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VOLUME LXXXV-KO. 181.
CORRUPT SUPERVISORS FAIL TO ENFORCE THE DEMANDS OF THEIR RAILROAD MASTERS Market Street Company Franchises Fail to Be Passed to Print After a Stubbornly Fought Battle. THE people of San Francisco have fought and won one of the most signal victories ever achieved in the history of the municipality. It remains with Mayor Phelan to determine whether or not this triumph, which involves millions of dollars and freedom from the exactions of a dominating monopoly, shall be made permanent. The Southern Pacific Company and its ally and feeder, the Market Street Company, have failed to secure from the Board of Supervisors the enor mously valuable franchise privileges which in defiance of public opinion and honest protest were demanded. These franchises need but little characterization. Their character, since their recent announcement, is notorious. Their adoption would have meant the robbery of the city, immeasurable injury to property .own ers, the cheating of the charter and a fifty years' triumph to the associ ated corporations. An adoption of these franchises would have meant the violation of public and private rights, the usurpation of hundreds of streets by an exclusive monopoly and the death of competition for half a century. Yet the Southern Pacific Company and the Market Street Company bought, by whatever means they care to suggest, the indorsement of the Street Committee for these outrageous schemes. The franchises were to be passed to print yesterday at a meeting of the entire Boarcl of Supervisors. Seven serviceable members had been secured. They defied in sullenness nnd shame the protests of the people. They were determined to win the reward of their service and not even the scathing denunciation of their honest associates could swerve them from +heir path of shameful duty. They were reinforced by a gallery of hissing loafers and attorneys of the railroad. They tried every possible artifice to carry out their part of the bargain and receive its price. But they failed. The franchises were not passed to print and remain as they were before, simply a re commendation of the Street Committee. As a sop to outraged public opinion the proposition to grant the Southern Pacific Company the privi lege of operating double tracks in the Mission was withdrawn. The battle then commenced on the street railroad franchises and waged for nearly four hours. Mayor Phelan and the minority, inspired by a purpose to honor a decent public policy, fought the adoption of the franchises in every way within the laws of a legislative assembly and after a bitter struggle the fight was won. The board adjourned without day ajad without passing the atrocious resolutions to print. In adjourning without fixing a time for the next meeting the corrupt majority of the board placed in the hands of Mayor Phelan a weapon which will win the battle for the people of the city. While it is customary for the Board of Supervisors to meet every Monday, there is nothing in the law to make such meetings compulsory. The Southern Pacific Company and the Market Street Company must obtain the coveted franchises before July 1 or any grant which the Supervisors may make will be, under a provision of the charter, null and void. Mayor Phelan, unaer the law. need not call another meeting of the Board of Supervisors until July 1. The Mayor is thus master of the situ ation with a power for good that seldom comes to a single man. He can by refusing to call a meeting of the Board, and no legal meeting can be called without his sanction, defeat what is perhaps the most gigantic steal ever attempted in the history of the city. Those that followed his energetic protection of the rights of the people yesterday feel that, al though some nominal hardship might follow his refusal to call a meeting he recognizes that in the tremendous balance of public g-ood and corpor ate greed he will tip the balance as he did yesterday and merit the com mendation of the city. The law under which Mayor Phelan has power to act is section 67 of the consolidation act, as follows: . Sec. 67. The Supervisors shall meet within five days after each an nual election, and also on the first Monday of January, April, July and October, of each year, and at such other times as specially required by law; or they may, for urgent reasons, be specially convoked by the presi dent of the Board of Supervisors. LONG before the Board of Super visors met for it* afternoon ses sion there was an atmosphere of agitation in the City Hall. Thou sands know that the meeting was to be one of the most important ever held in the history of the municipality. Franchises worth millions of dollars were to be sold corruptly to the South ern Pacific Company and its local feeder, the Market Street Company, or were to be preserved to the people of the city. The issue was one of gigantic moment and the corridors of the City Hall were crowded by men Inspired by eagerness to hear the Issue determined. It was known that seven Supervisors had banded together, to sell their per sonal honor and betray the city to the corporation which has bc-ught reputa tions and sold cities for its own finan cial advantage. These seven Super