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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 DirectPrimary 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.

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