Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 21, 1906)
THE OMAHA DAILY HEE: FRIDAY, PECKM BEIt 21. 1006.
THEODORE C. WOODBURY. President
E. M. FAIRFIELD. General Manager
STOCKTON IIETII. Treasurer
A. D. HUNT, Superintendent
Hie Onnalhia Water Company
NEW YORK, DECEMBER 17, 190G.
To the Water Board of the City of Omaha:
As president of the Omaha "Water company, J bog to acknowledge receipt of Order No. 10
and No. 11 of the Water Board. Order No. 10 purports to rescind Ordinance No. 51G2 of the
Omaha City Council, passed March 2, 1903, under which ordinance the city plainly elected to
purchase the entire water works system of the Omaha "Water company. Order No. 11 provides
for the appointment of a committee of the Wa or Board to procure plans and estimates for the
construction of a municipal water system by the city. .
Ordinarily, the mere acknowledgment of the receipt of these papers would probably bo
sufficient, but I feel that Order No. 10 does not fairly state the facts, and that, in view of the
wjde public interest in this matter, it is only right for me to state, for the benefit of the public,
bo far as I can within the compass of a brief let r, the company's side.
One of the chief grounds on which the order purports to have been made, as stated in the
order itself, is that the city elected to purchase only such part of the company's system as is
necessary to supply the city itself with water, whereas (so tho order alleges) the company re
fuses to sell anything less than its entire system. The fact of the matter, as" I view it, is that
the city elected to purchase the company's entire system. You are, of course, aware, but the
public probably has forgotten, that at one of the hearings before the appraisers who were ap
pointed after the passage of the City Council's Ordinance electing to purchase the works, the
late Governor Boyd, chairman of the Water Board, officially stated before the appraisers':
"The city, I believe, wants to buy the entire works. I believe that is the opinion of nine-tenths
of this city. But, as a question in law, can they buy it? In order to know that it would have
lo go through the courts, in my judgment . . . ' . We want to purchase the entire prop
erty if we possibly can do it. We expect to do it."
The public has also doubtless forgotten that the city's attorneys took the contrary view
during the course of the appraisal,' although without any express permission from the city. And
when those attorneys found that the appraisers apparently intended to appraise the entire sys
tem as a whole and not to separate the portions of the system which supply outlying communi
ties from that portion of the system which supplies Omaha, those attorneys brought, on behalf
of the city, before Judge Munger of the federal court, a suit to compel the appraisers either to
omit entirely from their appraisal the outlying portions of tho company's system or to sepa
rate the items, so that the value of the portion of tho system which supplies the City of Omaha
could be ascertained by itself. Another purpose of the suit was to get a decision from the
court whether the city could or was obliged to take the whole system or only a part thereof. The
attorneys for the city in that suit asked the co urt in the first place to go even farther and to
restrain the appraisers from making any appraisement whatsoever until these questions had
been decided. Upon that motion Judge Munger unqualifiedly stated that the City Council in the
ordinance of election had sought to purchase the company's entire system, and he refused to
enjoin the appraisal, but did direct the appraisers to itemize their appraisement so that the
value of that portion of the plant which supplies the City of Omaha alone could be determined
by itself. The appraisers followed explicitly the orders of the court and made such an appraisal.
The most significant feature of the circumstances, above outlined, is that the City Coun
cil elected to purchase the whole works, that the Water Board, as at that time constituted, de
sired, and thought that nine-tenths of the people of the city desired, to obtain the entire plant,
and on this same line I beg to remind you that by an act of the Legislature of your state, passed
in 1905, express permission was given to the city to operate the Mater works v.hen purchased,
not only for the benefit of the City of Omaha, but for the benefit of the outlying communities,
nil of which is, of course, another indication that the original intention and desire of the city
was to own the whole plant.
Furthermore, it is not the fact that the company has refused to sell anything less than
the whole of its system. The City Council elected to buy the whole plant, and until your Order
No. 10 was passed no governing body of the City of Omaha ever took any action to the con
trary, or ever requested or sought to purchase anything but tho whole system. The acts and
doings, or claims and pleadings, of the city's attorneys most certainly do not morally, legally
or logically constitute action by the proper city authorities. . The company proposes to compel
the city to stand by its bargain, if that can legally be done. If the court decides that'the city has
ao power to buy the whole system, or that the city has the right to back out of its bargain, then,
and not until then, will it be time to decide whether it is advisable or possible or compulsory
that the city buy and the company sell only a part of the system. And until then the city has
no right to compel the company's directors to say whether they will sell less than the whole
system. In other words, the whole question is now actually before the court, and, pending the
court's decision, neither the company nor the city can create any new rights or extinguish any
old rights, except by mutual agreement.
