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ments thereunder must be preceded by an election under section 41 of the act.
Also that mortgages should not be considered in making assessments.
In People v. Selma Irrigation District, 98 Cal. 206, the court held that irrigation districts could not be dissolved for misuse or nonuser of their corporate powers, that the doctrine of forfeiture of charter has no appliation to municipal or other public corporations.
In Rialto District x. Brandon, 103 Cal. 384, it was held that the term "ditches and canals” was broad enough to include "pipe lines, flumes, and other conduits" for conveying water, and that under section 12 of the act, condemnation could be had of such property; also that the decree of confirmation was competent evidence on that trial to prove the validity of the district and its bonds.
It was decided in the case of Cullen v. Board, etc., of Glendora District, 113 Cal. 503, that the portion of section 4 of the “confirmation act,” which provides that a motion for a new trial must be made on the minutes of the court, is repugnant to the third subdivision of section 25 of article IV of the constitution, which declares that the legislature shall not pass local or special laws regulating the practice of courts of justice, and that such a motion made upon a bill of exceptions is entitled to be considered; that the invalidity of this clause did not affect the other provisions of the act; that the inclusion of unpatented land in a district does not affect the validity of the organization; that the vote for the issuance of bonds must be preceded by the adoption of a plan for the works and an estimate of the cost based on the plan.
The latest decision by the supreme court of the state is In re Central District, 49 Pac. Rep. 354.
The decision in this case very emphatically limits the language of the court in the case of Modesto District v. Tregea, upon the point of the qualifications of "freeholders," and determines that owners of “town lots," as distinguished from agricultural lands, are not qualified to inaugurate proceedings for the formation of a district. The chief interest in this decision, however, arises from the ruling that the notice accompanying the petition for formation of a district must be signed by the petitioners, and the district under consideration was held to have not been legally organized, because of the failure of petitioners to sign the notice of intention to present the petition to the supervisors. It is unfortunate that this point has not been raised and settled in some of the earlier cases, on the strength of which millions of dollars worth of bonds have been sold. It seems that in the district under consideration bonds had been sold before the confirmation proceedings were instituted, and the court intimates, though it does not decide, that such bonds might be valid as against the lands embraced in the improperly organized district, in the hands of good-faith holders thereof.
That point is relegated by the decision to other proceedings where the contest might be properly made. This also opens a question as to the validity of the organization of municipalities under the general law, relating to their organization. It is believed, and is asserted by good authority that it has not been the practice to have petitioners sign the notices accompanying the petitions for such organizations, and that under the doctrine of the above decision the organizations of municipalities, during many years past, must be held invalid, and their bond issues be seriously jeopardized. The language of section 2 of An act to provide for the organization, incorporation and government of municipal corporations, of 1883, and the same section as amended in 1889, contains the same provision with reference to signing petition and publication of notice of time for presenting the same to the board of supervisors as is found in the irrigation act:
Not quite so recent, but perhaps equally important, is the decision of the United States supreme court in the case of Bradley v. Fallbrook Irrigation District-decision rendered November 16, 1896, and entitled in the supreme court, Fallbrook Irrigation District v. Bradley. The case originated in the circuit court of the ninth circuit for the southern district of California, for the reason that the plaintiff, Bradley, was a subject of Great Britain. By the decision of the circuit court, it was held that the irrigation law was violative of the United States constitution, in that it provided for the taking of private property without due process of law, because these irrigation districts affected a few individuals in particular localities, and the use of water therein was a private as distinguished from a public use. The supreme court reversed that decision, and basing its conclusion upon the facts, and the principles of law determinative of a “public use," independently of the decisions of the supreme court of this state, it said: “Viewing the subject for ourselves and in the light of these considerations we have very little difficulty in coming to the same conclusion reached by the courts of California,” i.e., that the use of water for irrigating purposes is a public use, and that irrigation districts are puiilic corporations, and that the scheme of the so-called Wright law is not violative of any constitutional provision. The court quotes with approbation at some length from the decision in Modesto Irrigation District v. Tregea, 88 Cal. 334, and refers specifically to other California decisions. That decision would seem to have put at rest the contentions that had been maintained for nearly ten years, but the point made in the latest case in this state, that an organization is void where the notice of intention tv present a petition to the supervisors is not also signed by the petitioners, opens up a cause for contention that may not be finally disposed of in another ten years.
An act to amend an act entitled an act supple
mental to an act entitled “An act to provide for the organization and government of irrigation districts, and to provide for the acquisition of water and other property, and for the distribution of water thereby for irrigation purposes," approved March 7, 1887, providing for the abandonment of operations by irrigation districts, and for their disorganization upon the discharge of all outstanding obligations, and dividing irrigation districts into classes for the purposes of this act, approved March 25, 1893.
[Approved March 31, 1897.] Section one of said act is hereby amended so as to read as follows:
Whenever a petition is presented to the board of directors of an irrigation district in this state, organized under the provisions of “An act to provide for the organization and government of irrigation districts, and to provide for the acquisition of water and other property, and for the distribution of water thereby for irrigation purposes," approved March seventh, eighteen hundred and eighty-seven, commonly known as the Wright law, signed by a majority of the assessment payers within said district, whose names appear upon the last preceding assessment roll of said district, asking for the abandonment of further operations by the district, the board of directors of said district shall call a special election, as provided in other cases for holding special elections in irrigation districts, at which the question of such abandonment of further operations by the district shall be submitted; provided, that no district shall take advantage of the provisions of this act if there is any existing bonded indebtedness at the time of the presentation of such petition to said board.
SEC. 2. This act shall take effect and be in force on and after its passage.