Page images
PDF
EPUB

between the two points ---that is, between Oakland and South San Francisco. I think the commission has a hearing on December 10, at which hearing that differential will be wiped out. Either the rates will be raised on the one side or reduced on the other side to equalize it.

Mr. PadGett. You have quicker delivery of your rail freight?
Mr. LAWRENCE. Quicker delivery, from one to five days.
Mayor Otis. Is there something further?

Senator Ball. Mr. Lawrence, one more question. Freight destined over the Dumbarton Bridge or cut-off to San Francisco travels how far-how much farther than freight from the East destined to Alameda ?

Mr. LAWRENCE. Seventy-one miles.
Senator Ball. Seventy-one miles?
Mr. LAWRENCE. Seventy-one miles.

Senator Ball. Do those through freight trains go through Oakland ?

Mr. LAWRENCE. Not all of them; no.
Senator BALL. They depart at Stockton, do they not?

Mr. LAWRENCE. From the north from Sacramento and Oregon points, for instance--they can go either way.

Senator BALL. Let us take the Southern Pacific, take the San Joaquin Valley.

Mr. LAWRENCE. San Joaquin Valley would go via Niles, and there is a difference of about between 40 and 50 miles.

Senator BALL. That is, farther to San Francisco than to Alameda?
Mr. LAWRENCE. Yes.
Senator BALL. Let us take the Southern Pacific overland.
Mr. LAWRENCE. There is 71 miles difference.
Senator Ball. And the northern route?
Mr. LAWRENCE. Just the same -no difference there.
Mr. COLE. The minimum is 41 and the maximum is 71.
Mr. LAWRENCE. The minimum is about 40 miles.

Senator WALSH. Are we to understand, then, that it takes from one to five days to travel 71 miles ?

Mr. LAWRENCE. From a point in Oakland to a point in San Francisco, yes-switching and all, a carload at the docks in San Francisco has to be handled by the Belt Line, a separate corporation, incorporated by the harbor commission. They are sometimes very much congested there, and some nights the day switching is not being done during that night.

Senator BALL. Then, the delay arises chiefly at the San Francisco terminal rather than en route?

Mr. LAWRENCE. Yes. It is not so much delay in the through transportation, but delay in switching at the terminal points.

Mr. CAINE. I think one of the admirals suggested that Mr. Wilhelm make a statement on the cost of water on the basis of 2,000,000 gallons a day. With your permission, I would like to have him make that statement.

Mr. Wilhelm. The present rate would be 19 cents per hundred cubic feet, or 25 cents per thousand gallons.

Senator Ball. Thank you.

Mr. CAINE. Then, on the question of power, I am informed that the Great Western Power Co.'s rate at Goat Island is 1.75 cents per kilowatt hour, and the Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s rate at Mare Island is 1.7 cents per hour. And, Mr. Chairman, if you will permit me, I would like to call attention to the fact that the ultimate development of water in any of these cities has not yet been arrived at. San Francisco is working on the Hetch Hetchy project, and we on this side of the bay are trying to get together on a project which contemplates either going in with San Francisco on the Hetch Hetchy project or bringing a supply from the Eel River in Sonoma County or north of Sonoma County. The grant of the Government to San Francisco of the right to Hetch Hetchy provides that these cities on this side of the bay may participate in that water if we so desire. The situation regarding water is unsatisfactory; we realize it. It is unsatisfactory here and in San Francisco, and unsatisfactory at Mare Island. We are all in a bad boat, but we are all in the same sort of a boat, and it is a problem that has to be worked out. We feel that we are in as good a position as any other community in solving that question.

Mayor Otis. I beg leave to state, gentlemen, that I sent only a little while ago a full copy of what is known as the Harroun report on the water question to the department at Washington, and received a letter from Admiral Rousseau that they had all the data which they required on that particular subject.

Are there any more questions to be asked, Senator?
Senator BALL. We have no further questions.

