Story of the Session of the California Legislature of 1909
by Franklin Hichborn
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Story of the Session of the California Legislature of 1909

by Franklin Hichborn

The well-being of the State requires that the opponents to the machine in Senate and Assembly, regardless of party label, organize the Legislature. But back of this is the even more important requirement that there be elected to the Legislature American citizens, with the responsibility of their citizenship upon them, rather than partisans, burdened, until their good purposes are made negative, by the responsibility of their partisanship.

San Francisco Press of The James H. Barry Company 1909



I. Breaking Ground II. Organization of the Senate III. Organization of the Assembly IV. The Machine in Control V. Election of United States Senator VI. The Anti-Racetrack Gambling Bill VII. Passage of the Anti-Racetrack Gambling Bill VIII. The Direct Primary Bill IX. The Machine Defeated in the Senate X. Fight Over the Assembly Amendments XI. Machine Amends Direct Primary Bill XII. The Railroad Regulation Issue XIII. Machine Defeats the Stetson Bill XIV. Railroad Measures XV. Defeat of the Commonwealth Club Bills XVI. How the Change of Venue Bill Was Passed XVII. Passage of the Wheelan Bills XVIII. Defeat of the Local Option Bill XIX. Defeat of the Initiative Amendment XX. Defeat of the Anti-Japanese Bills XXI. The Rule Against Lobbying XXII. The Machine Lobbyist at Work XXIII Influence of the San Francisco Delegation XXIV. Attacks on and Defense of the Fish Commission XXV. The Rewarding of the Faithful XXVI. The Holdover Senators XXVII. The Retiring Senators XXVIII. Conclusion Appendix Tables of Votes Postal Direct Primary Dr. Montgomery's Report The Anti-Japanese Resolution


In writing the Story of the Session of the California Legislature of 1909, the purpose has been, not only to show what was done at Sacramento last Winter, but, what is by far more important, how it was done. To this end, the several measures are divided under three heads, namely, those dealing with moral, with political and with industrial issues. Instead of scattering on all the measures introduced, or even a considerable part of them, the principal issue of each group, that which meant the most to The People, and upon which the machine centered its efforts, has been selected for detailed consideration. On the score of the moral issues, the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill has been taken as the most important; while the Direct Primary bill is dealt with as the chief political issue, and the railroad regulation measures as involving the chief industrial issue. The story of the fight over these bills is the story of the session of 1909. The events attending the passage of the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill, the amendment of the Direct Primary bill, and the defeat of the Stetson Railroad Regulation bill, with the attending incident of the passage of the Wright Railroad bill, show, as nothing else can, how the machine controls and manipulates a Legislature - and such is the purpose of this little volume.

The efforts of justice-loving men to simplify the criminal codes, to the end that rich and poor alike may have equal opportunity in the trial courts - not in theory alone but in fact - and the successful efforts of the machine to block this reform, have made detailed consideration of the defeat of the Commonwealth Club bills and the passage of the Wheelan bills, and the so-called Change of Venue bill timely. And the story of these measures illustrates again how the machine element defeats the purpose of The People, and overrides what are the constitutional rights - and should be rights in fact - of every American citizen.

Measures which involved no particular contest between the good government and the machine forces - measures patched up by interested parties and slipped through the Legislature without opposition and generally without comment - although many of them of great importance, are not touched upon. The histories of those selected for consideration show the machine, or if you like, the system, at its work of passing undesirable measures, and of blocking the passage of good measures. If the Story of the Session of the California Legislature of 1909 assist the citizens of California to understand how this is done; if it give them that knowledge of the weakness, the strength, the purposes, and the affiliations of the Senators and Assemblymen who sat in the Legislature of 1909, a knowledge of which the machine managers have had heretofore a monopoly; if it point the way for a new method of publicity to crush corruption and to promote reform - a way which others better prepared for the work than I, may, in California and even in other States, follow - the labor of preparing this volume for the press will have been justified.

Franklin Hichborn.

Santa Clara, Cal., July 4, 1909.

Chapter I.

Breaking Ground.

Although the Reform Element had a Majority in Both Senate and Assembly, Good Bills Were Defeated, and Vicious Measures Passed - Three Reasons for This: (1) Reform Element Was Without Plan of Action, (2) Was Without Organization; (3) The Machine Was Permitted to Organize Both Senate and Assembly.

The personnel of the California Legislature of 1909, was, all things considered, better than that of any other Legislature that has assembled in California in a decade or more. There were, to be sure, in both Senate and Assembly men who were constantly on the wrong side of every question affecting the moral, political or industrial well-being of the State, but a majority of each House labored for the passage of good laws, laws which would not only silence and satisfy constituents, but prove effective and accomplish the purpose for which they had been drawn. Just as earnestly as they worked for the passage of good laws, a majority of the members of the Senate as well as a majority of the members of the Assembly opposed the passage of vicious measures, and of measures ostensibly introduced to work needed reform but drawn in such a manner as to be, from a practical standpoint, ineffective.

And yet, regardless of the purpose of this majority, the so-called "Change of Venue" [1] bill was passed, and the "Judicial Column" bill, intended to take the Judiciary out of politics, was denied passage. The infamous "Wheelan bills," aimed at the complication of the Grand jury system, went through both Houses, while the Commonwealth Club bills, drawn to simplify the methods of criminal procedure, were held up and eventually defeated. The ineffective Wright Railroad Regulation bill became a law, while the Stetson Railroad measure effective as finally amended - was rejected. The provision in the Direct Primary bill for the selection of United States Senators by State-wide vote was stricken out, and the meaningless advisory, district vote plan substituted.

Certainly, the accomplishment of the Legislature does not line with the purpose of a majority of its members. The voter is naturally asking why the majority in both Houses standing for good legislation and opposing bad, accomplished so little; how it was that a minority, at practically every turn, defeated a majority.

There were three principal reasons for this outcome.

(1) The machine, as its name indicates, is a definite organization, with recognized leaders. The anti-machine element was without organization or recognized leaders.

(2) The reform-advocating majority, except in the anti-racetrack gambling fight, was without definite plan of action. The majority was, for example, for the passage of a direct primary law that would, first, take the control of politics out of the hands of political bosses big and little, and, second, give the people of California the privilege of naming their United States Senators, a privilege already enjoyed by the people of the more progressive States of the Union. But the reform element knew little or nothing of the details of direct primary legislation.

They were equally unprepared on other reform issues. They recognized the necessity of passing an effective railroad regulation law, for example, but had little or no conception of what the provisions of the measure should be. They recognized that the criminal laws cannot be impartially enforced against rich and poor alike until the methods of criminal procedure be simplified, put on a common sense basis. But even here they had no definite policy and when told by machine claquers that the proposed reforms were revolutionary, even the most insistent of the reform element were content to let the simplifying amendments to the codes die in committees or on the files.

On the other hand, the machine element, even before a member had reached Sacramento, had their work for the session carefully outlined. This session the bulk of the machine's work was negative; that is to say, with a majority in both houses opposed to machine policies, the machine recognized the difficulties of passing bad laws except by trick - and spent the session in amending good measures into ineffectiveness, or, where they could, in preventing their passage. Down to a comma the machine leaders knew what they wanted for a direct primary law, for an anti-racetrack gambling law, for a railroad regulation law. From the hour the Legislature opened until the gavels fell at the moment of adjournment the machine element labored intelligently and constantly, and as an organized working unit, to carry its ends. There were no false plays; no waste of time or energy; every move was calculated. By persistent hammering the organized machine minority was able to wear its unorganized opponents out.[2]

(3) The third reason for the failure of the reform majority is found in the fact that the minority was permitted to organize both Senate and Assembly. In the Assembly the machine element named the Speaker without serious opposition. The Speaker named the Assembly committees. It developed at the test that the important committees of the Assembly were, generally speaking, controlled by the machine.

The Lieutenant-Governor is, under the State Constitution, presiding officer of the Senate, under the title of President of the Senate. But the Senators elect the President pro tem., who, in the absence of the President, has the same power as the President. The reform element, although in the majority, permitted the election of Senator Edward I. Wolfe as President pro tem. Wolfe was admittedly leader of the machine element in the Senate. At critical times during the session, the fact that both the President and President pro tem. of the Senate were friendly to machine interests gave the machine great advantage over its anti-machine opponents.[3]

The reform majority in the Senate made the further mistake of leaving the appointment of the Senate committees in the hands of Lieutenant-Governor Warren Porter. Governor Porter flaunts his machine affiliations; is evidently proud of his political connections; indeed, in an address delivered before the students of the University of California, Porter advised his hearers to be "performers" in politics rather than "reformers." It was not at all surprising, then, that the Senate committees were appointed, not in the interest of the reform element, but of the machine. And yet, the reform element, being in the majority, could have taken the appointment of the committees out of Porter's hands. In the concluding chapter it will be shown there is ample precedent for such a course. But the reform element let the opportunity pass, and Warren Porter named the committees. Thus in both Senate and Assembly the strategic committee positions were permitted to fall into machine hands.

The importance of this on legislation can scarcely be over-estimated. Under the system in vogue in California, the real work of a legislative session is done in committee. When a bill is introduced in either House, it is at once referred to a committee. Until the committee reports on the measure no further action can be taken. Thus a committee can prevent the passage of a bill by deliberately neglecting to report it back to the main body.

