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was brought strongly into view. Still with hope the designing

politicians threw all of their strength for this Election of

candidate for whom at all other times they Alexander

would have had absolutely no use, but their one great desire was to break up the recall at whatever cost.

Mayor Alexander was elected by a small majority, but this was accounted for by the fact that a very large percentage of the voters were so certain of his election that they did not take the trouble to go to the polls. Since that time Mayor Alexander has filled the office with satisfaction, and is now a candidate for re-election under the new direct primary laws.

It is only after events have taken place that one can look back and consider. At the time of the last recall election a great hue and cry was raised that it would hurt business, and disgrace Los Angeles in the eyes of the world by having its polluted condition exposed.

Such argument is simply nonsense, and it would be just as sensible for a surgeon to sew up a gangrene wound, thus leaving the patient to suffer, and undoubtedly die, as it would have been to cover up the maladministration of Mayor Harper and his commissioners.

The sooner the citizens of a municipality realize that whenever a condition of affairs exist such as did in Los Angeles, they should take hold and clean the Augean stables, then the better off will be our municipal life, and therefore the more healthy and more happy.

There is one feature about the recall which if put into practice in the other cities of the United States must be very carefully considered, and that is the percentage of votes necessary to call an election.

Upon inquiry from Mr. Charles Dwight Willard, so well and favorably known, and who had direct charge of securing the necessary petition, I discovered that it was with great difficulty that 25 per cent of the necessary votes was obtained. It is a strange thing, but there are hundreds of business men who, while

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Mayor Alexander was subsequently triumphantly renominated and re-elected Mayor.-EDITOR.

they feel that the officer who is impeached ought to be removed,

will not openly approve of the same, and refuse Percentage to sign such a petition. Required for

They are afraid of course that it will hurt Recall

their business, or reflect to their personal disadvantage, and it was only after the most arduous effort by a corps of exceedingly efficient workers that the necessary percentage to bring about the last recall in Los Angeles was obtained. When the petition was filed, it was found to have about 33 per cent., the managers taking no chances.

One of the fiercest arguments that has been used against the recall was that the percentage in the case of Los Angeles was too small, and that it was not sufficiently numerically representative to bring about such a contest, and thus put the city to considerable expense, but as stated above if it had been necessary to obtain fifty or even forty per cent. the recall of Mayor Harper would have been absolutely impossible.

It is necessary to base the percentage upon the population of a city. In the smaller towns it would not be difficult to obtain thirty or even forty per cent of the necessary vote, but when it comes to populations of over 100,000, it would be impractical to have it more than 25 per cent., and naturally as the population increases, the percentage must decrease. It is very doubtful that if the recall were to be used in cities of over 500,000 population, that 20 per cent. could be secured, and I have heard it authoritatively predicted that it would be difficult to obtain even 10 per cent.

Now if the recall can be successfully used in Los Angeles, why can it not likewise be placed in the hands of the voters of other cities? All that is needed is an awakening, and the proper moving spirits to put it into tangible shape. I would venture the opinion that if the recall were in the city charters of the cities of the United States, political corruption would diminish 50 per cent.

In nearly every case the citizenship of a community will sooner or later come to the rescue when it is necessary, and if the recall is available it will come the sooner. In addition, it gives the citizen a feeling of safety as well as of power, and makes him

believe that after all he has some say in his own government. It brings him into closer touch with the development and growth of the city in which he lives, and consequently makes him take a greater interest in maintaining a standard of civic decency.

Los Angeles would no more think of giving up its recall than it would of discarding its present charter and going back to the government of the old pueblo days. It is here to stay, and nothing can ever take it away. It has meant everything to our civic betterment, and now that the people once, and even thrice have tasted the fruits of victory, controlling directly the acts of city officials by elective franchise, the very last thought would be to give up the recall which is our constant protection against corrupt, dishonest and inefficient civic government.

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Referenda in Massachusetts, 1776-1907.

Dr. EDWARD M. HARTWELL,
Secretary Statistics Department, City of Boston.

Although referendum is a borrowed term which has gained currency in our political vocabulary only recently, it has long been customary for the Legislature of Massachusetts to refer questions to the voters both of the Commonwealth and of the individual municipalities. Such questions fall mostly into three principal classes, viz, (1) general referenda, on matters relating to the constitution of the state government; (2) special referenda, relating either to the charters or charter amendments of cities, or to the acceptance of other special acts; and (3) recurrent referenda whereby, in accordance with the Revised Laws, each city and town is annually called upon to vote yes or no upon the question of licensing the sale of intoxicants within its borders.

Because the main purpose of this paper is to determine the character and extent of the interest shown by the voters of the State in the three score or more questions that have been referred to them since 1775, I shall not attempt to discuss referenda of the second and third classes, whose numbers run into the hundreds, although certain of them must needs be mentioned in outlining the record of the voters of Boston as regards electoral contests and referenda respectively.

In attempting to measure the interest of the electorate and the significance of the votes cast upon the referenda under review,

I have adopted two criteria: (1) the percentage Criteria

of the total vote upon a given question to the Adopted

total vote cast for governor of the State in the same year; and (2) the percentage of the major vote upon a given question to the total vote upon that question. However, owing to the inadequacy of the records, whether in print or manuscript, all members of the series of general referenda cannot be satisfactorily tested by either criterion. Much less is it possible to state, in respect to referenda submitted before 1890, what proportion of the registered voters actually voted for governor on a referendum in a given year.

I shall not attempt the tedious task of citing my authorities; but it may be noted that in gathering the data here brought together it has been necessary to search the original records in the archives of Massachusetts and of Boston, most of which have not been printed, while many of them are not only widely scattered but are also confused and meagre. Such being the case, it seems best to forbear attempting to tabulate the facts regarding referenda submitted by the Legislature prior to the year 1780, when the Constitution of Massachusetts was adopted and the first election of a governor by the people occurred.

During the interregnum 1774-1780, the government of Massachusetts was provisional and somewhat anomalous in character; and naturally enough appeals of the law-givers to the people to signify their wishes and opinions were unusually frequent and direct.

The government of the Province or Colony of Massachusetts Bay, which was dissolved by the breaking-out of the Revolution in 1775, had consisted of a governor, appointed by the Crown, a lieutenant-governor, a general court or house of representatives chosen by the towns, and a council chosen by the house of representatives with the approval of the governor.

Gen. Gage, the last royal governor (who had issued writs on September 1, 1774, for an election, by the towns and districts, of members of a General Court to be convened at Salem on October 5th), on September 28, 1774, issued a proclamation discharging the members-elect from attending. But some ninety representatives assembled at Salem and, on October 7th, resolved themselves into a Provincial Congress. This first congress dissolved on December 10, 1774, after calling on the Towns

to elect as many members as to them shall seem necessary and expedient to represent them in a Provincial Congress February 1, 1775." This second congress, in which 187 towns (169 in Massachusetts, and 18 in Maine) were represented by 216 members, was dissolved on May 29, 1775, at Watertown, where the Third Provincial Congress convened on May 31, 1775.

The Second Provincial Congress had sent "an application to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia for obtaining their recommendation for this Colony to take up and exercise Civil Government."

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