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San Francisco has taken a great step forward within the last year. From a wicked and corrupt administration, well up in the first rank of all cities which have Indulged in that direction, it has advanced, to quote a thoughtful observer, to the other extreme of an almost ideal administration. The entire board of supervisors and the mayor of the city are now beyond reproach; and the city has men engaged in its affairs who could not have been induced to take the positions except for the support of a full body of good men working together, and from the genuine patriotism aroused by the previous corrupt administrations. May this spirit of patriotism and self-sacrifice continue until it becomes the established practice of the community.

San Francisco

San Francisco has a huge undertaking, however, to reestablish upon a really high plane a government which has been so thoroughly run down; and much time will be required to work out its salvation. If, however, its competent men are willing to place the community's interests above their own and will con

candidate secured 15,294 votes and the democratic candidate 17,728. Judge Lindsey's plurality was 14,272 and he came within 1022 of polling as many votes as his two opponents together. If the 3000 scratched ballots intended for him and thrown out as defective had been counted, he would have had more votes than his opponents.

Judge Lindsey's campaign lasted but three weeks. It was a lively one, culminating on election day with "his" boys at every precinct working for him. The judge refused to permit any organized work by the youngsters, but there was no stopping them. "The kids were everywhere," he writes. "It was mighty interesting to see these boys, particularly the bright Jewish boys, standing on a box talking to a crowd of factory operatives at the noon hour, telling them how to scratch their tickets."

Politicians had declared that the judge had no chance of election, not only on account of the organized opposition of both parties, but because of the difficulty of scratching the Colorado ballot. But it did not work out that way. It might be surmised, as one observer put the case, that ballot scratching which can be explained in public by boys is not—at any rate, it ought not to be-beyond the intelligence of a voter. Judge Lindsey was given a hearing in the churches and the women's clubs. Both helped him, but he was elected, he believes, by the votes of men and women who knew his work either through its results in their own families, or in the families of friends and neighbors. His term of office is for four years from January 1, 1909.—EDITOR.

tinue in the course they have already begun, there can be no question as to what the results will be. Already there is difficulty experienced in securing, in the various subordinate places, men of an equally high type. The various commissioners' terms of office expire but one at a time, and year by year; so that they are replaced only gradually. It will therefore be some time before they are placed on so high a plane as the legislative branch of the government.

Los Angeles continues to afford interesting and encouraging experiences. The most notable of the last year has been the effort to secure a new charter. The present one is somewhat outgrown, although containing many excellent features. It was proposed to substitute a new charter for the present measure; and the mayor accordingly appointed a committee representing the various commercial, civic and industrial organizations, to draft one. In order that it might be made effective during the coming session of the legislature, this committee requested the city council to call an election of fifteen freeholders for the formal presentation of the new charter to the public. One of the provisions of the new charter was the election of councilmen at large, instead of by wards. This did not meet the approval of the council; and they declined to call an election. This apparently put a quietus upon the plan for a new charter; but as there is a constitutional provision in the state that a certain percentage of voters may present amendments to a city charter and that the calling of an election to ratify the same is mandatory upon the city council, the Municipal League came to the rescue of the Charter Commission and secured sufficient signatures for the calling of such an election, at which a series of important amendments will be voted upon. If these amendments carry, the city will be in pretty good shape, as the more important reforms will be achieved. The amendments proposed are:

Los Angeles

(1) Increasing the powers of the city and providing for the ownership and operation of municipal gas and electric plants; the construction and operation of conduits, railroads, steam and electric, and providing for the disposal of surplus water and electric power to other municipal corporations; to acquire and construct and operate public wharves, docks, piers, etc., at San Pedro Harbor.

(2) To prevent the sale by the city of any public wharf, dock, railroad, canal, conduit, water, gas or electric system or any public utility now or hereafter owned without the assent of twothirds of the qualified voters.

(3) Providing that the bed of the Los Angeles River, which passes through the center of the city, shall never be sold, leased or alienated in any way, but the whole thereof shall be kept at all times for municipal purposes.

(4) Providing for the election of councilmen at large instead of by wards.

(5) An article defining the powers of the Board of Public Works with reference to the Owens River Aqueduct.

(6) Providing for direct primary elections in the city of Los Angeles.

(7) Giving the mayor power to veto contracts involving the payment of more than $500.00.

(8) Providing for the bonding of city employees.

This concludes the annual survey of municipal events. It must be admitted that, taken by and large, it presents grounds for reasonable encouragement. The municipal millennium is not at hand; but the developments which we find on every side are such as to justify the expectation that the cities of the country are rapidly freeing themselves from the opprobrium that they were the worst governed municipalities in the world.

Charter Tendencies in Recent Years.

By PROFESSOR JOHN A. FAIRLIE,1
University of Michigan.

It was ten years ago, at the Indianapolis meeting of the National Municipal League, that the League's Committee on Municipal Program, made its report presenting a plan for constructive legislation for the betterment of municipal government in the United States. It is my task to sketch the general tendencies that appear in municipal legislation in the United States mainly since that report was presented, indicating the application of the principles of the League's program and also the development in other directions. For this purpose it seems best to consider first the methods of formulating and enacting such legislation and later the substantive changes in the organization of municipal government, the scope of municipal powers and the regulation of franchises and municipal accounts.

In spite of numerous prohibitions and restrictions on special legislation in state constitutions, ten years ago city government in this country was still regulated in the main by special acts of the state legislatures. Even where general laws were required, by the device of classification legislation for all cities of importance in practice applied to individual cities, and was subject to frequent and often arbitrary changes. In four statesMissouri, California, Washington and (after 1896) Minnesotasome cities had power to adopt their own charters of government; but even in these states but few cities had made use of this power.

Methods of
Legislation

The Municipal Program proposed a series of constitutional provisions establishing certain general principles, and a general municipal corporations act applicable alike to all cities, and

'Member, Michigan Constitutional Convention, 1908.-EDITOR.

authorized cities of over 25,000 population to frame and adopt their own charters subject to the constitution and general laws of the state.

During the past decade there has been enacted a vast volume of additional municipal legislation, by various methods, special acts of the state legislature have continued, and form the greatest bulk of this legislation, while for the largest cities special legislation is still the general system. But even in regard to special legislation the principle of home rule has come to be more generally recognized; and most of the special acts have been passed as the result of local initiative and sometimes as the outcome of organized action in the local community. The greater New York charter of 1897 and the revision of 1901 were framed by local commissions; and special legislation in that state must under the constitution of 1894, be submitted to the city authorities and if disapproved must be repassed by the legislature. Special legislation for Chicago, authorized by an amendment to the Illinois Constitution, is subject to a local referendum; and the general revision of the city charter submitted in 1907 was prepared by a local convention. The general revision of the charter of Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1905, was the result of local discussion and was formulated by the local authorities. And the recent special acts establishing the "commission plan" of city government in Texas cities have been due to the local efforts of the cities.

Growth of
Municipal
Home Rule

On the other hand there have also been some striking cases of special legislation enacted by secret and political influences without the knowledge or consent of the local communities. The "ripper bills" for Detroit, Pittsburg and other Pennsylvania cities in 1901, and the amendments to the Philadelphia charter in 1905 are notable instances. But these have been on the whole exceptional; and the antagonism aroused by this procedure make it seem probable that such methods are not likely to be repeated often in the future.

More significant has been the increased number of city charters framed and adopted by the cities themselves under provisions of the state constitutions. To the four states previously author

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