OCR Interpretation

The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, March 17, 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/sn83045487/1916-03-17/ed-1/seq-2/

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"I understand the gas company is now
buying some gas made by the Sol
way process at a few cents a thou
sand, washing it and then treating
it with chemicals to bring it up to
the candle power test andselling it
as illuminating gas.
Now if Commonwealth Edison can
take over Peoples Gas, as Vic Law
son suggests will be done, the game
will probably be to get consumers of
illuminating gas to do all lighting by
electricity, thus doing away with the
manufacture of candle-power gas
and making only the cheap fuel gas.
I am told that the gas company
owns a large tract of land some
thing over 150 acres between the
belt railway and the west branch of
the Chicago river, and that it is the
intention to build there an enormous
fuel gas plant when the way has been
paved for the STEP. This property
is outside the residence section, and
where there is good rail and water
Of course some very strong argu
ments can be advanced in favor of
supplyiag a cheap fuel gas that may
drive out coal, and arguments can
be made in favor of the vast econ
omies that can be practiced if one
company handles both the gas and
electric business. BUT
The bigger the public utility trust
becomes and the greater the capital
ization, the more difficult it is going
to become for the city itself to go
into the business of supplying gas
and electricity.
And the bigger that trust becomes
the more powerful it will be politic
ally, and the easier it will be for it
to control both big party organiza
tions and control the public officials
who are supposed to protect the pub
lic by their power to regulate service
and rates.
You can seefhat before this STEP
is taken it will be necessary to have
a council and a mayor who will help
along by repealing legislation that
stands in the way.
One reason I supported Thomp
son for the Republican nomination
for mayor last year was that I knew
the public utilities, State street and
loop interests generally had the pins
all set to put Sweitzer over and the
Sullivan-Hopkins machine in control
of the city halL That crowd pulled
off one gas deal some years ago, if I
am correctly informed.
Anyhow, I didn't consider Olson
with the Deneen machine back of him
any safer than Sweitzer with the Sul
livan machine back of him; and I did
figure that the people would have a
chance if Thompson were elected
with all those interests and the most
powerful of the kept newspapers
against him.
Of course they did what they al
ways do they got busy right away
to try to capture the Thompson ad- -ministration.
And they have made
some headway. Still I find that I
sometimes have a little bit of hope
that some day Big Bill will wake up
again and buck right through the
center just as he used to do in his
football days.
He won't do it, though, unless pub
lic sentiment becomes thoroughly
aroused; and that's a hard thing to
arouse in Chicago when the loop in
terests have such a grip on the press,
and it is so difficult for the plain folks
to find out what's going on.
Each step the Hog Combine gets
away, with makes it that much easier
for it to take the next one. The last
step was the gobbling up of the Auto
matic phone plant by the Bell phone
trust. If that goes through it kills
the best chance Chicago had for mu
nicipal ownership, and puts off in
definitely' Chicago s opportunity to j
get rid of the archaic manual phone fP
system and substitute the much more
modern and scientific automatic system.
Harry A. Riley, formerly ass't city
prosecutor and ass't corporation
counsel, appointed master in. chan
cery of Circuit Court Offices will be
516 Ashland blk.
tCr .

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