The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, January 01, 1915, Page 21, Image 21

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The Commoner
was accidental, has not been explain
ed. If a .majority of all tho votes
can not be secured at tho November
election the bill is lost. The ma
chine was depending upon that, so
they introduced at tho same time a
series of twenty-two amendments,
called the 'lost amendments,' becauso
they "were not entered' in tho house
journal; in fact few legislators, not
to mention citizens, knew of them.
Think of itl Twenty-two amend
ments to our fundamental law, de
signed to replace a new constitution,
being juggled in this secret, under
handed manner; these amendments
jontain provisions authorizing the
legislature to make important laws
themselves, like tho initiative and
referendum, workmen's compensa
tion, special charters for cities, class
ification of property for taxation,
etc. laws which are fundamental
and are a part of the constitution,
and should be made by the peoplo
."Says Cooley: 'In accordance with
universal practice and from tho ne
cessity of the case, amendmentsto
an existing constitution, or an entire
revision of it, must be prepared and
maturod by some body of represen
tatives chosen for the purpose
"Jamison says: 'That whenever a
constitution needs a" general revision
a convention is indispensably neces
sary 'That fundamental law is the work
only of a convention, a special and
extraordinary assembly, convening
at no regular recurring periods, but
whenever tho harvest of constitu
tional reforms has become ripe.'
"Knowing who owns our govern
ment and controls our legislature,
you can readily see the deep laid
plot of the machine to frame those
laws first when they like; second,
how; they like. .
This will explain to you why bdth
old parties in their platforms ift
dorsed a new constitution, and why
both narties. through their press and
speakers today, ignore the 'constitu
tion' question. Silence is negative; in
this instance silence is more, it is
worse than open opposition, because
without knowledge of the question
the people know little or nothing
about a new constitution, and so will
not vote; and every voter who does
not vote, id counted 'No.'
"Perhaps the most glaring in
stance of a bold raid and an utter
disregard on the part of the 'ma
chine' for the rights of the people,
and especially the working people, is
found in the state public utility law,
passed by the same notorious legis
lature. Supposedly designed to pro
tect the people and the cities from
the merciless tyranny of public fran
chise corporations, we find this situa
tion: The law was framed by public
utility lawyers; it was passed through
the legislature by the public utility
agents; it is executed by a commis
sion made un of politicians and pub
lic utility lawyers. ' Where do you
suppose the -people's interests come
"They have been trying to put a
similar scheme 'over' in Minnesota,
but they have something in Minne
sota that, we have not yet reached in
this -state; they have many organi
zations of citizens for the purpoae of
watching the political machine" and
the legislature, and so they are al
ways ready for action. Those organ -tzatlons
went to work and investi
gated the pubjic utility commission
which haa been operating in their
neighboring utate, Wisconsin, for
several years. The work of the Min
nesota league has been put in pamph
let form. Here are juBt a few qno-
"'Th commission hae shown a
tron learning toward the interest
of the utilities as against public in
terest, revealed in its finding of high
rate for service, more than reason
able profits and excessive valuations.
Originally created as an agency for
the protection of the public from the
exploitation of utility companies, It
has become rather an agency for tho
protection of the companies and the
means of increasing the value of
their Investment.'
" 'It has moved with exasperating
siowness In rate and service cases in
volving great public concern, wjth
the companies profiting enormously
in the interim of its Inaction.'
"It has used the indeterminate
permit to protect Inefficient private
electric utilities in their local mon
opoly, in continuing poor service and
excessive charges, and avoiding their
legal contract obligations with
" 'It has interfered unwarrant
ably with the operation of municipal
" 'It has failed signally to elimin
ate the public utilities from local
politics. On the contrary it has com
pelled them to be more active than
" 'It has worked to suppress com
munity initiative and to retard the
development of citizenship and
growth of the citizens in capacity for
" 'It has shown a brutal disregard
of local public sentiment in matters
affoitine: vitally the political, social
and material welfare of communi
ties " 'It has gained such influence
over tho legislative body of the state
that, in effect, it writes its own legis
lation, with the result of dangerously
enlarged powerp in this department
of government."