When a measure passes either Senate or Assembly, it goes to the other House, and is once again referred to a committee. Again does the fate of the bill hang on committee action. Thus, every measure before it can pass the Legislature must, in the ordinary course of legislation, pass the scrutiny of two legislative committees, either one of which may delay its passage or even deny Senate or Assembly, or both, opportunity to act upon it.

To be sure, one of the rules of the Assembly of 1909 required that all bills referred to committees should be reported back within ten days, while the Senate rules provided that committees must act on bills referred to them as soon as "practicable," with the further provision that a majority vote of the Senate could compel a report on a bill at any time. But these rules were employed to little advantage. In the Assembly, for example, the Commonwealth Club bills, referred to the Judiciary Committee on January 15, were not acted upon by the committee at all. These bills, in spite of the ten days' rule, remained in the committee sixty-seven days. The Direct primary bill was held up in the Senate Committee on Election Laws from January 8 until February 16, and at that late day came out of the committee with practically unfavorable recommendation. It was noticeable that few, if any, important reform measures were given favorable recommendation by a Senate committee. Thus the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill, the Direct Primary bill, the Local Option bill, received the stamp of Senate committee disapproval. They were returned to the Senate with the recommendation that they do not pass. The same is largely true of the action of the Assembly Committees.[4]

If machine-controlled committees could delay action on reform measures, they could at the same time expedite the passage of bills which the machine element favored, or which had been amended to the machine's liking. Thus the Change of Venue bill, which reached the Senate on March 15, was returned from the Senate Judiciary Committee the day following, March 16, with the recommendation that it "do pass." The Wheelan bills reached the Senate on March 17, and were at once referred to the Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee that very day reported them back with favorable recommendation. Had they been delayed in the committee even 48 hours, their final passage would have been improbable.

Curiously enough, the Judiciary Committee was the one Senate committee whose members President Porter did not name. Following a time-honored custom, every attorney at law in the Senate was made a member of the committee. It so happened that ten of the nineteen lawyers in the Senate were on the side of reform as against machine policies, eight generally voted with the machine, while the nineteenth gave evidence of being in a state of chronic doubt. This gave the reform element a majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee. But President Porter had the naming of the chairman of the committee, and the order of the rank of its members. The Lieutenant-Governor's fine discrimination is shown by the fact that the Chairman of the Committee and the four ranking members were counted on the side of the machine.

The Assembly committees acted quite as expeditiously on measures which had passed the Senate in a form satisfactory to machine interests. Thus, the Wright Railroad Regulation bill, which reached the Assembly on March 12, was reported back to the Assembly by the Assembly Committee on Common Carriers the day following, March 13.

It will be seen that the reform majority unquestionably weakened its position by permitting the machine minority to organize the Legislature. This phase of the problem which confronts the State will be dealt with in the concluding chapter.

[1] One of the best witnesses to the viciousness of this measure is Governor Gillett, surely an unprejudiced observer. In giving his reasons for vetoing the bill, Governor Gillett said:

"I have several reasons for saying that I will veto the bill. One reason is that I have always been opposed to it. When I was in the Senate in 1897 I was against it and again in 1899 I fought it in the Judiciary Committee. Two years ago I ignored another such measure that had passed through the Legislature, so that I would not be living up to my policy of the past if I should sign this bill."

"But even if I had never had the opportunity to record my opposition on these different occasions, I should have vetoed the bill anyway, because it is a vicious bill. The bill is not a change of venue bill in the strict sense of the word. It simply gives the man on trial the right to disqualify the Judge on the ground of bias on the slightest pretext."

"The worst feature about the bill is that it grants this right to the accused after the jury has been secured. Why, if the defendant didn't like the adverse rulings of the Judge he could easily claim bias and the law would upheld his demand for another Judge. Think of how that would operate in the Calhoun trial in San Francisco. Such a law would cost the State thousands of dollars. It's vicious and I will not sign it."

[2] Most suggestively shown in the amendment of the Direct Primary bill.

[3] The seriousness of the mistake made by the reform element in acquiescing in Wolfe's election, was emphasized at the time of the deadlock in the Senate over the Direct Primary bill. The President of the Senate, Lieutenant-Governor Porter - and in his absence the President pro tem., Wolfe, - was charged with the duty of calling the Senate to order. Inasmuch as it did not suit the machine's interests that the Senate should be called to order, the Senators were obliged to sit in idleness for hours at a time, while the machine leaders and lobbyists were working openly on the floor of the Senate to force certain of the pro-primary Senators to join the machine forces. Had the President pro tem. been one of the group of Senators who were opposing the machine he would have called the Senate to order, thus permitting the regular work of the session to proceed. See Chapter 10, "Fight on Assembly Amendments."

[4] The action of the Assembly Committee on Public Morals on the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill was a notable exception to this. See chapters 6 and 7.

Chapter II.

Organization of the Senate.

Anti-Machine Republicans, Led Into a Caucus Trap, Surrendered the Appointment of President Pro Tem., Secretary and Sergeant-at-Arms to the Machine - Machine Given the Selection of the Standing Committees.

In the light of the events of the session, the division between the machine or "organization" and anti-machine forces in the Senate for purposes of organization may be regarded as follows:

Anti-machine - Anthony[5], Bell, Birdsall, Black, Boynton, Burnett[5], Cutten, Estudillo, Hurd[5], Roseberry, Rush, Stetson, Strobridge, Thompson, Walker (labeled Republicans), Caminetti, Campbell, Cartwright, Holohan, Miller, Sanford (labeled Democrats) - 21.

Machine - Hare, Kennedy (labeled -Democrats), Bates, Bills, Finn, Hartman, Leavitt, Lewis, Martinelli, McCartney, Reily, Savage, Weed, Willis, Wolfe, Wright (labeled Republicans) - 16.

Doubtful - Curtin (Democrat).

Seekers of the winning side - Price and Welch (labeled Republicans).

Curtin is put down as doubtful because, justly or unjustly, he was at the opening of the session so regarded. But Curtin's record shows that generally speaking from the beginning to the end of the session he voted with the anti-machine element. Had the anti-machine forces made a determined effort to organize the Senate and demonstrated a strength of twenty-one votes, which would have been enough to organize,. Curtin would certainly have been with them. The same is true of Welch, and it is probably true of Price. This would have given the anti-machine forces from twenty-two to twenty-four votes, a safe margin to have permitted them to organize the Senate to carry out anti-machine policies.

The machine claquers will no doubt point gleefully to the fact that when the test on the Railroad Regulation bills came, Anthony, Burnett, Estudillo, Hurd and Walker strayed from the anti-machine fold. This objection would have more weight had there ever been an anti-machine fold. As a matter of fact, the anti-machine element in the Senate from the day the session opened until it closed was unorganized, and without leaders or detailed plan of action.

Admittedly Estudillo and Burnett strayed on the railroad regulation question, but they did so believing the absolute rate provided in the Stetson bill to be unconstitutional. All this will be brought out in the chapters on railroad regulation measures, but in passing, it may be said that Burnett, in the closing hours of the session, stated on the floor of the Senate that he had voted against the Stetson bill and for the Wright bill on the understanding that a constitutional amendment would be passed setting at rest all question of the constitutionality of the absolute rate. The machine leaders misled Senator Burnett. Machine votes defeated the amendment.

Anthony, Estudillo and Walker stood out against the machine in the direct primary fight which followed the defeat of the Stetson bill, and before the fight was over, Burnett had returned to the anti-machine forces.

The case of Senator Hurd is not at all creditable to the machine. But Hurd's instincts and sympathies are not those of Gus Hartman, Hare, Wolfe and Leavitt. Had the anti-machine forces had even semblance of organization there would have been no straying, and the accomplishment of the legislative session of 1909 would have been more satisfactory to the best citizenship of the State.

The fact that the anti-machine forces, without leaders and without organization, stuck together so well as they did is one of the most extraordinary and at the same time encouraging features of the session.

Although the anti-machine forces numbered a majority of the Senate, nevertheless a bare majority of the regular Republican Senators - those who were eligible to admittance to the Republican caucus - were with the machine. The division in the Republican caucus, counting Welch and Price with the machine element, was on machine and anti-machine lines as follows:

Anti-machine - Anthony, Birdsall, Black, Boynton, Burnett, Cutten, Estudillo, Hurd, Roseberry, Rush, Stetson, Strobridge, Thompson, Walker - 14.

Machine - Bates, Pills, Finn, Hartman, Leavitt, Lewis, Martinelli, McCartney, Price, Reily, Savage, Weed, Welch, Willis, Wolfe, Wright - 16.

By time-honored custom it has become a rule for the majority[5a] in the Senate - and the same holds in the Assembly - to meet in caucus to decide upon the details of organization. This is done on the theory that the House should be so organized as to permit the majority to carry out its policies as expeditiously and with as little friction as possible. By the unwritten rule of the caucus, the majority governs and each member who attends the caucus is bound in honor to vote - regardless of his individual views or wishes - on the floor of the Senate or Assembly, as the majority of the caucus decides. Thus, by going into caucus with the sixteen machine Senators, the fourteen anti-machine Senators were placed in a position where they were, under caucus rule, compelled to vote on the floor of the Senate as the sixteen machine Senators dictated. This gave the machine on the floor of the Senate thirty votes out of forty on questions affecting organization, and permitted it to name the President pro tem., the Secretary of the Senate, the Sergeant-at-Arms, and gave it filial voice in the appointment of the various attaches.