Another point to which your attention should be called is that these outlying communi
ties have a right, as parts of the body politic of the State of Nebraska, and closely connected in
every respect, except municipal organization, with the City of Omaha, to enjoy the benefit of
a B"VVY water from the Missouri river, and the only economical method by which they
and the City of Omaha can be supplied is from a common system of works. Why, in view of
these circumstances, should not your board await the decision of the suit which now is before
Judge Munger to determine whether or. not the city can take tho entire system? I do not my
self believe that there is in your city any sentiment whatsoever against purchasing tho entiro
system, except as such sentiment is manufactured by your board.
Another moving cause for your Order No. 10, as alleged in that order, is that there never
has been any legal appraisement, because tho appraiser appointed by the city failed to concur
with the other two appraisers as to the value of the property. The city's attorneys have ap
parently advised your board that such an appraisal by two out of three appraisers is not
binding. I think I am right in stating that every court before which such a question has been
raised has decided that such an appraisal is binding. It is only fair that it should be, otherwise
any of the appraisers could prevent any appraisal from being binding. In this connection I
think the members of your board should stop to consider before they accuse the two appraisers
who did agree on the value of the company's property of collusion, of being influenced by tho
company or of lack of ability in making their appraisement. You seem to forget that tho ap
praiser whom the city appointed joined in the selection of the third appraiser, and you know
that these two apraisers, who concurred in the appraisement, are engineers of the highest
standing, both for ability and character. Another fact which your board has never seen fit to
allow the public to know is what the difference was between the appraisement of your appraiser
and that of the other appraisers.
Even if there were a legitimate question whether a concurrence of all threo appraisers
was neceessary and your board and its counsel certainly have not forgotten that that very
question was raised by the answer they have filed in the suit to compel the city to take the
works, at the appraisement made by the two appraisers why is it that your board is unwilling
to await the court's decision on that point? Why is it that your board is unwilling that the court
should decide either question, namely, how much of the plant the city is bound to take, if any,
and whether the appraisement concurred in by two of the appraisers instead of all is a binding
appraisement? Why is it that your board has assumed to reverse the policy of the City Coun
cil and of the Water Board in office when the election to purchase was made, and has an
nounced that it does not wish the whole plant of the company and does not wish to accept the
The reason, as stated by your attorney in his letter to the Water Board concerning this
very subject, is that you wish to force the company to sell at a price which is less than the
price fixed by the appraisers, or, in effect, as anybody who will read the letter of your attorney
can see, the reason is that you wish to force the company to sell its property for less than it is
Your object, of course, is to get the company's property at the lowest possible figure.
Stated in that way, your object is commendable, because the lower the price the better you will
have served the public On the other hand, I beg to remind you that you have no right, and
the public has no right, to take the company's property without paying full value for it, and I
do not myself believe that any honorable taxpayer in the City of Omaha if he knows the
whole facts, will ever approve the plan of action which the Water Board has persistently fol
lowed. No matter what your methods for the public, you would not treat a negotiation between
yourselves as private individuals and other private individuals in the same manner as you have
treated these negotiations. "Nor could you expect the people of the City of Omaha, with full
knowledge of the facts, to approve such conduct under the present circumstances, even if such
conduct, could, which I do not for a moment believe, result in the city's obtaining the com
pany's property for less than its value.
One further point, which is not touched upon in your Order No. 10. I feel justified in
6tating that the Water Board, as a board, has misrepresented to the public the value and the
excellence of the water works system which is now supplying the City of Omaha. The company
has prided itself on having one of the best sys tems of public water works in the United States.
Its directors and officers know that the actual value of the system is greater than the value
fixed by the appraisement. But they believe, and have been so advised by counsel, that the or
dinance of the City Council passed in 1903 con stituted an acceptance by the city of the option
which the city had to buy, and that that accept ance bound the city to accept and the company
to deliver over its entire water works plant at the price fixed by the appraisers.
This leads me to say further that the co mpany is very much embarrassed to know what
to do with reference to improvements of the sy stem which the tremendous growth of the city
makes advisable. Believing, as the directors of the company do, that the city is bound to take
the works as it has elected to do, and being so advised by counsel, they do not understand that
there is any certainty that the city could be compelled to repay the cost of any such improvements
without some special arrangement with the city. It has been with a view to making such special
arrangements that I have twice before called your attention to this matter.