visors had been branded by the Iron of public scorn. They had been threatened by indignant citizens with personal violem-e after j>l«-ading and importuni ties had proved to be in vain. Men rep tlng the cohservatlve business in terests of the city had vehemently con demned the prospective action of the majority of the board and had promised to appear in person at the session to protest against the contemplated out rage. There was in consequence a gTeat deal' of excitement in the City Hall. Th" police authorities, anticipating , trouble, were prepared, and squads of officers were stationed at the various entrances to the board rooms and to the Supervisorial chambers. No one i who had not the open sesame could pass the portals, and it seemed strange to casual observers that an overwhelm. I ing majority of those that passed the ' doors were railroad agents, ready to stamp approval of the efforts of the corrupt Supervisors and to hiss disap- I probation of the endeavors of those i that fought for the rights of the people ■ It may have been an accident, but the !<-mained that railroad hirelings, from attorneys to loafers, packed the ' main floor and the galleries of the ses- i Bion chamber. Shortly before the meet- I ing was called to order the seven sub- i f the Southern Pacific Company i decided, without the formality of a 1 meeting, that the outrageous proposi- i tion to permit the Southern Pacific < Company to operate double tracks The San Francisco Call. through the Mission should he aban doned in order that the more vicious and infinitely more valuable street rail way concessions might be preserved to the corporation. It was impossible to mistake the situation, which was with out parallel in its evidences of corrup tion. The Southern Pacific Company had issued its commands to its seven repre sentatives in the board. These seven chattels stood naked in their shame, but desperate in their allegiance to their corporation master. If all which was demanded could not be secured, the Southern Pacific Company determined to sacrifice that which was least valu able, and the "double track" concession was dropped. John Russell, clerk of the board, was commanded to drop all ref erence to it in the report of the Street Committee. The solid seven then filed into the as- SAN FRANCISCO, TUESDAY, MAY 30, 1899. Fembly chamber for their afternoon work of planned corruption. As they filed in they brushed against the ag gressive representatives of indignant Mission citizens, who came prepared to fight against the new outrage of their rights. The solid seven smiled. They believed that in robbing the people of the Mission of an opportunity to pro test they had cleared the way for the Perpetration of the outrage which in street railroad franchises will rob the city of millions of dollars and saddle upon the community for fifty years the dead burden of an unjust monopoly. The solid seven reckoned without their host. Without argument and j without defense they were forced to sit I in shame as the acknowledged chattels of the railroad. Through an exciting ; session they saw themselves check ! mated by a persistent, determined op position fighting for public rights un der the inspiration of public policy: The five minority members erf the board and i the Maynr fought every point and at tlir end the solid seven saw themselves cheated of their prize and held up to public scorn as men who had .sold their reputations and forgotten the children who must, bear their names in a com munity of honorable men. The meeting had progressed far through the monotony of routine before there was a suggestion of the exciting problems of the day. When the report of the Street Committee, embodying the recommendations of franchises to the Market Street Company, was read Su pervisor Holland, one of the solid seven, arose and urged that the rules be sus pended and that the recommendation* in reference to franchises be considered at once. The suggestion of Holland was a cheap subterfuge the motive of which was recognized at once. It requires eight votes to suspend the rules, and the solid seven, carefully coached by railroad agents, wanted to trap at least one member of the minority. The scheme was seen in time and defeated. Holland had particularly rme motive in view. The assembly chamber had been "packed" by railroad agents, and the bland Supervisor said that he was sure men for and against the franchise were in the room and should be heard. These men, the Supervisor said, had been long in attendance, many were compelled to stand and it would be an outrage to force them to wait until the routine business of the board had been transacted. Common courtesy demand ed, therefore, in the opinion of the suave Holland, that the gentlemen should be heard at once. The bait caught no fish particularly, as at that very moment the following protest, late in being presented, was handed to the clerk of the board: The Market Street and Eureka Valley Improvement Clnb hereby emphatically proteittM asainnt the Ki-nndni: of any new frunohloe for the (ieary ntreet line of the Market Street Railroad at this time, for the foi low int reaHoiiH : First — Ilecaune of ltd Illegality, the preaent franvbine not having; terminated. Second — it In