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Arizona sentinel Yuma southwest. [volume] (Yuma, Ariz.) 1915-1916, June 10, 1915, Image 1

Image and text provided by Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records; Phoenix, AZ

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn95060877/1915-06-10/ed-1/seq-1/

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O Ex-President Roosevelt, in re- O
O ply o the following article, which O
O appeared in' the May issue'Of the O
O "Irrigation Age' of Chicago, ex- O
O pressed a genuine interest in the O
O facts disclosed by the Yuma con- O
O tributor and stated that in the O
O unlikely event that he were ever O
O called upon to do so, it -would be O
O his great delight to order a O.
O thorough investigation ' of 'Mr. O
O Newell and others. Editor. . O
oooooooood ooooaoo
Of Somerton, Ariz., Chairman of the
Executive Committee of the Na
tional Federation of Water
Users' Associations
About the time Secretary of the
Interior Lane announced that he had
retired Frederick H. Newell as direc
tor of the United States Reclamation
Service, Col. Theodore Roosevelt
wrote a letter commendatory of Mi
Newell. This was used in connection
with a letter by Gifford Pinchot, in
what apr eared to be the opening gun
of a publicity campaign to maks .Mr
Newell appear to be a martyr and
porhaps so arouse the ignorant public
in the east as to force his restoration
to office. The editor of the Federal
Water Users' department of the Irri
gation Age promptly wrote a letter
to Colonel Roosevelt pleading with
him not to become a party to any
movement which would bring harm
to the settlers on the federal irrigation
projects. The letter was given to the
press and obtained sufficient circula
tion to halt with a quick turn the Mr.
Newell martyr publicity campaign.
Col. Roosevelt asked for more infor
mation. The editor of this department
asked several prominent water users
to write to him. One of the strongest
documents sent to Col. Roosevelt wa
the subjoined .letter, by Earl B. Smitlt,
chairman ,of the' executive, committee
of the National Federation, of. Water
Users' Associations:
Somerton, Yuma Co., Ariz., 3-20-15.
Col. Theodore Roosevelt; Oyster Bay.
Dear Mr. Roosevelt: I am In re
ceipt of a letter from oeorge J. Schar
chug (Irrigation Age), in whicb he
T received a reply to my letter to
Col. Roosevelt, concerning F. 11.
Newellrsdme time" ago: - -
"As 'you may recall In my letter
fto 'Col, Roosevelt, I mentioned the
fact that one water user had .a copy
of the report of the water users' hear
ing before Secretary Lane.
"Col. Roosevelt expressed a desire
to see this report or portions in it.
If you have the time, therefore, I will
appreciate it if you will give Colonel
Hoosevelt some extracts from the re-
1 port as it concerns the settlers' feel
ings toward Mr. Newell's lack of ap
preciation of the human side of the
federal irrigation proDeim," etc.
The report is 3,334 pages of type
written matter covering 17 days of
the conference, therefore I deem it un
desirable for me" to burdeir-you-witli
so great a volume. To send you ex
tracts as suggested would involve
great labor and if attempted, I proba
bly could not do it in a manner to
relieve your mind from doubt that my
extracting would be free from bias.
Nevertheless I feel it is- only a justice
to you and a duty to those I represent
to comply with your wishes in the
most practical manner possible. 1
cannot part with the record, as it may
be required in evidence, but it is an
open book, always, for examination, to
any one interested.
The controversy is not political, nor
is it of a personal nature against Mr..
Newell, but relate? to his official pol
icy, hi3 official irresponsibility, his
professional incapacity, and his habits
of deception covering a period of more
than ten years. The National Feder
ation of Water Users' Association
was formed to compare notes and to
ascertain if the experiences of set
tlers on all the projects were the same
and they were found to be so and to
devise means of correction. This lat
ter is the delegated duty of the exec
utive committee.
Knowing that Mr. Newell was a
appointee of yourself and that you
have yet confidence in him, I deem it
best to give you data rather than the
language of the' complaints founded
on the data, for you can then judge
for yourself as to the merits of the
controversy. Therefore, I will give
