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The Rewarding of the Faithful.
Senators and Assemblymen Whose Votes Were Cast Against Reform Measures Given State and Federal Positions in Some Instances, in Others Appointed to Holdover Committees or Sent on Trips at the Expense of the State.
The machine has many ways of rewarding the faithful who persist until the end. The faithful member of Senate or Assembly may be rewarded by a Federal appointment (Senator Bates has just been graciously recognized in this way[102a]) or he may be given a State job (witness Senator Price or Assemblyman Beardslee) ; or he may be put on a legislative hold-over committee to investigate something, or to represent the State at something, or to prepare some kind of a bill to be introduced at the next session of the Legislature.
This last is perhaps the most genteel method of reward. It entails little work, gives the beneficiary a certain distinction and pays very well.
Nine Senators were rewarded in this way in the closing hours of the session of 1909. There might have been ten, but that prince of "bandwagon" Senators, Welch, had to be rewarded twice, so but nine got holdover committeeships. They are Wolfe, Welch, Wright, Willis, Leavitt, Bills (labeled Republicans), Kennedy, Hare and Curtin (labeled Democrats). The names of the nine are not unfamiliar. With the exception of that of Curtin, their votes during the session were consistently cast on the side of the machine. For them to be rewarded came as a matter of course.
The machine will continue to reward such men until the people take the Legislature out of machine hands. But that is another story.
The Legislative Holdover Committee is about as useless a thing as can be imagined. This is very well illustrated by the State's experience with the so-called Harbors Committee, appointed by the Legislature of 1907 to inquire into harbor conditions throughout the State.
The committee consisted of three Senators and three Assemblymen. The Senators managed to incur expenses of $2,524.20. Assemblymen were more modest. Their expenses were only $1,851.80, making a total expense charge for the committee of $4,376.
But the $4,376 covers the committee's expenses only, does not provide compensation for the committeemen. A bill appropriating $6,000 for that purpose was introduced at the session of 1909. This gave the committeemen $1,000 each for their services. It made the investigation cost the State $10,376[102b].
The Harbors Committee - or somebody or something else, the writer is not sure which - prepared an elaborate report of the committee's findings. But owing to a surprising blunder that involved Senator Wolfe most curiously, the report was not filed until March 23, the day before the Legislature adjourned. The report was ordered printed in the journal, but it did not appear in the journal of the 23rd, which was circulated on the morning of the 24th. Instead, was a note to the effect that it would appear in the corrected journal. So, few knew that it had been filed at all, and it went unnoticed by the daily press.
But the details of the report[102c] were known to the general public long before it was filed with the Senate, and its provisions made Senator Wolfe appear to exceptional disadvantage. Wolfe was a member of the Harbors Committee, as was Senator Wright. Among the recommendations set forth in the report as originally prepared, was one that forty-four blocks only of land be purchased by the State for the improvement of the San Francisco Harbor at Islais Creek, instead of the sixty-three blocks necessary for practical harbor development.
Senator Wolfe was a warm advocate of the sixty-three block plan which is the only practical plan, by the way, and shows that Senator Wolfe can land on the right side of things occasionally. But it was very discouraging for Senator Wolfe to be confronted with the unfiled report of his own Harbors Committee, endorsed by his own signature as committeeman, in which the purchase of only forty-four blocks was urged.
Senator Wolfe's defense was ingenious. He stated that he had signed the report as a matter of courtesy, not really knowing what it contained. The incident illustrates the value to the State of such legislative investigations.
But in spite of the curious history of Wolfe's Harbors Committee, he was given another holdover committee in 1909. The Senate - on Wolfe's motion - adopted a resolution setting aside $5,000 to meet the expenses of a holdover committee to consist of three members to investigate the cause of recent advances in the cost of foodstuffs. Senators Wolfe, Welch and Hare are honored with the appointments. Lieutenant-Governor Porter appointed.
