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While the reapportionment fight was on, the remark was frequently made that it was fortunate that the differences between Los Angeles and San Francisco are so great that those two cities can never enter a legislative combination with Alameda, otherwise the three counties could arbitrarily control the policies of the State.
But even as this observation was most popular, a combination between the legislative representatives of the three cities was made, in which San Diego joined, to bring the State's waterfront properties under control, as near as can be, of the municipalities upon which these properties border.
This combination included in the 1911 Legislature nineteen Senators and thirty-five Assemblymen. On the basis of population the four counties will have in the 1913 Legislature twenty Senators and forty Assemblymen, or one-half the legislative representation of the State. The events recorded in the next chapter furnish some indication of what this may mean to the remaining fifty-four counties.
committed a blacker political crime than Abraham Ruef or the Southern Pacific Railroad ever dreamed of perpetrating.
"It would not merely be a crime of 10 years' standing, but it would exist for all time to come, for the next reapportionment would be completely in the hands of these cities. The Southern Pacific political octopus must be concealing several good laughs in its sleeve when it views the efforts to create city domination of the California Legislature. The city is the home of the railroad's political allies, booze, vice, slums and special privilege.
"The quickest and surest way to hand back to the Southern Pacific political bureau the legislative control of this State is to place cities in the saddle. The S. P. will do the rest."
In discussing the reapportionment problem, the San Francisco Chronicle, in its issue of March 15, 1911, said of the San Francisco legislative delegation: "So far as this city (San Francisco) is concerned it is of no great consequence what representation we have in the Legislature, for the people whom we usually send there are, for the most part, of no earthly use to us or anybody else. We might as well have three-better if they were good men-as fifty. Those we do send are mostly those whom all honest men in the Legislature feel it necessary to watch."
THE TIDE LANDS CONTROVERSY.337
San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Alameda Delegations United to Change the Policy from State Waterfront Control to Municipal Control.
The four-cornered fight at the 1911 session of the Legislature for municipal control of the State's waterfront, which involved San Francisco, Alameda, San Diego and Los Angeles, had its origin in the years-long
337 In the Act of Congress for the admission of the State of California into the Union, one of the express provisions under which such admission was granted was "that all the navigable waters within the said State shall be common highways and forever free, as well to the inhabitants of said State as to the citizens of the United States, without any tax, impost or duty therefor."
Article XV of the State Constitution (1879) provides:
"Section 1. The right of eminent domain is hereby declared to exist in the State to all frontages on the navigable waters of this State.
"Sec. 2. No individual, partnership, or corporation, claiming or possessing the frontage of tidal lands of a harbor, bay, inlet, estuary, or other navigable water in this State, shall be permitted to exclude the right of way to such water whenever it is required for any public purpose, nor to destroy or obstruct the free navigation of such water; and the Legislature shall enact such laws as will give the most liberal construction to this provision, so that access to the navigable waters of this State shall be always attainable for the people thereof.
"Sec. 3. All tide lands within two miles of any incorporated city or town of this State, and fronting on the waters of any harbor, estuary, bay, or inlet, used for the purposes of navigation, shall be withheld from grant or sale to private persons, partnerships, or corporations.'
Judge Bordwell in his decision in the San Pedro water front case says:
"In this country, the courts from the beginning adopted the doctrine that the title to the lands under the flow of the tides is vested in the State as the sovereign prerogative; or, as it is frequently expressed, such title is possessed by the State by virtue of her sovereignty. This tenure, by which the State is said to hold title to the tide lands, has been characterized by the courts of this country as 'a title held in trust for all the
fight maintained by the city of Los Angeles to prevent the Southern Pacific Railroad Company from monopolizing harbor facilities in Southern California.
More than twenty years ago, Los Angeles petitioned Congress to build a breakwater at San Pedro, which would make the port one of the safest and best harbors on the Pacific Coast. Collis P. Huntington, then President of the Southern Pacific, at that time a power in finance and politics, took occasion to direct that Congress do nothing of the kind, but improve the harbor at Santa Monica, some miles distant from San Pedro, where the Southern Pacific had large holdings.
