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ing of civic consciousness which is essential to properly carrying out a system of civic advance.
The trouble is we are too discouraged when we do not carry our cities for some reform movement. Failing in that, we fall back into a comatose state until the next election. The failure of good men and citizens to
shoulder up to an administration, to which they were "Shouldering opposed politically, is as foolish as a business man Up"
who makes an investment and does not watch that in
vestment. One hundred good men shouldering up to any administration will create an atmosphere for clean things which must make for better government. The criticism that “ men of high ideals are so far in advance of the average voter that the voter cannot observe them for the dust the man of high ideals makes” has in it a lesson for us. Through ward organization for civic advance and education the average voter can be brought to these higher ideals.
My thought then for the future is. First: To get at the foundation of our civic unrighteousness by a process of introspection. See how bad we are. Second: Because an administration is not sympathetic is no reason why citizens should stand off and throw stones. Third: Organize our forces for civic advance on the same broad lines, which touch the lives of all the people, which have been so successful in holding our municipalities down through so-called practical politics. Instead use the good methods of the common enemy (for they are many) against the enemies of civic advance.
Pardon this long letter. It is written out of the experience of many bitter defeats, and the hope that we may continue the splendid work so ably carried on by the National Municipal League.
An adjournment was taken to 2.30 p. m.
THURSDAY AFTERNOON SESSION.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1909. The sixth session met pursuant to adjournment, Hon. William Dudley Foulke, of Richmond, Ind., in the chair.
The Chairman introduced Mr. Rufus E. Miles, Director of the Cincinnati Bureau of Municipal Research, whose paper on “ Municipal Research to Date" is printed in the Appendix.
The CHAIRMAN: In continuation of this same subject we will have another paper on the subject of “The Boston Finance Commission,” a body the work of which is quite similar in character to that of the Bureau of Municipal Research in New York. I have the pleasure of introducing Mr. Harvey N. Shepard, of Boston, Mass., Lecturer on Municipal Government in the Boston University who will speak on this subject.
Mr. Shepard's address appears in the Appendix.
THE CHAIRMAN: The next paper is on “The Commission Form of Government to Date" by Dr. Ernest S. Bradford, Washington, D. C.
For Dr. Bradford's paper see the Appendix.
(Aside from his paper the speaker remarked that any one who has an idea that this is a “fad” will be convinced that there is something in it when he sees what great confidence the business men have in this commission plan in various cities in Texas, as can be ascertained by going there and talking with the citizens).
THE CHAIRMAN: The next paper is on the subject of “The Home Rule Law for Cities in Michigan." I have the pleasure of introducing Hon. Guy A. Miller, of Detroit, Member of the Michigan House of Representatives, who will read a paper on that subject. [Applause.)
Hon. GUY A. MILLER, Detroit, Mich.: In listening to the papers read at this convention I realize that I have learned probably a great deal more than I can tell you. I have been struck chiefly by the fact that in Michigan we have had but very few of the evils to contend with that the cities in other parts of the country have. I might say that there are two cities in the state which are considering the question of adopting the commission form of government, namely, Kalamazoo and Port Huron.
Mr. Miller's paper is to be found in the Appendix.
THE CHAIRMAN: The final paper along this line will be upon the subject of “The Paine Law in Ohio," and will be delivered by Mr. John R. Schindel, of Cincinnati. (Applause.)
MR. SCHINDEL: The purpose of my paper is to describe chiefly the provisions of the Paine Law, under which on January 1st, next all the cities of Ohio will be governed; but as that law is not in itself a complete charter, in order to understand its provisions it will be necessary briefly to outline the law out of which it grew, and of which it is an amendment; and in doing that, to briefly state the condition which gave rise to its predecessor, the so-called Municipal Code of 1902.
Mr. Schindel's paper is printed in the Appendix.
The CHAIRMAN: The reading of the papers is now concluded. If there is any discussion that is desired of the paper on the Boston Finance Commission by Mr. Shepard, we would be very glad to hear from any of the members present, in speeches of not over five minutes each.
MR. DEMING: I should like to ask Mr. Shepard if he is willing to give us a short statement, such as he is capable of doing, of the actual powers of municipalities in Massachusetts to grant franchises to public service corporations; and the reason I ask that is, because among the other glories of Massachusetts they claim there to have invented the indeterminate franchise, so called because it is terminable at the will of the people of the town through whose streets the cars run. I have a suspicion that that is not exactly the way it works out. I would like to hear from Mr. Sheppard what the facts are.
MR. SHEPARD: I will try to reply to that very briefly. Nearly all the franchises for our public utilities are granted and fixed by the legislature.
The city of Boston, for instance, is now occupied Boston
by the Boston Elevated Railroad. That charter was Franchises granted by the legislature. It fixed the streets within
which the railway is to run. It fixed the term for which it is to occupy the conduits, the sub-way, and the tunnel. It provided for the building of the sub-way and tunnel by a special commission appointed in part by the mayor of the city and in part by the governor of the state. It fixes the rate of fare to be charged, which cannot be changed, it having become a contract, being accepted by the corporation.
There is exactly the same situation as to the gas company and as to the electric light company; in fact, so far as Boston is concerned, and nearly the whole of the eastern part of the commonwealth, the people of the several localities have no jurisdiction whatever in the matter of public utilities. They are all under charters especially granted by the legislature. It was the law that the people of the different localities could grant franchises that are revocable at their will, but that has been entirely rendered nugatory by the special charters granted by the legislature which occupy nearly the entire field in Boston, and in other parts of the commonwealth.
THE CHAIRMAN: The time has now come for the adjournment of this convention. It is to be hoped that as many as possible, encouraged by the success of the convention that has been held here will attend the next and future conventions of the National Municipal League.
Is there any further business before the meeting? If not, I will now declare the convention adjourned.
The meeting adjourned accordingly, sine die.