" 'Tho nubile was successful before
the Wisconsin commission to a sub
stantial extent in but. 7 per cent of
the cases brought by It for rate re
ductions, and was given even the
slightest relief in but 50 per cent of
the cases."
" 'Public service corporations were
successful to some extent in more
than 96 per cent of the cases brought
before the Wisconsin railroad com
mission for rate increases, and wefe
fully or substantially successful in
more than 82 per cent of the cases
brought by them before the com
mission for rate increase. They got
practically what they asked for in
this percentage of all the cases
" 'In a term of five years, during
which the trend of public service
charges have been so otrongly down
warfl. it. Is nuite amazinff that the
trend under the Wisconsin commis
sion should bo uniformly upward
rendering of franchise corporations
absolutely independent of tho cities,
and to enable them to chargo oxhor
bitant rates and give such service as
they like; and lastly to legalize the
over-capitalization through tho issue
of watored stock; and if tho cities
should desire to purchase they must
do so at tho companies' price.
"To nrotect themselves they In
serted this clause:
"Section 100 provides that 'Every
now franchise granted hereafter will
bo an indeterminate permit, and any
oxisting franchise may do exchangcu
for tho Indeterminato permit.'
"Tho Wisconsin commission admits
that 'Tho indeterminato permit Is a
legally protected -monopoly which is
more valuable than tho driglnal
special franchise, and Is a practically
perpetual and exclusive franchise.'
"This is also the opinion of tho
Wisconsin supreme court.
"As you will see from this, no
franchise will hereafter expire. They
are now, In effect, perpetual. Picture
to yourselves this situation. The day
will soon come when tho peoplo must
take over tholr public utilities their
street car, gas, electric light and
water privileges. The history of the
cities of tho whole civilized world,
outside of the United States, teaches
us tliat, ana any tmnKing man can
see this day coming soon in tho
United States. The fight is already
on in many cities. The public utility
lawyers knew what was coming, and
so Uiey prepared for tho fight. This
piece of highway robbery and of
wholesale betrayal will cost the peo
ple of the cities of Indiana millions
upon millions of dollars; and this
ia but one example of what it means
to own tho legislature, and wny u
payg to own tho government,
"The cost of a convention has been
-used "by the opposition. 'It will cost
a million and a half dollars they
say. Here are the facts: The official
figures in Ohio show that the cost of
their constitutional convention was
$267,571.11. Wo will have one or
two special elections in Indiana, and
these will cost approximately $200,
000 each. At the most, total cost
would be about $650,0Q0. That
looks like a largo amount of money,
but the governor of Ohio makes the
statement and proves it, that the new
constitution saved the state of Ohio
$4,000,000 tho first year. I am will
ing to make the statement that a
new constitution in tnis staie, wun
home rule' and the 'initiative and
referendum in it, will save the peoplo
of Indiana from five to ten million
dollars .every year. The reason the
opposition in so much ' concerned
about tho 'dear people' spending
$050,000 in becauso tho five to ten
million dollars a year saved comes
from tho 'bags of money
STITUTION "The opposition states that thoTiew
Ohio constitution Is not a succese;
that tho peoplo are dissatisfied, that
thoy sco tho dangers of tholr new
constitution, etc. 1 wrote letter to
leading citizens in each of the larger
cities of Ohio, asking their opinion
rogarding theso statements. The
replies indicate that just tho oppo
site is true. One of the most clinch
ing arguments received wns mado bj
a gentleman from Cleveland, who
" 'If the amendments that were
adopted to tho state constitution hh
a result of the recent constitutional
convention were so unpopular as rep
resented, there would bo a strong
movo looking to their repeal. Tho
fact that no such movement Is being
undertaken, and that tho proposed
amendments to tho constitution to
bo voted upon at tho next November
j election are by way of moro radical
I amendments to tho constitution,
such as tho prohibition amendment
j nn'i te vomnn's suffrage amend
ment and tho taxation amendment,
I muiuUo that tho peoplo of Ohio are
not uissatisiied wun mo iauu aim
'isms' of the new state constitution
"A wave of reform against dishonest-government
is passing ovor
the country. Tho peoplo arc getting
an insight into tho question, 'Who
owns our government?' Now York,
California and several other state
will have constitutional convention
this fall. Over 500 cities have scrap
ped tho old bi-partisan, political -city
government system, inuiana is one
of but a few states of the union which
are still black on the map of pro
gressive states. Are we going to be
tho very lasf in tho union."
