OCR Interpretation


The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, March 15, 1916, LAST EDITION, Image 2

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1916-03-15/ed-1/seq-2/

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bility of telephone competition has
been killed, with Lawson's open aid,
and a body blow dealt to municipal
ownership of telephones.
Elated over his success in helping
the gigantic phone trust to-establish
an absolute telephone monopoly in
Chicago, Lawson gives us a peep at
what's coming next
In a Daily News editorial he says:
"With the absorption by the Chicago
Telephone company of the automatic
telephone system of the Illinois Tun
nel company, Chicago perhaps has
rid itself permanently of franchise
grants for competitive undertakings
in the public utility field. '
Then he goes on to say: "UNIFI
CATION of service is the goal toward
which the Chicago public has long
been working. The street railways
have been brought under one man
agement, as have also the elevated
railroads. The next step is to bring
the two transportation systems to
gether as a well co-ordinated whole.
The city's various gas companies
have been consolidated and so have
the electric light companies. The
city's great gas and electric light
corporations have not been united
legally, but they are subject to com
mon financial control. It would be
better if they were legally merged,
provided the terms of the merger
were proper. Intelligent supervision
by official representatives of the peo
ple must be relied upon to secure
good service at fair rates."
Now you can see what's coming.
Lawson tells us that the "next step is
to bring the two transportation sys
tems together as a well co-ordinated
whole." That means that the next
unification job will be the welding
together of the elevated and surface
lines.
I can almost hear Walter Fisher
licking his chops.
And when this job is done, another
nail will be driven in the coffin of
municipal ownership. The people
were bunked in 1907, when provision
was made whereby the people
MIGHT some day get municipal
6wnership of the surface lines. FER
HAPS. But President Busby testi
fied last year that while the surface
lines could have been bought for
$55,00,0000 in 1907, under -the terms
of the Fisher unification ordinance,
the price in 1915 was $145,000,000.
Of course, Lawson's wily Walt-r
had worked it all out as the legal
representative of the people in 1907
how they would get the money to
buy the street railways. You will re
member the city gets 55 per cent of
the net' profit And in eight years
Chicago saved up something like
$16,000,000 .toward the purchase
price.
But in that eight years, under the
Fisher agreement, the price the city
would have to pay had jumped from
$55,000,000 to $145,000,000, or
NINETY MILLION DOLLARS.
YOU can see what chance Chicago
has of ever buying the surface lines,
when the purchase price jumps $11,
000,000 every time we save $2,000,
000. Now when we take the next step
and add the millions of water in both
surface and elevated lines together,
the Lord only knows how many hun
dreds of millions we'll have to pay in
order to get municipal ownership.
But the public utility gang isn't go
ing to step there no siree Bob. The
second step will be for the Common
wealth Edison to swallow up Peoples
Gas.
As Lawson says, they "have not
been united legally, but they are sub
ject to common financial control"
You bet they are, Vic, and that
goes for the Chicago Telephone Co.
and the street railway as well as for
Commonwealth Edison and Peoples
Gas.
Sam Insull is practically running
the whole public utility outfit, and
the Marshall Field estate octopus is
one of the biggest owners back of
him.
The game evidently is to get all
pf the public utilities of Chicago un- .

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