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the character of the inaugural address-full of sound and fury, signifying nothing—which Governor Gage was to roar out a few minutes later; was forecast of the barren legislative session which had convened two days before;50 and suggested the pompous, ineffective administration which, four years later, was to end so ingloriously for the executive, who seemed to take the curious ride to his inaugural seriously.
Twelve years later, almost to a day, January 3, 1911, Hiram W. Johnson52 was inaugurated Governor of California. There was no gilt braid,53 no military gentlemen on difficult horses-and above all there was no giggling from small boys or anybody else.
Governor-elect Johnson, earnest of purpose, resolute and with a definite policy—as a plain American gentleman-walked to the Capitol unattended by military es
50 The session of the Burns-Grant Senatorial deadlock.
51 Gage made a desperate fight for a second term, but went down to smashing defeat at the Republican State Convention of 1902.
52 Theodore Roosevelt, in his Los Angeles address, March 22, 1911, said of Governor Johnson: "Mr. Johnson belongs to that group of reformers who remain reformers of exactly the same stripe after being elected. Mr. Johnson has made good every promise to which he committed himself upon the stump, and he, therefore, has not only rendered a great service to California, he has rendered a great service to the nation at large."
53 Governor Johnson's attitude toward the shoddy of military formality was well illustrated by an incident which occurred early in the session.
Johnson was talking to friends in the lobby of the Sacramento hotel when he was approached by a dapper young man in the uniform of a Lieutenant. The uniformed one clicked his heels together and saluted.
The Governor gazed upon the Lieutenant in silence and astonishment.
"I am here," announced the new comer, "to report." "I'd suggest," faltered the Governor, "that you see General Forbes. He'll know what you mean.'
cort; entered the Assembly chamber with the retiring Governor, and took the oath of office.
Johnson had something to say, and, in his inaugural address, said it.
The Governor didn't tell his hearers that California has a glorious climate.54 He took it for granted that Californians are proud of California. But he recognized that before Californians may come into their own, before the best development of the State can be realized, California must be politically and industrially free.
To this live issue the issue of the campaign through which he had just passed-Johnson devoted his inaugural address. Not a man or woman in the packed assembly chamber failed to realize that Johnson assumed office with a definite plan of action, and a determined purpose to press that plan to realization.
And after all, "the Johnson policies," the term by
54 Johnson devoted part of the concluding paragraph of his address to the possibilities of our climate and the State's destiny, subjects which in the past have filled volumes of gubernatorial addresses and messages. Johnson said:
"I have purposely refrained to-day from indulging in panegyrics upon the beauty, grandeur, wealth, and prosperity of our State, or from solemnly declaring that we will foster industries, and aid in all that is material. It goes without saying that, whatever political or other differences may exist among our citizens, all are proud of California, its unbounded resources, its unsurpassed scenic grandeur, its climatic conditions that compel the wondering admiration of the world; and all will devotedly lend their aid to the proper development of the State, to the protection and preservation of that which our citizens have acquired, and that which industrially is in our midst. Ours of course is a glorious destiny, to the promotion and consummation of which we look forward with pride and affection, and to which we pledge our highest endeavor. Hand in hand with that prosperity and material development that we foster, and that will be ours practically in any event, goes political development. The hope of governmental accomplishment for progress and purity politically is with us in this new era. This hope and wish for accomplishment for the supremacy of the right and its maintenance, I believe to be with every member of the Legislature."
55 Johnson's message will be found in the appendix. The recommendations made in it, "the Johnson policies," are as follows: Initiative, Referendum and Recall-The application of the prin
which the recommendations contained in this inaugural message soon became known, were nothing more nor less than the reforms for which the citizens of California had long been contending, and which were pledged in the State platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties. The address was based on the assumption that The People of California are competent to govern themselves. ciple of Direct Legislation to all departments of government, to include the judiciary in the provision for the recall of judges.
Railroad Regulation-The passage of a railroad regulation law that shall make plain the powers of the Railroad Commissioners, and especially authorize the Commission to establish the physical valuation of railroad properties as the basis of rate making; and to fix absolute railroad rates, to which the railroads shall be bound. An appropriation sufficiently large to enable the Commissioners to do their work properly.
Reform of Election Laws The restoration of the Australian ballot to its original simplicity and effectiveness by doing away with party circle and party column.
