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New Orleans a proposition to levy a tax of 242 mills on the dollar, the proceeds of which shall be devoted to a thorough and efficient sewerage, drainage and waterworks system for the city of New Orleans. The plant of the present waterworks company to be acquired by purchase or expropriation.

The proposition is to vest the management of these enterprises in the New Orleans Drainage Board, a body consitiuted by Legislative act, with a composite membership, some of whom are chosen from the New Orleans Board of Liquidation of the City Debt, some from the Orleans Levee Board, and some from the city officials of New Orleans.

It is believed that this board is constituted in such a way as to be removed in a great measure beyond the reach of ordinary political in. fuences.

The outcome of this project, which seems to present the only feasiDle method of accomplishing municipal ownership of these public enterprises, will probably be definitely known within the next three or four nuonths.

The most notable instance of attack upon official corruption was the corflict participated in by the dismissal from the police force of a cap. tain and other subordinate officers in a precinct wherein it was con. clusively shown that gambling had existed, and apparently, with the connivance of the police. The Police Board had adopted a resolution that the captain of any precinct where gambling was shown to exist should be dismissed from the force, and carried out that policy by the dismissal of the officer referred to.

The Mayor having become convinced that the interest of the public service required a change in the chief of the police force, called for the chief's resignation, which was forthcoming, but it was soon seen that his efforts to replace the incumbent with a chief who would be entirely free of the influences that had brought about the demoralization of the police force, would be thwarted by the Police Board itself, which evinced a determination to elect a less desirable head of that department than the official who had tendered his resignation.

Finding him elf thus thwarted, the Mayor and his supporters on the l'olice Board were forced to accept the alternative of refusing to accept the chief's resignation. After the conclusion of this episode, enormous pressure was brought to bear to bring about the reinstatement of the deposed police captain. The champions of his reinstatement were successful, and the board reinstated him, against the Mayor's earnest protest. The result tbat may easily have been foreseen, has come about; it is said that lotteries and gambling are going on unchecked.


The Legislature, at its extra session last winter, enacted a primary election bill which gives promise that it will prove effective. While it contains some concessions to "the organization," it is generally accepted as a practical step in the right direction. At the same session the Legislature also enacted what it is hoped will prove to be a practical general revenue act. Our assessments of taxes have long been a disgrace to the city and a fruitful source of corruption. Both these measures were pushed by the Civic Federation and other reform agencies. While they could not have been enacted without the effective and earnest help of machine men, their enactment was a recognition of the growing influence of the municipal reform forces.

The Supreme Court of Illinois in four notable decisions has strongly sustained the civil service reform law; and the law itself has gained in public favor, notwithstanding its indifferent enforcement in Chicago. Its arch-enemy, Corporation Counsel Thornton, as a candidate for Judge, ran about 13,000 votes below the highest vote on his judicial ticket and was placed at the foot of the poll and defeated, the two at the top of a ticket of six being elected.

About eighty per cent. of the members of the Legislature who voted for the Allen bill were defeated for re-election on that issue. This shows that the public opinion of the State is both sound and alert.

The Municipal Voters' League continued its good work for the redemption of the City Council last spring with satisfactory results. The League has been especially effective in driving from the Council men of bad records. This year it opposed, on their records, nineteen retiring members, some of whom had done well as compared with the standards of 1895. Of these but nine were renominated and three reelected. Of twenty-five ex-Aldermen of bad records who sought nominations, but six were nominated and three elected. Of fifteen retiring inembers who were supported by the League in 1896 and approved for re-election, three declined to run, twelve were renominated and eleven were re-elected. Of the fifty-seven who composed “the gang” of 1895, but seven are now members of the Council. The character of candidates is steadily rising, simply because the League has struck a fatal blow at the availability of men of bad records, and made the election of good men almost certain in very many wards. The Council now contains but fourteen saloonkeepers.

The Council is now fairly responsive to public opinion. Since 1895 it has passed but one general boodle ordinance. Its character has steadily risen until one-half of its members can now be relied upon to support public as against private interests. At least three times within a year the powerful street railway combine has tried to control twothirds of its members to give them fifty-year extensions of ordinances of incalculable value. Each time the introduction of their ordinances

has been withheld. That they have not profited by the notorious Allen legislation, which so disgraced the State last year, is wholly, due to an aroused public opinion, the attitude of the press and the work of the League.

At the recent election there was witnessed a notable example of independent voting. The Republican party reasonably met the demands of reformers in its nomination of the new assessing officers, but named one candidate of bad record. The Democratic party reversed this, naming but one satisfactory candidate. An extemporized reform non-partisan committee of well-known citizens investigated the qualifications of the candidates and published the results, using the methods and experts of the Voters League. As a result, all the eight candidates supported by the committee were elected, the Republican condemned running some 17,000 votes behind his ticket.

The great question before us is the solution of the street railway problem. Reformers are bound not to permit the companies to have fifty-year extensions under the corrupt Allen legislation. A solution that shall reasonably recognize public rights and result in better relations between the city and the companies is earnestly desired and will be reached when the street railway interests finally abandon their claim to extensions without compensation.

