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The Senate adopted the report and discharged the committee.
The Assembly at the time the committee was discharged had passed the Grant-Bohnett Abatement bill, and the measure was pending before the Senate. A poll of the Senate had shown that the measure would pass that body with several votes to spare. The opposition had abandoned any opinion it may have entertained that the bill would be defeated.
to investigate the question of wages alone would require much more time than the remainder of this session of the Legislature, even if your committee were to devote its entire time to said subject, to the time of adjournment. That to investigate the question of the so-called 'social evil' with attendant 'white slave traffic,' in all its phases would also alone require many months of patient, thorough and unremitting attention and the expenditure of a large sum of money, entirely beyond the scope of time and money allowed to this committee.
“Your committee further declares its full sympathy with the object to be obtained and it urgently recommends that an investigation, either by a committee of the two Houses of this Legislature, armed with plenary powers and equipped with an appropriation adequate for the purpose, or, by a commission created by law with like powers, and equipment, be authorized by this Legislature to convene and sit at the earliest possible moment and make its report for the use of a succeeding session of the Legislature."
PASSAGE OF THE REDLIGHT ABATEMENT Act.
The adoption of the Beban resolution by the Senate, the open opposition to the Abatement act of President pro tem. Boynton, and the general situation which, during the first fortnight of the second part of the session, developed in the Upper House, made it apparent that the Grant-Bohnett bill had better chance of passage in the Assembly than in the Senate.
The proponents of the measure accordingly decided to force its passage in the Assembly, secure, if possible, an overwhelming Assembly vote in its favor, and send it to the Senate, with the prestige which the Assembly's favorable action would give. Under this arrangement, which had the hearty approval of Senator Grant and other Senators who were desirous that the bill be passed, the measure was brought to vote in the Assembly on March 20.345
The debate on the attempted amendment of the measure and its final passage, brought out prominently:
(1) The astonishing attitude of members of the San Francisco delegation toward the subject of the social
345 Credit for the Assembly's prompt action on the measure is due Assemblyman Bohnett, of San Jose. Bohnett had his forces throughout organized. There were no false moves nor poor plays. All day long the opposition beat against the measure's support to no purpose. No impression was made. To Bohnett's good generalship was due in large measure the overwhelming Assembly vote for the bill.
evil, and their inability to understand the position of the supporters of the bill.
(2) The influence women had had in bringing about the conditions which insured the bill's passage.
San Francisco members viewed the possible operation of the proposed law with almost hysterical alarm. They predicted freely that women, if the bill became a law, would not be safe on the streets of San Francisco. One member went so far as to predict that within six months after the law had gone into effect the Governor would be obliged to call out the militia to protect the women of San Francisco. Others expressed grave concern lest the women of San Francisco be outraged by the male visitors to the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915. That men should of their own free will vote for such a bill was beyond the comprehension of San Francisco members.
"Many will vote for this bill," said one San Francisco member, “because, to put it in plain English, they have been buffaloed.”346
346 The names of those San Francisco members who made these arguments-although they were used freely in the newspaper reports of the debate--have been purposely omitted. The arguments showed a state of unmorality, as measured by standards of Western civilization-a state of ununderstanding savagery, if you like-rather than immorality. There is nothing to be gained by parading before the public the names of the six or eight San Francisco members who made these arguments. That such arguments were made, and that but one member of the San Francisco Assembly delegation voted for the bill, is sufficient. But the incident does suggest an element at the large centers of population, sufficiently strong at least to dictate legislative representation, which is as completely out of touch and sympathy with Western standards and morality as African Hottentot or Australian Bushman. Here is a problem which becomes something more than political. That this element is, however, in small minority, and not representative of San Francisco, has been repeatedly demonstrated. See footnote 5.
The gentleman's “plain English," and "plain understanding of the situation” were about on a par.
That the urging of women had had much to do in influencing members to vote for the measure was brought out repeatedly.
“I have some doubts,” said Inman of Sacramento, in concluding his speech for the bill, “as to whether this act will bring about the condition which Mr. Bohnett wants. But ninety-eight per cent of the women of my district want me to vote for this measure. I shall vote for it.”
