to the proposed purchase, I WOULD BLAME ANY COUNCILMAN
WHO WOULD VOTE TO GIVE THAT CONSENT.
For just as the directors of the Bell Company represent the stock
holders of that company, so do the members of the city council represent
the stockholders of the biggest corporation in town and that biggest cor
poration in town is .the City of Chicago itself and the stockholders In that
biggest corporation in town are ALL THE PEOPLE OF CHICAGO.
Doubtless it is the duty of the directors of the Bell Co', to not overlook
any bets of interest to that company. But it is just as much the duty of the
directors of the City of Chicago the councilmen to not overlook any
bets for THEIR stockholders, the people.
Absolutely no good reason has been given why the City of Chicago
should surrender its rights under the forfeiture clauses of the telephone
grant to the tunnel company.
There would be no business sense in council granting to the Bell Co.
the right to increase its capitalization by millions of dollars, and the ad
ditional right to increase its rates to Bell subscribers and make them pay
back to the trust what it pays for the Automatic.
I said the Automatic, under tunnel management, was no real competi
tion for the phone trust in Chicago, But IT WOULD BE. IF IT WERE.