Permit me to add that our main effort should be, in my opinion, to recover representative government. I do not mean that we should not limit the field of municipal legislation so-called and extend the functions of the executive to some extent, but all public officials must be made more responsive to public opinion. November 30, 1898.


ST. LOUIS, MO. The past year has been an important one in our city from the reform standpoint. Early in January a most strenuous effort was made tbrough a committee representing nearly every interest in the city to have a civil service or merit system provision included in a set of amendments then being prepared for submission to the voters by the Municipal Assembly. A petition of 20,000 names was presented, thousands of personal letters were sent in, the press of the city was unanimous in recommending the measure, and yet in face of all this the request was insolently denied and no such provision included. When the four amendments were submitted to the people they were found to relate to street improvment almost exclusively, and the administration hoped to rush them through under the delusive cry of “good streets." But when the microscope of public safety was applied, a dozen or more opportunities for fat contracts, public loot and official

steals were discovered, and when it was remembered that the men submitting these danger-fraught amendments had refused the citizens the safeguard which appointment solely for merit would have insured, a great wave of indignation swept through the city, and on election day defeated tbe amendments by a vote of four to one.

Of course, this result was not brought about without great labor on the part of the reform workers. Had nothing been done by them, it is safe to say that the amendments would have been forced down the throats of the citizens and taxpayers by the powerful administration machine. The election was set for July 12–a time when many of our citizens are away, and those who are not take little interest because of the heat. The crying necessity for street improvement in many sections, it was hoped, would aid the scheme. The cry was "$20,000,000 for good streets in one year," but it did not work.

Another most encouraging feature of the election was the preservation of the integrity of the ballot and an honest count. There had been no revision of the poll books for fifteen months prior to the election, and it was ascertained that in many districts more than a clear majority of the voters had changed their residence, thus disfranchising themselves and at the same time furnishing abundant material for the professional repeater. It was also learned that an attempt was to be made to use gangs of "Indians” from ward to ward. Recognizing this danger, a house to house canvass was made by the Civic Federation, and the name and address of every registered voter who had removed was secured and then tabulated by voting precincts and typewritten in triplicate. Through a shrewd piece of political management, the privilege of naming the watchers and challengers at every voting place was obtained from the Democratic Central Committee and five hundred appointed (and paid at the rate of $3.00 per day), and each of whom was given the list of disqualified voters in his district, with instructions to challenge any one attempting to vote any name on his list. A reward of $100 for every case of attempted fraud was posted .at every polling place, signed by six prominent citizens, a gang of kodak experts in buggies was employed, and, in addition, a corps of good strong men was ready to respond to any call for emergencies.

All these measures had a most successful termination, and the gang” was so competely taken by surprise that the election was attended with less trouble than any heretofore.

We feel greatly encouraged over our success. We are beginning to feel that we can see some results of our past three years of patient toil. Our plans are laid far ahead, and we hope and sincerely believe that we will succeed in ridding our city of the men who have long been conducting the public affairs solely for private gain and advantage and in establishing a business administration of capable, upright and intelligent men in their places. December, 1898.



The Law Enforcement Society of Brooklyn was incorporated December 13, 1894. The particular object of the society is to secure a more efficient enforcement of the law in the City of Brooklyn and County of Kings. It makes no other claim, nor can the society be legally used for any other purpose. Every good citizen, no matter what may be his or her party affiliations or political faith, is eligible to membership. The society is, and necessarily must continue to be, absolutely nonpartisan. The society represents not the party to which the citizen may belong, but the citizen himself and the unquestioned rights and privileges belonging to him, as defined in the law.

The theory upon which the Society acts is that crime may best be prevented by a vigorous and impartial enforcement of the laws against crime, which the people have themselves enacted for the protection of all. The policy of the Society has been, in order to bring about “a more efficient enforcement of the law,” to assist the officials who are paid by the people of all parties, to discharge their duties intelligently and efficiently and to insist that they impartially enforce the law against crime, without regard to the effect which the result might bring to personal or party interests.

A study of the subject at the inception of the Society convinced the promoters that the laws as enacted, in theory, gave ample protection to the citizens. That there was an abundance, even a surplus, of officials well paid to enforce the laws, root out, and in future prevent, the evils complained of. Observation brought conviction that evils existed because the laws, as they were, were not enforced by officials who were paid for, and had sworn to perform, this duty. Experience has demonstrated that the efforts of individual citizens and societies to enforce the laws in particular cases, while successful in some instances, were discouraging because of repeated failures.

The aim of the Society has been to unite law-loving citizens in an effort to assist when we can, and compel when we must, the officials. While the active members of the Society have been called "reformers,” "informers,” and nearly everything else the enemies of good government could invent, in reality there is no “reform,” properly so-called, in the movement. The Society is in reality a Citizens' Committee to see that the officials who are paid for this service simply do their duty and enforce the laws impartially, and thus give us the good government contemplated in the laws, and desired by all good citizens.

These principles seem very simple. They are certainly very farreaching. To put them properly into practice means a revolution of the present methods of conducting city government in the United States in many places. The efforts of the Society in putting them into practice has roused the full force and power of those opposed to our aims. Opposition was expected, but such fierce, malignant, persistent and united effort to "down the Society' and thwart our purposes has

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