Smith of Alameda County stated that personally he opposed the bill, but that 1,500 of his constituents had urged him to vote for it. Although he expressed resentment at alleged threats which had been made to him if he failed to vote for the measure, he stated he would yield to the demands of his constituents and vote for the bill.
"Women of my district," said Smith, "have seen fit to threaten me. I regret that they have done so. I have my doubts about this bill doing all that is expected of it. But on moral issues I believe women to be the best guides. For that reason, I shall vote for the bill."
Sutherland of Fresno, one of the five members from outside San Francisco who voted against the bill, went so far as to charge that “not forty-one members of this Assembly but believe this bill is bad.”
“In voting against it,” Sutherland continued, “I know that I am signing my political death warrant. But I shall vote as my conscience dictates. I believe that the womanhood of California will be injured if this bill goes on the Statute books."
Killingsworth asked of Bohnett what was to become of the prostitutes if the measure became a law. “Are they," he demanded, "to be lined up and shot, or driven into the sea, as in uncivilized countries ?”
Bohnett characterized the question as “absurd."
An attempt to delay action on the bill by forcing adjournment before the vote on the measure could be taken, was defeated, twenty-seven voting for and fiftythree against adjournment.347 The roll on the passage of the bill was then called, and the measure passed by a vote of sixty-two to seventeen.348 Only five members from outside San Francisco-Bagby, Killingsworth, Murray, Sutherland, and White—voted against the bill.
347 The vote by which the motion to adjourn was defeated was by the following vote:
Ayes-Messrs. Alexander, Bagby, Bowman, Bradford, BUSH, CANEPA, COLLINS, Dower, Ferguson, FORD, Griffin, Inman, Johnson, Geo. H.; Johnston, T. D.; Killingsworth, Libby, McCARTHY, MCDONALD, Murray, NOLAN, RICHARDSON, RYAN, SCHMITT, SCOTT, SHANNON, WALSH, and White-27.
Noes-Messrs. Ambrose, Beck, Benedict, Bloodgood, Bohnett, Brown, Byrnes, Cary, Chandler, Clark, Wm. C.; Clarke, Geo. A.; Cram, Ellis, Emmons, Farwell, Finnegan, Fish, Fitzgerald, Gabbert, Gates, Gelder, Green, Guiberson, Guill, Hayes, Hinkle, Johnstone, W. A.; Judson, Kingsley, Kuck, Moorhouse, Morgenstern, Mouser, Nelson, Palmer, Peairs, Polsley, Roberts, Shartel, Shearer, Simpson, Slater, Smith, Strine, Stuckenbruck, Sutherland, Tulloch, Wall, Weisel, Weldon, Woodley, Wyllie, and Young-53.
The names of the San Francisco members are printed in capital letters. Every one of the thirteen San Francisco members voted to adjourn.
348 The vote by which the Redlight Abatement bill passed the Assembly was:
For the bill Alexander, Ambrose, Beck, Benedict, Bloodgood, Bohnett, Bowman, Bradford, Brown, Byrnes, Cary, Chandler, Clark, Wm. C.; Clarke, Geo. A.; Cram, Dower, Ellis, Emmons, Farwell, Ferguson, Finnegan, Fish, Fitzgerald, Gabbert, Gates, Gelder, Green, Griffin, Guiberson, Guill, Hayes, Hinkle, Inman, Johnson, Geo. H.; Johnston, T. D.; Johnstone, W. A.; Judson, Kingsley, Kuck, Libby, Moorhouse, Morgenstern, Mouser, Nelson, Palmer, Peairs, Polsley, Roberts, Scott, Shartel, Shearer, Simpson, Slater, Smith, Strine, Stuckenbruck, Tulloch, Wall, Weisel, Weldon, Wyllie, and Young-62.
Against the bill-Bagby, Bush, Canepa, Collins, Ford, Killingsworth, McCarthy, McDonald, Murray, "Nolan, Richardson, Ryan, Schmitt, Shannon, Sutherland, Walsh, and White-17.