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tion," languidly observed the San Francisco Call, “as to the probable attendance at Lissner's meeting of committees." 21
But from the moment the meeting was called to order, there was no "speculation"; its more-than-looked-for success from the standpoint of attendance, was one of the many political surprises of the year. Of the eighty members who were to sit in the Assembly of 1911, sixtytwo were in attendance. The Senate was proportionately as well represented.
The laymen in attendance had come from every part of the State, zealous in the cause which Governor-elect Johnson was advocating so admirably, to take the government of the State of California out of the hands of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company.22
21 The Call went to considerable pains to make it appear that the meeting was strictly partisan Republican. In speaking of the meeting The Call said: "Senator J. B. Sanford of Ukiah, although not wanted because he is a Democrat, is already in this city, and will be an interested spectator when the Legislative Committees get busy."
The black type is mine. On the evening of the day that the article appeared, Senator Sanford stated to the writer that he had received two invitations to be present at the meeting and participate in its deliberations. As a matter of fact, Democratic members took as active a part in the meeting as Republican members. 22 Politicians who had been powers under the old machine regime of the Republican party, were seen about the hotel but not heard. Eddie Wolfe, former Senate leader, strayed into the meeting not unlike a lost sheep that gets into the wrong fold. There were none to greet him; none to "glad-hand" him. He stood irresolutely in the rear of the room for a time.
"There are plenty of seats in front of those standing in the rear, announced Chairman Lissner graciously.
But Senator Wolfe did not avail himself of the invitation "to come forward."
He who had been a force in so many legislative gatherings took a back seat.
As the Progressives filed out of the hall at the close of one of the early sessions, a lonely figure was pointed out by a one-time machine follower, whose efforts to get aboard the "bandwagon" were pathetic.
"Not a man has spoken to him in two hours," announced the would-be bandwagoner feverishly.
The lonely figure in the lobby was Walter Parker, a maker of United States Senators and other things under the old-time regime.
But in spite of the excellent attendance and the high character of those present, it was apparent that, even then, five days before the Legislature was to convene, the Progressives were without definite plan of action or recognized leadership; that they were in doubt over some policies,23 and in a temper to divide over others.24
The several committees read drafts of measures well calculated to bring about the reforms to which the Leg
23 The report of the committee appointed to draft an effective Direct Primary measure furnishes excellent example of this. One recommendation which was looked for, but did not come, was the elimination of the extreme partisan features of the 1909 Direct Primary law. Chester H. Rowell was quick to note the omission. He gave it as his opinion that a party should be permitted to nominate any one it chose. He showed that even under the cumbersome Direct Primary law of 1909, the Republican party could nominate a Democrat, and vice versa, by writing the candidate's name on the primary ballot. Rowell insisted that what was permitted by the back door should be permitted by the front. The committee, instead of recommending the Oregon plan for the election of United States Senators, proposed a pledge for legislative candidates to abide, not by a vote of the whole people, but by a vote of "their party."
Assemblyman-elect Thomas F. Griffin of Modesto showed the weakness of the "within-the-party" vote plan as suggested in the committee's report.
"The people of California want," Griffin insisted, "what the people of Oregon already have, the machinery by which the Legislature can be morally committed to abide by the popular choice in electing United States Senators. If you cannot trust the people, who can you trust? Let us give The People of California what they are asking for, an honest provision to commit the Legislature to abide by their selection of United States Senator."
24 From the start, it became apparent that division was to come over the proposed conservation measures. Former Governor George C. Pardee, as Chairman of the Committee on Conservation, announced the several policies, which will be found outlined in the chapter on Conservation. Col. E. A. Forbes of Marysville, one of the leaders in the Progressive movement, and who has had much to do with water power development in Northern California, took the ground that radical legislation was undesirable because it would tend to discourage capital finding investment in California.
