Governor Oswald D. West's Administration
Governor's Message, 1915
Source: MESSAGE Of OSWALD WEST Governor of Oregon, To the Twenty-eighth Legislative Assembly Regular Session 1915
“Laws cannot prevent extravagance; and this perhaps is not always an evil to the public. A shilling spent idly by a fool may be picked up by a wise person who knows better what to do with it; it is, therefore, not lost.” –Franklin
To the Honorable, the Members of the Legislature of the State of Oregon:
In keeping with the usual custom and with the hope of bringing to your attention information and suggestions which will lead to such governmental reforms as make for reduced expenses and increased efficiency, I am pleased to submit for the consideration of your honorable body this, my last message as governor of Oregon.
The four years just past have given us much constructive legislation. While other periods have brought great fundamental changes in our governmental system, none has produced legislation which has covered such a broad field and yielded such splendid results.
The long-fought battle of the people for amendments to our federal constitution which would permit the imposition of an income tax and the election of senators by a direct vote of the people has been won. Our legislative bodies were prompt to ratify these amendments and Oregon is therefore listed in the group of progressive states claiming credit for these great reforms.
The fight for equal suffrage and a “dry” state has been successful. Additional safeguards have been thrown around the ballot through extending the non-voting period of the newly arrived alien and the old barbarous system of capital punishment has been abolished.
Numerous laws have been passed which create a broad policy making for the conservation and development of our resources. These laws have aided the investigation of numerous irrigation and power possibilities and the construction of the Tumalo Irrigation system; have made provision for a State Forester and the protection of our timber against fire; have led to a thorough study of our mineral resources; have made liberal provisions for the propagation and protection of our fish and game; and have provided for the publication of a booklet giving unvarnished information as to opportunities in Oregon.
A budget system which carries to the public the needs of the different departments of state has been provided for, also the auditing of the accounts of state and county officials handling public funds.
All penal and eleemosynary institutions have been placed under a single board of control and a splendid system adopted in reference to the purchase of supplies. The fee system in the State Printing Office has been abolished and the printer has been placed upon a flat salary. The state now owns the printing plant and is saving $30,000.00 a year. Our educational institutions have been placed upon a millage tax basis, which insures liberal support and removes them as a factor in legislative log-rolling.
Practically all public service corporations have been placed under the jurisdiction of the Railroad Commission and a blue-sky law is driving bogus corporations from our state; splendid banking laws are in effect and steps have been taken towards the regulation of loan sharks.
Needy mothers have been given aid through the Widows’ Pension Act. The Workmen’s Compensation Act and Minimum Wage Law have been passed in the interest of the working classes; shorter hours of labor have been obtained; the prison contract system has been abolished and prison labor taken out of competition with free labor.
The transfer of Oregon City locks from private to public control ahs taken place and the recovery of the Jefferson street levee (Portland, Oregon) is an accomplished fact.
Good roads legislation has enabled the state to co-operate with the counties in road building and to work its convicts upon the public highways. The ocean beach has been reserved to the public for a highway.
Laws aimed at the regulation of the liquor traffic have been passed and progress made in the direction of limiting the sale of habit-forming drugs. An effective abatement law is in force; also a law preventing white slavery and one limiting the sale of revolvers.
A long-needed Industrial School for Girls has been established and all charitable institutions receiving state aid placed under stat supervision. The creation of a Parole Board and an amendment to the indeterminate sentence law have made possible great progress in the direction of prison reform.
These and many other splendid measures are the products of the past four years.
COST OF GOVERNMENT
Our state government for the years 1913-14 has cost in round numbers $7,500,000. Of this amount, $5,287,000 was met by direct taxation, and the balance by fees and unused appropriations. The average annual amount raised by direct taxation during the said period was $2,643,500.
Taxes, other than state, collected, or to be collected, by the several counties this year upon the 1913 assessment amount to $18,935,000, classified as follows:
County $4,262,000 19.8%
School $6,538,500 30.3%
Road $3,064,000 14.2%
Miscellaneous $3,884,000 18.0%
State (annual avg. 1913-14) $18,935,000 87.8%
Totals $21,578,500 100%
It will be seen therefore that if Doctor Economy would wipe out the epidemic of extravagance and lessen our tax burdens he must not confine his visits and his doses to the state, but must look well to the counties and cities and road and school districts.
Showing growth of population, assessed valuation and state tax
Year Population Assessed Value Raised by direct Taxation State tax rate of levy--Mills
1893 ------- $160,263,646.00 $1,121,845.51 7.
1894 375,000 $168,088,905.00 $722,782,29 4.3—5.7
1903 ------- $148,099,601.65 $760,000.00 4.96
1904 500,000 $173,559,888.58 $1,225,000.00 7.06—6
1913 ------- $905,011,679.00 $1,122,214.48 1.24
1914 750,000 $954,282,374.09 $4,165,000.00 4.36—2.8
It will be noted that while our population has increased 100% in the last twenty years, our direct state taxes have increased 210%, and that while the average tax rate for the 1913-14 biennial period is only 2.8 mills, as against 5.7 mills in 1893-4, our assessed valuation has increased 467%.
In 1893-4 our state expenditures were about $2.62 per capita. Expenditures for 1913-14 will reach $5 per capita being an increase of 90%. It is reasonable to assume that as great an increase in the cost of county and city government has taken place as in the state government, and if so, our state and local government is costing us 90 % more per capita than in 1892-3. In other words, if the per capita cost of our government was no more today than in 1893-4 a saving of $12,000,000 would result annually.
PENAL AND ELEEMOSYNARY INSTITUTIONS
Our institutions, during the past four years at least, have been absolutely removed from politics. The present official heads have been selected solely upon merit and have been left free to select their subordinates. These men hold the safety and welfare of thousands of helpless people in the hollow of their hands, and it would be a calamity should their positions become the football of politics. There are in the ranks of all parties those who believe in the old doctrine, “to the victors belong the spoils,” and those who insist that our institutions should provide berths for the faithful. The great majority, however, take a different view of the situation, and any attempt to throw these institutions back into the slough of politics, to become carrion upon which the political birds of prey may feed, would find bitter opposition.
Our institutions are rapidly being placed in a splendid condition through the earnest co-operation of officials and employees and as a result of their efforts Oregon has placed in a class by itself. A visit to the institutions will give one an idea of the high standard which obtains.
The total expenditures for all purposes in connection with our penal and eleemosynary institutions for the biennium ending September 30, 1914, are shown by the statement which follows:
Oregon State Hospital $660,123.96
Eastern Oregon State Hospital $362,663.67
State Institution for Feeble-Minded $148,507.62
Oregon State Penitentiary $179,118.61
Oregon State Training School $76,008.03
Oregon State Industrial School for Girls $30,643.10
Oregon State Tuberculosis Hospital $63,891.04
Oregon State School for the Blind $34,820.07
Oregon State School for the Deaf $79,247.97
Oregon State Soldiers’ Home $54,708.46
These figures mean that for every inmate an average annual expenditure of over $290 is necessary.
The total population of these institutions on September 30, 1914, was 3072, being an increase of about 400, or nearly 15%, during the biennium. The greatest increase of population appears to have been in our hospitals for the insane and our Institution for the Feeble-minded. The combined population of these two institutions shows an increase of 17%. This growth of population is alarming and drives home to use the necessity of giving earnest thought and study to the causes which produce this great army of dependents.
The records covering the Untied States appear to show that each inmate of a state penal of eleemosynary institution represents an expenditure of $1,100 in lands, buildings, and equipment. Oregon has been far more liberal in this direction than most states, and $1,000 is a very low figure upon which to base an estimates. Figuring upon this basis, however, and from records available, it will be found that we have over $3,000,000 invested in lands, buildings and equipment devoted to institutional purposes.
Our annual expenditure for maintenance runs about $625,000, and for ordinary improvements $220,000; taken together it means that when a charge is committed to our state institutions the taxpayers must contribute $1,000 to provide shelter and, annually thereafter, $75 for improvements and repairs and $216 for maintenance.
These growing expenditures present question of deep concern to the taxpayers of the state and to society in general. Problems bearing upon the care of these unfortunates are being met by the officials of our institutions, but those having to do with the removal of the causes which produce these dependents are largely for your solution.
In studying this question it will be found that alcohol and habit-forming drugs—twin evils—are largely responsibly for the population of our penitentiary and asylums. By voting the state dry the people have taken a long step towards removing one of the causes. It is incumbent upon you, therefore, to take the next step, and through appropriate legislation restrict, if not prevent, the sale of habit-forming drugs. Measures aimed to check this awful evil have heretofore been launched upon the legislative sea, but have been driven upon the rocks or sent into port in a battered and worthless condition. Under our laws a hundred gates are open to those who would engage in the illicit traffic of these drugs. No man should be permitted to capitalize the weakness of an unfortunate brother, and he who engages in or protects this traffic will have much answer for when he stands before that great last tribunal. Should this legislature perform no other duty than that of restricting the sale of habit-forming drugs, it will be entitled to the thanks of all good people.
Only 13% of those admitted to our hospitals for the insane during the past biennium were native Oregonians; 50% were found to be natives of other states and 37% of foreign countries. Oregon has long been the dumping ground for the insane of all states and nations. The present Board of Control and institutional heads have adopted a vigorous policy of deportation and repatriation, with a result that 142 persons have been returned to their home states or foreign countries during the past biennium. Had these charges been retained in our institutions and lived the period of their expectancy they would have cost the state nearly $150,000 for maintenance alone. This policy of deportation deeply concerns the taxpayers of the state and is one which should be given every legislative encouragements.
No other state in the Union has done more to provide for the treatment and comfort of its insane and feeble-minded than Oregon. Commodious buildings, well equipped and surrounded by beautiful grounds, offer a safe retreat for these unfortunates. Broad acres of productive land and orchards yielding bountifully provide a wholesome food supply. One has to but visit these institutions to be impressed with the great strides which have been made in institutional management.
