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THE PUBLIC WEAL
VOL. XI Public Hearings on County Option Bill Swedish Lutherans and other Bodies Urge the Right of the People to Drive the Saloon from Their Counties—County Option a Prominent Issue in the Campaign. The County Option bill had public hearings Feb. 26 and March 5. Both took place in the House chamber, the first before the House Temperance Committee and the second before the House and Senate Committees, a large audience crowding the chamber in both cases. Many more than a hundred at the second hearing stood for hours around the rear of the main floor. The galleries also were well filled. Several members of the House, including two members of the com mittee, made themselves obnoxious to the many ladies present by smoking during the first hearing. The im provement in this respect at the se cond hearing may have been due to the influence of “woman in politics.” The First Hearing. It opened with resolutions by the ministers of the Augustana Synod of the Swedish Lutheran church then in session at Minneapolis. Rev. Peter Peterson, St. Paul, seconded the reso lutions with an appeal for government by the people. Dr. Rast, Red Wing, also a member of the Synod, said that his people were somewhat averse to withdrawing from the old parties but that they -would do so if necessary in order to secure their rights. Walter N. Carroll, Minneapolis, exalted the idea of a government not of force as of old but by the ballots of freemen. The question, said he, is not whether the saloon is good or bad but shall the people rule? Rev. E. Floreen, Evansville, declared that he hailed from the banner Republican county of the state and added, “We have sacri ficed our party principles for this measure.” This was a telling allusion to the election of Mr. Lobeck, Prohibi tionist, from that county, largely be cause of his advocacy of county op tion. Rev. D. Morgan, St. Paul,, said that legislators are the servants of the people. “The people want this law. The last campaign witnessed the greatest independence this state or the nation has ever seen. If our wish es are not heeded, three times as many will break away from their present political affiliations as then.” At this point Representative Elias Rachie, Madison, who introduced the bill, invited the opposition to take part in the discussion. J. W. Stokes, Min neapolis, member of the committee, moved to adjourn for two weeks, al though the hearing had only then lasted 35 minutes. Mr. Zollman, St. Paul, representing the brewers, al though not so announced, claimed that the opposition had not understood that it would have time accorded to it at this hearing and was therefore not prepared. Friends of the bill repeat edly demanded an answer to the ques tion, Who gave the opposition to un derstand that they would not be heard? But they preserved a discreet silence. The game was to postpone ac tion as long as possible. Mr. Rachie boldly stated that if the final hear ing should not be held and the com mittee should fail to take action with in a few days, he would offer a reso lution in the House to recall the bill from the committee. The opposition then consented to meet again within a week and an adjournment was taken to March 5. The Second Hearing It drifted more into a discussion of the practicability of prohibition than the first hearing. The opposition wisely spoke along this line and the friends of the measure fell into the trap somewhat, not fully emphasizing If this item is marked with a, blue pencil your subscription has been paid for one year by yourself or a friend. It will be marked but once. If you desire that your paper shall stop at the expiration of the time paid for, advise us to that ef fect and your direction will be entered upon our mailing list. MINNEAPOLIS and ST. PAUL, MINN. MARCH, 1907 the fact that the bill proposed merely to put the question of saloon or no saloon up to the people for settlement. Mr. Zollman, beer generalissimo, intro duced ,D. C. Smith, Duluth. He de nounced the measure as unfair in view of the home rule amendment to the constitution adopted in 1906. A declaration that slaughter houses within the city limits were as bad, if not worse, than saloons brought down the house, which, by the way, was nine-tenths for the bill. There will continue to be drunkards, said he. “Educate the people, control the traf fic; this is the way to deal with this subject. More liquor is sold and there are more inmates in the peni tentiary per capita in prohibition states than in license states.” This statement brought Supt. Palmer of the Anti-Saloon League to his feet, who indignantly denied the statement and offered to give figures to back his de nial, but withdrew while Mr. Smith continued. “Bishops