Had the line of division in the Senate been Republican and Democratic, the Republicans in the Senate might very properly have caucused. But inasmuch as the machine Republicans stood during the entire session for one set of policies, and the anti-machine Republicans for another, the caucus was at best an incongruous affair. Especially is this true when it is considered that the anti-machine Republicans immediately after they had left the caucus united with the anti-machine Democrats in a three-months contest with the united machine Democrats and machine Republicans. But having surrendered the organization of the Senate to the machine, the anti-machine Senators, although in the majority, fought under a handicap, finally lost the weaker of their supporters[6], and in the end went down in defeat. Had the real majority, rather than the artificial majority, of the Senate caucused on organization, that is to say, had the anti-machine Republicans and the anti-machine Democrats caucused, and organized to carry out the policies for which they stood and for which they fought together during the entire session, the Republican-Democratic-machine element would have been defeated at every turn. But no such policy governed, and the anti-machine Republicans waddled after precedent into the caucus trap that had been set for them. Later on in the session the anti-machine Republicans and anti-machine Democrats did go into caucus together, and by doing so won the hardest fought fight of the session.[7]

In the Republican Senate caucus on organization, the machine Senators, under the crafty leadership of Wolfe and Leavitt, worked their unhappy anti-machine associates much as a playful cat, with a sense of humor, toys with a mouse. As the cat lets the mouse think that it has escaped, the machine let the anti-machine forces think they were organizing the caucus. Leavitt had been leader of the Republican caucus at previous sessions but he suffered "overwhelming defeat" at the hands of a "reformer." The "reformer" in question was Senator Wright, who had been well advertised as the father of the reform Direct Primary law. Before the session closed, the anti-machine element was to learn just the sort of "reformer" Wright is. Wright, however, in the interest of "harmony," was nominated for caucus leadership by Senator Wolfe. Leavitt's name was not even mentioned. The unanimous vote went to Senator Wright, who was duly declared elected Chairman of the Senate Republican caucus for the Thirty-eighth Session of the California Legislature.

The reformers were also permitted to name the Secretary of the caucus. This time a genuine anti-machine Senator was selected, A. E. Boynton.

And then came a question which brought out the gleam of the machine's teeth. Senator Boynton moved that Senator Bell, of Pasadena, be admitted to the caucus. Somewhat to the discomfiture of the reformers, Bell was not admitted.

Senator Bell's case is a suggestive one. He is a Republican, having been elected from one of the strongest Republican districts of the State, the Thirty-sixth Senatorial District, which takes in Pasadena. But Senator Bell was not named by the machine; in fact, he was elected as protest against machine methods. The Pasadena Republicans tolerated machine domination as long as they could. Then, in 1906, they induced Bell to run against the "regular" machine nominee for the State Senate. Bell ran as an independent Republican. He overwhelmingly defeated his machine opponent. Arrived at Sacramento at the session of 1907, he applied for admittance to the Republican caucus.

There was ample precedent for his admittance, but curiously enough no anti-machine Republican who had defeated a machine Republican had ever been admitted to caucus privileges. In 1902, however, Charles M. Shortridge, having failed to receive the nomination for the state Senate from Santa Clara County, ran as an independent candidate against the regular Republican nominee. The machine supported Shortridge's candidacy, and by most questionable methods succeeded in defeating the regular Republican. But Shortridge was admitted to the Senate caucus of 1903 without question. Senator Bell, however, was denied admittance to the Republican Senate caucus of 1907, on the grounds that he had defeated a regularly nominated Republican. Shortridge had defeated a regularly nominated Republican. But Shortridge stood for machine policies; Bell stands opposed to machine policies. The machine's policy is to keep the caucuses of the dominant party in the Legislature as much a close corporation as possible. So in 1907, Bell's application was rejected. Bell, throughout the session, opposed machine policies. Both for the session of 1907 and of 1909, Senator Bell's record is absolutely clean. The machine does not approve such men, nor want them to participate in party caucuses.

Senator Bell, who had, although refused admittance to his party caucus, done very well in 1907, did not propose to apply for admission to the caucus of 1909. But the reform element in the Senate insisted upon presenting his name. From machine sources it was intimated to Senator Bell that if he would make his peace with Walter Parker, the Southern Pacific lobbyist who acts as machine leader south of the Tehachepi, no opposition would be offered his admission to the caucus. Bell rejected the offer with characteristic promptness. So the anti-machine Senators, since they had "organized the caucus," proceeded to admit Bell in the face of machine opposition.

But the inexperienced political mouse discovered that it was not out of the reach of the claws of the experienced political cat. Boynton's motion to admit Bell to the caucus was lost by a vote of 16 to 14.

Had the reform element been organized, however, Bell would have been admitted to the caucus. Three Senators, Reily, Savage and Welch, who ordinarily voted with the machine, because of personal friendship voted to admit Bell to the caucus. But their votes were offset by those of Burnett, Estudillo and Hurd.[8] The vote was as follows:

To admit Bell to the caucus - Anthony, Birdsall, Black, Boynton, Cutten, Reily, Roseberry, Rush, Savage, Stetson, Strobridge, Thompson, Walker, Welch - 14.

Against admitting Bell to the caucus - Bates, Bills, Burnett, Estudillo, Finn, Hartman, Hurd, Leavitt, Lewis, Martinelli, McCartney, Price, Weed, Willis, Wolfe, Wright - 16.

The Bell matter out of the way, the real work of organizing the Senate was taken up. Curiously enough, the only contest came over the election of the Chaplain of the Senate; the naming of the President pro tem., of the Secretary of the Senate and of the Sergeant-at-Arms was not opposed. Senator Price moved that Lewis A. Hilborn be the caucus nominee for Secretary of the Senate, and J. Louis Martin for Sergeant-at-Arms. His motion carried unanimously. Price also nominated Senator Wolfe for President pro tem. Not an anti-machine Senator protested. Wolfe was accordingly declared the caucus nominee, with the thirty Senators present, machine and anti-machine, obligated to vote for him on the floor of the Senate.

The election of a Chaplain was then taken up and several candidates nominated for the office. Rev. Father H. H. Wyman being finally selected, which, of course, was equivalent to election.

The caucus was held at 9 o'clock of the morning of January 4. At noon of the same day a second caucus was held at which it was decided that the division of patronage[8a] should be on the following basis: That $18 a day should be set aside for the Secretary, Sergeant-at-Arms and Chaplain; that the Lieutenant-Governor should be allowed $22 a day, and each of the thirty caucus Senators $15 a day. This practically concluded Republican caucusing for the session. At previous sessions the Republicans caucused practically every day. But before the session of 1909 had advanced far, the real line that divided the Senators, the line that separated the machine from the anti-machine members, had become so pronounced that caucuses of machine and anti-machine Republicans became impracticable. Senator Wright, toward the end of the session, made frantic efforts to get the caucus together; but he failed. The caucus on organization was about all that the anti-machine Republicans could stand.

As they had left the election of the officers of the Senate to the machine, the anti-machine element left the appointing of the Senate committees to the machine Lieutenant-Governor.[9]

How well the machine, given the appointment of the committees, fortified itself is shown by consideration of practically any one of the committees. A few examples will suffice.

There were, for example, three great issues before the Legislature; namely, the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill, a moral issue; the Direct Primary bill, a political issue; and the Railroad Regulation bills, a commercial issue.

The Anti-Gambling bill was to come before the Public Morals Committee, and the machine took good care that not an anti-machine Senator should be given a place on that committee. The committee consisted of Weed, Wolfe, Leavitt, Savage (labeled Republicans), Kennedy (labeled Democrat), all machine men. The committee reported back the Anti-Gambling bill under pressure, with the recommendation that it "do not pass." Public opinion was such at the time that Savage and Kennedy did not vote for the unfavorable recommendation. But Weed, Wolfe and Leavitt, a majority of the committee, stood out against the bill until the last.

The Direct Primary bill was to be considered by the Election Laws Committee and the machine took good care to keep hand upon that committee. The committee was made up of seven machine and two anti-machine Senators, as follows:

Machine Senators - Leavitt, Hartman, Wolfe, Savage, Wright (labeled Republicans), Kennedy and Hare (labeled Democrats).

Every one of the seven opposed the State-wide plan for the selection of United States Senators.

The anti-machine Senators on the committee were Estudillo and Stetson.

It is an open secret that the machine expected to control Estudillo through Walter Parker, the Southern Pacific political agent. Its failure brought some confusion upon machine circles. Thus, the machine really thought when it picked the Committee on Election Laws that it controlled eight of the nine members.

The Railroad Regulation measures were to be passed upon by the Committee on Corporations. The machine took care to be in control of that committee. It consisted of eleven members. Seven of the eleven, if Burnett who voted with the machine on this issue be counted with them, were machine, one was "band wagon[10], which is a trifle worse than machine, and three anti-machine, as follows:

Machine - Bates, Wright, McCartney, Burnett, Bills, Finn (labeled Republicans), Kennedy (labeled Democrat).