Great changes have taken place in and about the prison during the past four years. The institution has been given a bath, a supply of clean clothes and plenty of fresh air. All buildings and structures have been placed in good condition and painted. Improved ventilating facilities have been installed and the old, obsolete and expensive system of heating has given way to an improved system with a central heating plant. Forty-eight new steel cells have been built with the expenditure of an appropriation intended for but one-half that number. An automatic telephone system now connects all departments, including the guard houses, and through the installation of a new electrical system all wires have been placed in conduits. A long-needed cold storage and ice plant has been added and is giving splendid results. The guards’ old quarters, over the administration building, have been turned into a women’s ward. The guards have been provided with new quarters through the remodeling of the old brick stable near the prison entrance. Old barns have been rebuilt and long-needed shelter sheds provided for the farm machinery. Model chicken and hog houses have been constructed and every effort made to develop these industries.
In the prison year disorder has given way to order; grassy plots, cement walks and good roadways have taken the place of rubbish and debris. Roads leading to other state institutions have been improved, and a large acreage of prison lands cleared, drained and placed in cultivation. The low ground along Mill creek near the prison entrance is being filled in and certain natural advantages turned to good account. An unsightly tract of land will thus be transformed into one of beauty.
With a view of utilizing the surplus labor of the prison, former industries have been enlarged and new ones established. The old brickyard has given way to a modern plant, the land and equipment for which were purchased with prison earnings. A drain tile plant has been lately installed and is proving a profitable venture. The shoe shop and the tailor shop have been enlarged and provided with needed equipment. The blacksmith, machine, tin, carpenter and paint shops absorb a share of the surplus labor and produce good returns for the state. The prison and other institutional farms and the county roads offer further means for taking care of the prison labor.
It was found that a change of plans would save the expenditure of a large part of an appropriation made by the last legislature for improvements and the sum of $26,850 is therefore being returned to the general fund. The revolving fund created at the last session of the legislature has grown rapidly and now contains nearly $12,000 in cash and stock.
The reclamation of waste prison lands, improvement of its dairy herd and success in hog raising have surprisingly reduced the maintenance cost. Our appropriation for maintenance has not only been ample, but has taken care of many institutional needs which otherwise would have necessitated special appropriations.
Critics of our prison policies have made much of the fact that we found 1,200,000 brick on hand when taking over the institution in January, 1911. They claim we have taken credit for products of a former administration. For the information of these critics, I wish to say that notwithstanding the fact that we have manufactured and sold several million of brick and delivered about 300,000 to other state institutions free of charge, we have on the yard and ready to turn over to the succeeding administration practically the same number as came into our hands upon taking office.
Oregon has taken the lead in prison reform and with most satisfactory results. Many good people, however, through lack of information as to our true aim and purpose, have thrown obstacles in the way which have made progress most difficult. Notwithstanding statements often made to the contrary, we have never lost sight of the fact that the prison was a place of punishment; nor have we, on the other hand, forgotten that a prison should be a place of reformation. Society should be more concerned in the reformation of the man than in his punishment.
There is an impression abroad that the policy of paroling prisoners which has been inaugurated and maintained during the past few years has been too liberal and has practically done away with punishment for crime. It will no doubt surprise those who have been most critical to learn that from June 30, 1914, the average time served by prisoners carrying indeterminate sentences was 18.6 months and that the average time served during the previous four years by the same class, most of whom were serving a definite sentence, was 17.6 months. In other words, offenders of the same class are serving a longer time under the present law than under the old.
When we take into consideration the fearful conditions which have in the past prevailed in many of the penal institutions throughout the land and which prevail in many of them today, and think what prison reform means to hundreds of thousands of unfortunate individuals, we ask ourselves why we have been so long in coming to our senses in this direction. The trouble is we have from time immemorial been giving more thought to property rights than to personal rights; more thought to the protection of the thing than to the protection of the person. In other words, we have been placing the dollar above the man, and we have yet to get away from the practice. It was not many generations ago that it was the custom across the waters to mete out the severest punishment to those who dared trespass in the slightest degree upon property rights. For petty offenses men were degraded, their ears were cut off, their nostrils were slit and they were branded upon the forehead or in the hand. Some of this old spirit has been handed down to this day and we see it breaking out occasionally through an insistence upon the lash and the dungeon and the prison labor contract.
Owing to centuries of effort upon the part of many, who have controlled the wealth of the land, to throw protection around property and their unpardonable neglect to accord the same consideration to individuals, there has grown up through custom and usage an overbalanced regard for property rights and an underbalanced regard for the rights of the person. A little more thought to the protection of our unfortunate brother and less concern for the almighty dollar would go far to strengthen our government and spread happiness throughout the land.
As a rule men do not become criminals from choice. They are largely victims of circumstances. Health, prosperity and happiness usually follow the route of an upright life; no normal human being will, therefore, deliberately turn from this pleasant pathway to the byway of crime, which he knows will lead only to his downfall. Day by day the factories of poverty, vice and greed are grinding out a steady stream of criminals and defectives. Heroic work is being done by unselfish workers who seek these floaters upon the sea of life and bring them ashore, but those in touch with the situation know that for every one rescued a dozen are carried to sea. As far as the care of the prisoner is concerned, the fight in this state has been won, but the big, never-ending battle is for the removal of the causes which make criminals and defectives.
One of the most annoying questions in connection with prison reform before the people today is the utilization of our prison labor. Believing organize labor to be opposed to the working of convicts the politically ambitious have been afraid, as a rule, to take hold of the matter. These gentlemen would undoubtedly be surprised to learn that organized labor has done more toward the solution of this problem than any other agency, although it is bitterly opposed, and properly so, to the contract system and the placing of convicts in direct competition with free men. The reason for this opposition is that the prison contractor can produce cheaper than the manufacturer who employs free labor at living wages and is in position to undersell in the markets of the world. His price, therefore, becomes the price at which all must sell, and the employer of free labor is driven to reduce wages to meet this unfair competition.
If a careful classification of the prisoners is made and those who can be trusted placed in “honor camps” and employed at institutional farm work or in the construction and maintenance of public roads, and others employed in the upkeep and maintenance of the prison and in the manufacture of articles for the use of state institutions, it will be found that prison labor can be fully absorbed in a direction which will reduce to a minimum competition with free labor.
Those who have given the question careful study agree that the state use system offers one of the best solutions to the problem.
Our laws provide:
“All wards of the state who are capable of a reasonable amount of work without physical or mental injury to themselves shall be used as fully as possible in the production and manufacture of articles of the use of, and in the performance of labor for, the state, but it shall be unlawful . . . to enter into any agreement or contract with any private person, firm or corporation for the employment of convicts . . . or to place prison-made goods on sale in open market in competition with products of free labor.”
With the view of providing employment for the men left idle through the abolishment of the stove foundry contract, various industries, as heretofore mentioned, have been installed for the purpose of supplying certain institutional needs. If the system is extended the state will be in position not only to absorb its prison labor, but to offer a variety of employment to the prisoners and by assigning to each a task for which he is best suited, prevent that great economic waste which prevails in those prisons where no particular thought is given to such questions.
The prison is surrounded by several hundred acres of productive agricultural land where outdoor employment is given to a large number of men. Hogs, poultry and a fine dairy herd, together with an abundance of farm and garden products, enable use to provide good, wholesome food for the inmates of the institution and at the lowest possible cost.
The voters of this state recently declared in favor of working prisoners upon the county roads, and at the several state institutions.
The law provides: “Upon the written request of the County Court of any county in the State of Oregon, or any superintendent of any state institution, the Governor may detail from the state penitentiary such convicts as in his judgment may seem proper for use on the public highways, on or about any state institution. Said convicts shall be delivered to any County Court, or the superintendent of any state institution on such terms and conditions as shall be prescribed by the Parole Board and approved by the Governor.”
We have from time to time worked a large number of our prisoners upon the county roads, and our experience convinces us that beyond a doubt road work offers a profitable and desirable means of employment for a large portion of our prison population.
Until recently we have had but few idle men at the prison, but the recent closing down of outdoor work on account of winter has placed 150 men upon the idle list. These men will be returned to work as soon as the weather permits.
In past years the duty of delivering insane and prisoners to our state institutions fell to the sheriffs of the several counties. A few years ago the transportation of insane was taken from their hands and given over to the hospital officials and the change has resulted in reducing the expense more than 50%. Convicts, however, are still transported under the old system, and their delivery at the penitentiary is costing the taxpayers three times as much as for the delivery of patients at the state hospitals. Several efforts have been made to secure reform legislation along these lines, but the ever-present sheriffs’ lobby has prevented it. The interests of the taxpayers demand that this old expensive system be changed and the transportation of convicts given over the penitentiary officials.
STATE LAND OFFICE
The State Land Board has control of all lands granted to the state for the support of its educational institutions, and the investment of the funds arising from the sale thereof. The grant from the federal government amounted to nearly 4,000,000 acres, as follows:
College Lands 88,800 (acres)
University Lands 46,000
School lands 3,054,200
Special grant 500,000
Capital Building grant 6,400
Tide Lands 25,200
Swamp Lands 261,300
Prior to the year 1903 these lands were sold without regard to their true value, the ruling price being (per acre):
Swamp lands $1.00
Tide lands $2.00
College lands $1.25
School lands $1.25
University lands $1.25
Indemnity lands $1.25 and $2.50
The records of the State Land Office appear to show that upon January 1, 1903, 3,000,000 acres, or three-quarters of the entire grant, had been sold at an average price of $1.40 per acre.
Little was ever realized from the sale of our swamp lands, as the greater part of the proceeds from legitimate sales were used in the payment o f interest upon swamp land warrants which had been issued in repayment o moneys paid upon lands to which the state could not convey title. Some of the money thus derived was also used in the construction of the old Dalles-Portland wagon road. The state is still entitled to several thousand acres of land under the swamp grant, but it seems next to impossible to secure patent on account of the red tape entanglements which surround the General Land Office.