That there may be no misunderstanding on the part of the citizens of Omaha with re
gard to the facts and the company's position, I propose to publish this letter in the newspapers
of the city.
Yours very truly,
(Signed) THEODORE C. WOODBURY,
President of the Omaha Water Company.
STATE CHARITY LAW SCORED
2iacutis( and Miit Be BeTistd, Eayi
(. Fatair Eeuiine,
HERRIX8 QUESTIONS FISCAL PROCESS
WewU Uk te IUt Llnrht em How
tat Board Handle Money
The tenth Nebraska state conference of
Charities and Correction met Thursday
morning; at Crelghton Institute for a two
TS eaaion. which was opened with
prayer by Rev. T. J. Mackay. Mayor Dahl
man delivered an address of welcome.
Governor Mickey Intended to be present to
reepond to this, but at a late hour Wednes
day night he found It would be Impossible
tor blra to attend and sent his regrets.
Rev. Father Joseph Reusing, president
f the confereno. delivered the annual ad
afresa, ts which he emphasised the need of
wakening. Intelligent co-operation and the
rsvlsioa of certain state laws. He declared
tfcat there had existed In the organisation
e general apathy and that there were not
two do sen genuine, active members. He
reviewed the object of the organisation,
which embraced the best methods of dis
bursing charity among the needy.
He said the State Conference of Charities
and Correction waa a specie of clearing
bouse for all charitable activities. He re
viewed the different work which can be
ana ought to be done by the organization.
" l-w am the State Board.
Referring to the statute creating the
BtaU Board of Charities and Corrections
"Often w have bean Indlmant and dia.
nated at tho wording of the law creating
that board. The law must be revised. The
State Board of Public Lands and Buildings
is responsible for all state buildings. Why,
then, should the plana for each buildings
be referred to the State Board of Churlties
and Corrections T They never are so re-
rerred and thHf. part of the law is a dead
letter. The four ad visorv secretaries have
to pay their traveling expenses out of their
own pockets and then wait months before
being reimbursed. This Is due to a blunder
made in enumerating the Items for which
the 11,000 state appropriation should be
usea. i he secretaries should ao about
visiting the state Institutions. Investigating
the manner In which they are conducted.
Had the secretaries been In a position to
do this, the abuses at the Norfolk asylum
could never have occurred."
Disposition of Knniis.
In dlSCUSalna: "The Morxl ItesnnnHlhlllt v
of a Member of a Board of Directors of a
Private Charity," Rev. Dr. It. . Herring
declared that the disposition of the funds
of many private charities looked to him
"A rharlty arent mav lame nathetle r,-
peals which would melt the heart of a
graven linage," auld Dr. Herring. "But 1
am 'from Missouri' In these matters and I
want to know lust where the money goes
and whether the work could not be carried
on to better advantage by aorne other or-
He declared that In the laBt year four
teen different organisations have been at
work In Omaha raising money for child
suvlng. This statement caused considerable
tiirprlse and It was agreed that such pro
miscuous private charity was pernicious
In the dlscusiton it was proposed that some
kind of license be Issued by the state to
those aut horded to collect for charities.
It was also pointed out that the existence
of many private charities gives opportunity
to unscrupulous delinquents to obtain funds
from- different organizations. An instance
was mentioned where a beggar had done
this and saved a small fortune.
Daly of County Board.
Victor Rosewater addressed the confer-
INDIA AND CEYLON
la equalled hj no tea In the mattrr of delicate flavor, rvfrehlntf qual
ity and perfect parity. It ha become the tea standard of the world.
UcCORD-BRADY CO., Wholesale Agents, Omaha.
enco on "The Moral Responsibility of the
Ccunty Commissioner to the Community."
He declared that the commissioners' moral
and legal responsibility were coincident,
relating to the taxpayer who provide the
funds to be disbursed and to the delinquent
who receives them. He stated that one
fourth of the expenses of Douglas county
are for charitable and correctional work
for which about 1125,000 Is the annual dis
bursement. The charitable work Includes
the poor farm, county hospital, the outdoor
relief work and the soldiers' relief work,
and for these Items approximately $yo,0()0
Is the annual expense. In correctional work
the county Jail, the Juvenile court and de
tention home cost 15,000 annually, $10,000
of this sum being added recently for the
Juvenile court and detention home.