Band wagon - Welch.

Anti-machine - Walker, Roseberry (labeled Republicans), and Miller (labeled Democrat).

But here again the machine was more generous than it intended to be. It figured on controlling Walker. But in the committee Walker stood out manfully for the Stetson bill and against the Wright bill. On the floor of the Senate, however, Walker made his one slip of the session, by voting for the Wright bill and against the Stetson bill.

It is not necessary to continue consideration of the committees. Enough has been said to show how thoroughly the machine minority, given the appointment of the committees, strengthened itself in the Senate by seizing every strategic position. Indeed, the machine fortified itself with such far-seeing intelligence, that one marvels that the anti-machine majority was able to offer even temporarily effective opposition.

[5] Anthony's vote was in the majority of cases cast on the side of the machine. But the determined stand that he took on the Direct Primary bill issue, demonstrated that Anthony, had the anti-machine forces maintained any sort of organization, or had they had definite plan of action, would have been found consistently on the side of good government. Burnett was unquestionably misled by the machine leaders. Neither Burnett nor Anthony can be justly classed with Hartman, Wolfe, Leavitt, Bills, etc., etc. Hurd, who toward the end of the session voted constantly with the machine, and is considered hopeless by many observers, nevertheless took active part in the anti-machine caucus on the Direct Primary bill, and, had the organization of the Senate been in the hands of the anti-machine element, the writer firmly believes, would have continued with the reform forces. At any rate, he was available for any anti-machine movement that might have been started to organize the Senate. Hurd, like Burnett, will have his opportunity in 1911. Both Senators hold over.

[5a] In this instance, the Republican Senators. The Senate minority was made up of the Democratic Senators, if we make the division on party lines. But as a matter of fact, when it came to the real business of the session, the Senate did not divide on party lines. The actual division was between the machine and the anti-machine Senators. Thus the real majority consisted of anti-machine Senators, and the minority of the Senators controlled by the machine.

[6] Hurd's case illustrates this very well.

[7] See chapter nine - Machine defeated in the Senate.

[8] Burnett of San Francisco, voted against Bell on partisan grounds, and inability to grasp the situation. Estudillo's vote was inconsistent with the majority which he cast during the session, while Hurd's was inconsistent with those which he cast up to the time of his vote with the machine forces against the Stetson bill.

[8a] Up to the session of 1909, the members of the Legislature fixed the amount of patronage. At the session of 1907, the payroll of the officers and attaches of the Assembly alone ran up to nearly $10,000 a week, or more than $1300 a day. But in 1908, the People adopted a constitutional amendment limiting the amount of patronage, the money to be expended for legislative officers and attaches, to $500 a day for each House. This cut the Patronage down something more than one-half, which gave the Senators and Assemblymen who divided it great concern.

The development of the patronage scandal during the last decade is interesting. At the session of 1901 the Assembly patronage ran about $580 a day the Senate patronage about $610. This was only $80 a day more in the Assembly, and $110 more in the Senate than the limit now fixed by the Constitution.

In 1903, the patronage in the Assembly totaled $6312.50 a week, more than $900 a day. In the Senate it was $5612.50, or $800 a day.

The increase continued in 1905. in that year Assembly Patronage totaled $7956.50 a week, or $1135 a day, while the Senate patronage was $6002.50 a week, or $857 a day.

The climax came in 1907, when the Assembly patronage went to $9660.50 a week, or $1350 a day, and the Senate patronage to to $6893.50 a week, or $985 a day. What it would have been in 1909 had there been no Constitutional restriction placed upon it, is a matter for speculation.

[9] See concluding chapter as to how this could have been avoided.

[10] The term "band wagon" was applied during the session to those members who were in the habit of joining the winning side at the last moment.

Chapter III.

Organization of the Assembly.

Independent Movement to Resist the Machine's Program Failed - Reform Element Rallied and Rejected Rules Prepared by Committee Appointed by Stanton, Which Would Have Placed Majority at Mercy of the Machine-Controlled Minority.

The machine-free members of the Lower House at least did better than the reformers in the Senate; they made an attempt to organize the Assembly independent of the machine. The effort was, however, as uncertain as that of a nestling taking its first lesson in flying. Nothing came of the venture; but it indicates what may be done in future.

The organization of the Assembly hinges on the election of the Speaker. The machine ordinarily picks the Speaker before the November elections, so his election need not stir up any particular enthusiasm. But there is always something of a contest started - for the sake of appearances, probably.

This year the machine had picked Phil Stanton, of Los Angeles, for the job, but Bob Beardslee, of Stockton, was permitted to give Stanton "a run."

The San Francisco newspapers along in November and December recorded the political ripple of the contest, but the fight was a dead affair, and nobody enthused. The play came to a tame ending when Beardslee nominated Stanton for the Speaker's job and got the Chairmanship of the important Committee on Ways and Means for being good, or taking program, however one may view it.

But at one time a real fight for the Speakership threatened. Assemblyman Drew, of Fresno, and other stanch anti-machine men, conceived the radical notion that it was idiotic for them to sit around like lambs waiting to have their throats cut, while the machine organized the House. They accordingly decided to take a hand in the organization of the Assembly themselves by refusing to vote for any man for Speaker who was known to be under the influence of the machine.

Forty-one votes are required to elect the Speaker. The reformers figured on the nineteen Democratic members as with them. The Lincoln-Roosevelt League had elected Assemblymen from several counties, including Alameda. These were naturally counted on. Other reputable Republican members were expected to join the movement in numbers sufficient to secure the necessary forty-one votes.

The purpose of the leaders of this departure from the regular rules of the political game should have commended itself to every good citizen. Their idea was to organize the Assembly, not for self-advancement, or the promotion of special privileges as the machine leaders do year after year, but that good bills might be passed and bad bills defeated; that the waste of the public funds might be stopped; that worthy citizenship might be placed above predatory partisanship. And yet, they were compelled to proceed with the utmost caution; were discouraged at every turn, and abused like pickpockets, even by those upon whom they depended for support. Gradually it dawned upon them that not a few of the Democratic members were not in sympathy with reform legislation. But more discouraging still was the fact that certain Republicans elected to the Assembly by the Lincoln-Roosevelt faction of the party were as little to be depended upon. By consulting the tables "B" and "C" of Assembly votes in the appendix, it will be seen that Democrats like Baxter, Collum, Hopkins, O'Neil and Wheelan, and Lincoln-Roosevelt Republicans like Mott, Pulcifer and Feeley, as a general thing voted with the machine Republicans. There were, to be sure, Democrats like Gillis, Johnson of Placer, Juilliard, Maher, Mendenhall, Polsley, Preston, Wilson, Odom and Stuckenbruck, who were against the machine on every issue, but the record shows the utter foolishness of regarding either party free of machine influences. Without being able to understand just how it was, Mr. Drew and his associates failed to secure the encouragement for their independent movement which they expected. The stealthy move upon the Speaker's chair was found in some unaccountable way to be blocked. Then some cautious soul suggested that if they should fail the machine would hold up the appropriation bills of those identified with the movement. That settled it. The attempt to elect as Speaker some member free of machine influence ended right there. The reformers skurried for cover.

The part which the appropriation bills play in the enactment of bad laws is one of the least understood of a legislative session. Each session money must be appropriated by legislative enactment for the maintenance and enlargement, where necessary, of the various State institutions, such as hospitals for the insane, reform schools, normal schools, and the like. These institutions are not local at all, but State. But the Senators and Assemblymen from the counties in which they are situated are, by custom, charged with the responsibility of securing the appropriations necessary for their support. The San Jose Normal School, for example, and the Agnew Asylum for the Insane, are situated in Santa Clara County. They are no more Santa Clara County institutions than they are Del Norte or San Diego institutions, but the Senators and Assemblymen from Santa Clara County are held responsible for the passage of the appropriation bills affecting them. Too often, the ability of the Assemblyman or Senator is measured, not by his real work in the Legislature, but by the size of the appropriations which he manages to secure for his district. Under the present system by which the machine organizes the Legislature, it is in a position to defeat or materially reduce practically any appropriation bill. The member of the Legislature who would oppose the machine thus finds himself between the constituents at home, who demand that he secure generous appropriations for his district, and the machine, which he understands very well requires support of its policies as one of the prices of the constituent-demanded appropriations. Thus those who would have opposed the machine in the organization of the Assembly realized that failure would probably mean a hammering of their appropriation bills, which would result in their political undoing at home. So the independent movement to organize the Assembly came to a sorry ending.

Stanton was elected Speaker without opposition. The "defeated" Beardslee placed him in nomination. Complete harmony prevailed. Stanton started proceedings by appointing the Committee on Rules. This committee was charged with drafting rules for the government of the Assembly during the session. It was made up of Assemblymen Johnston of Contra Costa, Transue, Johnson of Sacramento, Beardslee and Stanton.

Without the people knowing much about what is going on, the rules governing legislative bodies are being amended from time to time, so that the power of influencing legislation is being taken out of the hands of the duly elected representatives of the people and placed with presiding officers and important committees. The "system," or the machine, call it what you may, finds it easier to control presiding officers and committees appointed by presiding officers, than to control Legislatures. This stealthy advance upon the liberties of the people, seems to have reached its climax at Washington, where the independent members of both parties are in open revolt against "Cannonism." But "Cannonism" is not confined to the National Congress alone; in a small way it has its hold on the California Legislature. The rules prepared by Speaker Stanton's committee were well calculated to give "Cannonism" a stronger hold in California, which would have influenced not only the session of 1909 but, as a precedent, many sessions to come.[11] The proposed rules in saddling "Cannonism" upon the Assembly were well calculated to strengthen the machine's grip upon the Legislature.