Senator Wolfe, from the machine standpoint, certainly earned the distinction thus thrust upon him, and his share of the money. Senator Wolfe was not in good health during the session, but in spite of his indisposition he managed to be present in the Senate Chamber, where often, pale, haggard and plainly on the verge of breakdown, he fought valiantly against the reform measures which were aimed at the prestige of the State machine, and the domination of the tenderloin, the Southern Pacific Railroad, the racetrack gamblers and allied interests in State politics.
Wolfe led the fight against the Walker-Otis Anti-Gambling bill, against the Local Option bill, against the effective Stetson Railroad Regulation bill, against the Direct Primary bill, against admitting Senator Bell of Pasadena to the Republican caucus, against the bill to prohibit the sale of intoxicants within a mile and a half of Stanford University, against the initiative amendment to the Constitution, against the amendment to the Constitution to correct ambiguities as to the powers and duties of the State Railroad Commission, and against Burnett's resolution for the investigation of the cause of the increase in freight rates and express charges. Senator Wolfe also led the fight for the passage of the Change of Venue bill.
Curiously enough, Senator Wolfe's stock argument, used in most of the opposition to reform measures, was to the effect that if such measures became laws, the Republican party in California would be undermined. Senator Wolfe's argument had great weight with Republicans like Leavitt and Weed and Democrats like Hare and Kennedy. For the "good of the Republican party," these gentlemen generally voted as Senator Wolfe dictated.
Senator Welch, the second member of the Pure Food Committee, is at least entitled to gracious consideration at the hands of the Wolfe-Leavitt element. Senator Welch was one of the twenty-seven Call-heralded heroes who defeated the Wolfe-Leavitt element in the first fight on the Direct Primary bill in the Senate. And Senator Welch was one of the seven heroes who "flopped" to the Wolfe-Leavitt side when the psychological moment came. Welch's one vote in the final struggle would have decided the Direct Primary fight for the side of the reform element. But when the reform element needed Welch he was found snugly quartered with Wolfe and Leavitt.
Welch voted for the Walker-Otis bill, but he was one of the last members of the Senate to be counted for that measure. Indeed, Welch caught the rear of the bandwagon on that issue just in time.
On railroad issues Welch's record is as good as the Southern Pacific Railroad could wish. He voted against the adoption of the practical absolute rate, and for the impracticable maximum rate; he voted for the ineffective Wright bill and against the effective Stetson bill. He voted against the Constitutional Amendment simplyfying the wording of the Constitution in those sections which prescribe the powers and duties of the Railroad Commissioners.
So Senator Welch had his appointment to the Food Investigation Committee due him. He was also made member of the Legislative Committee to represent the State at the Alaska-Yukon Exposition, of which more later. Thus Senator Welch rounded out the session very satisfactorily to Senator Welch and to the machine, if not to the State of California.
Senator Hare is down in the legislative records as a Democrat. He voted on most measures consistently under the lead of Wolfe and Leavitt. His appointment need not, therefore, cause surprise.
When the Direct Primary bill was before the Senate Committee on Election Laws, Hare's vote was with those of Wolfe and Leavitt to make the measure as ineffective as possible. Hare was among the thirteen unworthies who voted against the measure when the first fight was made for it on the floor of the Senate; he was among the twenty who finally, under Wolfe's leadership, held the measure up in the Senate until by trick it could be amended to the machine's liking. Hare was one of the seven Senators who voted against the Walker-Otis Anti-Gambling bill. He was one of those who voted for the passage of the Change of Venue bill.
On railroad measures Hare voted against the Stetson bill and for the Wright bill, against the absolute rate and for the maximum rate. He voted against the amendment to the Constitution to clear up the alleged ambiguity regarding the powers and duties of the Railroad Commissioners.
Lack of space prevents continuance of the review of Hare's votes. But enough has been said to show that this "Democrat" was entitled to the honor at the hands of the Performer, Republican Lieutenant Governor Warren Porter, of appointment to the Holdover Committee which, under the leadership of Senator Eddie Wolfe, will investigate the cause of the increase in the price of foodstuffs.