"The moral responsibility of the county
commissioners," said Mr. Rosewuter, "con
sists largely In spending this money ju
diciously and carefully sr us to give the
greatest relief to the taxpayer, whoso
money they handle, and to give the greatest
assistance to the greatest number of worthy
"They have many moral responsibilities
connected with tho administration of the
Institutions in their charge. They should
see, for example, that the Inmates of the
county Jail get proper food, but they should
provide that food at the least expense.
Feeding the prisoners In the Jail is now
regarded much as a perquisite of the
sheriff. It should be done under contract,
the award being made u, '.he lowest bidder."
Work House Sorely deeded.
Mr. Rosewater declared that one of the
great needs of the county Is a workhouse
where the petty criminals would be put at
hard labor during their confinement. The
present system, he declared, makes the
county Jull rather a haven of refuge to a
large class of delinquents, where they are
belter carud for than they can care for
themselves and a burden to the county.
Tile delegates to the conference visited
the Dentcntlon home on South Tenth street
after the morning adjournment, where
luncheon was served.
This is Jthe remainder of the program:
Thursday Afternoon-2:00. Th Merit of
the Juvenile Court." Itev. G. A. needier,
dean of Tilnlty cathedral; 2:90, "Parental
Responsibility to ;ho Home," Kahhi Fred
erick t'ohn, Omaha; 3:uu, "Parental He.
sounsibility to the State," Ju1k Howard
Kennedy, Omaha; 3:30. "Probation and the
Indeterminate Sentence," Chaplain P. 1
Johnson, Uncoln; 4:w, "The Ounce of Pre
vention," J. i-. McUrlen, state superintend-
needs, "Minneapolis 1907," Mr. Alexander
Johnson, secretary National Conference of
Charities and Corrections; "Timely Child
Labor Legislation." H. W. Pennock,
Omaha; "A State Humane Society," Rev.
John Williams, Omaha; 2:3), "The Standard
or living, pror. w. o. Langwortny Tay
lor, University of Nebraska, Dlncoln; 2:oO.
"The Prevention of Poverty," Gilbert M.
Hitchcock; 8:30. Introduction of president
elect; 3:30, Adjournment.
Personally Conducted Tour of
A special party for a thirty-day tour of
Old Mexico, embracing practically all the
Important cities and principal point of in
terest, will leave Omaha January. IS.
Rate covering transportation, berth and
meals only $200.00.
For further information call or address
Rock Island City Ticket Office, 1.S Far
The following building permits hsve been
Issued: John Trennery, Twenty-second and
lUrd, $1,600 dwelling; O. B. Peterson.
Thirty-seventh and Case, $M0 building; Mc
Cague Investment company, 621 North Six
teenth, $000 repairs.
BRACELETS Frenser. 16th and Dodge.
IT WAS LOADED
Thursday Evening :i. Address, "Rela
tion Between Private Charity and Public
Relief," Alexander Johnson, New York.
Friday Morning Sou, Business. Report
of committee and election of orhceis; 9.3,
What, Nebraska has "In Slate GrthOxdlu
Work." lr. J. P. Lord. Omaha; "in State
lnduMrial Work." D. II. Iiaward, Kear
ney; "In Stale Defective Work." Dr. Frank
A. Osborn. Beatrice; "In Hate Insane
Wrk," Dr. W. B. Kerr., Hatir.tis; "In
tate Dipsomaniac Work " Dr. R. T Hay.
ljncoln; "In Plate Soldier' and Sailors'
Work." Rev. W. H. IVwuii, M.lfn'd; "In
FtHle Rescue Work." Mrs. A. J. Alhr ghl,
Milford; "The SSa-le Penitentiary Work."
Warden A. D. Bremer, Lincoln; "In State
Blind Wolk." 1'iof. T. Mirey, 'Nebraska
City; "In State leaf and Dumb Work,"
Prof. R. K. Stewart. Omaha; "In State
Work for the Friendless," Mrs. E. C. John-
i ti Jay AfU-ruooU-l:30, What Nebraska
Didn't Imagine December was
charged with such a chilly blast
did you ?
Take our word for It. We're
going to have a cold winter. Go
ing to make you envy the men In
arm looking, warm feeling Mac-Carthy-Wllson
Overcoat. Going to make other
envy VOL' If you're one of those
For $36 we'll make to your mea
sure a new and especially swagger,
Cheviot, Kersey or Melton Over
coat. MCCARTHY. WILSON
Phone Doug. 1M. JoJ So. 16th Jt,
Next door to the Wabash ticket urhoc.
