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Although the Conservation bill had passed the Assembly Committee on Conservation, it was not through all the Assembly committees which, under parliamentary practice, were to act upon it. The measure carried an appropriation of $150,000 for the fiscal years 1913-14 and 1914-15—$75,000 a year. All measures carrying appropriations are sent to the Ways and Means Committee of the Assembly and to the Senate Finance Committee. In the regular course of legislative business the bill went to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.
Attempts made to have the committee reduce the amount of the appropriation failed. Chandler of Fresno was chairman of this committee. It was largely to Chandler's efforts that appropriations had been kept down at the 1911 session. He has the reputation of paring appropriations to the last necessary dollar. But the importance of the work provided for in this bill, and the necessity of providing adequate appropriation for the work, were so apparent to Chandler and the well-informed members of his committee, that they sent the bill back to the Assembly, with recommendation tha it be passed, without reduction in the appropriation.
Then followed a series of delays which for weeks kept the measure from passage. When the bill came up for second reading on April 12, for example, it was discovered to contain a grammatical error, 183 which required correction. This could be done only by amendment. To amend the bill necessitated re-printing. This meant delay. Three days later, April 15, the bill came back from the printer.
In the meantime (a State-wide publicity campaign had been carried on against the bill. The people of the interior were led to believe that in some way they would be injured by its passage. About the time the bill got back from the Ways and Means Committee, the effects of the publicity work began to be seen. Letters from alarmed constituents began to pour in upon the members urging them to vote against the bill's passage. 134
These uninformed objectors gave no reasons why the bill should be defeated, except that they thought its passage would be unwise. The inspiration of some of these protesting letters was actually traced to lawyers lobbying at Sacramento who were in the employ of the power companies. One of the principal arguments used against the bill was that its passage
133 The word “their” had been substituted for the word "his."
134 W. A. Fitzgerald, the legislative correspondent of the Fresno Republican, in the issue of that publication for May 3, thus described the fight which the power companies maintained against this bill:
"By methods as old as Aesop, the Power Trust lobby made a successful fight against the bill. The power companies maintained a number of lawyers here and a corps of stenographers. Farmers and miners were flooded with press bureau matter, and deceived into acting as a catspaw, they began besieging their representatives with telegrams and protests. It is reliably reported that the fight cost the power companies $75,000 for the session.
"The tactics were brought home when a constituent of Johnstone's was in Sacramento a week or ten days ago attending a convention. He had sent Johnstone a telegram against the water bill. Johnstone asked him what his objection was and he replied that he had not read the bill, knew nothing about it, but had received an urgent letter from an attorney asking him to protest against the bill. The attorney was one of the number here in Sacramento working in the interest of the power companies."
would benefit the power companies and injure the small users of water for irrigation or power purposes. It
even announced that Francis Cuttle, member of the Conservation Commission, and who had had much to do with the framing of the measure, was opposed to its passage. This story was believed, until a letter from Cuttle denying the report and urging the bill's passage was read in the Assembly. Such incidents indicate the methods employed to discredit the measure with the Legislature and with the general public.
The effect of this campaign of lobby activity at Sacramento and of misrepresentation throughout the State, was seen when, on April 17, the measure came up in the Assembly for final passage.
The proponents of the bill, who had counted upon its passage without serious opposition, were unorganized; their speakers were not ready; they were without a definite plan. Several whom they had counted with them were at the last moment found to be against them. On the other hand, the opposition was thoroughly organized, and determined to force a vote and the bill's defeat. Far from being in a position to fight for the bill's passage, its supporters found themselves in the humiliating position of being compelled to plead for delay. They finally, by a vote of 43 to 31,185 got a
135 It was said at the time the proponents of the measure "literally had to grab their bacon and run." The vote by which they secured their four days' delay was:
For delay-Ambrose, Benedict, Bloodgood, Bohnett, Bush, Byrnes, Canepa, Cary, Chandler, Clark, Wm. C.; Cram, Ellis, Emmons, Farwell, Finnegan, Fish, Gabbert, Gates, Green, Guill, Hayes, Hinkle, Johnstone, W. A. Judson, Kingsley, Kuck, McDonald, Moorhouse, Morgenstern, Mouser, Nelson, Peairs, Roberts, Ryan, Scott, Shartel, Slater, Smith, Strine, Sutherland, Wall, Weisel, and Young-43.
For immediate action-Alexander, Bagby, Beck, Bowman, Brad
delay of four days. Anything else would have meant complete defeat. But this success of the bill's supporters was also something of a success for its opponents. Next to definite defeat of the measure, its opponents were working for delay. This they had forced. The Conservation bill was admittedly in danger of defeat.