"In like manner the Indiana utility
bill is wholly in the interest of public
utilities, and against the cities. Sec-
tfnn 48 marln:
" 'No municipality shall hereafter
construct any such plant or equip
ment where there is in operation in
such municipality a public utility en
gaged in similar service under an in
determinate permit as provided in
this act without first securing from
the commission a declaration after a
public hearing of all parties Interest
ed, that public convenience and ne
cessity require such municipal util
ity 'rvuta -hin dflclAres that all public
utilities shall be monopolized, no
competition will be allowed. The city
must, therefore, buy the existing pri
vate plant, or submit; and when they
buy they will be handed a piece of
property that has been overloaded
with watered stock to the bursting
poiift, and the price will stagger the
P.e. t !, A.faKHaTi.
y "This movement wi mo ww.w-.w.
inent of public utility commissions is
nation wide, and has for purpose the
Elsewhere in this issue will be
found a report of an address deliv
ered recently in Terre Haute, Ind.,
by Theodore F. Thiemo before the
Federated Commercial clubs. It deals
with the question of a constitutional
convention for Indiana and in speaks
for itself.
Tho inspiration for these observa
tions Is not tho address, but the
speaker. Without investigating his
pedigree, we take it that Thieme is a
Dutchman he is more, he is a new
standard of citizenship.
Tho easiest way to dismiss the dis
ciples of principles with which we
That's tho money you should jtct thin year, I mean it. I want County Falc Man-
accr quick, men or wpnien who ucucvo m wo wuiuu "w r I .-,.,.
ncrshlP with me. No experjenco needed. My loldlne Hath Tub ha taken tho
country by storm. Solve the bathing problem. No plumbljisr, no water workore
aulredf Full length bath In nny room. Folds In email roll, handy aa an umbrella.
1 tell you It'KKrcat! GKEAT1 Rivals flOO bath room. Now ltetenl I want YOU
to handle your county. I will furnliih domomtraUng tub on liberal plan, I m
posltivo absolutely certain you can sot blKKer money in a weelc with mo uun
you ever mado in a month befpre, I KNOW JTl
Two Sales a Dny
$300.00 a jmontn
.-- ,..-. ... .m.lJt - - - mnntfi
mi wbhu. ... rv.""r:zr;. .,,-..-,.
I Exclusive Territory, f
100 ProHt. 1
nMiAiiueiiHe .BeeeeeBeeeP'
Needed In eter borne. B?Mr
wanted, eagerly bourbt. Modern baihln facflttei iIor n e !
tne order, ngut anojeit Ufc.e, ....... """ .nw; "I. "M.
Aen firxtweelcj Meyers,
vutt . fcSfl nffofit fir it
month; Newton. C llornla. fcO
ia due day. You should do
Swefl. 2 8ALE8 A DAY
Th work la yen
ctcasast. permanent, la
.doatlnz. It jneaas a
I buticess of jrrt r own,
IJtde eacfta! Bcded. t
Srant credit Helpyou out Back
nan un Don't ilonbt DtB.'t kel
t .,- rWkft, hrhlH tiaflr4-.Ymi MttfiAf
lose. My other men tic buibusar nouset, mck accounts.
Tut same cs penny post card lor free tub offer, lluulct
H. S. Kobinson, Pres., 740F"ftftD,$fo1o.
CatudUaBrauch. Wlkrvlll, Oat.