Mr. COLE. If you are finished, gentlemen, Mr. Watkins would like to take a photograph.

Senator BALL. (After the taking of the photograph.) The hearing will stand adjourned.

SAN FRANCISCO BAY NAVAL BASE SITES.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1920

SPECIAL JOINT COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS,
ON PACIFIC COAST NAVAL BASES,

Mare Island, Calif.

SITE AT MARE ISLAND, CALIF.

a. m.

A hearing before the Special Joint Committee of Congress on Pacific Coast Naval Bases was held at the navy yard, Mare Island, Calif., on November 18, 1920, commencing at the hour of 11 o'clock

There were present the following members of the committee: Senators L. Heisler Ball, Henry W. Keyes; Representatives Fred A. Britten, Frederick C. Hicks, A. E. B. Stephens, L. P. Padgett, and Daniel J. Riordan; together with W. M. Coffin, secretary of the committee.

There were also present naval officers: Rear Admiral C. W. Parks, chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks; Admiral R. E. Coontz, chief of naval operations; Rear Admiral W. L. Capps, of the Navy Department; Lieut. Commander H. W. Hill, aide to Admiral Coontz.

There were also present representative of the interests of the Mare Island site, Charles F. Curry, Representative in Congress from the third district, California; James Roney, mayor of Vallejo; Capt. Edward L. Beach, commandant of the Mare Island Navy Yard; Commander Cox, chief engineer officer of the yard; Capt. Gleason, exconstructor of the yard; Capt. T. M. Potts, United States Navy, retired; Capt. J. M. Ellicott, United States Navy, retired; Dr. James J. Hogan, president of the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce; and Frank R. Devlin, of Vallejo, member of the California State Railroad Commission, and others.

The hearing was presided over by Senator Ball, chairman of the joint committee, Representative Curry acting as spokesman for those representative of the interests of Mare Island, and the following proceedings were had:

Senator Ball. We are ready to proceed with the hearing, gentlemen.

Capt. BEACH, Gentlemen, Senator Ball has announced that the committee is ready to hear the evidence that we have to offer on behalf of the Mare Island site proposed for a naval base, and I will ask everybody present to kindly keep quiet. I have a written statement, Senator Ball, that I wish to present to you, and, in order that there may be no delay, I have had copies made, and I thought of giving each member of the committee two copies of this statement.

Mr. CURRY. May I have one of those copies, please ?

Senator BALL. I think, gentlemen, it is the consensus of opinion of the committee that we had better have the statement presented by Capt. Beach without interruption. And that will be the proceeding. Then we can ask him questions after he has concluded, if anyone desires to ask questions.

Mr. CURRY. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, the availabiltiy and desirability of Mare Island as a naval base will be presented to the committee to-day by Capt. Beach, the commandant of the yard; by Capt. Cox, chief engineer officer; by Capt. Gleason, ex-constructor of the yard, who built the California; by Mr. Howard C. Holmes, one of the best engineers in private practice in the State, who had, for a number of years, been the chief engineer of the Board of State Harbor Commissioners, and who built the dry dock at Hunters Point; also by Hon. James Roney, the mayor of Vallejo, who for 40 years had been an employee of the yard and for 30 years of that time an officer of the yard, until he resigned to accept the position of mayor of the city of Vallejo; and by Capt. Potts, United States Navy, retired.

The first gentleman to address the commission will be Capt. Edward L. Beach, and I will ask, and I understand it meets with the approval of the committee, that Capt. Beach be permitted to present his arguments in full before any questions are asked of him. I believe it will expedite the hearing and will be of benefit to the committee. You have each of you a copy of his statement before you, and you can make any memorandums you wish and ask any questions you desire after he has completed his argument in full. And I ask it, as a personal request, that he be permitted to proceed in full before any questions are asked of him by the committee. Gentlemen, I present Capt. Beach.

Capt. EDWARD L. BEACH. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, in some of this there may be typewritten errors. I have had no opportunịty of going over it and checking them up. I notice several already.