Direct Primary-The simplification of the measure so that it shall be easy instead of difficult for a citizen to become a candidate for office.
Election of United States Senator-An advisory, pledge-sustained, State-wide vote for United States Senator, in which the whole people, rather than the members of some particular party, shall participate. The Oregon system.
Conservation-The passage of a law that shall conserve the resources of the State, not alone for development, but for development and preservation for the whole people.
Short Ballot-To make merely clerical ministerial offices appointive instead of elective. Suggestion made that the State Printer, Surveyor General, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Secretary of State, Clerk of Supreme Court, State Treasurer and Attorney General be appointed instead of elected.
Employers' Liability To make the risk of industry, a charge against the industry itself, thus taking the burden of the risk from the shoulders of the employer as well as from the shoulders of the employee.
County Government-The granting of home rule to counties, along the same lines as the home rule enjoyed by municipalities. Civil Service-The application of the merit system to all departments of government.
Prison Reform-Reformatories for first offenders.
Nonpartisan Judiciary-To take the judiciary out of politics by keeping the party designation of candidates for judicial office off the ballot.
Less than three months later, March 27, 1911, in his farewell address to the Legislature, Governor Johnson was able to say: "No pledge given to The People of the State has by this Legislature been broken. Not a single promise is to-night left unfulfilled. It is for this reason that I congratulate The People of the State of California on the Legislature whose session is now at an end, and so far as I can represent The People of the State of California, I extend to you their heartfelt thanks."
Heretofore, California politicians have poritely conceded that Californians possess this degree of intelligence, and have taken care that as little opportunity as possible for the exercise of such intelligence should be given.
Johnson not only admitted the intelligence of The People, but on this intelligence he based his hope of the development, prosperity and well-being of the State. That the purpose of The People shall be given its freest expression, he held that the government of the State must be made responsive to The People. The first step toward this desired end he held was to eliminate every private interest from the government, and to make the public service of the State responsive to The People alone.5 56
That this condition might prevail, he contended that the government must be brought closer to The People through direct legislation.
To this end, Governor Johnson urged Constitutional Amendments which shall give The People power to initiate laws the Initiative; power of veto upon laws which may be enacted by the Legislature-the Referendum; power to remove from elective office the incompetent or the corrupt-the Recall.
He urged further that by legislative enactment the Australian Ballot be restored to its original simplicity and effectiveness, that men may be selected for office because of their personal worth, rather than their political
56 "In some form or other, nearly every governmental problem that involves the health, the happiness, or the prosperity of the State has arisen, because some private interest has intervened or has sought for its own gain to exploit either the resources or the politics of the State."-Governor Johnson in his inaugural address. See appendix.
affiliations; that the imperfections of the Direct Primary law of 1909 be corrected; that The People be given the machinery to compel from the Legislature recognition of their selections, by popular vote, to represent the State in the Federal Senate.
There was no half-way course advocated in Johnson's first word to the Legislature; no hesitancy about accepting the logical conclusion, after accepting his major premise that The People of California are intelligent enough to govern themselves.
If The People are intelligent enough to govern themselves, they are intelligent enough to recall from office an official who has shown himself incompetent or corrupt. Nor did the Governor exclude the Judiciary from this provision.57 If The People have the intelligence to select Judges, he argued, they have the intelligence to remove from the bench that Judge who, in their judgment, has, on trial, demonstrated his unfitness or his unworth.
Johnson's recommendation regarding the nomination by popular vote of United States Senators was based on the same principle. If The People are to be given any voice at all in the election of Federal Senators there is logically no half-way point. Either The People are com
57 "I commend to you the proposition," said the Governor, "that, after all, the Initiative and the Referendum depend on our confidence in The People and in their ability to govern. The opponents of direct legislation and the Recall, however they may phrase their opposition, in reality believe The People cannot be trusted. On the other hand, those of us who espouse these measures do so because of our deep-rooted belief in popular government, and not only in the right of The People to govern, but in their ability to govern; and this leads us logically to the belief that if The People have the right, the ability, and the intelligence to elect, they have as well the right, ability and intelligence to reject or to recall, and this applies with equal force to an administrative or a judicial officer. I suggest, therefore, that if you believe in the Recall, and if in your wisdom you desire its adoption by The People, you make no exception in its application."