A conference of the bill's supporters was called. Again was the measure considered line by line. Amendments were decided upon which, while not affecting the Act materially, tended to meet objections which had been raised.18
The amendments were not acted upon until April 22. On that day they were adopted without serious opposition.
But the amending of the bill necessitated its re-printing, which involved further delay. The bill was returned from the printer on April 23. But it was not until two days later that the Assembly had opportunity to act upon it.
When it came up on April 25, Inman of Sacramento
ford, Brown, Clarke, Geo. A.; Dower, Ferguson, Ford, Gelder, Griffin, Guiberson, Inman, Johnson, Geo. H.; Johnston, T. D.; Killingsworth, Libby, McCarthy, Murray, Nolan, Palmer, Polsley, Richardson, Shannon, Shearer, Simpson, Stuckenbruck, Tulloch, Weldon, and White-31.
The supporters of the measure voted for delay. The opponents voted for immediate action.
136 One of these amendments was offered by James F. Farraher. It was as follows:
"And all waters flowing in any river, stream, canyon, ravine or other natural channel, excepting so far as such waters have been or are being applied to useful and beneficial purposes upon, or in so far as such waters are or may be reasonably needed for useful and beneficial purposes upon lands riparian thereto, is and are hereby declared to be public waters of the State of California and subject to appropriation in accordance with the provisions of this Act."
offered an amendment which, by a vote of 34 to 20,187 was adopted. The adoption meant the re-printing of the bill. It was not until five days later, April 30, that the bill came up again for action.
Simpson 138 of Kern and Schmitt of San Francisco, offered amendments which were promptly rejected. Nevertheless, the measure was again amended, amendments offered by Woodley,189 Johnson, Guiberson and Brown being adopted. Again the measure had to be
137 The vote on Inman's amendment was:
For the amendment-Alexander, Bagby, Bohnett, Bowman, Bradford, Brown, Byrnes, Clarke, Geo. A.; Cram, Dower, Ferguson, Ford, Griffin, Guiberson, Guill, Hayes, Inman, Johnson, Geo. H.; Kingsley, Libby, Murray, Nelson, Palmer, Polsley, Schmitt, Shannon, Shartel, Simpson, Slater, Stuckenbruck, Tulloch, Wall, Weldon, and White-34.
Against the amendment-Ambrose, Bloodgood, Clark, Wm. C.; Ellis, Farwell, Gabbert, Gates, Green, Hinkle, Johnston, T. D.; Johnstone, W. A.; Kuck, Moorhouse, Peairs, Roberts, Scott, Sutherland, Weisel, Woodley, and Young—20.
Inman's amendment provided that no city appropriating water for domestic purposes shall sell that water for irrigation purposes. The amendment as adopted read:
"On page 21, line 8, insert the following: provided, that no municipality shall take water for the purpose of selling or otherwise disposing of the same for irrigation purposes."
138 Simpson's amendments would have seriously crippled the bill. The first offered was to strike out all of Sections 24 to 36 inclusive. It was defeated by the following vote:
For the amendment-Alexander, Bagby, Brown, Clarke, Geo. A.; Dower, Ford, Gelder, Griffin, Johnson, Geo. H.; Libby, Murray, Nelson, Palmer, Polsley, Schmitt, Shannon, Shartel, Shearer, Simpson, Stuckenbruck, Weldon, and White-22.
Against the amendment-Ambrose, Beck, Benedict, Bloodgood, Bohnett, Bowman, Bush, Byrnes, Cary, Clark, Wm. C.; Collins, Ellis, Emmons, Farwell, Ferguson, Finnegan, Fish, Fitzgerald, Gabbert, Gates, Green, Guill, Hinkle, Johnston, T. D.; Johnstone, W. A.; Judson, Kingsley, Kuck, McCarthy, Moorhouse, Morgenstern, Mouser, Peairs, Roberts, Ryan, Slater, Smith, Strine, Sutherland, Woodley, Wyllie, and Young—42.
139 The Woodley amendment was made necessary for the protection of Los Angeles, by the Inman amendment adopted on April 25. Under the Inman amendment Los Angeles would have been unable to dispose of the surplus water of her municipal system. The Woodley amendment read:
"Provided, however, that nothing in this Act shall be construed as limiting in any way the use, or the disposition of the use of any water appropriated, acquired or held by any municipality, prior to the time this Act shall go into effect."