This navy yard was established in 1854, 66 years ago, with Commander David G. Farragut as the first commandant. It has grown constantly in its capacity for work and in its service to the Navy Department, but more especially in the last four years, since the navy yard's capabilities were carefully studied by what is known as the Helm Board. This Helm Board made a careful study of the needs for a great naval base on the Pacific, and of what place was best suited to be this base. The Helm Board report, which is a public document, No. 1946, Part II, 1917, contains more careful study of Mare Island's advantages and disadvantages than any other single document. I therefore refer to this report because it has made a particular study of Mare Island's disadvantages, and it is not believed that there can be any criticisms of Mare Island that are not found in this report.

The proposition is that the Carquinez Straits station as conceived and designed by Commander Cox, which is Mare Island, is not suited to greater development and is therefore not available as the site for the great naval base. It is reasonable to believe that the Government officials who picked out Mare Island in 1854 as the Pacific coast navy yard considered different available sites, and that Mare Island was best suited then for the purpose. Sixty-six years later, by an act of Congress, a study is to be made as to which is the best site for a great base—Carquinez Straits, Alameda, or Hunters Point. If Mare Island has performed its duty with great success for 66 years, and if a great establishment has been built; if the Government has invested in it over $32,000,000; if it is the second largest navy yard, counted either by number of employees or value of product, in the United States; if it is efficient in the repair, upkeep, and supplying of more than a quarter of all of the vessels of the United States Navy; if, in the last year, the Government spent at Mare Island $60,000,000 with never a criticism or failure in any respect to meet the Government's requirements; if Mare Island ranks first of all Government navy yards in efficiency and economy; if Mare Island is able to take care of the needs of 90 per cent of the fleet; if Mare Island, with an expenditure of $26,000,000 can be made capable of taking care of 100 per cent of the fleet; that is, to provide facilities for anything required by the greatest superdreadnaughts; if Mare Island, with a comparatively small expense for additional facilities, can supply everything for every class of ship of the fleet; if Mare Island provides for every requirement laid down by the general board and by the judgment of far-sighted, experienced officers—then it would seem that there must be some great ulterior reason not yet studied or mentioned in the Helm Board report or in any other place that would cause the Government to construct a naval base at some other place near Mare Island, thereby causing the Government to sacrifice what it has at Mare Island and to construct a great naval base at an expenditure of at least $60,000,000 and probably more, at a place within 35 miles of Mare Island.

The Helm report, page 40, paragraph 99 (i), states that "the present dry docks at Mare Island can accommodate 90 per cent of the vessels of the fleet as completed in 1921.” If, by comparatively small expense, Carquinez Straits Station can be made to take care of the additional 10 per cent, is it economical, good business, and good judgment to locate within 35 miles another naval base at a cost which will vary between $60,000,000 and $100,000,000, and throw away the 90 per cent capability that Mare Island is reported by the Helm Board to have, and further, probably ultimately to sacrifice the Government's investment at Mare Island and its splendid capabilities?

A discussion will now be made of every single disadvantage quoted by the Helm Board against Mare Island. These disadvantages are stated as follows: (a) Expense of maintaining channel approaches at suitable depth.

This is really the only disadvantage stated which is in any sense a controlling factor. The other alleged disadvantages disappear upon consideration. This disadvantage will be discussed later.

(6) Difficulties of navigation in narrow approach channels, under unfavorable conditions.

With regard to this, it is a matter of statistics that there is much less fog at Mare Island than in the lower San Francisco Bay. Further, that in the 66 years that ships have been coming to and from Maré Island, I have never heard of a single ship that ever went aground proceeding from San Francisco to Mare Island. In the last 21 months that I have been on duty here, there have been many hundreds of ships that have come to and from the lower bay to Mare Island. There has never been one that ever went aground or reported that it could not navigate because of the fog, or that was

« PreviousContinue »