The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903, June 23, 1900, Image 1

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Official Organ of the Nebraska State
Federation of Women's dubs.
Office 1132 N street, Up Stairs.
Telephone 384.
Subscription Kates In Advance.
Per annum 1100
8ix months 75
Three months 50
One month 20
Single copies 05
The Courier will not be responsible for toI
untary communications unless accompanied by
return postage. ....
Communications, to receive attention, must
be signed by tne fall name of the writer, not
merely as a guarantee of good faith, but for
publication if advisable.
City Debt,
Lincoln needs money, but except
for an emergency like the present one,
of need for isolated quarters for small
pox patients it is inexpedient to bor
row money. The city cannot make
money on a loan. It is not in busi
ness and a loan must be paid, fre
quently three or four times over in
interest. It is the fashion of munic
ipalities to borrow recklessly and
lavish!, and mest mayors authorizes
the borrowing. The size of Chicago's
debt is illegal and has injured the
credit of the city. Comptroller Ker
foot has just announced to the city
council, by request, that the city has
exceeded the state constitutional
limit for municipal debt by $15,428
278. If any tax-payer loved his coun
try, and his city enough and still
possessed ingenuous hopes of a time
when city officials would order the
spending of the peoples' money as
their own, he might begin proceed
ings against the payment of this ex
cess of fifteen million dollar debt and
the courts would probably sustain
hjsplea. The Chicago debt is shown
by Comptroller Kerfoot's statement:
'The increase in debt under the
Harrison administration is so enor
mous as to call for immediate and
radical action by the city council.
The figures taken from the Comptrol
ler's report show the city's debt as it
existed December 31st, 1899, consisted
of a total floating debt of 315,863,049
and a bonded debt of $16,825,050; total
debt, 832, 688,099.08.
"Paragraph 12 of section 9 of the
Constitution of 1870 of the State of
Illinois reads:
" 'No county, city, township, school
district, or other municipal corpora
tion, shall be allowed to become in
debted in any manner, or for any pur
pose, to an amount, including exist
ing indebtedness, in the aggregate
exceeding 5 per centum on the value
of the taxable property therein, to be
ascertained by the lost assessment for
State and county taxes previous to
the incurring of such indebtedness.'
"The taxable value of property for
1899 was $345,196,419. The constitu
tional debt limit, 5 per cent of taxable
property, would be $17,259,820. The
total debt is $32,688,099. The excess
of debt over the constitutional limi
tations is $15 42 ',278.
"The approximate Increase in the
debt in the three years of Mayor Har
rison is $9,000,000. At best, the re
sult of the council's investigation will
be the locking of the stable doors
after the horse is stolen; for the un
deniable fact exists that the city's
credit is gone. The Harrison admini
stration has borrowed money until
the banks have refused to lend more,
fearing the loss of that which they
have already advanced. Of the 815,
000,000 of debt which has been piled
up on the city in excess of the con
stitutional limitation, the greater
part would undoubtedly be set aside,
or, at least, its legal standing would
ba seriously jeoparded, If a tax-payer
should go into court and begin pro
ceedings. This possibility confronts
the loaners of money."
A Lincoln daily newspaper is con
tinually urging the council and
Mayor Winnett to order the paving
done on P street irrespective of the
fact that there is no intersection fund.
The Councilmen and Mayor are liable
on their bonds for any such unauthor
ized expenditure and the present ad
ministration, executive and legisla
tive, not likely to take any risks of
borrowing money that they them
selves will be responsible for. It is
fortunate indeed for Lincoln tax
payers that the Mayor and council are
thus mindful of the constitutional
limit of their authority. If preced
ing mayors and city councils had bad
the same restricted rules of city ex
penditure and had set the same limits
to their power of spending city
money the city would not now be pay
ing so large a proportion of its in
come in interest.
In regard to the power of Nebraska
cities the size of Lincoln to vote
bonds, I quote the Nebraska Statutes:
"That any county or city in the
state of Nebraska is hereby author
ized to issue bonds to aid in the con
struction of any railroad or other
work of internal improvement, to an
amount to be determined by the coun
ty commissioners of such county or
city, not exceeding ten per centum
of the assessed valuation of all the
taxable property in said county or
city, provided, the county commis
sioners or city council shall first sub
mit the question of the issuing of
such bonds, to a vote of the legal
voters of the said county or city in
the manner provided by chapter only
in the Revised Statutes of the State
of Nebraska for submitting to the
peop!e of a county the- question of
borrowing money (1869 J 192 G. S.,
The old city charter revised in 1897
grants to Lincoln the special and ad
ditional privilege of voting for 8100,
000 for sewerage. $200,000 for a water
system, and 825.000 for city parks.