CITY AND COUNTY DISPUTE
facials Parle Over Which hall Pa,
DAHLMAN CALLS COUNCIL TO DECIDE
Contest 1 Over Cost of Supplies Re
quired In Collection and Dis
bursement of City
The finance committee of the city council
and the county commissioner are billed for
a little go, with Mayor Dahlman a referee
and Assistant City Attorney Rlne a time
keeper. The occasion for this outbreak Is
the matter of whether the city or county
shall pay for supplies required for the col
lection and disbursement of city taxes. The
record show the city baa paid since the
consolidation of the treasurer' office about
11,700, which, according to an opinion ren
dered Thursday morning by Attorney Rlne
to Mayor Dahlman, the county should have
The matter arose through City Clerk But
ler calling the mayor's attention to several
item on the laat appropriation ordinance
for stationery for the treasurer' office.
The mayor 1 now holding up this appro
priation ordinance and will not affix bis
signature until two items amounting to
(140 have been stricken off, or he ha been
fully convinced that these Item should be
paid for by the city. The mayor ha the
city legal department' written opinion on
To expedite matter Mayor Dahlman has
called In the finance committee, so the or
dinance may not be delayed longer than
necessary. That committee will confer with
the mayor Friday morning.
What the Law Says.
Section SS of the city charter expressly
provides: "No other compensation or ex
penses or salary shall be paid by such city
to such county, or to any county officer or
employe, for the collection or disbursement
of taxes, assessments or revenues of the
city, except the sum of II .000 per annum,
which shall be paid to the county treasurer
as additional salary, and the county in
which such city Is located shall receive as
full compensation for the collection and
disbursement of all funds of the city and
the expenses thereof, an amount equal to
I per cent of the amount collected."
It Is held that aside from the II 0 pa d
the treasurer ss additional salary and 1 per
cent paid the county for expenses the city
should not be put to any additional expense
for collection or disbursement of tax.
And yet the finance commltteo of the city
rnurvcll has from month to month since the
consolidation of the treasurer's departments
passed these Items In direct violation of
the charter, It la alleged. Comptroller Do
beck maintains the county should pay for
these expenses, but he said he has been
helples In the matter, although lis declared
he pointed out the matter everal times to
The expense referred to are uch Items
a tax books, receipts, telephone and other
office necessities required In the work of
collecting and disbursing the taxes.
It ha been suggested that the 11,700 be
deducted from the next allowance given the
county under the charter provision.
EAGLES LIGHT ON FLORENCE
Mew Aerl of American Bird In
stalled at Town to the
An aerl of the Fraternal Order of Eagles
wa Installed at Florence Wednesday night
by A. J. Leplnskl of Hastings, deputy grand
president for Nebraska of the order. The
Benson aerie waa present with its full
team, also present and past officers of th
Omaha and South Omaha lodges. The new
aerie comprises fifty-nine members and It
has taken the name of Fontanelle aerie.
Mr. and Mrs. I-plnfkl are the guests of
Mr. and Mrs. D. H. Christie. Ten aeries
have been organized In Nebraska by Mr.
Leplnskl since August, when ha came Into
Bracelets Copley, jeweler, 216 S. 16th.
Births and Deaths.
The following births and deaths were re
ported to the Board of Health during the
twenty-four hours ending Thursday noon:
Births C. O. WymHn, 3416 California, girl;
Frank Smln, 1319 William, girl.
Deaths Mrs. I .aura Olseke, Aetna hotel,
61; Mrs. Marie Sandherg. Mfl South Twenty
seventh avenue, 66; Oeorge Steele, 2H
i Pierce, 64; Hannah Baker, Tenth and Paul,
! m; Marnaret McKennn. 1814 Clark, 67;
' Martha M. Seekell, 616 South Twenty-sixth
avenue, 79; Mrs. Lottie Sandln. Rock
Does not depend upon flowers
and palms alone for its beauty
there are mountains wonderful
natural scenery and charming water
ing places innumerable. And then
the air is better different there's
the scent of the flowers, of course, but
a drier, finer air, like Colorado. It is
A Great Winter Resort
California is the place for you this
winter. No other place is just like
it for your winter's trip.
The direct line to California is the
For Booklets and Full Information Inquire at
CITY TICKET OFFICE, I321 FAHXAM NT.
I'HOXK DOIOI.AS 3.M.
Powered by Open ONI