Since January, 1903, the State Land Board has made an effort to realize something near the true value of our lands. Notwithstanding the best has long since been sold, the minimum price has steadily advanced and handsome figures have marked the sales of many tracts. The average price received during the past ten years has been about $5 per acre.
As a result of an early day practice of selling lands and issuing deeds before patent had been obtained, the state had outstanding many defective titles. Through checking the records all such titles have been uncovered and every effort is being made to reach the claimants and repay the purchase price. When a few remaining transactions have been cleaned up a deed from the state will always stand as an evidence of good title.
The state has pending in the General Land Office at Washington school indemnity lists covering about 14,000 acres of land selected in lieu of a like amount of surveyed and unsurveyed school lands within the boundaries of federal forests. The government questions the validity of he base offered for these selections, but the state insists it is valid and that patents should issue in due course. The compact entered into with the federal government at the time of the state’s admission to the Union provides:
“Sections 16 and 36 in every township of public lands in the state, and where either of said sections, or any part thereof, has been sold or otherwise disposed of, other lands equivalent thereto and as contiguous as may be, shall be granted to said state for the use of the schools.”
An Act of Congress approved February 28, 1891, provides: “Lands of equal acreage are . . . hereby appropriated and granted and may be selected by said state. . . where sections 16 and 36 are . . . included within any . . . reservation.”
The department, according to information received, is inclined to follow a ruling in a State of Washington case (State v. Whitney, 120 Pac. 116), in which the court held that the school grant was a grant in praesenti and took effect on the date of the adoption of the state’s constitution and the affirming of the enabling act. It was also held that Congress could not change the provisions of the grant. If this ruling is followed it will not only prevent the making of further selections upon surveyed forest reserve base, but will cast a cloud upon titles covering thousands of acres of indemnity lands heretofore selected upon similar base and patented to the state without question.
The state has been endeavoring to secure the permission of Congress to exchange about 45,000 acres of scattered school sections in the federal forests of this state for a compact body of timber. Should the exchange be effected upon the proposed acre for acre basis, it will prove a very profitable transaction for Oregon.
It being discovered that the beds and waters of Summer and Albert Lakes, in Lake County, contained valuable deposits of mineral salts, and there being numerous applications to lease these properties, the State Land Board advertised for bids thereon. Mr. James C. Moore was the successful bidder. The lease, which was made subject to your approval, will run for a period of forty years. The state is to receive royalties as follows for all commercial salts:
50 cents per ton for potassium salts
10 cents per ton for sodium chloride
25 cents per ton for other salts.
Should the royalties fall be low $25,000 in any one year, then the said sum shall be paid in lieu thereof, and as a rental for the premises for the said year.
A report made by the State Bureau of Mines and Geology covering these deposits is on file with the Clerk of the State Land Board.
The beds of our navigable streams belong to the state and many of them carry deposits of sand and gravel, having considerable commercial value. There are many concerns engaged in the sale of such materials obtaining their supply from the beds of the said streams without yielding royalties to the state. While it is true that the removal of such materials aids navigation at some points, yet it is no more than right that the Common School Fund of the state should share in the profits realized from such sales. Legislation, therefore, making it unlawful for anyone to take such materials for commercial purposes, without first obtaining a permit from the State Land Board, would result in a considerable revenue.
Large sums are lost to the state annually through the unbusiness like manner in which escheats are handled. Inasmuch as the school fund is the beneficiary of all such estates, the matter should be controlled by the State Land Board. All litigation should be under the direction of the Attorney General, who should have authority to call upon district attorneys for assistance.
According to official reports, the amount of cash and securities on hand September 30, 1914, in the Educational Funds, was $6,709,589.81. The manner in which these funds are invested is shown by the following statement:
COMMON SCHOOL FUND PRINCIPAL
Loans secured by first mortgage on real property $5,885,054.00
School district bonds $206,750.00
Certificates of sale $285,388.09
AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE FUND PRINCIPAL
Loans secured by first mortgage on real property $189,176.47
Certificates of sale $1,960.00
UNIVERSITY FUND PRINCIPAL
Loans secured by first mortgage on real property $103,141.52
The constitution give the State Land Board full control over the investment of the funds arising from the sale of state lands. Our courts have held that this power of control cannot be taken from the State Land Board and placed in other hands. A custom of turning these securities over to the State Treasurer has grown out of the past with a result that their condition is never known to the other members of the Board. This practice leads to neglect of duty upon their part and practically leaves the matter of calling and extending payments to the State Treasurer. While State Land Boards, past and present, have made reports covering these securities, none of them have ever been based upon first-hand information, but solely upon data furnished by, the State Treasurer’s office.
For the purpose of securing a further ruling of the courts upon this most important question, an order was entered by the Board, under the date of November 13, 1913, directing the transfer of all such notes and securities from the office of the State Treasurer to the office of the State Land Board. Upon the State Treasurer’s refusal to turn over the securities mandamus proceedings were instituted that the questions involved might be adjudicated at an early date and needed legislation secured at the hands of your honorable body.
While the matter was heard by the Circuit Court and an early decision favorable to the State Land Board rendered, it was the gossip of the street that an appeal would be taken and an endeavor made to delay the hearing until after the fall election, and if possible, until after the adjournment of the legislature. It appears this rumor was well founded, for the State Treasurer, aided by the retiring Attorney General, has interposed delays until the contest is all but forgotten. Had the proceedings been expedited it would have been possible fro the Supreme Court to have heard the matter and rendered a decision prior to the convening of this legislature.
The safety of $6,400,000, the heritage of the school children of this state is involved in this contest. The Circuit Court has held that the State Land Board is the lawful custodian of the securities. They are therefore being arbitrarily held without authority of law by the State Treasurer and without being protected by a bond. The State Treasurer is bonded only for the faithful performance of the duties of his office, and since the investment of the school fund and the custody of the securities is a constitutional duty imposed upon the State Land Board, the State Treasurer’s bond would not insure protection. The clerk of the State Land Board is the lawful custodian of all records and securities and is the only one from whom the Board appears to have authority of law to demand a bond, and which may be fixed in such a sum as the Board sees fit. While these securities may be in safe hands today, they may be in unsafe hands tomorrow. The recent experience of a neighboring state teaches us that even state treasurers go wrong. TI is your duty therefore to take such action in the premises as will insure the school fund protection.
Bookkeeping methods adopted in the early fee-system days of the State Treasurer’s office provided for a number of separate “funds.” When the cash on hand in any “fund” became exhausted warrants drawn thereon were “indorsed” and, through underground methods, taken up with cash available in other funds and the interest earnings turned to personal profit.
While the said system of graft has been done away with, nearly sixty separate “funds” still exist. Although there were several hundred thousand dollars in cash in the hands of the State Treasurer at all times during the past year, the state paid over $24,000 in interest upon “endorsed” warrants drawn against these mere bookkeeping “funds.” While there can be no objection to the maintenance of separate funds merely as a matter of bookkeeping, most of them should be eliminated as far as segregation of cash is concerned. Such action would practically put an end to the endorsement of warrants and the payment of interest.
The act appropriating moneys for the support of the State Treasurer’s office provides that the appropriated sums, and no more, shall be used. It appears, however, that for a number o years the Treasury Department has drawn upon the Common School Fund for additional sums for the payment of clerk hire. Expenditures from the said fund to the extent of $30,000 have been made from time to time for such purposes. It seems impossible to end this practice, as $9600 has been taken from the Common School Fund for the support of the said department during the term of the present incumbent. The full amount of the said expenditures should be returned to the School Fund, as under the terms of the federal grant all funds arising from the sale of school lands must be used only for the support of the common schools. The procuring of funds for the use of a department by indirect methods is one of the abuses which lead to extravagance in our state government. Departments should be made to depend upon the legislature for support.
STATE PRINTING DEPARTMENT
It is with pleasure that I report the progress which has been made in the direction of a more businesslike and economical administration of the affairs of the State Printing Department. The old fee system having recently been abolished, the State Printer is at last on a flat salary and the state is the owner of a well-equipped printing plant.
Those who have honestly opposed the state ownership movement have based their opposition largely upon the theory that the change would lead to extravagance and graft. Whether this charge shall prove true rests entirely with the Governor, Secretary of State and State Treasurer—the board having the control and management of this department.
There is bound to be pressure brought to bear from time to time by those who have something to sell induce the legislature or the board to make liberal, if not needless, expenditures for equipment. This is something which must be guarded against, as the plant is now large enough to meet the ordinary legitimate demands of the state. Should an emergency arise at any time, the board is in position to meet the situation by contracting some of the work to commercial printers.
The plant as it stands today represents in round numbers an investment of $20,000, and while there is no occasion for increasing the same, provision should be made at this time for taking care of the depreciation which is bound to occur, and to this end I would recommend that the board be authorized to set aside each year out the earnings of the plant a limited amount—say ten per cent of its value, or $2000—for the establishment and maintenance of a depreciation fund, out of which shall be made all necessary renewals and repairs. This arrangement will insure the keeping of the size of the plant within reasonable bounds and prevent the possibility of the legislature being annoyed with requests for appropriations for needless equipment.
The old custom of appropriating large sums for public printing and permitting departments to dip in to their heart’s content, should be forever ended, as such a practice makes for waste and extravagance. Each department should pay for its printing from its own appropriation, and if this change is adopted it will result in more thought being given to economy and a great reduction being made in our annual outlay for printing.
A statement recently issued by the State Printing Board, and which follows, will fully advise you as to the expenditures which have been made for printing (exclusive of the purchase of the plant) during the last two biennial periods, and some idea of the saving which is being made under the new system.
State Capitol, Salem, Oregon, November 20,1914
To the Public:
Owing to the confusion which exists in the mind of the public in reference to the cost of State Printing, the following statement has been prepared with a view of showing just what has been expended during the past two biennial period:
Cost of Printing, 1911-1912
Printing, ruling, binding, paper, etc. (Printing Fund) $102,202.57
Printing and binding Supreme Court reports $12,600.00
Printing paid for by departments (approximate) $25,197.43
Printing, ruling, binding, paper, etc. (Printing Fund) $84,299.28
Printing and binding Supreme Court reports $7,425.00
Printing to be paid for by departments (approximate) $31,275.72
Although the demands upon the State Printing Department are increasing from year to year, it will be seen that the expenditures for printing during the 1913-1914 biennial period will be $17,000.00 less than for 1911-1912.