an evident attempt to thwart the will of the people as expressed in the new char ter; and to prevent the possibility of the people obtaining possession of the whole street cur system of this city for half a century, thus keeping this city behind all the progressive cities of the world, which are fast mimin- possession of all their street cars and roadbeds. We maintain that these reasons are paramount to any temporary advantage* that are claimed by some to be obtained by granting- the franchise now. We hereby certify that this pro test wan curried unanimously at a regular meeting of the Market Str«-«-t and lOureka Valley Improve ment Club, oonsfsttag of seventy members. r. stadeh, President. WILLIAM B. DUBOIB, Secretary. Indorsed by Federation o£ Mis sion Improvement Clubs. At Holland's request, however, the clerk again read all of the atrocious demands made by the Market Street Company for local street railroad fran chises. These outrageous requests have been frequently described. They include the bogus surrender of the BATTLING FOR THE CITY'S RIGHTS. Geary street franchise and its recap ture by the Market Street Company under conditions which preclude com petition, nine small franchises, the corkscrew road, including the use of electricity on Post street and the change of the motive power to elec tricity on all roads sdTith of Market street. Tho franchise for double tracks, through the Mission, had significantly been omitted and Supervisor Byington asked to be informed in reference to it. Supervisor Holland and his six as sociates were dumb. That was alto gether too delicate a subject to discuss. Clerk Russell volunteered the informa tion, however, that the Street Commit tee had decided not to report on double tracks. Mayor Phelan Has the Power to Protect the City and Save the Community Millions of Dollars. Supervisor Byington then made a motion which precipitated the bat tle'of the day. He moved that all of the recommendation!! of the Street < oniMii i !«■•-. iii-kluk franchise* for the Market Street Company, be referred back to the committee for farther consideration. The motion provoked a storm of applause, which the solid seven met without raining their heads. Supervisor Aigeltinger strenuously objected to delay. He took upon him self the disagreeable duty of being the mouthpiece of the railroad during the controversy of the arternoon. "This matter has been before the board." he said, "time and again, and we should act upon it now." The utter falsity of the assertion pro voked a smile as the extravagant de mands of the Market Street Company are only a week old. "When was this matter considered before?" asked Supervisor Byington. "If Mr. Byington is particularly anx ious, to find out," replied Aigeltinger, sullenly, "he can turn back to the rec ords four months ago." "Mr. Aißeltlnjeer knows," was the qnick answer of HyiiiKton. "that a majority of the people of this city never heard of these applications for franchises until a week ago. There are dozens of improvement clnbs in this city tXat wish to be heard in reference to this vitally important business. The citizens who have appeared before us to-day represent only the Mission, bat there are many others who have not had the opportunity to be heard. I do not believe that there is upon this floor a man who 1* honest and wants to arrant these franchises without Klvinmr to the people of the city a hearing-. If we want to be honest and fair, give these people a chance." Again the assembly chamber rang with applause, but the solid seven were undaunted. Holland came to the rescue with an amendment to Byington's mo tion to refer the matter again to the Street Committee. Holland moved an amendment that the visiting citizens be heard at once. Mayor Phelan declared the amendment out of order. There was no appeal from his decision and Bying ton's original motion was put. As a matter of course it was lost. The solid seven had assembled to obey the South ern Pacific Company and they were not to be cheated out of the rewards of obedience. The Holid seven relaxed to refer the recommendation* for franchlnen again to the Street Committee. The roll of didhonor, which will long:- be remembered by decent people of thin city. In an follows*: SuperviMora \ lji«-li iiiKrr, \l I riil ii«-, It In.- U. Col linn. Holland, Kalben and Phclpg. Those that retained their self MAYOR PHELAN CAN BLOCK SUPERVISORS MAYOR PHELAN has it in his power, and recognizes the fact in the following interview, to prevent a meeting of the Board of Supervisors until July 1. He said last night: "The resources of the law are marvelous when once we invoke technicalities. The public enemies are not slow to take every advantage, and in the public defense we are doubtless Justi fied in demanding strict construction of rules and law. "After transacting all its business to-day the Board of Supervisors adjourned to no fixed day. To show the inadequacy of the consolida tion act to meet the requirements of a great city, which w*as frequently referred to in the charter campaign, there is no provision for meet ings of the Board of Supervisors except four times a year. "The board having adjourned without fixing a day, I would say at first blush that there legally can be no