The departure from the rules of 1907 was most radical. Under the rules that governed the Assembly in 1907, committees were required to report on each bill referred to them within ten days after the measure had been submitted.

The rules proposed by the committee provided that the report should be made as soon as "practicable."

The rules of 1907 provided that a mere majority could recall a bill from committee.

Under the proposed rules a two-thirds vote would have been necessary.

Under the rules of 1907 a measure could be advanced on the files at the request of its author.

Under the committee's rules unanimous consent of the Assembly was made necessary for such advancement.

The proposed rules would have enabled the machine forces to smother in committee any measure the machine wished to defeat. A two-thirds vote would have been necessary to suspend the rules to have a bill recalled from committee, that is to say, the votes of fifty-four Assemblymen. Twenty-seven Assemblymen could then have held the measure in committee until the session closed.

Had the committee-prepared rules been adopted, the probabilities are that the battleground of the session would have been transferred from the Senate Chamber to the Assembly.

But the proposed rules were not adopted. A fight against adopting the committee's report was started by Drew of Fresno. Mr. Drew introduced a resolution rejecting the rules submitted by the committee, and substituting the rules of 1907, to govern the session of 1909. Johnson of Sacramento led the defense that rallied to the committee's report. But Johnson's wit failed against the argument which Drew, Callan, Preston, Young and Cattell offered. The gentlemen denounced the rules which the committee had offered as "vicious, despotic and gagging." Drew's resolution was adopted by a vote of 41 to 32, the committee's report rejected and the rules of 1907 accepted for the session of 1909[12]. It was a decided victory for the anti-machine forces, and brought gloom to the scheming machine leaders. But it developed later that not a few who had voted for the Drew resolution were safely machine; while many who had voted against it were anti-machine, but had voted against the resolution under misapprehension of just what it stood for[13].

Although the reform majority in the Assembly could prevent the adoption of the "gag rules," it could not, after it had failed to elect the Speaker, govern the appointment of the committees. By and large, the Assembly committees were controlled as were the Senate committees by machine standbys. The Election Laws Committee, which was to pass upon the Direct Primary bill, was safely in machine hands. Grove L. Johnson, as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, herded the young lawyers thereon like so many sheep. Johnson was in effect the committee.

The Committee on Corporations and the Committee on Common Carriers, before which railroad regulation bills might come, were safely in majority for the machine.

One apparent exception to the rule was the Committee on Public Morals, which gave the Anti-Gambling bill its start toward passage. But this committee, which did so much to secure the passage of the Anti-Gambling bill, held up the Local Option bill at Speaker Stanton's request, until the last week of the session, thus making its passage in the Assembly impossible.

A curious mistake was made by the machine, when Telfer of San Jose was made Chairman of the Committee on Contingent Expenses. Telfer is not only anti-machine, but possessed of a non-political honesty which proved very distressing to the machine before the session was over.

Telfer as Chairman of the committee refused to "O. K." extravagant charges for the materials furnished the Assembly. As a result, bills for hire of typewriters had to be reduced, pencils counted and other astonishing reductions made.

Telfer saved the State several hundred dollars, but caused many a heartache. Telfer's appointment to a committee which he made important, shows that the machine element as well as the anti-machine sometimes makes mistakes. But in spite of its minor mistakes, in spite of the anti-machine majority, so admirably did the machine organize the Assembly for its purposes, that in the closing days of the session not only were vicious measures passed without much difficulty, but the Assembly was made the graveyard of good bills[14].

[11] If ever the People of California secure control of the State Legislature through machine-free representatives with the courage to dare and the ability to do, one of the most important pieces of work will be to sweep aside the mass of precedent which the machine has for years been gradually embodying into the rules of Senate and Assembly. What is needed is a set of rules that shall promote the expression of the wishes of the majority. The curse of technicality does not hamper the Judiciary alone; it hampers the legislative branch of government as well. Note Wolfe's ability to deadlock the Senate after the Assembly Amendments to the Direct Primary bill had been rejected. Chapter XI.

[12] The vote by which this was done was as follows:

For the Drew resolution and against the committee rules: Assemblymen Black, Bohnett, Callan, Cattell, Cogswell, Collum, Costar, Cronin, Drew, Flint, Gibbons, Hammon, Hanlon, Hayes, Hewitt, Hinkle, Hopkins, Irwin, Johnson of Placer, Juilliard, Lightner, Maher, Melrose, Mendenhall, Odom, Otis, O'Neil, Polsley, Preston, Rech, Rutherford, Sackett, Silver, Stuckenbruck, Telfer, Wagner, Webber, Wheelan, Whitney, Wilson and Young. - 41.

Against the Drew resolution and for the committee rules: Assemblymen Barndollar, Beardslee, Beban, Coghlan, Collier, Cullen, Dean, Feeley, Flavelle, Fleisher, Gerdes, Greer, Griffiths, Hans, Hawk, Holmquist, Johnson of Sacramento, Johnson of San Diego, Johnston, Leeds, Macauley, McClelland, McManus, Moore, Mott, Nelson, Perine, Pugh, Pulcifer, Schmitt, Stanton, Transue - 32.

[13] A gentleman who for a number of years has been identified with the reform element in the Assembly, writes of this feature of the machine's hold on the Legislature as follows: "One of the principal difficulties with the Legislature as it is now constituted and has been for many years past, is that the machine or organization always endeavors to secure the election of young men who haven't very fixed opinions and who are easily influenced; not knowing the machine tactics and the real object behind the legislation they do not seem to see the necessity for standing firm and for that reason are often led into voting for or against measures which they would not were they more familiar with the tricks of the machine men. A new grist of legislators is what the organization is always looking for. They want a certain number of old "stand-bys" who will do their dirty work for a mere pittance or some paltry reward, real or anticipated, and with these men to influence and control the younger members their purpose is easily, accomplished."

[14] See Passage of Wheelan Bills, chapter XVII; Passage of Change of Venue bill, chapter XVI. Examples of good bills defeated in the Assembly in the closing days of the session were the Judicial Column bill, and the Holohan measure removing the party circle from the election ballot.

Chapter IV.

The Machine in Control.

Deliberately Held Up Measures in Committees Until the Close of the Session, When Senate and Assembly Were Forced to Take Snap Judgment on Hundreds of Measures - In the Confusion Thus Created, Good Bills Were Defeated and Bad Ones Passed.

The Legislature organized, the machine and anti-machine forces settled down to the work of the session. The situation was unique. The anti-machine element had a comfortable majority in the Assembly and at least a bare majority in the Senate. But the machine controlled the committees of both Houses, had selected the presiding officers, and had dictated the selection of the majority of the attaches. When, for example, it was suggested that in the event of a close vote in the Senate on the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill, it might be found necessary to send the Sergeant-at-Arms after Senators who might attempt to dodge the vote, not a single attache of the Sergeant-at-Arms' office could be named who was in sympathy with the movement against the gamblers. Incidentally, however, it was discovered that the clerk of the important Senate Enrolling and Engrossing Committee had been an employee at Frank Daroux's notorious Sausalito poolrooms. These were disquieting discoveries for the reform element.

Although the machine controlled the strategic positions of the organization of the Legislature, it was still in the minority in each House. This meant that the machine could not, in open fight, pass a vicious or undesirable measure, or put through any of its schemes. The machine's course soon became apparent. If the machine could not put laws on the statute books to its liking, it could block the passage of good measures. Having crafty leaders in both Senate and Assembly, and, above all, controlling the committees, the machine was admirably prepared to do this. By employing delaying tactics which would have done credit to a specialist in criminal defense, the machine devoted the first two months of the session to the blocking of legislation.

The methods employed were very simple. As soon as a bill was introduced it was referred to a committee of the House in which it originated. The committee would hold the measure until the reform element gave indications of protesting[15]. The bill would then be returned. If possible it would be further delayed by amendment on second or third reading. If finally passed by the House of its origin, it would be sent to the other House, where it would be referred to a committee. In the majority of cases the committee could hold it indefinitely. In such cases as the committees were forced to report on measures that had passed the other House, the measure would be amended, which necessitated its being reprinted, and again acted upon by the House of its origin[16], all of which made for delay.

But it must not be thought that the Senate and Assembly were left in idleness during the first two months of the session. Such is by no means the case; Senators and Assemblymen never worked harder. The machine leaders during the first month of the session craftily kept the members wrangling in committees. During the second month the Senate was kept working day and night passing comparatively unimportant Senate bills, and the Assembly working as hard passing Assembly bills; but the Senate passed very few Assembly bills and the Assembly very few Senate bills. As a measure must pass both Houses to become a law, few bills were sent to the Governor for his approval. Thus during the first two months of the session many bills passed in one house or the other, but pitifully few passed the Legislature.