This $325,000 which should be added
to the total constitutional capacity
for debt.
The total assessed valuation of tax
able property real, personal and rail
road in Lincoln last rear was 84,777,
835 The bond debt, exclusive of pav
ing debts which are paid directly by
individuals, is $1,169,000. Ten per
cent of the assessed valuation plus
our chartered loan-contracting privi
lege of 8325,000 is 8802,783.000. The
debt of 81,169,000 is therefore 8366,217
dollars larger than we have any right
to make it and any tax-payer who has
time and money to spend in a law
suit has the elements of a good case
Federation Gossip.
One hour before the meeting of
June 8th, it was whispered, a writ of
mandamus was to have been served
by Mrs. Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin,
the colored woman whose application
for admission to the Federation as a
delegate from the New Era Club of
Massachusetts, had been tabled by
the board of directors. Mrs. Ruffin
had decided to ask in this way for th
return of the dues paid by the New
Era Club to the treasurer of the Fed
eration. The warrant was sworn out,
a lawyer and a constable had been
engaged and on the advice of the
former the latter was in readiness to
serve the writ, in the convention hall
just as the new officers were taking
the plares of the old ones. But the
directors heard of it at noon. Mrs.
Lowe called a secret meeting, and in
a few minutes Mrs. Ruffin opened a
little envelope with $750 inside it.
But the color question is not set
tled. "What are you going to do
with her?" the Massachusetts women
asked of Mrs. Lowe that morning,
and Mrs. Lowe answered: ''Why,
that's for you to answer. 1 didn't
bring her here with me. What are
you going to do?"
Well, I hope Mrs. Ruffin will bring
suit against the federation," said Mrs.
Anna West of Massachusetts.
Not a delegate from Massachusetts
voted for Mrs. Lowe. Miss Whittier
of Massachusetts nominated Miss
Margaret J. Evans of Minnesota, who
secured 191 of the votes cast. Mrs.
Lowe got 754 and Mrs. Helmuth of
New York two. The election of Mrs.
Lowe seemed to be what the big audi
ence of women wanted. They waved
their hands and hats, sent bouquets
to Mrs. Lowe, ami laughed and cried.
The apparent good feeling in the
election was lost when Miss Evans
was nominated in opposition to Mrs.
Lowe. The states of Massachusetts,
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvarra
and Utah were responsible for it.
Miss Evans was the successful candi
date for vice president and the dele
gates w-rerayhtifled by her candidacy
for the first place. A number of re
quests were made from the floor for
her withdrawal before the balloting
began. Miss French Octave Thaoct
was one who insisted that Miss
Evans should relieve her position of
ambiguity before the voting began,
but the request fell on deaf ears for
there was no response.
in mi
A Crime in Nebraska.
By actual count Commandant Fowl
er of the Soldiers' Heme at Milfonl
has cut down or destroyed by burn
ing a thousand of the finest trees on
the Home's demesne. There were no
trees in the state like those made
into fence posts by this Milford as
sassin. If he had killed a man it
would have been a greater ethical
crime, but no one man is capable of
giving or conferring upon so many
for such a prolonged period the com
fort and olessings of a forest in Ne
braska, where trees are scarce and
primeval big trees of a diameter of
more than a foot, grew in any num
ber, so far as I know, only at Milford.
This man Fowler, who cannot have
the imagination and discrimination
of a beast of the field, which surely
appreciates the trees., has dared to
cut down the trees of a hundred year's
growth, trees which hundreds of peo
ple from Lincoln and from other
places contiguous to Milford made
yearly pilgrimages to see, to listen to,
and to be comforted by. Under their was not difficult to re
call the mighty oaks, elms and ma
ples of Maine, Massachusetts, New
York and of the middle western states,
of Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and Wis
consin. The deep, cool depths of this
one Nebraska forest was a balm to all
homesick ones brought up within the
magic of the sound of loaves, the
creaking of branches and in a storm
the tumult of twisting branches and
whispering, rustling leaves. That
one ruthless, beauty hating, deformed
soul, should have been allowed to
burn and cut down this one little
Nebraska forest is incredible. TLe
Board of Publrc Lands and Building
is supposed to prevent destruction of
the state's property. It requires a
long time to cut down a thousand
trees. Even a spiteful commandant
who resents a refinement he does not
understand might have been stopped
by a vigilant board before he had cut
down more than a hundred of the big
trees, each of which were an embodi
ment of dignity and vitality. The
people in India account for such an
act of wanton unprovoked, assault
upon human happiness by the theory
that every man and woman has the