But a far more desirable appointment was to the committee which is to represent the State at the Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition. By concurrent resolution the Senate and Assembly decided that seven Senators, seven Assemblymen, one Lieutenant Governor (Warren Porter) and one Governor (Gillett) should attend the exposition at the State's expense. For this purpose $7,000 of the State's money has been provided.
The seven Senators appointed by Performer Porter are Wright, Willis, Welch, Leavitt, Bills, Kennedy, Curtin.
The seven Assemblymen appointed by Speaker Stanton are Transue, Beardslee, Leeds, Hewitt, McManus, McClellan and Schimtt.
The records of the Senators thus honored show them worthy the machine's consideration. Their votes on the banner measures before the Legislature last winter were as follows:
Against the Walker-Otis bill, to prohibit poolselling and bookmaking (Anti-Gambling bill) - Leavitt - 1.
For the Walker-Otis bill-Bills, Curtin, Kennedy, Willis, Welch, Wright - 6.
Only seven Senators voted against the Walker-Otis bill. Of the seven Leavitt is given the Alaska trip; Wolfe and Hare are put on the Food Investigation Committee. Thus of nine Senators who got on holdover committees three were among the seven who voted in the interest of the gambling element.
The records made by the State Senators who will attend the exposition at the State's expense in the Direct Primary fight are quite as suggestive. When the first attempt was made in the Senate to force the machine amendments into the bill, February 18, the seven Senators voted as follows:
For the machine's amendments - Bills, Kennedy, Leavitt, Willis.
Against the machine's amendments - Curtin, Welch, Wright.
Thirteen Senators on February 18 voted for the machine's amendments. Of their number Hare and Wolfe are on the Food Investigation Committee; Bills, Kennedy, Leavitt and Willis are to attend the exposition at the State's expense. Thus six of the thirteen have been rewarded.
The machine, having failed to amend the Direct Primary bill in the Senate, amended it in the Assembly. When the measure was returned to the Senate, six of the seven Senators who will attend the exposition voted to concur in the Assembly amendments. They were, Bills, Kennedy, Leavitt, Welch, Willis and Wright. Only one of the seven voted against the machine amendments, Curtin.
The records of the seven favored, trip-taking Senators on railroad regulation measures are as follows:
For the Wright bill, against the Stetson bill; for the maximum rate, against the absolute rate - Leavitt, Welch, Willis, Wright, Bills, Kennedy - 6.
Against the Wright bill, for the Stetson bill, against the maximum rate, for the absolute rate - Curtin - 1.
Against the constitutional amendment to make clear the powers and duties of Railroad Commissioners - Bills, Kennedy, Leavitt, Welch, Willis - 5.
For the amendment - Curtin, Wright - 2.
Against the Burnett resolution calling for an investigation of the cause for an increase in freight rates - Bills, Kennedy, Leavitt, Willis, Wright - 5.
For the resolution - 0.
Absent or not voting - Curtin, Welch - 2.
The records of the seven on the Local Option bill and the Change of Venue bill are:
Against Local Option - Leavitt, Welch, Willis, Bills, Curtin, Kennedy - 6.
For Local Option - Wright - 1.
For the Change of Venue bill - Bills, Leavitt, Welch, Willis, Wright - 5.
Against the Change of Venue bill - Curtin, Kennedy - 2.
Kennedy, to be sure, voted against the Change of Venue bill when that measure passed the Senate. But Senator Kennedy was unaccountably absent the next morning when the Change of Venue bill was taken up on a motion for reconsideration. Because of Kennedy's absence, the motion to reconsider the measure was lost, and its defeat prevented. Senator Kennedy is scarcely entitled to credit for being recorded on the right side of this measure.