The reform element, working sixteen hours a day not unlike so many mice in a wheel, were apparently in complete ignorance of the situation which they were creating. Senators whose bills had passed the Senate began to complain that they could not get the measures out of the Assembly committee; Assemblymen whose measures had passed the Assembly were as loud in their charges that their bills were being held up in Senate committees. The machine actually turned this early dissatisfaction to its advantage. Soon it was being announced on the floor of the Assembly: "If Senate committees will not act on Assembly bills, then the Assembly committees will not act on Senate bills." The Senate made the same threats as to Assembly bills. So, for about a week, Senate committees openly slighted Assembly bills, while Assembly committees in retaliation slighted Senate bills. The situation was very amusing; it was, too, highly satisfactory to the machine.

About the first week in March - the Legislature adjourned March 24 - the anti-machine members awoke to the fact that in spite of their day and night sessions, little had been accomplished. The further disquieting discovery was made that the bulk of the Assembly bills which had passed the Assembly were being held in Senate committees, while the Senate bills which had passed the Senate, were apparently anchored in Assembly committees, and that the machine controlled the committees. The reform members of each House had good cause for alarm. Every Senator and Assemblyman has his "pet" measures. The reform Senators and Assemblymen found that to get their bills out of committees they would have to treat with the machine. Such a Senator or Assemblyman, with his constituents clamoring for the passage of a bill held up in a machine-controlled committee, had some claim to pardon if he turned suddenly attentive to the machine olive branch. And the machine, by the way, always has the olive branch out. Stand in with us, is their constant advance, and we will see you through.

As a result of these delaying tactics, literally hundreds of bills which had needlessly been held up in committees were forced upon the consideration of the Senate during the last three weeks of the session. Each House made records of passing more than 100 bills a day. There was little pretense of reading the measures as required by the State Constitution. The clerk at the desk mumbled over their titles; they were voted upon and became laws. In the rush to get through, as will be shown by example in other chapters, Senators and Assemblymen voted for measures to which they were openly opposed. The machine minority was merely reaping the benefits of a situation which the cleverness of its leaders had created.

Although machine-advocated and unimportant measures could be passed in such a situation, bills which the machine opposed could not be[17]. Machine-opposed measures were either held up in committees until their passage was out of the question, or they were denied consideration in Senate or Assembly, or their advocates worn out by the tactics of the machine leaders. Senate Bill 220, which removed the party circle from the election ballot, passed in the Senate after a bitter contest, was held up in the Assembly until five days before adjournment, and then denied a second reading. Boynton's Senate Bill 249, providing for the arrangement of judicial candidates on the ballot without designation of party affiliations, intended to take the Judiciary out of politics, which after a long contest passed the Senate, was held up in the Assembly until the day before adjournment, when it was denied passage. This bill was introduced in the Senate on January 12. So popular was it, such was the demand for its passage, that it was not openly opposed. It was finally defeated on March 23, the day before adjournment. Thus two months and eleven days were required to wear out its advocates.

About March 1, the machine began to crowd the anti-machine element for early adjournment. At that time not far from 2000 bills were recorded in the Senate and Assembly histories. The action had the effect of a good stiff push to a man sliding down hill; the anti-machine forces had the votes to prevent adjournment but the machine's adjournment plans added considerably to anti-machine discomfiture. Senator Wolfe actually gave notice that on Friday, March 5, he would move that the Legislature adjourn on March 13. This would have given a fortnight for consideration of nearly 2000 bills. At the time of Wolfe's motion, there were pending the Direct Primary bill, the Railroad Regulation bills, the Commonwealth Club bills, the Islais Creek Harbor bills, and scores of other important measures, the passage of which had unnecessarily - albeit most cleverly - been delayed.

As a result of clever manipulation, dating from the first day of the session, the machine was thus in the closing days, in spite of the majority against it, able to pass, amend or defeat measures, pretty much as its leaders desired. The anti-machine forces, Republican and Democratic, were during those last days, merely reaping the harvest which they had sown when they permitted the Democratic-Republican machine to take the organization of the Legislature out of their hands.

[15] The Senate Committee on Election Laws, for example, held the Direct Primary bill for thirty-eight days, and finally reported it back so amended that it had to be rewritten. See chapters VI and VII on efforts of the machine to hold the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill in committee.

[16] It was stated on the floor of the Assembly, that were the Ten Commandments to be adopted by the Assembly, the Senate would find some excuse for amending them.

[17] The most astonishing example of this was furnished by the passage of the Change of Venue bill in the Senate. See chapter XVI.

Chapter V.

Election of United States Senator.

Opposition to Perkins Overcome by the Dead Weight of the Machine - Movement Against His Re-election Failed for Want of Leadership - Proceedings Without Warmth or Enthusiasm.

No funeral was ever attended by greater somberness than was the re-election of George C. Perkins to the United States Senate, January 12-13, 1909. The nominating speeches were made without enthusiasm; not a cheer greeted Senator or Assemblyman charged with the task of putting the aged Senator in nomination. Pulcifer of Alameda, who made the nominating speech in the Assembly, was received with icy calmness. Even when the Alamedan referred to the veteran Senator as "one whose hair has grown white and whose eyes have grown dim in the service of his country," not so much as a ripple of applause stirred the chamber. When the speaker concluded his review of the Senator's life and political career, the incipient murmur of approval which somebody started died away for want of vitality.

In the Senate, the task of nominating Perkins fell to Stetson of Alameda. But Stetson's nominating speech was received with no more enthusiasm than was that of the shifty Pulcifer. The "system," the "organization," the "machine," have it as you will, returned George C. Perkins to the United States Senate. The people of California had no voice in it, nor, for that matter, the Legislature, although the majority of the Legislature was opposed to the machine. In carrying out the ignoble part prepared for them - prepared for them by the "machine" which a majority of them opposed - the members of Senate and Assembly went through the forms prescribed without a hand clap and without a cheer.

But it must not be thought that the re-election of Senator Perkins was without opposition. Indeed, it met with the same sort of honest but ineffective resistance that attended the election of Stanton to the Speakership of the Lower House. And like the campaign against Stanton the opposition to Perkins got nowhere because of the lack of leadership, organization and plan of action on the part of the resisting legislators.

The machine had been preparing for Perkins' re-election for months; but the opposition to Perkins made no move until after the November elections.

The first outward sign of opposition came from Assemblyman E. J. Callan of the Thirty-ninth District, the fighting reform district of San Francisco. Callan, three or four weeks before the Legislature convened, fell into a trap which the wily Alameda County politician had set some time previous. Perkins had long before invited criticism of his "record," which meant his votes on issues that had been passed upon by the United States Senate. As a matter of fact, such votes mean little, for the misplaced "courtesy of the Senate," under which schemers betray the people, makes it possible for even recognized "reformers" to be forced to vote against most desirable measures. The other fellows of the Perkins stripe when brought to book on their "record" can always give in defense: 'Why, your reformer, Senator So and So, did the same thing.' To be sure, a La Follette does kick over the traces once in a while, in which event he usually votes alone, while the solemn victims of "courtesy" vote against him according to Senatorial custom, not to use the more expressive word, stupidity.

Thus, when Perkins craftily invited his opponents to attack him on his record, they dodged the trap gingerly, all save Callan. Callan didn't walk, he rushed into it, sending a scathing letter to Perkins on that gentleman's Senatorial record. Perkins' reply and explanation came as a counter blow. The fire was tempered out of Callan's letter. Callan had permitted Perkins to select the fighting ground, and Perkins had exhibited admirable judgment.

The attack on Perkins had better been made on his attitude toward the shipping interests of California - the development of the isthmian route to New York, for example; on his attitude toward the machine, whose strangle-hold upon the State is locked with federal patronage; on his attitude toward the so-called "Roosevelt policies"; on his attitude toward the Roosevelt administration, upon which he hung with the dead weight of crafty, persistent obstruction. There were plenty of vulnerable points in the Perkins armor, but naturally in selecting the point of attack, Perkins carefully avoided them. So Callan's bolt rebounded harmlessly, to the astonishment of the various well-meaning reformers, and the intense satisfaction of the machine, whose somewhat anxious leaders recognized full well that Callan's discomfiture would discourage attacks from other possibly effective sources.

The next move against Perkins came the week before the Legislature convened. A number of anti-machine Republicans met at San Francisco to canvass the situation, and formulate a plan to defeat Perkins if possible. It was found that on joint Senate and Assembly ballot, the Democrats would have twenty-nine votes and the Republicans ninety-one. Sixty-one votes are required for the election of a Senator. The Republicans at the meeting considered these twenty-nine votes as with them in the selection of an anti-machine Republican for Perkins' place. The anti-machine Republicans thus in revolt against the machine, themselves numbered twenty Senators and Assemblymen, which made forty-nine votes against Perkins. In addition, an even dozen Republican Senators and Assemblymen were counted upon as willing to vote against Perkins if his defeat could be shown to be certain. This would have given the anti-Perkins element sixty-one votes, just enough to elect. For one of their number to fail, meant a deadlock; for two, if Republicans, to fail meant Perkins' election. It was a slender chance, but the possibility of success kept the movement alive until the hour of the Senatorial caucus.

Those who were promoting the movement were not at the time aware that six of the Democratic Assemblymen and one of the Democratic Senators were governed by such high conceptions of their duties as citizens and responsibilities as legislators, that they were to cast their votes in the Senatorial election for a San Francisco saloon keeper, on the ground that he is a "good fellow" and had "spent money liberally for the party." This of itself made the defeat of Perkins impossible.

