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I now, Mr. Chairman, take pleasure in introducing to you and to the committee Mr. J. J. Dwyer, who will present San Mateo's proposed site to you.
Mr. J.J. DWYER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the senatorial and congressional delegation, and officers of the Navy, I may be asked at the outset why it is that San Mateo appears at what would seem to be a very late date in the matter of the selection of a site for the proposed base. The matter was presented in a very tentative way by a few property owners when the Helm Commission was here, but too late to receive much attention. Later the United States Shipping Board had in their employ, as United States resident engineer, A. W. Lasher for two years, and in pursuance of his duty as such resident engineer he was asked to investigate the San Mateo front as a site for a possible shipyard when the Government was so much in need of the speedy building of ships. That investigation was made by him, and in connection with that it occurred to him from his investigations that the site was 'suitable also for a naval base. He made a report in both aspects, and in the latter aspect the report is on file in the Navy Department records in the Bureau of Docks and Wharves-it was sent, I believe, to Admiral Rousseau. That was done within the last year, and, of course, too late to be considered by the Helm report or the McKean report. It was these investigations, made by a Government engineer, that brought to the attention of the people of San Mateo in their organized governmental capacity for the first time that they had in the possession of San Mateo County and of its citizens what they consider one of the most meritorious sites on the Bay of San Francisco for the location of this proposed base. Whether it is the most meritorious is for you gentlemen to determine.
Having this fact presented to their minds, the organized officials of San Mateo County, of San Mateo city, and of Burlingame, the adjoining town, felt it their patriotic duty to present the site to this delegation. We apprehend that nothing is decided until the final outcome of the matter is reached. We apprehend also that the suggestion may be made that we have been slothful. But this delegation is not here for the purpose of giving rewards to the vigilant, but for the purpose of selecting the most meritorious site. And in that view, even at this date, we have a desire to present to you for your consideration the San Mateo site.
The hearings this week have abbreviated to a very considerable extent the presentation on behalf of San Mateo, because many of the views I would have brought to your attention are already before you. And those views presented on behalf of other sites are useful and can be aggregated in our statement as applicable in bulk to San Mateo, because of its location, geographic, financial, commercial, and in all other aspects that have reference to the location of a base in this part of the waters, namely, the lower part of San Francisco Bay.
The location is indicated graphically on this map of the bay in color, and I call your attention to it with reference to the locations of the Alameda site, the Hunters Point site, and the San Mateo site—this is the San Mateo site. On this map you will see portrayed by the United States Geodetic Survey the channel of the Bay of San Francisco, which is white. The shaded parts of the map indicate the different mud flats, the darker shading, and the lighter shading indicating the different depths. You will observe the most important fact in this connection, and one that must not be lost sight of, throughout the discussion, so far as we are concerned, which is that the white strip, the channel of the Bay of San Francisco, is on the San Francisco peninsula side of the bay, and it passes directly in front of the proposed site. San Mateo is a city on the peninsula of San Francisco, and the site is situated 10 miles south of Hunters Point. The city of San Mateo is distant, measuring from the city hall, 20 miles from San Francisco.
On the land side, communication can be said to be 20 miles in length and about 40 minutes, average running time for trains and fast electric cars and also on motor busses. There is abundant communication in that regard, and I won't expatiate on that feature. But what I want to impress upon you in the first place is the location of the city of San Mateo and the location of San Mateo County in immediate juxtaposition to San Francisco, the county line running through here (showing], which makes it unnecessary to say much more with regard to many of the general features of the discussion than to say that financially and commercially and in all that is involved in those two main propositions, San Mateo is a part, an intimate part, of San Francisco, and everything, consequently, that has been said with regard to San Francisco as a labor market or as a supply market, and in many other respects, applies, without going into detail, to San Mateo. In so far as any additional features peculiar to San Mateo exist, I shall endeavor to state them, and I think I am safe in saying that the major part of my statement will be, not in expatiating upon the substantial and essential characteristics of a naval base as applied to San Mateo, because they are all present, but upon the distinguishing features that are peculiar to San Mateo that justify us, even at this date, in asking for an official examination, an Official survey, and official tests under orders of this delegation, of the same kind and character and extent that have been already afforded in the examination of the other proposed sites on this bay and the upper
bay, and for the same public reason. We do not ask it for the benefit of San Mateo; we ask it for the benefit of the United States Government and of the proposed naval base, and for the efficiency and success and ease of operation of the proposed nava) base.