Nine Senators are included in the two hold-over committees which are under consideration. As Wolfe and Hare invariably voted with Leavitt, it will be seen that eight of the nine voted against the Stetson bill and for the Wright bill; seven of the nine voted against the Constitutional amendment to make plain the constitutional powers and duties of the Railroad Commissioners; seven of the nine voted against investigating the cause of increase in freight and express rates to the Pacific Coast; eight of the nine voted against local option; seven voted for the Change of Venue bill, and one of the two others as good as voted for it, although on record against the measure.
As Republican Senators Bell, Birdsall, Black, Boynton, Cutten, Roseberry, Rush, Stetson, Strobridge and Thompson, who were invariably on the right side of things, look upon the records of the "Democrats" and "Republicans" included among the nine favored receivers of plums, they can scarcely be blamed for demanding with the discouraged little boy - What's the use of being good, anyhow?
And as the Democratic Senators, Caminetti, Campbell, Cartwright, Holohan, Miller and Sanford, who worked with the anti-machine Republicans for the passage of good laws and the defeat of bad ones look upon the favored Hare and Kennedy they cannot be blamed if the same question occurs to them also.
The indications are that the Senators who were thus overlooked will have "to wait for theirs," until The People of California, and not the machine, award the prizes for faithful public service.
Of the seven Assemblymen who will attend the Alaska-Yukon Exposition, one, Hewitt, voted against the machine on every important issue that came up. The other six are a spotted lot.
The six - Beardslee, Leeds, McManus, McClellan, Schmitt and Transue - voted for the famous "gag rules" which the Assembly rejected by a vote of 41 to 32. Indeed, Beardslee and Transue were on the Committee on Rules which the Assembly, when it rejected the Committee's rules, repudiated.
In the fight for the passage of the Walker-Otis Anti-Gambling bill, two of the six, Leeds and Transue, managed to keep their records straight. On the six roll-calls taken on the measure before it passed the Assembly, Beardslee voted five times against the bill and once for it; McManus voted six times against it; Schmitt voted five times against it, on one roll-call he did not vote; while McClellan voted four times for it and twice against.
Five of the six, Beardslee, Leeds, McManus, McClellan and Schmitt voted against forcing out of the Committee on Federal Relations the Sanford resolution, which called for a government line of steamers from Panama to San Francisco. The five voted for the Johnson amendments to the resolutions, which cut out all criticizing reference to the rate-boosting combinations between the great transportation companies. Transue was absent when the vote to force the resolution out of committee was taken. But he was present to vote for the Johnson amendments.
Five of the six, Leeds, McManus, McClellan, Schmitt and Transue, voted for the machine amendments to the Direct Primary bill, which were read into that measure in the Assembly, and which resulted in the Senate deadlock over the measure. Beardslee voted against the amendments.
Five of the six - Beardslee, Leeds, McManus, McClellan and Transue - voted against the Holohan bill to remove the party circle from the election ballot. Schmitt did not vote on this measure.
Assemblyman Hewitt will, at the Alaska-Yukon, find himself in distinguished company. From the Wolfe-Leavitt-Johnson standpoint, he is the only one of his associates who cannot be said to have earned the preferment thrust upon him.
[102a] As these forms are going through the press, word comes that Senator Willis has been made Assistant United States District Attorney at Los Angeles. See Willis' record, Table "A" of the appendix.
[102b] The State Constitution provides no method of compensation for such services. The providing of this compensation, therefore, becomes a matter of great delicacy. It is done, under a decision of the Supreme Court that that tribunal cannot go back of a legislative Act, but must abide by the wording of the Act. The appropriation bills to compensate the members for their services on hold-over Committees are worded to meet the opinion of the courts. The money is invariably appropriated "to pay the claim of," etc. The Legislature is, according to the courts, the sole Judge of whether the alleged claim is a claim and not a petition for a gift. The "to -pay- the-claim-of" bills never fail to pull down the money.
[102c] The report as originally drawn, and as it was signed by Senator Wolfe and his associates.