The reduction of expenditures for the present biennial period is due to the present system of handling State printing. The records show a saving of over $30,000.00 to have been made during the past year as a result of the change. In other words, had the old system remained in effect, the expenditure for this biennial period would have been at least $30,000,000 in excess of the amount set forth in the above table.
The State Printing Board will have on hand in the General Fund at the first of the year something over $31,000.00. This money is being paid to the printing department by the different departments of State and the amount is included in the above 1913-1914 cost table. Owing to an oversight in drafting the law no authority was given the Board to use these funds, and it was therefore driven to ask the Emergency Board for authority. While it appears, therefore, on the face of the record that there will be a deficiency to meet on January 1, it must be remembered that there will be ample funds on hand to cover this deficiency, and that its existence is due only to the lack of authority on the part of the Board to wipe it out.
STATE PRINTING BOARD:
OSWALD WEST, Governor.
BEN W. OLCOTT, Secretary of State.
Thomas B Kay, State Treasurer.
THE STATE LIBRARY
A fortunate consolidation was effected by the last legislature when the Library Commission was combined with the State Library under the management of a board of trustees who had previously served the state for years as library commissioners, exhibiting rare public spirit in their devoted care of the library interests and their generous financial contributions to it. The state lending and traveling library was combined with its reference document and school collections making a unified system with over 85,000 volumes. These books reach the remotest region of the state through over 500 distributing points in which collections are kept, and by means of a mail-order service form Salem, which takes thousands of books each year to people on farms and in villages who have access to no other library.
The report of the Library shows that nearly 65,000 books were shipped out during the last biennial period, with an estimated use of 300,000. Many of these books are of the most practical nature and carry the help of the expert to the man who is striving to increase his efficiency as a worker, and who is, by this means, given an opportunity for self-education. Hundreds of farmers are reading the books on agriculture, and workers, students and people in isolated places are using the Library so extensively as to exhaust its resources at times during the winter.
The Library renders direct service to 2300 school districts by the selection and purchase of the books for their libraries. As a consequence Oregon has the best school library in the Untied States, and the lowest price on school library books. Each city in the state is sent books to supplement its local library. Men in public life have access to the reference and document collections, and the state generally is served by a system which provides for the economical and satisfactory distribution of its own publications.
This successful institution, the benefits of which are felt in every part of Oregon, represents state effort at its best, by making it possible, through legislative enactment, for its citizens to co-operate in the maintenance of a central book supply with a well-organized service for the public welfare. Many state institutions reach only the afflicted and the unfortunate with their well defined and limited needs, but this educational department helps and appeals to the able-bodied and ambitious, and gives them equality of opportunity. The Library is a great asset for the state in helping to overcome the disadvantages of isolation and poverty, in increasing the efficiency of its workers, and in adding to its recreational facilities.
As the work of the Library is constructive and widely extended, and its usefulness is limited only by its means, it should be put on a permanent basis, with a sufficient appropriation to allow the trustees to form a settled policy of extension and to acquire the store of valuable books needed to meet the demands made upon it, as the library center depended upon by the entire state. The present appropriations, amounting to $17,000 annually, could not be decreased without directly affecting the interests of thousands of our people. I therefore respectfully urge that you give the recommendations of the trustees your thoughtful consideration and cordial support.
FISH AND GAME DEPARTMENT
A Fish and Game Commission, having control of all matters pertaining to our fish and game, was created by the legislature of 1911. The Board is supposed to be non-political and the members to fairly represent the different sections of the state. Good men have been appointed from time to time upon this Board, none of whom, however, has been able to curtail the extravagances which, like barnacles to a ship, cling to the department.
The division of commercial fisheries is under the immediate control of a Master Fish Warden, and there appears to be no complaint as to extravagance in his department, which is supported by direct appropriation and certain license fees collected from those engaged in commercial fishing.
The game and fish department is under the immediate control of the State Game Warden. When the commission was created there was on hand in the game protection fund $67,000. The law provided that the said sum and all revenues thereafter derived through the sale of fishing and hunting licenses should be given over to the uses of his department. Since the passage of the law the receipts have rolled in so rapidly that they have become a burden to the commission, and it has taken great ingenuity, coupled with unpardonable extravagance, to prevent an accumulation of funds. The game department alone has spent nearly $450,000 during the three and a half years the commission has been in existence.
The receipts of the game and fish department for the year ending October 31, 1914, amounted to $119,000. The balance on hand from the preceding year was $43,500, making a total of $162,500. The expenditures for the said year ending October 31, 1914, were $134,500. Thus it will be seen that while the expenditures exceeded the receipts by $25,000, the commission was obliged to carry over a balance of $28,000 to remain a burden unless your honorable body comes to the relief and turns it into the general fund.
The personnel of the commission has consisted of high-class men—men who have made a success of their own affairs and who have had an earnest desire to make the department a success. The members draw no salary and are obliged to make great personal sacrifice when called upon to attend the monthly meetings of the commission, where they must pass upon a large number of vouchers covering expenditures of the department. When these expenditures appear extravagant, they earnestly protect, and then approve. The claims are then paid in due course.
The commission should be abolished. The Governor should be given power to appoint a State Fish Warden, who would be the administrative head of the department of Commercial Fisheries and a State Game Warden, who would be the administrative head of the Game and Game Fish Department.
These two departments should be supported through direct appropriation by the legislature—all fees collected being turned in to the State Treasury. While each department head should be supplied with a few deputy wardens to assist in the enforcement of the law and the performance of other duties connected with the work of the department, the usual police duty should be taken over and performed under the immediate direction of the Governor, who is charged with the enforcement of the law. There is no good reason why the taxpayers’ money should be used to employ an officer whose sole duty is to watch violations of the game law. The general public is interested not only in the enforcement of the fish and game laws to the state, but of all penal laws. A man, therefore, employed by the state to perform policy duty should not devote his time to the enforcement of particular laws, but to all laws.
The general police duties of these departments should be performed by a force under the direct control of the Governor’s office. This force might be called a state constabulary, state police, special agents or may be given any name which would please the fancy of the power that creates their office.
When the dry amendment goes into effect the Governor will have many additional burdens in the direction of law enforcement thrust upon him. Such an arrangement as above suggested would provide him with not only the machinery necessary for enforcing the liquor laws of this state, but such as will insure a strict enforcement of our fish, game and forestry laws and without throwing a dollar of additional expense upon the taxpayers. The number should be sufficient to provide a deputy for each county and several deputies for special field work.
An appropriation of $35,000 would be required to maintain this force . This sum is $15,000 less than was paid for the salary and expenses of the deputy game wardens for the year ending November 1, 1914. An appropriation of $50,000 should be made for the support of the Game and Game Fish Department. This would mean a saving of at least $50,000 per annum in this department alone. The usual liberal appropriation should be made for the support of the Commercial Fisheries Department.
DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY
The reduction of fire loss during the past few years has more than justified the creation of the Department of Forestry. The State Forester has perfected a splendid organization whereby all interested agencies are brought to co-operate in forest protection and the cost is thus reduced to a minimum.
With a view of securing a more equitable distribution of tax burdens, a fairly accurate cruise of standing timber has been made by the authorities in a number of our counties. In other counties the cruise has been made only after a fashion and cannot be accepted as correct or exact. As this information is much needed from time to time by both state and county officials, it would appear most advisable to obtain, through the office of the State Forester, a reliable cruise of all standing timber in the state. By checking the information already secured by the counties, and that which may be received from other reliable sources, this work could be completed with a reasonable time and at a low cost. Data covering the government’s holding could no doubt be obtained from the federal authorities if desired.
OREGON NATIONAL GUARD
Through the passage of our Military Code, and co-operation of the War Department, the efficiency of the Oregon National Guard has been greatly increased during the past few years. I have found the officers and men ready and willing at all times to respond to duty. They deserve great credit for the sacrifices of time and money they are obliged to make in the interest of the organization.
As there is more or less objection to members of the Guard being called upon to perform police duty, it has been suggested that a state constabulary be provided for. This suggestion can be met without additional expense if the recommendation as to reorganization of the Fish and Game Commission is carried out.
IN the interests of economy the office of the Adjutant-General should be moved to the Capitol and provision made at the Clackamas rifle range for the storage of state and government supplies and equipment.
In the Naval Militia discord ahs given way to harmony. Increased efficiency has brought recognition from the Navy Department and a splendid organization is being maintained.
An effort is being made to have the Navy Department substitute the battleship “Oregon” for the cruiser “Boston,” now under lease to this state as a training ship.
INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT COMMISSION
The last legislature passed, and the people approved by a large vote, a Workmen’s Compensation Act. Automatic workmen’s compensation is a recognized principle in the industrial life of the nation, and it is gratifying that Oregon has placed itself in the forefront through the enactment of legislation of this character . The act, while making ample provision for the working man and his family, relieves the employer of onerous burdens and legal uncertainties. Experience will demonstrate the correctness of the theory upon which such legislation is based.
While the life of the act has been short, it has been of sufficient length to develop its strength and uncover its weaknesses. Every apparent defect will be seized upon as ammunition by the casualty insurance companies in their campaign of destruction. It, therefore, becomes the duty of those who would aid legislative business and extend protection to those who toil to join hands not only in withstanding such assaults, but in supplying amendments needed to insure the stability of the act.
There are a few among those who are still unwilling to allow equal rights and opportunities to women, that question the advisability of naming a woman as a member of the commission. The purpose of the act is to insure relief to the wives and children of killed or injured workingmen, and no one can be better qualified to carry out the true spirit and purpose of the law than a woman commissioner.