Governor Pardee in reply to the Colonel, pointed out that in our age, and in all ages, capital has shown itself amply able to take care of itself. He insisted that nothing in the proposed legislation discouraged legitimate enterprise. But the measures did safeguard the public against the grabbing of the State's undeveloped resources by speculators, to be put in "cold storage" and used as the basis of capitalization upon which we and our children and our children's children must pay tribute. The aim of the proposed conservation legislation was to prevent such grabbing;
islature stood pledged; nothing occurred that could be regarded as serious inharmony.
But the drafting of an admirable measure does not make it a law. There was at the meeting a noticeable lack of intelligent purpose and definite plan to which all stood committed. Left to drift, it was evident that even with a Progressive majority in each House, the remnants of the old machine in Senate and Assembly might, and probably would, be able to block reform legislation, precisely as had been done at the legislative session of 1909. As one keen observer of that Palace Hotel meeting put it, "The Legislature needs a 'bracer.'
The "bracer" was provided, quite unexpectedly to most, but from a source from which there was every reason to expect it. It came in Governor Johnson's inaugural address.25
to hold the resources for the good of the whole people, thus making it impossible for a few to become very rich because of them, while the many were kept very poor because of the grabbing.
Entirely honestly and within the law, the ex-Governor said, the Colonel and his associates have grabbed large holdings. The aim of the proposed law, he insisted, was to prevent future Colonels, and the Colonel in the future, from being able to grab the State's resources.
"Under the proposed law," Pardee contended, "when military gentlemen reach out for undeveloped resources, they will find a limit placed upon their power to appropriate.
"We have nothing against you, Colonel Forbes," Pardee concluded pleasantly, "but against your wicked associates."
25 See Chapter III, "The Key to the 1911 Legislature." Governor Johnson's inaugural address will be found in full in the appendix.
In the Organization of the Legislature, Officers of Both Senate and Assembly, Who Had Served During Machine Domination of the Two Houses, Session After Session, Were Replaced by Men More in Sympathy With Progressive Policies-The Progressives Kept Control of the Committees.
Always attack your opponent at the weakest point, has long been a safe guiding motto closely followed by the machine.
Before the organization of the 1911 Legislature, the weakest point in the Progressive line was the Assembly Sergeant-at-Arms situation. So the activities of the old machine element were directed at that point.
At the opening of each session of the Legislature, six important offices must be filled immediately, that of Speaker of the Assembly, President pro tem. of the Senate, Secretary of the Senate, Clerk of the Assembly, and Sergeant-at-Arms of Senate and of Assembly.
Long before the 1911 Legislature convened, it was evident that the candidacy of Milton L. Schmitt of San Francisco 26 for Speaker of the Assembly was without effective support, and that A. H. Hewitt of Yuba City
26 For Schmitt's record at the session of 1911, see Assembly table in the appendix. His record for the 1909 session will be found in the "Story of the California Legislature of 1909."
would be elected to that position practically without opposition. Quite as evident was it, that Eddie Wolfe of San Francisco, who had long served as President pro tem. of the Senate, had no chance for re-election, and that Senator Boynton of Oroville would be elected to succeed him. Lewis A. Hilborn of San Francisco and Clio Lloyd of Santa Barbara, who had, under the old order, served as Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the Assembly respectively, did not even permit their names to be presented for consideration.
In the same way, J. Louis Martin of Oakland, who was all but regarded as a fixture as Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate, did not make any open effort to hold his place. For these several positions, the Progressives not only had candidates, but had the votes to elect them.
The situation in the Assembly when it came to the election of Sergeant-at-Arms, was by no means so certain. John T. Stafford of Sacramento, who under the old order had long served as Sergeant-at-Arms of the Assembly, became a candidate for re-election.
During the years Stafford had served the Lower House, he had been an accommodating officer. In a thousand and one ways he had made the work of the members easy for them. Even some of the most extreme Progressives had a kindly feeling for Stafford. A number of these Progressives had been advanced to the Senate, where, by the new turn of the political wheel, they found themselves leaders. When they learned that Stafford sought re-election, several of them endorsed his candidacy.
Stafford, on his part, made an active campaign. At