you some data regarding my own pro
ject, on which I live and on which
I owh and operate an 8Q-acre ranch,
bat what I say will substantially tell
the story of practically all the pro
jects. Tunta project: 35,000 aores public
and 53,000 private land. Surveys com
pleted early in 1904. ' Great and last
ing opposition to government irriga
tion as against private proposals and
many meetings held to discuss rela
tive merits. Fear of red tape and
long delay is great objection. New
ell attended at least one of these meet
ings and explained the law and ex
plained it correctly as to the estimateu
coat and what we should have to pay,
aad when and how, etc. Ho told the
meeting that it would be completed
within two years, and it was expressly
stated- that two years did not mean
two or three years but "within two
years." With those assurances the
government's proposition was votedto
be accepted.
Then our Water Users' Association
wrote an official letter of inquiry as
to details, and -cost, fcr the purpose
of having in writing the understanding
verbally agreed upon at the meetings
to' which Mr. Neweli iiiaao a prompt
reply covering everything very satis
factorily, except as to the time of
completion, which was never after
ward stated in writing, but his -word
at the meetings was deemed to be
satisfactory. This correspondence
was mutually deemed to be a contract
or understanding upon which we sure
could rely, and in subscribing our
lands td the lien for the payment we
thereby bound our lands of record to
such Hen rs a first mortgage. Our
confidence in the contract was backed
up by reliance on the plain provisions
of the Reclamation law, whereby wo
were required to return t the Recla
mation fund the estimated cost,
$3 000,000, or about $35 per acre, and
as we had the estimate made directly
to us, and as such estimate had ac
tually been returned to Congress as
the law provided, we felt perfectly
satisfied that we knew what we were
doing as a business proposition.
Now let us look upon the subsequent
development. Work started in the
fall of 1904. Five years afterward
(Nov. 1909) only Laguna dam -was
completed at a cost of $3,497 686.40,
or nearly half a million over the total j
estimate. (See senate committee's
report No. 1281, 1911, page 774.) On
same page the work is reported as
70 per cent completed. After four
more years work, Involving an addi
tional expenditure of about $3,000,000,
the Reclamation Record (I think the
August, 1913, issue) reported the pro
ject 64 per cent completed or a net
Iocs of about 6 per cent in completion.
Today-,- March; 1915, the Record shows
about 74 per cent completed and a
few weeks ago Director Arthur P.
Davis reported to the subcommittee
of the house on appropriations that the
revised construction cost aa of De
cember, 1914, is $11,715,000.
'December 24, 1912 Mr. NewelLmade . .
an address in the opera house at
Yuma1 (I was present), in which he
stated that "probably no one in the
audience would live long enough to
see the Yuma project completed," and
I guess he was right.
I now call your attention to Mr.
Newell's remarks found in the second
annual report of the Reclamation Ser
vice (a copy of which I examined in
the Congressional library in Washing
ton out of print I cannot give you
the page), in which he stated that the
provision of the law regarding the
estimated cost was a very wise pro
vision for the reason that it put every
thing on a business basis. (I quote
this only from memory.) But it
serves to show that the law was con
strued at that time by Mr. Newell him
self that the charges must be accord
ing to the etsimates reported to Con
gress. That was about 1904 or 1905.
On Feb. 1, 1909, Mr. Newell promul
gated an entirely different doctrine
regarding the "estimated cost," in his
booklet of "Questions and Answers
wherein on page 38 we find the follow
ing: "90 Q. How aro the charges of the
water right determined? A. These
are fixed as required by the law ac
cording to the estimated cost of the
construction of the worKs.
"91 Q. When will the cost of the;
water right be announced? A. The
public notice by Section 4 of this act
will be Issued before water is ready
for delivery, and when the work- is:
sufficiently advanced to make an ac
curate estimate of the cost."
This astounding information that
the estimated cost means the total
amount that is expended, showed us

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