In the construction of state buildings it has been the custom, in years past, to employ architects and pay them the usual charge of 5% for their services. The State Board of Control believed, however, that it would be in the interest of economy to employ an architect at a fixed salary and have him devote his entire time to the state’s interests. During the period the present State Architect has been employed he has had charge of ninety (90) building projects entailing an expenditure of $1,395,289.19. The operating expense of the architect’s office during the said period has been $42,457.99, or just a little over 3% of the building expenditure. Under the old fee system the cost would have been $64,495.78. It will thus be seen that a saving of $22,037.79 has been made through this board’s policy of employing and placing its architect upon a flat salary.
For nearly half a century the people have waged a continuous fight to determine whether this country should have a government controlled by the railroads or railroads controlled by the government. The smoke and battle is now clearing away and victory seems to perch upon the banner of the people.
In this state not only the railroads, but practically ever public utility has been placed under the control of our Railroad Commission. All disputed legal questions have been adjudicated and as a rule the results have been favorable to the people. The railroads are becoming reconciled to the change and are showing a disposition to meet the new conditions. It is incumbent upon the people therefore to meet them half way and accord fair treatment.
During the last decade there have been passed in the United States about 2000 state and national laws having to do with the regulation of railroads and extending to almost every detail thereof. We regulate their rates, service, facilities, safety appliances, hours of labor, system of accounting and the amount of their taxes. We leave them but one unrestricted duty—the duty of finding the money to pay the bills.
The people’s fight against the railroads grew out of unjust treatment, discriminations and the piratical operations of those early in control. Those days are past, however, and so long as the railroads show a disposition to perform their true function—that of rendering the public adequate service at reasonable rates and without discrimination—their problems and their needs should always receive courteous consideration at the hands of the people. Such laws as may be needed from time to time to insure adequate control should be favored, but all “pin-sticking” legislation, serving no useful purpose and tending only to created additional burdens and expense, to be met in the end by the public, should be frowned upon.
Our Railroad Commission has been performing a splendid service and has given close study to all matters having a bearing upon this great question. It would be well, therefore, if the said Commission could be given an opportunity to be heard and make recommendation upon all measures of this nature presented for your consideration.
Since its creation the Railroad Commission of Oregon has been given many new duties, and its name is hardly indicative of the scope of its work. I would therefore recommend that its name be changed to that of “Public Utilities Commission”.
Although possessing a larger amount of standing timber than any other state, we have failed to provide the legislation needed for the development of our logging streams. Oregon should follow the examples of other timbered states in the enactment of legislation of this character. The maintenance and operation of log booms is of a public nature, and their rates and service should be made subject to state regulation.
BLUE SKY LAW
The “Blue Sky” Law passed at the last session of the legislature has been in effect long enough to show its many most admirable features and develop its numerous defeats. It has driven from the state during its short life worthless securities to the amount of $60,000,000.
The Corporation Commissioner has this to say as to strengthening the law:
“If every company, and every dealer in securities, file with the corporation department a full and fair statement of all the material facts regarding the proposition upon which the securities are, or are to be, based, and are required to use this statement as the basis upon which their representations rested, then fraud will vanish, because it flourishes only in concealment and dies in the sunlight of publicity.
Link to this prospectus feature the fraud section of the Federal law, and provide that any representation made beyond the recorded representations of the prospectus is a misrepresentation and punishable as such, and that the omission of a material fact, or its misstatement, comes within the same classification, and you have the heart of a blue sky law, model in its simplicity and undoubted in its effectiveness. Provide also that any contract for, or sale of, securities, induced by such unlawful representation shall be voidable at the option of the purchaser, and that the sums paid may be recovered of the seller, and you have an added remedy for those who have suffered because of the violation.
With these two fundamental ideas as a groundwork, add a very few amendments to the general statutes as they now exist, and the Oregon corporation law will be a model for other states to copy, as far as the protection of investors is concerned. These amendments should go to capitalization control, the control of the sale of what is popularly called “promotion stock,” and, in the organization of mining corporations, to the acquisition of title to property claimed as a primary step in the promotion of the company.
In the State of Oregon today, aside form the arbitrary restrictions of the corporation commissioner, three men can capitalize a hope of the future for a million dollars, convey their hope to the company in exchange for its stock, and take it ‘full paid and non-assessable’. By virtue of the same statutes, a man who does not even possess credit at the grocer’s can subscribe for a half million of stock and serve as a principal agent in launching a company into active operation. That this is not good business needs no argument.
The authorized capital stock of a company should be estimated on a basis of money needed for promotion and development, and not on a foundation of nebulous hope or rosy dreams of future value.”
When the bill carrying the recommendation of the Corporation Commissioner reaches your hands, I trust that it will receive that careful consideration the importance of the subject demands.
PUBLIC UTILITY STOCKS
The defrauding of thousands of small investors in the east through the sale of inflated securities issued by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company, has brought home to use the necessity of throwing reasonable restrictions around the issuance of securities by public service corporations. The power of these corporations to issue stocks and stock certificates, bonds, notes and other evidences of indebtedness, and to creates liens on their property situated within this state should be declared a special privilege and made subject to regulation by the state.
Such issues of securities should be permitted only for the acquisition of property or for the construction, completion, extension or improvement or maintenance of its service, the discharge or refunding of lawful obligations or for the reimbursement of certain approved expenditures from the treasury, and I am advised that a measure along these lines will be submitted for your consideration.
The Superintendent of Banks has pointed out to you wherein our banking laws need strengthening. While only a few fundamental changes are necessary, the entire banking act should be rewritten in order that conflicts between certain sections may be removed and the meaning of others placed beyond dispute. The Superintendent of Banks has given this question close study and his recommendations will be embodied in a bill which will be introduced at this session. Should you see fit to follow his suggestions, I feel safe in saying that Oregon will be given as effective banking laws as will be found in any state.
Our Loan Shark Law is not what it should be, and needs revising. Reform along this line is greatly needed, as no one should be permitted to capitalize the misfortune of others.
Acting under authority of an act of the legislature of 1913, it was my pleasure to appoint a commission to investigate the rural credit systems of Europe. A splendid report, covering the commission’s findings, will be presented to your honorable body and will be found worthy of your most earnest consideration. A special committee made up of men deeply interested in the subject has been appointed to draft a bill carrying the recommendations of the commission, and the same will in due time be submitted to you. The rural credit system has done much for the farmers o Europe, and its adoption in this country will relieve our farmers of many burdens which come through excessive rates of interest.
PANAMA-PACIFIC FAIR COMMISSION
I am no in position to advise you concerning the activities of the Oregon Commission, as no report covering its progress or expenditures has been made to this office.
OREGON STATE FAIR
The members of the board having the conduct of this splendid institution, while not always the best of weather prophets, deserve a great deal of credit for the tireless and unselfish effort put forth to make the fair a success. The Oregon State Fair is a permanent fixture and deserves to be liberally supported, but many of the improvements now being asked should be delayed until such time as the taxpayers are better able to bear the burden.
STATE SANITARY LIVESTOCK BOARD
As the duties of this department are performed by the State Veterinarian, who appears to be rendering splendid service, the board should, in the interest of simplicity, efficiency and economy, be abolished and the duties given over to the said official.
STALLION REGISTRATION BOARD
This board should also be broken up and the duties given over to the State Veterinarian.
STATE BOARD OF HORTICULTURE
It is generally conceded that our horticultural laws are defective and need attention. I am advised that associations and private individuals deeply interested in the protection of our fruit industry will present to you a carefully prepared horticultural bill, and I trust their recommendation will receive your thoughtful consideration.
STATE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY
The State Horticultural Society is a kind of vermiform appendix to the State Board of Horticulture, and as its use has never been discovered, should be removed.
PURE SEEDS COMMISSION
This department came into existence at the last session of the legislature. Before it starts to germinate and draw nourishment from the public treasury, it should be merged into some other department.
SEALER OF WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
This is another department which should be taken in hand while yet in its infancy and led to a home with the Railroad Commission or the Dairy and Food Commissioner.
The commission is no longer a public necessity. Its duties can well be performed by other public agencies having control of the shipping.
STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT
The report of the Highway Engineer covers in detail the activities and expenditures of the Highway Department, and I am sure you will find it both interesting and instructive.
My short experience as a member of the State Highway Commission has convinced me:
First—That good roads are our greatest need and no material development can come without them.
Second—Many favor better roads, but few are willing to pay for them.
Third—That he who undertakes the construction of roads get damned for the cost, but no credit for his effort.
WOOD BLOCK PAVING
Growth and prosperity depend largely upon our success in developing our resources and exploiting home products. The fact that we have within our borders such a large share of the world’s timber should prompt us to make every endeavor to create a demand for wood products. Pavements for many European cities are made from products of our forests, and I can see no reason why the same materials could not be used to good advantage here at home. With a view of encouraging the use of wood blocks, it should become the policy of the state to favor their use when highways receiving state aid are hard surfaced.
BUREAU OF MINES AND GEOLOGY
While this bureau has been rendering a valuable service, I should think it could be done away with and the investigations conducted under the direction of the Department of Mines at the O.A.C.
STATE ENGINEER’S OFFICE
This department makes most interesting reports, but irrigation projects built on paper have never been known to grow alfalfa.
STATE WATER BOARD
The law requires that the Water Commissioners shall devote their whole time to the duties of their office.
DESERT LAND BOARD—CAREY ACT PROJECTS
With a view of bringing about the reclamation of western arid lands, Congress in 1894 passed what is known as the Carey Act. By this act one million acres of such land were allotted to the State of Oregon upon condition that it provide for its reclamation and disposal in small tracts to actual settlers.
The Carey Act was accepted by our legislature in 1901. Our law provides that the state, through the Desert Land Board, may enter into contracts with private parties or corporations for the reclamations of these lands—the said concerns to secure their profits and be reimbursed for their outlay through a lien upon the lands.