The anti-Perkins forces were also handicapped by the fact that they had no candidate. The machine had been craftily booming Perkins for years; the reformers had boomed nobody[19]. They were, then, without material for a positive fight; all they could do was negative, which is always confession of weakness. In addition, aside from the Bulletin, there was no San Francisco publication that could be counted upon to back their movement. The Call was openly supporting Perkins. The movement against Perkins, while it admittedly represented the attitude of the majority of the electors of the State, and the feeling of a safe majority of both Houses of the Legislature, was without one element of real strength[20].

Under the United States Revised Statutes, the Legislature was called upon, to proceed on the second Tuesday after organization, to elect Senator Perkins' successor. As the Legislature had organized on January 4, the second Tuesday fell on January 12. The call for the Republican caucus to go through the form of selecting a candidate for the Senate, was circulated the third and fourth days of the session. The Republican Senators all signed it, not a few of them with the non-resistance of a wretch in the hands of a hangman.

More opposition developed in the Assembly. Callan and three or four others kept up their resistance to the last, but when the caucus assembled on Friday evening, January 8, all the Republican Senators and Assemblymen who could do so were in attendance[21].

The caucus was of course hopelessly programmed for Perkins. Nevertheless, the better element of the party endeavored to secure some expression from Senator Perkins as to his attitude toward the Western transportation problem. This led to a heated debate which kept the caucus in session until a late hour. The debate turned on the celebrated Bristow letter.

For years, the Southern Pacific Railroad Company has been able to prevent effective water competition by way of the Isthmus of Panama. The Government has a line of steamers running from New York to the Isthmus, and a railroad line across the Isthmus. With an additional line of steamers running from San Francisco to Panama, the Government would have a through line from San Francisco to New York. This would give genuine competition with the Southern Pacific system, and free the State from the grasp of the transportation monopoly.

In August, 1907, Hon. J. L. Bristow, now United States Senator from Kansas, was appointed a Special Panama Railroad Commissioner, to investigate the necessity and feasibility of putting on the Pacific line. Mr. Bristow, in a report that fairly sizzled with criticism of Southern Pacific and Pacific Mail Steamship Company methods, recommended that the government line be established. When Pacific freight rates were arbitrarily raised just before the Legislature convened, shippers of the State appealed, not to Senator Perkins or to Senator Flint, but to Senator Bristow from interior Kansas, asking that he concern himself with having government steamers put on the San Francisco-Panama route. Bristow replied that he would do what he could, that he was receiving many letters from Western shippers who favored the plan, but that the chief difficulty in the way was the opposition of the California delegation in the Senate.

This Bristow letter caused all the trouble at the Perkins caucus. The suggestion was made that Perkins owed it to the State to explain the charges brought against him by the Senator from Kansas. A resolution was accordingly introduced providing that a telegram be sent Senator Perkins calling upon him to state whether the charge made by Senator Bristow were true.

Immediately the pro-Perkins people assumed the dignified position that such a telegram would be an insult to the venerable Senator from California. Nobody seems to have taken the trouble to state that the Bristow charges were untrue, but that the requesting of the Senator to answer them would be an insult to that dignitary was made subject of the warmest oratory. So warm was it, that the opposition to Perkins melted away like wax - or putty, if putty melts - until but five members of the caucus had the courage to vote to ask Perkins to declare himself on the transportation problem. Callan of San Francisco voted for it, so did Drew of Fresno, so did Young of Berkeley and two others. But 77 members of the caucus voted against the resolution. Senator Perkins was permitted to maintain a dignified silence on the Bristow charges. After the vote on the resolution, Assemblyman Callan left the caucus.

But even with the Republican caucus nomination, Perkins did not receive the entire Republican vote. In the Assembly, Callan voted for Chester Rowell of Fresno, and Sackett for Thomas R. Bard of Ventura. Fifty-six of the Assembly votes, however, were cast for Perkins.

In the Senate, Perkins received thirty-two votes. The thirty regular Republicans voted for him, as did Senator Bell, the Independent-Republican, and Senator Caminetti, Democrat. Senator Caminetti voted for Perkins because Caminetti regarded Perkins, as nearly as could be determined, the choice of the electors to whom Caminetti owed his election. Caminetti believes that the United States Senator should be selected by the people of the State. The nearest he could get to this was to ascertain the wishes of the people of his district. He was convinced that the people of his district wished to see Perkins re-elected. So, regardless of partisan considerations, Caminetti the Democrat voted for Perkins the Republican. Caminetti's explanation of his vote is worthy of the most careful consideration[22].

The regular candidate of the minority for the Democratic complimentary vote was J. O. Davis, a gentleman of the highest character. But eight of the Democratic members voted against him. Seven of the eight, Assemblymen Black, Collum, Hopkins, Lightner, O'Neil and Wheelan and Senator Hare voted for Harry P. Flannery, a San Francisco saloon-keeper; the eighth, Senator Kennedy, voted for William H. Langdon. Six Democratic Senators and thirteen Democratic Assemblymen voted for Mr. Davis. They were: Senators Campbell, Cartwright, Curtin, Holohan, Miller, and Sanford; Assemblymen Baxter, Gibbons, Gillis, Irwin, Johnson of Placer, Juilliard, Maher, Mendenhall, Odom, Polsley, Preston, Stuckenbruck and Webber.

[19] It is interesting to note that when a good citizen gives effective resistance to the machine, that the machine invariably starts the cry - "He is a candidate for the United States Senate." The open candidacy - and liberal advertising - of a machine man for the Federal Senatorship causes no adverse comment. For an anti-machine man to so aspire - or the suspicion in machine breasts that he so aspires - is heralded as evidence of his complete unworthy and irresponsibility.

[20] But when the machine Republicans of a State unite with Democrats to elect a machine man to the Federal Senate, no such difficulties attend them. Note the election by a coalition of machine Republicans and machine Democrats in Illinois of "Billy" Lorimer, the notorious "blond boss" of the stockyards, to the United States Senate.

[21] Senator Bell, although a Republican, was excluded because he would not make his peace with Walter Parker, the Southern Pacific boss of the political district lying south of Tehachepi. See Chapter 11, Organization of the Senate.

[22] Caminetti's explanation of his vote, as printed in the Senate Journal, is in full as follows:

"Mr. President: During the campaign of 1906, in the Tenth Senatorial District, resulting in my election as Senator, I made the question of 'The election of United States Senators by direct vote of the people' one of the leading issues upon which I asked the suffrage of the people. I then pledged myself in all my speeches and in the press, to endeavor to secure the passage of a law by the Legislature in case of my election having that object in view, and in case of failure in the effort I would nevertheless follow that principle and vote for the choice of a majority of the qualified electors of that district in the selection of a Senator during my term of off cue.

"The last session of the Legislature failed to enact the necessary legislation on the subject, but the people of my district have nevertheless plainly indicated to me that Hon. George C. Perkins was at the last election, and now is, their choice for the United States Senatorship.

"Under these circumstances I feel in honor bound by my pledges to the people of the Tenth Senatorial District, to record the choice of a majority of the qualified electors thereof for Hon. George C. Perkins for United States Senator, hoping in so doing that it will never again be necessary for a member of the Legislature to vote the choice of the people of his district in this, or any other, indirect way, but that this Legislature will rise superior to partisanship and give to the people hereafter an opportunity, under suitable laws, to vote directly for candidates for that office. Should this Legislature fail in this high duty to the public, I trust that the people, in whom all power resides, will hereafter take up this matter in the way the people of the Tenth Senatorial District did two years ago, and thus be able in all legislative districts of the State to record their choice for the exalted office of United States Senator."

Chapter VI.

The Anti-Racetrack Gambling Bill.

Supporters of the Measure Knew What They Wanted, Drew a Bill to Meet the Requirements of the Situation and Refused to Compromise with the Machine Element - Suggestive Series of "Errors" Attended Its Passage.

Of the three principal reform measures considered by the Legislature of 1909 - the Direct Primary bill, the Railroad Regulation bill and the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill - the last named was the only one to become a law untrimmed of its effective features. The Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill passed the Assembly, passed the Senate and was signed by the Governor precisely as it had been introduced; there was not so much as the change of a comma allowed. The result is an anti-gambling law on California statute books which if it work as well as it has in other States will prevent bookmaking and pool-selling, thus relieving horse racing of the incubus which has made the sport of kings disreputable[23].

Since the reform element succeeded in passing the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill without amendment, there is widespread opinion that there was no opposition to its passage. As a matter of fact, nothing is farther from the truth. Before a legislator reached Sacramento, the pro-gambling lobby was on the ground, and continued its hold-up process until the Assembly, by a vote of 67 to 10, passed the measure, and by a vote of 57 to 19 refused to grant it reconsideration.

The writer remembers his first poll of the Senate on the anti-gambling issue, when only nineteen Senators could be safely counted for it[24]; twenty-one were necessary for its passage. To be sure, a number of the Senators not included in the list of the nineteen who were from the beginning safe for the measure, were pledged to vote for an anti-pool selling bill, but this did not necessarily mean the effective Walker-Otis bill which had been drawn to prevent pool selling and bookmaking. Not a few unquestionably figured on voting for a bill that would place them on record as against racetrack gambling, but do racetrack gambling little or no harm.

