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The California will be thoroughly inspected at the dry dock by a naval board and he underpinning, which is stuck to her bottom from the launching ways, removed. After this she will be placed in the bay and additional work done, after which she will again be placed in the ways and her propellers attached.-San Francisco Examiner.
The article written, as he found conditions, by the Examiner reporter, in which he states that the severe tidal currents complicated the work of docking the superdreadnaught California at Hunters Point Dry Dock yesterday comes in at an opportune time, as it will help to make Mare Island's fight to secure the naval base docks bordering on the Carquinez Straits site more effective. The navy yard boosters have claimed right along that the Hunters Point site was not fit for å naval base because of the severe tidal currents and also because it is not safe from the guns of an attacking fleet, and the above, which is taken from the Examiner, bút confirms the contentions of Vallejoites.
FEBRUARY 21, 1919, Mr. W. J. MITCHELL, Chairman Local Placement Committee,
United States Housing Corporation, Vallejo, Calif. MY DEAR MR. MITCHELL: I take this opportunity of conveying to you my warm appreciation of your earnest and successful efforts as chairman of the local placement committee of the United States Housing Corporation. The duties were arduous and required a great deal of your time. The commandant is informed by Maj. Crist that your work has been very successful in reconciling differences between landlords and tenants and in promoting contentment among the employees of this yard. As you know, contentment among employees is closely associated with efficiency, and for this reason your efforts have received my highest commendation. In taking leave of you the commandant desires to wish you every prosperity. Sincerely, yours,
HARRY GEORGE, Captain, United States Marines, Retired, Commandant.
EXTRACT FROM WEEKLY LETTER TO CALIFORNIA METAL TRADES ASSOCIATION.
A great many of our plants had lost approximately five months in 1919 through strikes, but we believed that those men who were employed beginning November 24, 1919, when we opened under the American plan, would work steadily and without the interruption that had been so costly to all concerned during the two years of 1918 and 1919. And we desire to state in this connection that our confidence has proved well placed, because we have all worked nearly a full year without the loss of one day due to interruption or interference from outside influences.
Vallejo City and subdivisions, assessed valuation and taxpayers. 1916-Vallejo (corporate limits)..
Subdivisions, assessed value.
Workers owning their own homes, 1,200. 1920—Vallejo (corporate limits).
9, 681, 581 1, 250, 000
10, 931, 581
New paved streets, 9 miles..
53,000 Sewer extensions, 31 miles. Bond issue for new schools.
27,000 Bond issue for additional water supply.
500,000 New motor fire-fighting apparatus...
1, 250, 000
12, 500 Total...
2, 167, 500 The Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches are constructing new structures of worship at a total cost of $300,000.
First National Bank and First Savings Bank..
541, 218. 79 1, 169, 332. 91
2 2, 510, 551. 70
1 Indicates 60 per cent of the values involved. 3 Indicates an addition of 25 per cent to this figure, as private loans by individuals, otherwise than the financial institutions.
WAR DEPARTMENT, AIR SERVICE,
OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR,
Washington, December 7, 1920. DEAR MR. CURRY: I am answering your question of yesterday regarding the location of Mare Island Navy Yard from the standpoint of aerial offense and defense. The fact that the Mare Island base is 26 miles from
the coast line gives it a slight advantage over a station situated nearer the coast. The important factor is having aerial defense stations located close enough to provide the proper defense. The naval base at Mare Island is not located near any large center of population and, therefore, is not dependent on any big city for lines of communication or supplies. This in itself is a good point, inasmuch as a successful bombardment of a big city could easily disrupt all lines of communication in the immediate vicinity.
A rather general survey of the question would lead me to believe that the Mare Island naval base is strategically located from the aviation standpoint in the scheme of national defense. Sincerely,
WM. MITCHELL, Brigadier General, United States Army.
By MAXWELL KIRBY,
Major, Air Service, Assistant. Hon. CHARLES F. CURRY,
Washington, D. C. Mr. CURRY. After Mr. Smith has answered what questions you care to ask him, we will finish the matter up very rapidly, if it is your desire to go through with it now, before luncheon, or we can adjourn now for lunch.
Senator BALL. The committee would like to have all of the statements that are to be made to it made at this sitting.
Mr. PADGETT. Before we recess.
Mr. CURRY. Very well; it won't take over half an hour. I will call upon Mr. Smith, consulting engineer.
Mr. FRANCIS BETTS SMITH. There has been some reference made to the cost of Dry Dock No. 2 here at Mare Island. I had charge of the construction from 1905 up to the time of its completion in 1910. The cost of the construction of this Mare Island dry dock has no reference to the cost of any future constructions. There is no similar condition of formation at any other point along the water front. It is built in a geological fold; that is, the formation dips at this point. We have the shale outcropping back of the storehouse to the westward, and there is the shale hill at the lower end of the island where the magazines are located.
The head of Dry Dock No. 2, which is located to the eastward of the small dock, was wholly built in the shale formation. This shale formation, with impervious clay, underlies the bottom of Dock No. 2, but it was at such a depth that it required a special method of construction, which accounts for the excessive cost. At the outer end the hard bottom shelves off very rapidly until at a location 100 feet from the end of the dock, wherë 125 piles are driven, they were still in the mud.