The first withdrawal in this state was made in April, 1902. Since that time, or during a period of fourteen years, temporary and permanent withdrawals aggregating 750,000 acres have been made. While there are still withdrawn for the purpose of reclamation 358,000 acres, but a little over 10% of this acreage has been reclaimed in such a manner as to raise ordinary agricultural crops, and but two small projects, covering 1520 acres, have been fully and satisfactorily completed by the promoters.
All work upon these Carey Act projects is at a standstill—the promoters being unable to finance them. The situation is similar to that which confronts most of these enterprises and is clearly set forth in a letter received from Secretary of the Interior Lane, under date of February 6, 1914. He says:
“It is now fairly well recognized that while some of the large private irrigation enterprises have been successful agriculturally, nearly all, especially those requiring water storage or other extensive works, have been failures financially. Owing to this fact, there are large amounts of bonds and stocks held by eastern and foreign investors upon which the interest is defaulted. Thus there is, at this time, little hope of securing additional capital for similar investments.
“It appears therefore that no further large development can now be expected unless it is (a) by the use of public funds, state or national, upon which no profit or interest is required, or (b) by the use of funds procured by taxation, as in the case of irrigation districts and where also the question of profit and interest in the works themselves is secondary to the gain which comes to the whole community through the increased land values and the productivity of the soil.”
One Carey Act concern, known as the old Columbia Southern Irrigation Company, with a 27,000 acre project on the west side of the Deschutes, near Laidlaw, Oregon, after collecting thousands of dollars from prospective settlers, went completely upon the rocks. It was found that while water rights covering 19,289 acres had been sold, only about 1000 acres were being served. Much of the money collected through the sale of water rights was expended upon the works, but was largely wasted through poor engineering and construction methods.
The state, having permitted its name to be used in connection with the promotion of the project, carried a moral, if not a legal, obligation to see that it was completed and the lands fully reclaimed. In view of this, an engineer’s report covering the cost of an entire new system was submitted to the legislature by the Governor, and upon a showing made that it would prove a profitable venture, the sum of $450,000 was appropriated for the construction of the works.
With the exception of the diversion of a small mountain stream—delayed on account of early snow—the Tumalo project is finished and the cost has been kept within the appropriation made for that purpose. The system opens for sale water for 17,464 acres, and the price has been fixed at $40 per acre. The sale of these water rights, therefore, will result in a neat profit to the taxpayers, as will be shown by the following statement:
17,464 acres at $40.00 $698,560.00
Due account old vested water rights $6,617.89
Amount advanced by State $450,000.00
Interest due the State $31,104.66
Old contract holders $86,761.71
Broken Top Diversion $5,516.00
Profit for the State $131,795.52
The work on the Tumalo project has been under the immediate direction of O. Laurgaard, Project Engineer. His technical knowledge, combined with his splendid executive ability, business sense and energy, has given the state the best possible system in the shortest possible time and at the lowest possible cost. It was but eighteen months ago that the funds for the Tumalo project became available. Organizations had to be perfected, surveys made, rights of way purchased or condemned, dams and many miles of canals constructed, yet the project stands completed today, ready to carry life-giving water through its arteries to the desert lands and turn them into productive fields.
The detailed report covering the work upon the Tumalo project has been forwarded to you and is worthy of your most careful consideration, especially in view of the fact that this legislature will undoubtedly be called upon to consider suggestions having a bearing upon the disposition of a number of other projects, the affairs of which, like a nightmare, come at regular intervals to disturb the peace and quite of your otherwise complacent public officials.
There are those who will oppose any movement to launch the state into irrigation enterprises, holding that it favors particular individuals and communities. They overlook the fact, however, that the state is not only reimbursed for every dollar expended, but receives interest upon its advances and a profit besides; that by turning desert lands into productive fields great wealth is added to the state and all benefit thereby. Whatever the state may do to develop her resources adds to this prosperity and happiness of her citizens and is therefore in keeping with the legitimate functions of government.
It is folly to attempt to lead ourselves into thinking that our Carey Act projects will be completed by private capital. The only solution is state or federal aid, and the sooner we bring ourselves to realize this fact and face the problem squarely, the sooner will we have the agony over. The settlers upon a number of these uncompleted projects have been crying out in the wilderness, and the only answer has been the echo of their own cries softened by assurances from state and company officials. The time has come, therefore, for the legislature to call a halt. The Desert Land Board should be restrained from making further extension on old reclamation contracts or entering into new ones and should be directed to relinquish to the federal government all lands now withdrawn from entry and not covered by satisfactory contracts. The foregoing recommendations, if followed, would relieve the state of a large number of projects now upon its hands.
The predicament in which we find ourselves at this time is due largely to an unbridled desire upon the part of the State Engineer to build up and increase the prestige of his department. The more projects, good or bad, he can get upon the list the more business his department will appear to be doing. THE state therefore appropriates year after year large sums to carry along and compile voluminous reports covering the progress, or rather lack of progress, of these “hot-air” irrigation schemes which would better be undertaken by the federal government.
The Desert Land Board, which has control of Carey Act projects, consists of the Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Attorney General and State Engineer. This department should be abolished and the duties assigned to the State Land Board. The demands upon the clerk of the latter board grow less as land sales fall off and these new duties could be taken over without any great inconvenience. Should the State Land Board find need of legal or engineering advice, that of the Attorney General and the State Engineer will still be available.
A report from the Insurance Commissioner came recently as a welcome visitor, for it carried the news not only of increased revenues, but, what was most remarkable, decreased expenses.
Realizing that our insurance laws were greatly in need of revision, this office appointed in 1912 a special committee to investigate our requirements in this direction and draft an entire new insurance code to be submitted to the legislature. This committee was made up of representative citizens of high standing and well qualified for the duty assigned them. The measure when submitted brought opposition from certain affected interests, which fact, coupled with a lack of time for proper consideration, resulted in it defeat. It will again be submitted, either in whole or in part, at this session.
The vast sums which leave the state each year for insurance premiums, and the profitable nature of the business, seem to justify our carefully investigating the situation with the view of ascertaining whether it would be possible for the state to engage in any of the branches with profit to itself and saving to its citizens. I would therefore recommend that a committee be appointed with authority to investigate the matter and instructed to report to the next legislature.
The duty of experting the books of the state and county officials handling public funds was imposed upon the Insurance Commissioner by the last legislature. His activities have developed the fact that while county affairs are as a rule honestly conducted, lax business methods and poor accounting systems result in waste and extravagance. The turning in of the sunlight of publicity, however, is bound to make for improved conditions.
The Emergency Board is composed of the State Board, the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House and the Chairman of the two Ways and Means Committees. The legislature has attempted to give this board power to authorize expenditures and the issuance of certificates of indebtedness to cover. Such authority being equivalent to the power to appropriate money, belongs solely to the legislature and cannot be delegated. The Emergency Board as a rule simply follows in the recommendations of the State Board and serves no useful purpose other than to furnish a convenient place to shift responsibility when it is desired to exceed legislative appropriations. Such board should be abolished. If it is desirable to throw restrictions around the incurring of deficiencies by the different departments, the power should be placed in the hands of the State Board of Control, which is now largely responsible for the conduct of the business end of the state’s affairs.
Our institutions of higher education are dependent on a millage tax for most of their appropriations and a similar policy should be adopted as to the balance in order that they may be placed absolutely upon a permanent basis and relieved of the necessity of coming to the legislature for support.
At one time I was of the opinion that the several boards of regents of these institutions should be consolidated. Close touch with their affairs, however, has convinced me beyond a doubt that the existing policy of having separate boards is sound and makes for the best results.
Section 5 of Article IV of the Constitution provides: “The legislative assembly shall, in the year eighteen hundred and sixty five, and every ten years after, cause an enumeration to be made of all the white population of the state.”
Section 3736 of Lord’s Oregon Laws provides: “It shall be the duty of the assessors of the several counties of the state, at the time of assessing their respective counties for the year 1865, and every ten years thereafter, to take an enumeration of the inhabitants and industrial products of the same.”
Section 3743-4 of Lord’s Oregon Laws provide that when said state census is taken an enrollment shall be made of all able-bodied persons liable to military duty.
Inasmuch as the federal census is taken every ten years, the taking of a state census is a useless expenditure of money and both the constitutional provision and the law providing therefore should be repealed. Should the enrollment of those liable to military duty become necessary at any time, it can be done through authority given the Governor by Section 3745 of the Code.
DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION
This department has control over the assessment of the properties of the common carriers of the state and by its effort such properties have been brought to bear their just share of taxation. Through its close co-operation with the assessors of the several counties it has done much to strengthen our laws and improve conditions in reference to assessment and taxation.
Little or no progress can be made in the direction of tax reform unless amendments eliminating the old “equality” and “uniformity” provision of our constitution are adopted. Strange as it may see, these words defeat the very purpose they were expected to serve. The many tax amendments submitted to the voters during the last few years have made it impossible to draw public attention to our real needs in this direction. Such changes as will permit a reasonable classification of subjects and taxation by “uniform rules” are necessary. This reform ahs reached many states and has the endorsement of experts on taxation throughout the land. The changes suggested are as follows:
Section 32 Article 1: Present Section: No tax or duty shall be imposed without the consent to the people of their Representatives in the Legislative Assembly; and all taxation shall be equal and uniform
Section 32, Article I: Proposed Amendment: No tax or duty shall be imposed without the consent of the people of their Representatives in the Legislative Assembly. Taxes shall be levied and collected under general law and for public purposes only; the power of taxation shall never be surrendered suspended or contracted away.
Section 1, Article IX, of Oregon: Present Section: The Legislative Assembly shall provide by law for uniform and equal rate of assessment and taxation; and shall prescribe such regulations as shall secure a just valuation for taxation of all property, both real and personal, excepting such only for municipal, educational, literary, scientific, religious, or charitable purposes, as may be specially exempted by law.
Section 1, Article IX, of Oregon: Proposed Amendment: The Legislative Assembly shall, and the people through the initiative may, provide by law uniform rules of assessment and taxation. Taxes shall be levied on such subjects and in such manner as shall be prescribed by general law. Reasonable classifications of the subjects of taxation may be provided, and specific taxes may be imposed. Taxes may be imposed on incomes, from whatever source or sources derived; such taxes may be either proportional or graduated and progressive, and reasonable exemptions may be provided.