meeting, unless called by the Mayor. "I will look into the necessities of the public business and get the advice of my attorneys before making any statement. "The rank iniquity of forcing the Geary street franchise in violation even of the act of 1897 should put the citizens on guard and when the board does meet a loud and unmistakable protest should be heard. The present franchise must be actually surrendered in good faith be fore a new one can be granted. That is the plain reading of the act and the penalty for violating any of the conditions of the act by the Supervisors is removal from office. The attempted sale of a part of Geary street for the 'corkscrew' route, when Post street would better serve the Market Street Company, is to prevent the sale of a fran chise under the charter from the ferries to the park: because if Geary street is occupied above Market, the 'ten block provision,' by which a rival may us_e another's tracks, will be defeated, for there then will be an excess of ten blocks. This is the 'joker.' Geary street is the battle-ground for the people's rights. If the city takes possession of that road from the ferries to the Park in 1903, when the franchise lee ally expires, we will realize an enormous benefit; otherwise we will have to await street railway reform for thirty-five years, when the other franchises expire. It means millions to the city. "This is worth fighting for. and the fight has only begun." respect and kept their pledge of decency and honesty in public office are as follows: Supervisors Byington, Deasy, Heyer, Lack mann and Perrault. When the announcement was made that the motion was lost Supervisor Byington changed his vote from "no" to "aye" and gave notice that at the next regular meeting he would move for a reconsideration. Supervisor Aigel tinger moved, according to the Southern Pacific programme, that reconsidera tion be held at once. Aigeltinger was eager in his demand. His appeal had all the earnestness of self-interest. He misquoted fromi rules of parliamentary law, as Mayor Phelan caustically char acterized them, "Gushing boiled down." Every clumsy artifice known to the de fender of the railroad was used, but to no purpose. Mayor Phelan was fixed in his determination to protect the city and the body over which he presides from the impudent arrogance of the PRICE FIVE CENTS. railroad chattels. "I will not entertain frivolous, unjust and mischievous mo tions," he said. Aigeltinger retired in disgrace and Holland took another chance. He pleaded that in courtesy to the visiting citizens they should be heard. "Then let them appear," interrupted Supervisor Deasy, "before the Street Committee in this room next Thursday afternoon." The solid seven fwere drifting on to dangerous ground. Any reference to the Street Committee sent visions of reward a-glimmering. Phelps was on his feet in an instant and with an in sult and a defiance. "Let the whole city come here if it wants to!" he shouted. "Let everybody come here next Wednesday at 2 o'clock before the whole board. If this is such an important affair I move that we meet then in regular session and invite everybody." Supervisor Lackmann showed that there can be no regular meeting of the board according to custom until next Monday. "Why are you in such unseemly haste?" asked Supervisor Byington, ad dressing Phelps. "I don't have to answer your ques tion," snapped Phelps. "I know you don't," was Byington'g ready reply. "You don't have to an swer any question that your constitu ents want." Phelps replied by demanding that his motion be put. There was then a long argument. The solid seven were be coming tangled and uncertain. They may be shrewd in obedience, but they certainly are not crafty in carrying out their orders. In a moment Byington spoke to the motion. "If -we are receiving- orders from ! some one." he Maid, "who holds the ■ whip hand and In driving: the major ity of this board, then let 11* hanten <to do what we are ordered. Bat if ; the gentlemen nho are in nuch ! haste will look to their reputations : and not to the advantage of certain ; people who are operating oataide of j thitt room, it will be infinitely bet ) ter for themselveii and for their children after them." This impassioned rebuke was met with mingled cheers and hisses. The railroad lobby had at last commenced a disturbance which was quelled by the quick command of Mayor Phelan to the police to preserve order. As soon as order was restored Byinjr ton moved to amend Phelp's motion for the board to meet to-morrow by lay ing the motion on the table. From this point to the end of the session the struggle of the minority of five, ably assisted by Mayor Phelan, to save the city from the outrages planned by the solid seven in the service of the rail road was exclusively conducted on technicalities. The minority knew that they were fighting in the intei-est of public policy and they took advantage of every point permitted by the rules of the board. Each member of the minority contributed his share of tech nical information. Supervisor Perrault rendering particularly effective service. The solid seven were mastered at every turn. They should have been better coached. Byington's amendment was of course Continued on Page Thre*.