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Another important phase of the municipal problem was taken up and considered in a broad, comprehensive and discriminating way by a group of men who have given earnest and thoughtful attention to the subject, namely, The Relation of the Liquor Question to the Municipal Problem. The treatment of this difficult and complicated phase of city life was by municipal experts from the municipal point of view.
A suggestive discussion was had in the matter of municipal health and sanitation by engineers and sanitarians and the control of public utilities was considered from the point of view of those who have been actively identified with the more recent experiments of state control in Massachusetts, New York and Wisconsin.
The Bureau of Municipal Research idea was thoroughly exploited, not only by officers of the Bureau, but by those who have been giving city finances and budgets thoughtful attention for many years. The development of interest in this particular phase of city work has been most encouraging and most gratifying to the League in view of the very considerable amount of study and investigation which it has given since 1900 to municipal accounting and reporting.
The old and yet ever new question of militant citizenship came in for fresh treatment at the hands of those who are actually engaged on the firing line. No panaceas were offered; but a very considerable amount of fresh experience was brought out which cannot but prove helpful to those who are actually engaged in putting into force and effect the principles for which the League stands.
Taken all in all, the present volume of Proceedings represents a very important addition to the literature on municipal improvement and will no doubt prove, as its predecessors already have, suggestive and helpful in a high degree.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FOURTEENTH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE NATIONAL MUNICIPAL LEAGUE
SIXTEENTH NATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR GOOD CITY GOVERNMENT
IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE
AMERICAN CIVIC ASSOCIATION,
November 16, 17, 18 and 19, 1908.
MONDAY AFTERNOON SESSION.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, Monday, November 16, 1908, 3 p.m.
THE first session of the convention, which was a joint meeting with the American Civic Association, was called to order in the Chamber of Commerce at 3 p.m. on November 16, by J. Horace McFarland, of Harrisburg, President of the American Civic Association and a member of the Executive Committee of the National Municipal League.
THE CHAIRMAN: The joint session of the National Municipal League and the American Civic Association opens this afternoon with a welcome first to be extended to these organizations by your distinguished townsman and our fellow member, Mayor George W. Guthrie. [Applause.]
MAYOR GUTHRIE: Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: As I have been so long connected with the work of the National Municipal League, it would seem of becoming modesty in me to refrain somewhat from laudatory references to its work. But on an occasion of this kind I feel that I am justified in speaking to you from the citizens of Pittsburgh and saying to you what they know of your work, how much they appreciate what you have done in the past, what your sacrifices of your personal convenience have meant to you, and to thank you in the name of civic improvement
and of humanity for what you have done. The work which has been done in the past in calling public attention to the deficiencies in municipal government, to the failure to meet those needs of the people for which civic governments were established, of the means to rectify these deficienciesall these things have been helpful, and we believe that with the garnered experience of the years past you will be able now and in the future to give continual assistance in this line of work.
There is in the city of Pittsburgh today a living, powerful sentiment working for civic betterment. The people are conscious of what they lack, they have awakened to what they can get, and I believe there is a strong determination among them to secure it. Civic administration has too long been simply or largely a matter of political favor or of disbursements more or less recklessly of a certain sum of money annually and the distribution of favor and franchises. The people know now that that is not the purpose of city government; that the true, just purpose of city government is to make the lives of the people in our congested community safe, healthy, happy; giving them an opportunity to develop and to grow, and to free and protect them from those evils which necessarily follow from great centers of congestion unless the matter is properly directed and controlled by city government. No other power is sufficient. Individual effort is powerless. Aggregated individual effort, unless backed by the power of the state, is helpless to protect the people and give them what they ought to have. Believing this, we welcome you here on this occasion. We wish you continued prosperity and success in your work. We hope that your stay with us will be pleasant, and that it will be what you most earnestly hope for, beneficial in promoting those great objects for which you have been organized.
Sentiment for Civic
I won't go through the sham of extending to you the liberties of the city. You know as I do, that you come here of right, as every good citizen has
a right to go to any city in the pursuit of pleasure or business, or any other lawful purpose, and I therefore have no patience with the sham of imitation of an Old World's custom, which has no place with us. I know that you would rather be here as of right than as of favor, but I feel that I can say to you from the people of Pittsburgh that you are welcome among them, that their hearts and their hospitalities are open to you, that they are ready to hear from you, and that with all their hearts they wish you health, happiness and success in your great work. [Applause.]
The Liberties of the City
THE CHAIRMAN: We are the guests, not only of the city of Pittsburgh, but of the institution housing us at this minute, the Chamber of Commerce, and we are now to listen to some words of welcome from Mr. Lee S. Smith, its efficient president. [Applause.]