As a check to extravagance in state, county and municipal government some constitutional limitation upon taxation should be adopted. A plan suggested, and what seems to carry merit, is that taxes levied by any political subdivision shall not exceed those of the preceding year by more than, say five per cent, and that an increase beyond the said limit must be ratified by a referendum vote within the political subdivision concerned.
By an act of Congress, slipped through a few years ago, a railroad company was given the privilege of surrendering a large acreage of worthless lands within the boundaries of the Olympic National Park, in the State of Washington, and the right to select in lieu thereof from the public domain a like acreage of surveyed or unsurveyed lands. This right has been largely exercised and within the boarders of our state. Thousands of acres of magnificent timber land, unsurveyed and therefore not open to settlement or purchase by private individuals, have been taken by the railroad through the filing of the said forest reserve scrip. Being unsurveyed and unpatented, these lands are not listed for taxation. An endeavor should be made to locate all such selections and, if it is found that they cannot be defeated, surveys should be demanded in order that patents may issue and the lands listen for taxation.
CONSERVATION OF OUR RESOURCES
I wish to call your particular attention to the splendid report recently issued by the Oregon Conservation Commission. The report brings home to our citizens a world of valuable information and offer food for thought to those who would interest themselves in the questions which make for the protection and development of our vast resources.
Oregon is deeply interested in the conservation question. The large land holdings of the federal government and its attempts to control our undeveloped water power, through an alleged riparian ownership, make it imperative that we concern ourselves at all times in those movements which have to do with the molding of governmental action along these lines.
Oregon stands as the champion of a policy of conservation which, while making for the early development of our resources, will throw every safeguard around these great birthrights of the people. While we are ever fighting to cut our way through red tape entanglements at Washington and open the door to legitimate endeavor, we have always opposed the encroachments of the selfish interests.
There are representatives of organized greed and monopoly who oppose every conservation movement; their sole desire being freedom to loot the public domain. To accomplish this end, they desire to seize every opportunity to poison the mind of the public against the policies of the federal government. A favorite method of attack is through the charge that the government has a large acreage of agricultural land locked up in its forest reserves, and that settlers are thus deprived of an opportunity to secure homes, and the development of the state is greatly retarded.
This same cry resulted in restoring to entry in 1901 something over 705,000 acres in the Olympic National Forest, in the State of Washington. Notwithstanding the statements that this land was free from timber and suitable for agricultural purposes, within ten years 526,500 acres drifted into the hands of timber barons who had found the lands covered with valuable timber. Over 178,000 acres were included in five holdings, and one man owned 81,630 acres. Of the entire acreage eliminated from the reserve, but little over 600 acres, or one-tenth of 1% of the eliminated area, appear to be under cultivation. This incident teaches us that we should be wary of the cry of the wolf. While lending aid to every legitimate movement which will make for progress and development, we should not be fooled into opening the door to the land pirates.
Oregon has within her boundaries 545,800,000,000 feet (board measure) of standing timber, or about one-fifth of the timber supply of the United States. Two-thirds of this timber is held in private ownership—the balance by the federal government. About 35,000,000,000 feet of the said privately owned timber was at one time owned by the state, being part of her land grant.
A careful study of past events and the records discloses:
1. That had not the federal government through the creation of forest reserves withdrawn certain of its lands from entry practically every acre of surveyed timber land in this state would by this time have passed into private ownership.
2. That the lands now in private ownership are rapidly passing from the hands of the original entrymen and small holders into the hands of a few powerful timber operators whose aim is to control the timber supply of the United States.
The timber records for the Pacific Northwest show a little over 23% of the privately owned timber to be in the hands of three corporations. They also show that a little over 50% of this timber is owned by a group of thirty-eight holders.
The Southern Pacific Company (through the O & C R.R. land grant now it litigation) claims ownership to 71 billion feet of timber in this state, and The Weyerhaeuser Timber Company owns 18.7 billion feet. At the rate of cutting which has prevailed during recent years these two holdings could supply the 46,500 sawmills in the United States for four and one-half years, and all of the sawmills in Oregon, Washington and California for nearly thirty years.
The acreage of the privately owned timber in this state is distributed as follows:
1 Southern Pacific Co. 22.5% 2,300,000 (acres)
30 Other holders (averaging 66,666 each) 19.5% 2,000,000
75 Other holders (averaging 22,000 each) 16.1% 1,650,000
80 Other holders (averaging 6,875 each) 5.3% 550,000
171 Other holders (averaging 3,216 each) 5.5% 550,000
521 Other holders (averaging 1,098 each) 5.5% 572,000
2,905 Other holders (averaging 335 each) 9.5% 974,000
13,185 Other holders (averaging 128 each) 16.3% 1,682,000
16,968 Total 100% 10,278,000
The above holders are classified as to residence as follows:
Residing upon the land 3,838
Residents of the State, but not upon the land 6,367
Addresses unknown 3,106
It will be noted that a single holder controls 22.5% of the timber acreage; 31 holders control 42%; and 106 holders control over 58%. The forest reserve holdings of the federal government in this state amount to over 13,600,000 acres, but perhaps not to exceed one-half of this acreage carries merchantable timber.
STATE VS. FEDERAL CONTROL OF OUR WATER POWER
Oregon has within her borders undeveloped water power to the extent of over 3,000,000 horsepower, or ten times the developed power at Niagara Falls. We are therefore deeply interested in the question as to who shall control development—the State or the Nation. The question is of particular interest at this time, as there is a bill now before Congress authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to lease, for power site purposes, and rights of way for pipe and transmission lines, lands in national forests which control many of our great power possibilities.
That the waters of a stream, as to their appropriation and application to a beneficial use, are subject to state jurisdiction no one will seriously deny. In fact, state jurisdiction is recognized by the federal government and compliance with state laws governing the appropriation of water is imposed as a condition precedent to the lease of government lands to be used in connection with the development of water power. The position of the advocates of government control is well stated by President Taft in a message to Congress in relation to the conservation of our natural resources. The President said:
“With respect to the public land which lies along the streams offering opportunity to convert water power into transmissible electricity, another important phase of the public land question is presented. There are valuable water power sites through all the public land states. The opinion is held that the transfer of sovereignty from the Federal Government to the territorial governments as they became states included the water power in the rivers, except so far as that owned by riparian proprietors. I do not think it necessary to go into a discussion of this somewhat mooted question of law. It seems to me sufficient to say that the man who owns and controls the land along the stream from which the power is to be converted and transmitted owns land which is indispensable to the conversion and use of that power. I cannot conceive how the power in streams flowing through the public lands can be made available at all except by using the land itself as the site for the construction of the plant by which the power is generated and converted and securing a right of way thereover for transmission lines. Under these conditions, if the government owns the adjacent land—indeed, if the government is the riparian owner—it may control the use of the water power by imposing conditions on the disposition of the land necessary in the creation and utilization of the water power.”
Congress, through the Desert Land Act of March 3, 1877, declared that “the waters of all lakes, rivers and other sources of water supply upon the public lands, and not navigable, shall remain and be held free for the appropriation and use of the public for irrigation, mining and manufacturing purposes, subject to existing rights.”
It is admitted by those who insist upon government control that such control or supervision can be exercised only through limitations imposed upon the disposal of power sites upon the public lands, fro the waters of streams as to their appropriation and application to a beneficial use are subject to state jurisdiction.
The advocates of state control contend that this is an arbitrary exercise of power upon the part of the federal government; that up to the point of controlling navigation the state is sovereign in all matters pertaining to the control of the waters within its borders; that the federal government in its ownership of public lands within the state stands as a “proprietor” and not as a “sovereign,” and that in leasing its lands for power-house and dam sites, rights of way for pipe and transmission liens the government is entitled to the same consideration and compensation, and no more, as is any other land owner.
The bill (Ferris) now before Congress is a production of Secretary of the Interior Lane. In drafting this measure he has evidently tried, in the interest of progress and development, to reconcile the differences between the East and West upon the great subject. He has tried to satisfy the East by recognizing the Government’s right to control, as heretofore stated, and the West by aiding development and sharing the revenues. While our water power is fully protected by our effective state laws, we have an interest in the Ferris Bill because its aim is to remove many of those federal obstacles which have so long stood in the way of power development.
One of the greatest drawbacks to the settlement of the vacant lands in many of the arid and non-irrigated section of the state is the lack of water for domestic purposes. Owing to the depth the settler must go in order to get water, and the great cost attached thereto, the sinking of a well is usually out of the question. Water, therefore, must be hauled—often many miles. Farm life cannot be made attractive under these conditions, and it is the duty of the state to meet the situation and offer some relief.
Provision should be made for the drilling of wells as such points as will best serve communities. By thus placing an adequate domestic water supply within a reasonable distance, you will remove one of the most serious obstacles in the way of the early settlement and development of our dry-farming sections. Little progress can be made by a settler who is obliged to spend so much of his time on the road hauling water. No opportunity to develop our resources and add to the happiness and prosperity of our people should be overlooked. A reasonable expenditure in aid of these dry districts will prove a great boon to the struggling settler who is doing so much to develop the West.
WATER SUPPLY—WILLAMETTE VALLEY CITIES
Perhaps one of the most important and difficult problems which municipalities are called upon to solve is that of securing an ample supply of pure mountain water. It is well known that there are a number of cities, towns and public institutions in the Willamette Valley greatly in need of a better water supply, and while it would be out of the question for many of them to undertake single-handed the installation of an extensive system, they could with propriety join in a co-operative movement leading to the construction of one which would serve the needs of all.
While this might be looked upon as purely a local problem, it should not be forgotten that there are many such matters which can only be solved through state co-operation; that cities and towns are but units which go to make up the state, and that whatever may be done toward their betterment benefits the state as a whole.