The location was selected by the Miller Board with the idea that it was a natural dock location because there was a dip in the formation, and, as I remember, in questioning some of the oldest inhabitants here, who were conversant with the deliberations of the Miller Board, they decided that the dredging could be done at a less cost because it was mud. Therefore the cost of the Mare Island dry dock is no criterion of the cost of any other dry dock in this location.
So far as the other base locations are concerned, all my information is hearsay. I am not competent to make any statement in the matter. If there are any questions you gentlemen would like to ask me in regard to the Pearl Harbor dry dock, I will be glad to answer them. I spent nine years constructing that dock.
Mr. Hicks. That was a peculiar formation that does not exist here; that was a coral formation, was it not?
Mr. Smith. Yes; a coral reef. You have the same water-bearing strata; and one thing that we developed there which was peculiar to that location was that there was no arching action to the bottom, and when we removed the water from the cofferdam the weight of the surrounding reef, resting on the mud strata, forced up the underlying bottom with the failure of the whole temporary structures which formed the cofferdam.
Mr. Hicks. The whole bottom blew up after you got into it? Mr. SMITH. Yes. Mr. Hicks. I want to ask you if you know anything about the Alameda site ?
Mr. SMITH. Just from hearsay. Looking at the borings, I would say that the formation is water bearing, just the same as that which we struck at Pearl Harbor.
Mr. Hicks. Would it have to be a gravity dock, similar to that?
Mr. Smith. Yes, it would have to be a gravity dock, and the Pearl Harbor method of construction would be very adaptable to that location, and probably would be the cheapest method to be used.
Mr. BRITTEN. Would it not be much easier, also, because of the soil conditions in Alameda, to build a dock there, than it was at Pearl Harbor ?
Mr. Smith. You would have the arch action, I think, in that bottom, and it would not be as precarious to construct, but it would be the cheapest method that is, to follow the method that they followed at Pearl Harbor.
Mr. PADGETT. You would have the benefit of your Pearl Harbor experience there?
Mr. SMITH. Yes.
Mr. CURRY. I will ask Mayor Roney, of Vallejo, to address the committee.
Mayor JAMES RONEY. Gentlemen of the committee, I do not propose to make any attempt to enlarge upon the presentation that has been made by the gentleman who has preceded me. I am not going to consume any of your time unnecessarily, except to say the few things connected with the city of Vallejo.
As has probably been impressed upon you by this time, the city of Vallejo is wrapped up fully in the existence and in the full activities of the Mare Island Navy Yard. We have practically more than doubled our population since the beginning of the war. The assessed values, as the actual values, have more than doubled.
You will realize that the average workman, when he comes to a Government establishment, believes he has secured a somewhat permanent source of employment, and his first desire, when the means are available, is to provide himself with a home, and probably not 5 per cent of the people who have built homes and other structures in Vallejo since the beginning of the war have given the slightest consideration to analyzing the permanence of their investment. Therefore, there is probably eighteen or twenty millions of dollars invested over there, the permanence of which is wholly dependent upon the
continuance of the activities of the Mare Island Navy Yard, and there is, especially, about a million and a half that has recently been taken over from the Government in the shape of the housing annex, which was built by the Government during the war, to provide the necessary housing accommodations while the war was on. chasers have been informed that there will be no cessation of the activities of the Mare Island Navy Yard, and they got that information officially from the Housing Corporation's representatives, as having come from the Secretary of the Navy.
Now, we have no faith over there that if a base is established as .comprehensive as the estimates involve, that there will be anything left here 5 years after the base is installed. I have been here for nearly 52 years, and I am pretty thoroughly familiar with the fluctuations that appertain to the operation of navy yards, and I am satisfied that from the reasons adduced by Capt. Gleason and the other gentlemen here, the extent of double overhead, and the various other reasons, and the considerably increased number of representatives from that portion of the State, that the bulk of appropriations would be made for increasing and enlarging as much as possible the activities of the Lower Bay, and that we would be very, very materially injured.
You understand, also, that it does not take complete abandonment of the Mare Island Navy Yard to involve the practical confiscation of our values in Vallejo. Just as soon as there are two sellers to one purchaser, anyone of you who have had experience in booms knows what the effect will be. The values run down, and there will be no sale for property at all, and, so far as the practical effect is concerned, the yard might just as well be abandoned, and there will be a very material curtailment if the base is established down there—it occurs to me that that is not open to argument.
We believe that we are differently situated than any other community in the country, so far as consideration from the Government representatives is concerned, inasmuch as it was through the activities of our people that this yard and many of the other yards have been able to render very much more efficient and increased service to the Navy Department. In 1902 we prevailed upon Congress to depart from the policy exclusively pursued prior to that for a number of years, of having ships built as well as repairs made at the navy yard, and we believe that we have rendered a very great pecuniary service to the Government thereby. Because you had previously no method of computation enabling you to determine what the cost of a ship should be, and how long it should take, and the consequence was that the contractors had fallen into the practice of pursuing the work on Government contracts only when other private contracts were not urgent, the result being that you never got ships within several years of the contract delivery time. Of course, there were penalties imposed for failure to deliver within contract time, but none of them were ever enforced, and at that time there were a large number of ships under contract, which were then several years behind contract delivery time.
We believe that the element of competition and avenue for ascertaining what these ships would cost and how long they should take to construct, represents a great many millions of dollars of value to the National Government, and we believe for that reason that we are