These uncertain ones were blocked in their plan of action because the proponents of the Anti-Gambling bill knew just what they wanted to do, namely, close up poolrooms and bookmakers' booths. They took the most effective way to close them up, namely, adapted to California Constitution and criminal practice, the Hughes anti-gambling law, the adoption of which Governor Hughes forced in New York, and which in New York State had proved most effective.

The bill was drawn carefully and its backers in the Legislature and out of the Legislature let it be known that no amendment, not so much as to change a comma, would be tolerated. The measure was introduced in the Senate by Walker of Santa Clara, and in the Assembly by Otis of Alameda. It was known as the Walker-Otis bill.

This determined stand for the passage of the measure just as it had been drawn thoroughly alarmed the gambling lobby. "Reformers" who would not "compromise" proved a new experience. The machine never compromises until it is whipped. Accordingly, when public opinion demanded action on the Walker-Otis bill, the machine Senators began to talk of compromise. In fact, up to the hour of the vote on the bill in the Senate, Senator Wolfe did not stop whining compromise. In his speech against the passage of the bill, just before the final vote was taken he insisted: "There should have been a compromise measure agreed upon, a bill for which we all could have voted."

The moment before Wolfe had been warning the Senate that to pass the Walker-Otis bill would tend to wreck the Republican party in California. Just what the Walker-Otis bill had to do with Republican policies Mr. Wolfe would no doubt have difficulty in answering. But the measure did have much to do with machine policies. The machine had prevented the passage of the Anti-Gambling bill two years before, and was prepared to prevent the enactment of an effective anti-gambling law at the session of 1909. Senator Wolfe undoubtedly fell into the common error of mistaking the machine for the Republican party.

However, the spirit of no compromise which gave Senator Wolfe so much concern saved the Walker-Otis bill, and has given California an effective law. The lesson of the incident is that if effective laws are to be placed on the statute books, there can be no compromise with the machine. There was compromise with the machine in the direct primary issue, with the result that the Direct Primary law is in many respects a sham. But that is another story to be told in another chapter. The anti-machine element did not compromise with the machine on the Walker-Otis bill, with the result that an effective law was passed.

From the beginning, the anti-gambling element let it be known that no suggestion of compromise would be entertained. They announced boldly that if the machine succeeded in amending the measure, they, the anti-gambling Senators and Assemblymen, would work to prevent the passage of the amended bill. The position of these members of the Legislature who did not propose to be sidetracked by machine trickery is well illustrated by an interview with Senator Walker, which appeared in the Sacramento Bee on January 19.

"If the Hughes bill can not pass the California Legislature in the form that it was passed in New York," said Senator Walker, "I shall vote against the compromise or the amended bill. The people of California have made clear their desire that an effective anti-gambling law, such as New York enjoys, be placed on the statute books. To substitute anything else would be betrayal."[25]

So there was no compromise with the machine on the Walker-Otis bill, and the people were not betrayed, as they were to be later in the passage of the Direct Primary bill and the, Railroad Regulation bill, where there was compromise with the machine.

When the machine found there was to be no compromise, a curious series of mishaps became the lot of the Walker-Otis bill, particularly in the Senate. The measure, when introduced, was, in the ordinary course of legislation, referred to the Senate Committee on Public Morals. But it did not reach that committee until several days after its introduction. When the discovery was made that it had not reached the committee, a sensation budded but never bloomed. The facts, however, were brought out that the measure had been reposing in the pocket of a clerk instead of going to the committee. This "error" was corrected, and the bill turned over to its proper custodians.

Then came the discovery that the bill had not been properly printed; three words had been left out of the printed bill in the State printer's office. This "error," as soon as discovered by Senator Walker, was corrected. It was declared to be "trivial." But the "trivial" typographical and clerical errors in the Direct Primary bill in the final count gave the machine its opportunity to amend the measure to machine liking. The writer has no doubt in his own mind that the machine aimed to delay the passage of the Walker-Otis bill until the end of the session, as it did the Direct Primary bill, and then amend it to suit machine purposes or defeat it altogether.

Error even attended the recording of the passage of the bill. After a measure has passed the Senate, its title must be read and approved, and an order made transmitting it to the Assembly, all of which must be recorded in the Senate journal. The printed Senate journal of February 4, however, the day the bill was passed, merely recorded the passage of the bill. Nothing appeared about its title having been read, or that it had been transmitted to the Assembly. Walker discovered this "error," and a hasty inspection of the original minutes followed. The original minutes contained the proper record as follows: "Title read and approved. Bill ordered transmitted to the Assembly." But the two sentences had been omitted from the printed journal. The patient Walker had the correction made. None of these irregularities, however, resulted in serious delay. Those behind the measure watched their opponents closely, refused utterly to treat them with the "courtesy due Senators," in fact, acted under the assumption that the gambling element would stop at nothing to defeat the bill. This watchfulness is an important although comparatively minor reason why the bill was passed.

Then came the machine's move to pass "an anti gambling bill" as a substitute for the Walker-Otis measure. Martinelli in the Senate and Butler in the Assembly had introduced an Anti-Pool Selling, Anti-Book Making bill. The measure had much to commend it but was by no means so effective as the Walker-Otis bill. As a last straw, the gambling element grasped at the Martinelli-Butler bill, and threw their influence on the side of its passage. But here they again met with the uncompromising resistance of the reform element. There was nothing left for the machine to do but make its fight on the floor of Senate and of Assembly. And the fight came on in a way and with a suddenness which brought consternation upon the machine forces.

[23] The Walker-Otis bill is in full as follows:

Section 1. A new section is hereby added to the Penal Code to be known as Section three hundred and thirty-seven a thereof and to read as follows:

aye. Every person, who engages in pool selling or bookmaking at any time or place; or who keeps or occupies any room, shed, tenement, tent, booth, or building, float or vessel, or any part thereof, or who occupies any place or stand of any kind, upon any public or private grounds within this State, with books, papers, apparatus or paraphernalia, for the purpose of recording or registering bets or wagers, or of selling pools, or who records or registers bets or wagers, or sells pools, upon the result of any trial or contest of skill, speed or power of endurance, of man or beast or between men or beasts, or upon the result of any lot, chance, casualty, unknown or contingent event whatsoever; or who receives, registers, records or forwards, or purports or pretends to receive, register, record or forward, in any manner whatsoever, any money, thing or consideration of value, bet or wagered, or offered for the purpose of being bet or wagered, by or for any other person, or sells pools, upon any such result; or who, being the owner, lessee, or occupant of any room, shed, tenement, tent, booth or building, float or vessel, or part thereof, or of any grounds within this State, knowingly permits the same to be used or occupied for any of these purposes, or therein keeps, exhibits or employs any device or apparatus for the purpose of recording or registering such bets or wagers, or the selling of such pools, or becomes the custodian or depositary for gain, hire or reward of any money, property or thing of value, staked, wagered or pledged, or to be wagered or pledged upon any such result; or who aids, assists or abets in any manner in any of the said acts, which are hereby forbidden, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail or State prison for a period of not less than thirty days and not exceeding one year.

[24] Had not the people of the Twenty-ninth and Thirty-first Senatorial Districts revolted against the machine at the general election of 1908, the Walker-Otis bill would probably have been defeated in the Senate. In the chapter dealing with the passage of the Miller-Drew Reciprocal Demurrage bill, it will be shown how the Democratic Senators Holohan and Campbell were elected in the Republican Twenty-ninth and Thirty-first Senatorial Districts, not because they were Democrats, but because the Republicans of those districts, recognizing the real issue before the State - the machine against the anti-machine element - voted for Holohan and Campbell, knowing them to be for good government and a "square deal" for all. Holohan and Campbell were from the beginning foremost in their support of the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill. To be sure, at the final vote, only seven Senators voted against the measure. But it is generally conceded that when the session opened, the gamblers had nineteen Senators who could have been prevailed upon to vote against an effective anti-gambling bill. Had machine men sat in the seats occupied by Holohan and Campbell, the gamblers would have had twenty-one votes in the Senate, and the Walker-Otis bill would have been defeated.

[25] Much of the credit for this determined stand is due Earl H. Webb, president of the Anti-Racetrack Gambling League, who managed the fight for effective anti-racetrack gambling legislation not only during the session of the Legislature, but before the Legislature convened. Mr. Webb first convinced himself that the Walker-Otis bill would stop pool selling and bookmaking; and that the measure would stand the test of honest interpretation by the courts. Then he made his fight for it. To Mr. Webb, more than to any other one person, is due the credit for its passage.

Chapter VII.

Passage of the Walker-Otis Bill.

Anti-Machine Element Forced the Issue and Compelled Early Action on the Measure - Evidence That Machine Planned to Defeat or Amend the Bill by Delaying Its Passage Until Toward the End of the Session.

As one looks back over the exciting first five weeks of the session, when the Walker-Otis bill was under consideration, it is plain that the machine would have preferred to have made its initial fight in the Senate. If defeated in the Senate, the enemies of the measure could have jockeyed for delay, prevented the passage of the measure until the closing hours of the session, and then killed it or forced its supporters to accept amendments.

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