Potter and Gib bons, Andrew D. White and Dr. Ly man Abbott oppose prohibition and Neal Dow, the father of prohibition,” declared the speaker none too ingen uously, “regretted his championship of that policy before his death.” John M. Townley, mayor of Fergus Falls, was very much excited over the $j.2,000 revenue now annually derived from the saloons of that city. F. C. Massey, city attorney of East Grand Forks, said that the removal of sa loons from that hub of hell (he didn’t give it that name) which had been opened depending on present condi tions would injure business. He did not stop to explain what his city’s chief business is. County option has no logical foundation. The speaker had attended Hamline University sev eral years and that prohibition suburb had been troubled with several blind pigs. It is putting it very mildly to say that the speaker would never have made this declaration before a Hamline audience, as the editor of The Public Weal, who has made that burg his home for over twenty years, is in position to know. A number of protests were made at this point that the opponents of the bill were taking the entire time. It was finally agreed, however, that they should have still more time, after which the friends of the measure would have another turn. The bill was then opposed by C. O. Daly, City attorney of Mankato; Theo. Splane, Rochester and Ed. Lees, Winona, who seemed to think the prosperity of his beautiful city depended upon the $47,000 contributed annually by its saloons, the breweries and the barley raised in the county. He said: “I speak for the best business interests of Winona to a man.” According to this' statement either godliness is not profitable unto all things in south eastern Minnesota or the Christian people of Winona are not working at their religion. Rev. Peter Peterson, who a week be fore had spoken for the ministers of the Swedish Lutheran church, pre sented resolutions favoring the meas ure which had unanimously been adopted by the synod, representing 400 congregations whose session in Minneapolis was just closing. “We do not object,” said he, “to municipal con trol of the saloon question if the vil lages and cities will also confine the results of the saloon within their lim its. But unfortunately, while they re ceive the saloon revenue, the entire county is compelled to suffer the pov erty and crime which results from the saloon and to pay a large share of the cost of caring for the one and punish ing the other. Rev. F. M. Eckman, Center City, said: “We do not ask you to vote out Minneapolis Treasury Looted by Brewers Bill to Legalize a Big Steal Railroaded Through the Legislature and Promptly Signed by the Governor—Geo. W. Higgins, Prohibitionist, the Only Hennepin Member Who Voted No. If the average man were not ac-! customed to being treated as the prop erty of the saloonists, Minneapolis would be up in arms over the passage of the bill legalizing the illegal pay ment of over $200,000 to the brew eries of L.at city for proportionate amounts of license fees in cases where a license had been cancelled. The story runs something like this: As a penalty, when licenses are re voked or cancelled for any cause, the law of the state provides that no re fund shall be made. But the attorney of the biggest brewery in Minneapolis is a member of the City Council; so he forced through an ordinance some four or five years ago, permitting the return of the money. Like most ordin ances of that kind, it was slid through quietly and few people outside of the Council and probably few of those in side knew what had been done, but a few officials, obedient to the ordi nance and disregarding the law, paid back to the brewers the amount above stated. C. W. Purple, an attorney, fell onto tne fact that the people had been rob bed of this amount, instituted a suit and had the ordinance set aside, and then instituted a suit against the breweries to compel them to repay the people’s money into the treasury. The situation was awkward; hence the brewers went to their usual friends —the aldermen —and told them that something must be done. The aldermen, in turn, went to the Legis lature as the only body that could give them remedy; hence the Henne pin county delegation gathered in a hastily called meeting behind locked doors, and the attorney of the city of Minneapolis arose before them and told them how the people of the city of Minneapolis (from whom he re ceives his pay) could be duped out of more than $200,000 if they would introduce a bill which he had prepared —or the brewers had prepared for him—and rush it through. The next morning the bill was intro duced, and without a word of explana tion as to what it meant, except a statement to the Legislature that it affected Hennepin County and