Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

PREFACE.

In writing the “Story of the California Legislature of 1913," the attempt has been made, in addition to presenting the records of Senators and Assemblymen on certain important issues:

(1) To show the weaknesses of the present legislative system;

(2) To show the lobby as it is; its power, equipment, influence and most important of all—what it represents.

No attempt has been made to deal with all the important subjects considered during the session. A better idea of the Legislature's record, the conditions under which it worked and the governing influences, can be had by thorough consideration of a few typical measures, than by brief and necessarily incomplete treatment of a considerable number.

This view governed the preparation of the Stories of the 1909 and the 1911 sessions. It has been followed in writing the Story of the Session of 1913.

The tables of legislative votes have, so far as possible, been arranged to show at a glance how each member stood on given groups of measures. It is not pretended that all the votes on all the bills are included in these tables. But for the tables it is claimed that the bills included are typical of their group, are important measures of the group in which they appear, and that they give fair indication, so far as the record can show, of the attitude of the several members.

No attempt has been made to estimate the several records. That is left to the reader. If the reader is a Progressive of either party, he will, of course, regard records showing a large percentage of votes for Progressive policies as a good record. The Reactionary of either party will naturally take the contrary view. Of the tables dealing with votes on issues advocated by representatives of Labor, what may be regarded by the wage earner as a very good record, will be looked upon as quite the reverse by the exploiter of labor. The reader who would strengthen society by the abatement of the social evil, and the elimination of saloon and gambling establishment will take a view of the records on the so-called moral issues different from that taken by the exploiter and beneficiary of vice conditions.

Readers of the “Story of the California Legislature of 1909” cannot but note the change which has come in the Legislature. Machine-control, such as governed at the 1909 session, was unknown at the session of 1913. It is not likely that the rule of the machine which once prevailed will ever again be known in California. Because of the triumph of the Progressives under the leadership of Hiram W. Johnson at the 1910 elections, The People of California now have the Initiative, the Referendum and the Recall, the enfranchisement of women, a practical Direct Primary, and a practical Australian ballot.

These gains have worked a political revolution in California. They made the 1913 legislative session different from any other ever held in this State.

But this does not mean that the baneful activities of special-privilege-seeking interests have been abandoned. On the contrary, the old-time beneficiaries of the once dominant machine are quite as active as ever, but they have adapted themselves to the new conditions. They are even seeking to employ the safeguards of direct legislation to their own ends.

Thus we find the racetrack gamblers at the last general election resorting to the Initiative to restore racetrack gambling in California. But we find, also, , as most encouraging indication of enlightened public interest, the electors rejecting the gamblers' bill with a majority against it of over 203,000.

We find this year the beneficiaries of vice exploitation resorting to the Referendum to prevent the Redlight Abatement act going into effect; and the exploiters of the water resources of the State employing the same power to defeat the Water Conservation bill.

We find San Francisco tenderloin interests threatening Senator E. E. Grant with the Recall, because Senator Grant advocated in the Legislature the passage of measures which threaten investments in vice exploitation.

And, finally, we find the "interests" which controlled the old-time machine, taking advantage of the legislative recess—which was intended as a weapon of The People against such "interests"—to mislead the public regarding pending legislation. And, because of this misrepresentation, we find well-intentioned but misinformed constituents appealing to their representatives in Senate and Assembly to defeat measures which for the general good should be enacted.

Incidental to the adaptation of the agents of the "interests" to the changed conditions, have come the “new” lobbyists, who take the places largely of the deposed bosses. These have "new" schemes, "new" plans for “educating" The People, "new" methods of "convincing” legislators.

If this volume gives some insight into the "new" methods employed by the "interests" to defeat the purpose of The People, and indicates the weak features of the present legislative plan, of which the agents of the "interests," under the new order, are taking advantage, the chief purposes which governed the preparation of the book for the press will have been realized.

FRANKLIN HICHBORN.

Santa Clara, Calif., October 31, 1913.

« AnteriorContinuar »