First, a brief outline of the physical characteristics. This proposed site offers 3,200 acres of submerged land, fronting immediately on the Bay of San Francisco, the natural channel, where the hand of man has done nothing as yet in the way of development of navigation or harbor facilities. Those 3,200 acres have a frontage of about 3}
a miles on the natural channel of the Bay of San Francisco, that is here over 40 feet deep and about 1 mile wide, over the entire front of the proposed site. Later on we will come to something that may be running in the minds of some of you now, that in between Hunters Point and this channel in front of the city of San Mateo the water shallows to a depth of 21 feet, 20 to 21 feet, which of course would not permit the larger vessels of the Navy to pass through, and when we present this site, we present it in the confident belief that it can be made useful so that the largest vessel that now exists in the Navy can pass through it, and that it can be made, without undue expenditure, equal to any of the proposed sites and satisfactory for all possible future development with regard to the size of ships, so as to place San Mateo at least on a parity with Hunters Point and Alameda, and any other proposed site in San Francisco Bay or its tributaries.
Mr. Hicks. Will you permit an inquiry there?
Mr. DWYER. That shallow is 6 miles long. I will come to that in the main part of my discussion, and I do not mean to slight it in any degree, but I refer to it now so'as to show that I shall bring that important proposition to your attention later on.
With regard to the character of the subsurface conditions, I do not propose to waste your time in that regard, because the investigations in that connection are not complete. We are in the position here of being in the preliminary stage, in the same way that Hunters Point and Alameda were some years ago. But another reason that justifies us in presenting this is that we are informed, and it appears in the public print, from the statement of the chairman of your delegation, that borings made since the report of Admiral Helm and of Admiral McKean, that were ordered by Government experts at the other proposed sites, Hunters Point and Alameda, are not entirely satisfactory, but that the obstacles that exist in that regard can be removed. That is the statement made in this paper-whether it is sufficiently accurate or not I have of course no means of determining. But the substance of it is anyway that after these reports of the two commissions, the Helm commission and the McKean commission, were made, nevertheless it was regarded by the Government that those reports were not conclusive on subsurface conditions, and that at the expense of the Government, in thehands of the Governmenexperts, further investigations were ordered and have been made. While those results have been determined, they have not been made public, but we are assuming, for the purpose of our argument, that they may not prove satisfactory, and in that regard if the examination of our site proves satisfactory, we will have done a good thing in bringing this site to your attention.
The geodetic maps and the Government report show that the land under the water in this neighborhood is very hard. Reports of our engineer in that regard contain the details, and I won't go into that. We present it to you, and we ask permission to file that report, and we are going to ask permission to file an engineering map by Mr. A. W. Lasher that describes to a certain degree the character of the subsurface conditions. It is sufficient for my purpose to state that our claim is that the ground is unusually hard and will furnish substantial foundation for all kinds of structures necessary for this base; that rock bottom and rock formations exist, in which the dry docks, the graving docks, can be built, and that the rock can be seen with the naked eye on the site. Borings have been made previously by other investigators for private parties. We have some of the specimens here with us, if it is desired to examine them visually, that indicate the hard character of the foundation.
The land in question is 3,200 acres of submerged land. The proposition is a reclamation one in that regard, entirely comparable to the Alameda project and to the Hunters Point project, which also involves a large area of reclamation. And our conviction is that from the standpoint of reclamation the reclamation here is cheaper and easier to make, because of conditions, than at either of the other sites.
I shall not attempt to say so much about the absolute merits of this site as to refer briefly in passing to the comparative merits, because unless we show at this hearing something to justify you in following up our claim that comparatively this is the best site we do not expect that you will select it. We do not expect that you will do it out of consideration to San Mateo, but simply in the interests of the Government.
The land area, then, is 3,200 acres, as an example of the value of which-and I am going to make an offer in this connection later-I want to show you to begin with that this is cheap land—117 acres of it were offered to us yesterday for $25 an acre; 1,378 acres is held in one ownership. That is held at the value of only $250 per acre and can be had for much less. The rest of the proposed site is public property, State government property, I am informed, and before I finish I hope to have the opportunity to show you that we can offer the whole proposition to you free, and especially with regard to the part that is publicly owned, we have the same right to assume that we can offer that to you free, for the same public reason that the Alameda site has been offered to the Government free.