Henne pin County only, a motion was made the saloon but let us say whether it shall eixst in our county. Politicians do not ignore the rural vote in the campaign. Let the legislature accord us our rights as well.” Rev. J. N. Brandell, Cannon Falls, called atten tion to the fact that it was the liquor interests wnich were chiefly opposing this measure. Although he came from a strong Republican district, Mr. Vox land, Prohibition candidate for the legislature had given Dr. Gates, the winner (the speaker did not mention names) a close run because the peo ple were not certain they could de pend upon the Republican candidate to work and vote for this measure. Nels T. Moen, Ada, was amused at the enthusiasm for law enforcement exhibited by the speakers opposed to the bill. Alluding to the charge that blind pigging would result from county option, he said that should Mayor Townley show the same vigor as he had claimed to have displayed toward the law-violating brewers of his city, where would a few blind piggers be? He showed from his experience as county attorney that the evil results and expense resulting from insanity, poverty and crime caused by the sa loons of villages were visited upon the entire county and that the county should, therefore, have the privilege of saying whether or not the saloon should exist. Supt. Palmer gave some telling figures on the relation of li cense to crime and poverty and made an earnest plea that manhood be pre- by W. I. Nolan, who has often been used to serve these interests, that the rules be suspended and the bill given its second and third reading and plac ed on final passage. People from all parts of the House began to inquire the import of the bill, it was again stated that it referred only to Hennepin county, and the speaker put the question. When the ayes had been heard, the speaker call ed for the nays and declared the mo tion carried before the nays could be heard, although it takes two-thirds of the House to suspend the rules, and a hearty nay was recorded. A num ber rose to their feet and, addressing the chair, demanded a roll-call. Mem bers sought to interrupt the roll-call and ascertain why, after all, the Legis lature was rushing on in such a heed less and unintelligent manner, but of course the roll-call having been start ed, the speaker called them to order. A number of Republican representa tives told your correspondent that they were morally certain that not to exceed thirty people responded af firmatively to the roll call, but the Republicans who were present and not voting were recorded in the affirm ative and the party lash depended upon to keep them quiet. The next day a motion was made to re-consider, but the bill had been hurried on to the Senate, and before the House had been in session a half hour there were those ready to rise to a point of order against the motion to re-consider, on the ground that the bill had already been rushed through the Senate, where there were but two dissenting votes, and that ft had al ready received the signature of the Governor. It is to be remembered that this measure had nothing to do with the moral (or rather immoral) phase of the liquor traffic. It was merely a revenue measure where the breweries, contrary to law, had stolen over $200,- 000 from the city, and the city repre sentatives, including the city attorney and every member of the Hennepin county delegation excepting Geo. W. Higgins, Prohibitionist, voted to legal ize the theft. ferred above dollars. Gustav Eide, Sec. of the Minnesota Total Absti nence Association, Dr. Allen, repres enting the Good Templars, and Sen ator Chas. Halvorson, Dawson, also spoke. Mr. Rachie then announced that the friends of the bill desired no further time and insistei upon early action by the committee. The opposition claiming that they needed additional time to present their views, adjourn ment was taken to Friday, the Bth inst. at 2 o’clock. SENATE KILLS COUNTY OPTION BILL. The Senate Temperance committee, by a vote of eight to one, recommend ed that the Senate county option bill be indefinitely postponed. Senator Elwell made a minority report. Senator Campbell, chairman of the Temper ance committee, moved the adoption of the majority report. Senator Thorpe moved the adoption of the minority report as a substitute. The motion was lost by 23 to 47 and the majority report was then adopted. If this item is marked with a blue pencil, your subscription expiree with this number. Please favor us a prompt renewal. One and two-cent postage stamps accepted. If you paid your own subscription your paper will be con tinued until arrearages, if any. are paid and an order to stop is received by us. If your paper is a gift from a friend, it will be stopped at expiration, unless re newed. NO. 3.