Having called the matter to the attention of the legislature of 1911, at the last session I submitted a measure giving the state board power to secure water rights and rights of way as might be needed by these cities and towns. Although this bill carried no appropriation and was merely for the purpose of laying the ground work for a great movement in the public interest, it received only that consideration necessary to rock it to the deep and lasting legislative sleep which knows no awakening.
The State Board of Health has made a careful investigation of the water supply of the Willamette Valley cities and gives its endorsement to the proposed plan for co-operation. The following statement shows the existing means of water supply for ten Willamette Valley cities and towns and the several state and federal institutions.
[Editor's Note: Please see table at bottom of page]
These cities, towns and institutions have at present a total population of about 50,000. It is estimated, however, that it will reach 125,000 in fifteen years, and close to 200,000 in twenty-five years.
The State Board of Health, through Louis C Kelsey, its consulting engineer, has chosen Clear Lake as a source of water supply. Perhaps nowhere can be found a better one. Clear Lake is beautifully situated near the foot of the Three Sisters, in the heart of a federal forest and the Cascade Mountains. Repeated examinations prove the waters to be of exceptional purity. The lake is a natural reservoir and discharges approximately 400 cubic feet per second in the summer season. This minimum discharge is sufficient to supply the needs of a million and a half population. The water could be delivered to the cities in the valley at about the same pressure as normally obtained in the City of Portland.
My purpose in calling this matter to your attention is that steps may be taken to secure title to this wonderful reservoir and its crystal waters that same may be held in trust for the people and put to a beneficial use when the circumstances and conditions will justify a co-operative movement along the above suggested lines.
ACQUISITION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY FOR A PUBLIC USE
Experience has taught us the need of legislation which will protect the taxpayers against the payment of excessive sums when private property is taken for public use. Owners are entitled to just compensation, but not to exorbitant prices. Property is supposed to be assessed at something near full cash value, and a law limiting the amount to be paid in condemnation cases to double that of the assessed valuation would save thousands of dollars for the taxpayers and at the same time insure fair treatment to the property owner.
JEFFERSON STREET LEVEE
The last legislature appropriated $50,000 for the use of this office in recovering possession and title to the old public levee near the foot of Jefferson street, Portland, Oregon. I am pleased to report that I was able to perform the mission without the expenditure of any part of the appropriation. The small amount of expense connected with the adjustment of the matter was taken care of by the city of Portland.
THE DALLES-PORTLAND WAGON ROAD
By an act of the last legislature, the Governor was directed to make an investigation of the claims of the state and several counties in and to the right of way formerly used as a wagon road between Portland and The Dalles. While this investigation was under way the railroad company and counties interested amicably adjusted all differences and further action upon my part was made unnecessary. But a small part of the appropriation provided was expended.
PORTLAND GAS & COKE COMPANY FRANCHISE
In accordance with instructions contained in Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 17, passed at the last session of the legislature, I have examined into the law and the facts having a bearing upon certain franchises granted in years past by the legislature and now held by the Portland Gas & Coke Company. And my findings will be submitted in a special report. But one-half of the expense authorized by the Emergency Board has been incurred.
As a result of the last election this state will be “dry” January 1, 1916. For a number of years after the prohibition amendment goes into effect, the friends of the movement will find they have a much harder fight upon their hands than they had before the vote was taken. William Allen White of Kansas, who speaks from experience, has this to say to the people of Oregon:
“The great danger to the temperance cause and the prohibition cause was not before the election, but it is now after the election. You have only the opportunity to enlist; you have not won the fight. Prohibition will prohibit only as men and women of faith and courage put their lives into it. You Oregon people must be willing to stand jeers and insults; you must be willing to go down into your pockets and spend money. You must give your time and lose patronage from your business. You must have faith to see those who thought they could vote in the millennium grow weary and go back to the fleshpots.
“In ten years, perhaps in less time, but in ten years surely, you will have begun to win this fight, but it will take courage and common sense and faith that moves mountains. The fight is not won. The time for cheerful fighting has just begun.”
If prohibition is to be made effective the “dry” amendment to our constitution must be supplemented by such legislation as will give the Governor of the state, who is charged with the enforcement of the law, an effective means of enforcing the law. There are those who would crucify the cause by imposing penalties so drastic that no jury would convict. It has been suggested that having liquor in one’s house be made a felony. Who serving upon a jury would vote to brand his neighbor as a felon and send him to a felon’s cell because a bottle of beer was found in his home?
Montesquieu says: “If we examine the cause of all defiance of law, we shall see that it is to be found in the failure to punish crime, not in the moderation of the penalty.”
These words are as true today as they were in Montesquieu’s time and are worthy of your thoughtful consideration. An effective law carrying reasonable penalties strictly enforced will produce results. Excessing penalties will not bring us a strict observance of the law; they will bring us nothing but hung juries, costly trials, disgusted taxpayers and revolt.
Section 10 of Article 5 of the Constitution provides that the Governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
Those who made this provision a part of our constitution undoubtedly assumed, and they had a right to so assume, that the legislature would promptly provide, through adequate laws, a means by which this mandate could be fulfilled and without resorting to certain extraordinary remedies provided by the constitution.
If the Governor is to be charged with the enforcement of the law he should be fully provided with the means of performing that duty. Among other things, he should be given, free from any red tape restrictions, the power to remove and appoint successors to district attorneys, sheriffs and constables, whom he may find refusing or failing to enforce the law, or otherwise perform the duties of their office.
The Governor should be given power to call upon the Attorney General for assistance in all matters pertaining to law enforcement, and to this end the hands of the said official should be strengthened. The Attorney General should be given general supervision over the offices of the several districts attorneys and the power to direct their activities when the occasion so demands. Each and every district attorney should be required to make monthly reports advising him fully as to the progress of the office.
It is well known that prompt action is had by the federal government in all matters passing through the hands of its several United States Attorneys. This is due largely to the fact that monthly reports are made to the Department of Justice at Washington. The Attorney General is thus kept fully advised as to the work of his subordinates. These reports set forth the docket entry made in each case pending at the date of the last monthly report; also the new cases and every conviction, acquittal and dismissal—in fact, all transactions of the office.
Should a like system come to prevail in this state it will go far towards bringing order out of chaos, raising the standard of efficiency and promoting law enforcement. AS it is now, each district attorney enforces, or fails to enforce, the law in his own peculiar manner. This lack of uniformity and system opens the way for favoritism and graft and throws many obstacles in the way of law enforcement.
Should the aforesaid recommendations be made the law by your honorable body, I am sure the executive office and that of the Attorney General will be fully advised at all times as to the work of the District Attorneys, an effective means for enforcing the law will be provided, and the necessity for resorting to that extraordinary constitutional remedy—the Militia—practically eliminated.
Now that capital punishment has been abolished in this state, restriction should be thrown around the pardoning power in those cases where life sentences have been imposed. It has been suggested that no pardon should be granted in such cases except upon recommendation of the court which originally tried the case.
Unemployment is not a temporary evil, but a permanent condition resulting from social maladjustment. We cannot hope for immediate relief. All we can do for the present is to treat the evil with specific remedies, making the best possible distribution of idle labor and available industry. Decent wages should be paid and proper working conditions provided, as the problem is not one of charity. A definite and permanent policy should be striven for. Temporary relief in the long run only tends to aggravate the situation.
Many private employment agencies have been guilty of abuses that have blackened them in the public eye. Whether these agencies can constitutionally be abolished is a debatable question. The courts may not be inclined to permit more than regulation, which might remove many of the abuses, but could hardly create efficiency. It seems to me that a step in the right direction would be the establishment of a State Employment Bureau, with the power not only to regulate private agencies, but to co-operate with municipalities. This bureau should be made a clearing-house for the distribution of labor and labor information.
A cry for relief went up from the overburdened taxpayer and you answered that you would come to his aid. The time for action is at hand. Appropriations must be held to the lowest level consistent with good business, every useless board and commission should be abolished and, where possible, others consolidated.
I have been asked by those who would protect certain needless offices to recommend the appointment of a commission to fully investigate the whole question and report at the next session of the legislature. This I refused to do, as I consider it the plain duty of this legislature to meet these problems fairly and squarely now and in such a manner as will not only bring relief to the long-suffering taxpayer, but greater efficiency in state government.
These matters have already been given close study by members of your honorable body and other state officials. At the commonwealth conference recently held in Eugene and presided over by His Excellency, Governor-Elect Withycombe, the whole situation was thoroughly gone into and the results of the labors of those present placed in the hands of His Excellency, who has no doubt used them as a basis for recommendations to your honorable body. Such suggestions as he may make along these lines should receive your most thoughtful consideration. He has been chosen by the people as their executive and should be given every aid and assistance in his efforts to initiate and maintain those policies which in his opinion will make for a more economically and efficient government.
These matters have already been given close study by members of your honorable body and other state officials. At the commonwealth conference recently held in Eugene and presided over by His Excellency, Governor-Elect Withycombe, the whole situation was thoroughly gone into and the results of the labors of those present placed in the hands of His Excellency, who has no doubt used them as a basis for recommendations to your honorable body. Such suggestions as he may make along these lines should receive your most thoughtful consideration. He has been chosen by the people as their executive and should be given every aid and assistance in his efforts to initiate and maintain those policies which in his opinion will make for a more economical and efficient government.
Continuing appropriations and the expenditure of fees collected by many departments lead to extravagance. Fees of every character therefore should be turned into the General Fund and continuing appropriations reduced to the lowest possible point. Other extravagances come through legislative approval of blanket appropriation bills presented by the Ways and Means Committee and the executive’s lack of authority to veto single items therein. The right to veto single items is a reform long needed, and this legislature should become the medium through which a constitutional amendment along these lines may be submitted to the people. In the meantime, it is your duty to oppose the passage of omnibus bills and demand the consideration of each item upon its merits.
Trusting that the information and suggestions offered herewith will prove of some help to you in your earnest efforts to solve the many problems which will be your during this session and with assurances of such hearty co-operating as one in private life may give, this message is