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With Mr. Knox's statement in his possession, Kehoe proposed to the dredging men that the bill be amended so that every acre of the 10,885 given in the description which the dredging people had furnished him be excluded from the measure's provisions. Kehoe proposed that the 10,885 acres be described in the bill by metes and bounds, with the definite statement that the bill's provisions should not apply to those 10,885 acres.

He was even willing that the excluded acreage run a thousand or

so acres beyond this. The 12,000 acres or thereabouts, especially since only 3,000 acres were fit for agriculture, were, comparatively speaking, too small to quarrel over.

It was thought that by this compromise all objection to the bill would be eliminated, and the dredging of valuable agricultural land, which conservationists thought to be in danger—but which the dredge people deniedplaced under State supervision.

Knox, representing extensive dredge-mining interests, stated at first that Kehoe's proposal would be satisfactory. Nevertheless, the proposal seems to have stirred dredge-mining circles.

At first came rumors that possibly there are more than 12,000 acres which can be dredged. Then the definite statement was made that the acreage might be between 25,000 and 30,000 acres.

After Kehoe's offer had been made public, the dredge-mining interests redoubled their efforts against the bill. They were, for example, successful in getting the directors of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce to rescind their action in adopting resolutions approving the measure.

Knox pre

As has been said, the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, with the barren wastes of cobblestones where orchards and vineyards had once been as object lessons, through its board of directors had endorsed the bill. The opponents of the measure feared this endorsement. They proceeded to get the directors to rescind their action. A meeting for that purpose was called. sented the case for the dredging people, insisting that if the Kehoe bill were passed as it had been drawn it would ruin the gold dredging industry.

Knox's statements were combated by W. G. McMillin, one of the directors. McMillan contended that the dredge-mining industry would not be endangered by the passage of the bill. He stated that in past years many acres of fine agricultural land had been dredged and ruined, and that he was heartily in favor of a law that would prevent repetition of such sacrifice of good land. Mitchell Nathan, another director, sided with McMillin. He stated he could see no good reason for a reversal; that the Chamber of Commerce was supposed to be an institution for the protection of the public. Nathan objected to the institution being made a shuttlecock.

Nevertheless, the directors, by a vote of 8 to 5 rescinded their previous action. The Sacramento Chamber of Commerce in this way went on record against the Kehoe bill.

About this time attacks were made on Kehoe's motives in introducing the bill.165 The measure was de

165 The Sacramento Bee in an editorial article printed March 12, 1913, criticised this action.

The Bee believes," said that paper, "the majority of the Directorate of the Chamber of Commerce made a mistake on Monday in absolutely rescinding any endorsement of the Kehoo

scribed as “having the appearance of a cinch bill.” None of the newspapers giving the service of attorneys to defeat the measure dared openly charge wrongful motive. But by indirection and suggestion they labored to bring discredit upon Kehoe and his bill.166

Even while Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Supervisors were being stirred up to protest against the passage of the measure, and claquers and press were laboring to discredit it, the dredge mining people were

bill for the regulation of dredge mining in this State, without putting that body on record as approving the principle thereof.

For the principle of the Kehoe bill is all right. There should be some regulation concerning, and some restriction of, dredge mining.

"The Kehoe bill, amended as its author is willing and ready to amend it, should not be objected to by anybody.

"In fact, Manager Knox of the Natomas Consolidated declared before the Chamber of Commerce Directorate that the bill so amended would be satisfactory to his company, with the right of appeal to the Courts from any decision of the Water Commission concerning other lands."

166 Of this bill, the San Francisco Examiner in its issue of March 12, 1913, said:

“Some of the measures which are to draw out good fighting would be called cinch bills if they had been sent in in the bad old days. But under the era of Progress and Reform no one dares impute any but motives of loftiness and uplift to those who have drafted the measures or those who are supporting them.

"For instance, here comes Senator Kehoe from far Humboldt County, where there is no dredger mining, and puts in a bill that would drive the dredger men out of business, while the communities around Oroville, Marysville and Folsom that are directly affected by the dredgers seem enthusiastic over their continuance.

"Now in the naughty old times that would have been considered just the bill to be quietly smothered after the passing of a little 'stuff.' But no one impugns improper motives to Kehoe or to Milton T. U'Ren, who is said to have drawn the bill in the interests of conservation.

"It is amusing, however, to note the sudden interest in agricultural lands suddenly taken by some lawgivers, who hardly know an olive from an apricot, but who can tell gold from paper money as far as ear can hear or eye see.

“They sing the song of truly rural and woes of the farmer fill their eyes with tears and their throats with sobs."

The writer of the Examiner article stated there is no dredge mining in “far away Humboldt County" which Kehoe represents. Kehoe represents Trinity as well as Humboldt County. The substitute bill offered by the dredge mining people, shows that in Humboldt County there are four dredge mining districts and four in Trinity County.

expressing themselves as even desirous that the bill should pass, provided the 10,885 acres, which they had declared was all the land fit for gold dredging, be excluded from its provisions. As Kehoe was willing that this comparatively small acreage should be excluded, that the thousands of acres which Conservationists regard as endangered by gold dredging operations might be safeguarded, the bill seemed in fair way of passage.

But with hint that the 10,885 acres might expand into as much as 25,000, or even 30,000 acres, came suggestion that the acreage might not be so small as the dredging people had at first contended. When the dredging people submitted their substitute to the Kehoe bill,167 showing by metes and bounds their acreage, they asked to have excluded more than 63,500 acres. After the substitute bill had been given Kehoe, the dredger people represented to him that some 2,500 acres, not included in the more than 63,500, had been discovered.

Those familiar with the situation contended that the passage of the substitute bill would give the dredger people vested rights to sacrifice for dredging purposes all the land described in the proposed bill. Definite recognition of these rights, it was held, would be worth millions to the dredging interests. The claim was made that in the past some objection had been raised when securities of dredge-mining companies had been offered for sale, on the ground that the State of California may at any time stop dredging operations. The passage of the Kehoe bill, amended as the dredging people would

167 The substitute measure was drawn by Judge Charles W. Slack, general counsel for the Natomas Consolidated Company of California.

have had it, would foreclose the State against stopping dredging operations on the more than 63,500 acres described. The dredge miners held, however, that not all of the 63,500 acres could be profitably dredged, but that the profitable dredging land was included in those 63,500

acres.

Kehoe refused to accept the proposed substitute. Single-handed he continued the fight for his bill's passage.

The bill came up for public hearing before the Senate Committee on Agriculture. Former Governor George C. Pardee, George D. King, president of the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce, Milton T. U'Ren and Senator Kehoe spoke in its support.

Ex-Governor Pardee, for the Conservation Commission, stated the commission was pleased to see land used for dredging where it is shown to be of more value for that purpose than for any other, the same as the commission approves the using of land for brick-making when it is to the State's best interests to have it so used. In his opinion, Pardee continued, there should be some authority to which can be referred the question of the improper destruction of agricultural land or any other land.

President King of the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce, had come from a district in which gold dredgers have been long in destructive operation. In fact the anti-gold dredging bill considered at the 1905 session, had its best support, if not its inspiration, from Fair Oaks people. The gold dredgers had, as early as 1905, converted once fertile acres of that district into ghastly piles of cobblestones.

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