This brought on a fight between Los Angeles and the Southern Pacific, which lasted for years. Huntington spent years in endeavoring to demonstrate that Santa Monica was the only feasible harbor. Los Angeles, ably backed by the then United States Senator, Stephen M. White, produced figures and facts to prove that Huntington was wrong; that the best development of Southern California depended upon the improvement of San Pedro Bay.
And Los Angeles won.
After overcoming almost unbelievable obstacles which, through the influence of the Southern Pacific, were thrown in their way, the Los Angeles people have the
people.' Some writers criticize the use of the term 'in trust' as inapt to convey an exact understanding of the quality of the tenure. But the courts have long employed the term to express the character of the State's title and it may be considered as firmly established and proper to state as a proposition of law, in this country, that tide lands are held by the State in trust for all of her citizens."
It may be that when California politicians take a view of State well-being that shall be broader than sectional, the law governing the State tide lands will be enforced, and private ownership and control under any guise be brought to an end.
satisfaction of seeing the San Pedro breakwater nearing completion.
But San Pedro harbor, even after the defeat of the railroad obstructionists, was still a physical ten or a dozen miles distant from the city limits of Los Angeles. Los Angeles accordingly annexed a strip of territory which took that city to the city limits of San Pedro.
The State law prevented the annexation of the city of San Pedro. So the State law was amended to permit the people of San Pedro to say whether they wanted to join with Los Angeles. They concluded that they did. Los Angeles was willing and the two cities became one.
Los Angeles was at last down to tide-water. Plans were perfected by which Los Angeles was to spend $10,000,000 in making San Pedro one of the finest harbors in the country. But a new difficulty presented itself.
While Los Angeles had been fighting at Washington to secure San Pedro harbor, the Southern Pacific Company and certain other private interests had secured the strategic points of the San Pedro tide lands.
Los Angeles accordingly contested the titles of these private interests in the courts. The Superior Court of Los Angeles county declared against the private interests. But this did not give Los Angeles the tide lands which were required for that city's plans for harbor development.
The court held that the San Pedro tide lands are the property of the State of California,338
This, however, was all for which Los Angeles was
838 See opinion of Superior Judge Walter Bordwell, in The People of the State of California vs. Southern Pacific Railroad Company et al. (No. 64,535), filed January 3, 1911.
contending. That city's object was, in the name of the State, to oust the private interests wrongfully holding the San Pedro waterfront, and then secure from the State grants which would warrant Los Angeles going on with the contemplated harbor improvements.
Such was the situation when the 1911 Legislature convened. In pursuance of Los Angeles' plans, Senator Hewitt, on January 19, introduced Senate Bill 445, which granted the coveted tide lands to Los Angeles and its successors in trust for the uses and purposes specified.
And at once the measure met the powerful opposition of San Francisco. The reason for the opposition was very frankly stated to be based on the fear that Los Angeles would secure advantage over San Francisco which San Francisco could not meet.389 This opposition took form, not only against the San Pedro tide land bills,
339 This fear found official expression in a communication sent Senator Wolfe by the Merchants' Association of San Francisco. The communication read as follows:
"San Francisco, February 28, 1911..
"Hon. E. I. Wolfe, Senate Chamber, Sacramento, California: "With reference to the bills pending for cession of tide lands to the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego and Oakland, the Merchants' Association of San Francisco desires to co-operate with these cities in any reasonable effort for the improvement and maintenance of their harbors. The association, however, believes that the cession of tide lands to these cities with an opportunity for them to assume control of their respective harbors and regulate charges on shipping and with the power that they would have of raising funds for improving and maintaining the harbors by taxing the property of their citizens instead of by raising funds from charges on shipping would give them an opportunity of entering into unfair competition with the harbor of San Francisco, which is now under State control, and can be maintained only by charges upon shipping. If such unfair competition were to be permitted or encouraged by the State it might seriously affect the revenues that could be raised in San Francisco harbor from the charges upon shipping and would affect the bonds which have been issued and which have been authorized and reflect on the credit of the State. We therefore urge that in any cession of tide lands to any of these three cities some scheme be provided for State control and the State be given authority to fix at least a minimum charge on shipping. For similar reasons we are opposed to any law being passed with reference to pilot charges except a uniform law affecting all harbors alike. We would request you to present