Now, in that connection, I can state briefly, perhaps, that the gen-: tleman in charge of this proposition, on behalf of the organized government to which I have alluded, hereby offer this site free of expense to the Government, so far as the acquisition of the submerged land is concerned. We are in a position, we believe, to make that offer good. The entire cost of the land, you will see from my statement, is very small in comparison with the size of the project.
Senator BALL. That covers all the 3,200 acres?
Senator BALL. I mean that offer of yours will cover the whole 3,200 acres ?
Mr. DWYER. Yes.
Mr. DWYER. Some of the land has been offered to us at $25 an acre; about 1,378 acres out of the total is held in one ownership and has been offered to other private parties, and a gentleman in this room now has an option on it for $250 an acre, but I am sure that it can be had for very much less, which justifies us in assuming that we will be able to make our offer good. And if you gentlemen knew the public spirit of many of our people some of them doing business in San Francisco and living in San Mateo, you would know that I am making no boast when I say that I could name offhand at least half a dozen residents of San Mateo each one of whom would undertake to underwrite our offer—and each would be abundantly able to do so and abundantly public spirited to do so.
Now, with regard to the possibilities of expansion, Admiral Helm's report states that the Navy needs, to begin with, about 600 acres, and for ultimate expansion, 1,000 acres; 1,000 acres is all that will be necessary, according to this report, for many years to come. Our
offer flat is 3,200 acres, and if it becomes necessary for expansion, there is abundant opportunity both to the south and to the north, to acquire lands of the same character and extent greater than 8,000 acres—10,000 acres—almost anything you want, because these lands are not used for any other purpose. These particular submerged lands were never used for any purpose except as a repository for the succulent oyster. They were oyster beds. This particular tract of 1,378 acres was so used for many years, but that use is now abandoned. And these waters generally, as I shall expatiate upon later, are practically just as much unvisited and untroubled to-day as they were in the time of Christopher Columbus.
Senator BALL. That is going back some distance.
Mr. DWYER. Yes. Now, with regard to the general essentials, outside of the physical characteristics, perhaps the whole thing can be expressed in a nutshell when I say that San Mateo is essentially a suburb of San Francisco and that everything can be said of it that can be said with regard to San Francisco concerning the accessibility of labor and supply markets for the same very obvious geographic and commercial and financial reasons. With regard to fuel, oil, gas, electricity, power, and fresh water, substantially the samé conditions exist as in San Francisco.
Supervisor WOLFE. May I interrupt for a moment, Mr. Dwyer? Mr. DWYER. Certainly.
Supervisor WOLFE. The committee on commercial development of the board of supervisors, gentlemen, have asked Congressman Nolan to preside and take charge of this meeting, so far as presenting facts to you. · I make the statement because I, as the only member present, have to retire temporarily to another meeting, expecting to return. But Congressman Nolan will be in charge of subsequent matters here, under your direction, of course, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DWYER. Now, the supplies of San Francisco, in the details mentioned, substantially speaking, flow past the door of San Mateo on the way in. And of course this source of supply can be tapped at will. The Great Western Power Co.'s lines run across the edge of the property. The present main water supply of San Francisco and the Hetch Hetchy pipes of the future come within a mile of the property. In addition to this water that can be brought on the same terms as the San Francisco's supply, we have abundant artesian-well water in the immediate vicinity, and wells have actually been bored on the property that were used in the oyster houses formerly on this property, and one of which is visible now, showing an abundant supply of fresh water suitable for domestic use. Much of the public supply used by the people of the peninsula, and some of it used by the people of San Francisco, comes from these very artesian wells in the immediate vicinity of this property. And I need not expatiate upon the value of having your own water supply on your own property. Every military reason points in that direction. The Presidio Reservation in San Francisco values very highly the small water supply that arises on its own property here in this city. For a similar reason, from a military and financial standpoint both, your own artesian wells on this property should be highly valuable.
Now, with regard to this channel to be dredged. That is not to be reckoned, rightly examined, as an additional cost of this project. The soil taken in the process of dredging a channel a thousand feet