Part 1 out of 6
Story of the Session of the California Legislature of 1909
by Franklin Hichborn
The well-being of the State requires that the opponents to the machine
in Senate and Assembly, regardless of party label, organize the
Legislature. But back of this is the even more important requirement
that there be elected to the Legislature American citizens, with the
responsibility of their citizenship upon them, rather than partisans,
burdened, until their good purposes are made negative, by the
responsibility of their partisanship.
Press of The James H. Barry Company
I. Breaking Ground
II. Organization of the Senate
III. Organization of the Assembly
IV. The Machine in Control
V. Election of United States Senator
VI. The Anti-Racetrack Gambling Bill
VII. Passage of the Anti-Racetrack Gambling Bill
VIII. The Direct Primary Bill
IX. The Machine Defeated in the Senate
X. Fight Over the Assembly Amendments
XI. Machine Amends Direct Primary Bill
XII. The Railroad Regulation Issue
XIII. Machine Defeats the Stetson Bill
XIV. Railroad Measures
XV. Defeat of the Commonwealth Club Bills
XVI. How the Change of Venue Bill Was Passed
XVII. Passage of the Wheelan Bills
XVIII. Defeat of the Local Option Bill
XIX. Defeat of the Initiative Amendment
XX. Defeat of the Anti-Japanese Bills
XXI. The Rule Against Lobbying
XXII. The Machine Lobbyist at Work
XXIII Influence of the San Francisco Delegation
XXIV. Attacks on and Defense of the Fish Commission
XXV. The Rewarding of the Faithful
XXVI. The Holdover Senators
XXVII. The Retiring Senators
Tables of Votes
Postal Direct Primary
Dr. Montgomery's Report
The Anti-Japanese Resolution
In writing the Story of the Session of the California Legislature of
1909, the purpose has been, not only to show what was done at Sacramento
last Winter, but, what is by far more important, how it was done. To
this end, the several measures are divided under three heads, namely,
those dealing with moral, with political and with industrial issues.
Instead of scattering on all the measures introduced, or even a
considerable part of them, the principal issue of each group, that which
meant the most to The People, and upon which the machine centered its
efforts, has been selected for detailed consideration. On the score of
the moral issues, the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill has been taken as the
most important; while the Direct Primary bill is dealt with as the chief
political issue, and the railroad regulation measures as involving the
chief industrial issue. The story of the fight over these bills is the
story of the session of 1909. The events attending the passage of the
Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill, the amendment of the Direct Primary bill,
and the defeat of the Stetson Railroad Regulation bill, with the
attending incident of the passage of the Wright Railroad bill, show, as
nothing else can, how the machine controls and manipulates a
Legislature - and such is the purpose of this little volume.
The efforts of justice-loving men to simplify the criminal codes, to the
end that rich and poor alike may have equal opportunity in the trial
courts - not in theory alone but in fact - and the successful efforts of the
machine to block this reform, have made detailed consideration of the
defeat of the Commonwealth Club bills and the passage of the Wheelan
bills, and the so-called Change of Venue bill timely. And the story of
these measures illustrates again how the machine element defeats the
purpose of The People, and overrides what are the constitutional
rights - and should be rights in fact - of every American citizen.
Measures which involved no particular contest between the good
government and the machine forces - measures patched up by interested
parties and slipped through the Legislature without opposition and
generally without comment - although many of them of great importance, are
not touched upon. The histories of those selected for consideration show
the machine, or if you like, the system, at its work of passing
undesirable measures, and of blocking the passage of good measures. If
the Story of the Session of the California Legislature of 1909 assist
the citizens of California to understand how this is done; if it give
them that knowledge of the weakness, the strength, the purposes, and the
affiliations of the Senators and Assemblymen who sat in the Legislature
of 1909, a knowledge of which the machine managers have had heretofore a
monopoly; if it point the way for a new method of publicity to crush
corruption and to promote reform - a way which others better prepared for
the work than I, may, in California and even in other States, follow - the
labor of preparing this volume for the press will have been justified.
Santa Clara, Cal., July 4, 1909.
Although the Reform Element had a Majority in Both Senate and Assembly,
Good Bills Were Defeated, and Vicious Measures Passed - Three Reasons for
This: (1) Reform Element Was Without Plan of Action, (2) Was Without
Organization; (3) The Machine Was Permitted to Organize Both Senate and
The personnel of the California Legislature of 1909, was, all things
considered, better than that of any other Legislature that has assembled
in California in a decade or more. There were, to be sure, in both
Senate and Assembly men who were constantly on the wrong side of every
question affecting the moral, political or industrial well-being of the
State, but a majority of each House labored for the passage of good
laws, laws which would not only silence and satisfy constituents, but
prove effective and accomplish the purpose for which they had been
drawn. Just as earnestly as they worked for the passage of good laws, a
majority of the members of the Senate as well as a majority of the
members of the Assembly opposed the passage of vicious measures, and of
measures ostensibly introduced to work needed reform but drawn in such a
manner as to be, from a practical standpoint, ineffective.
And yet, regardless of the purpose of this majority, the so-called
"Change of Venue"  bill was passed, and the "Judicial Column" bill,
intended to take the Judiciary out of politics, was denied passage. The
infamous "Wheelan bills," aimed at the complication of the Grand jury
system, went through both Houses, while the Commonwealth Club bills,
drawn to simplify the methods of criminal procedure, were held up and
eventually defeated. The ineffective Wright Railroad Regulation bill
became a law, while the Stetson Railroad measure effective as finally
amended - was rejected. The provision in the Direct Primary bill for the
selection of United States Senators by State-wide vote was stricken out,
and the meaningless advisory, district vote plan substituted.
Certainly, the accomplishment of the Legislature does not line with the
purpose of a majority of its members. The voter is naturally asking why
the majority in both Houses standing for good legislation and opposing
bad, accomplished so little; how it was that a minority, at practically
every turn, defeated a majority.
There were three principal reasons for this outcome.
(1) The machine, as its name indicates, is a definite organization, with
recognized leaders. The anti-machine element was without organization or
(2) The reform-advocating majority, except in the anti-racetrack
gambling fight, was without definite plan of action. The majority was,
for example, for the passage of a direct primary law that would, first,
take the control of politics out of the hands of political bosses big
and little, and, second, give the people of California the privilege of
naming their United States Senators, a privilege already enjoyed by the
people of the more progressive States of the Union. But the reform
element knew little or nothing of the details of direct primary
They were equally unprepared on other reform issues. They recognized the
necessity of passing an effective railroad regulation law, for example,
but had little or no conception of what the provisions of the measure
should be. They recognized that the criminal laws cannot be impartially
enforced against rich and poor alike until the methods of criminal
procedure be simplified, put on a common sense basis. But even here they
had no definite policy and when told by machine claquers that the
proposed reforms were revolutionary, even the most insistent of the
reform element were content to let the simplifying amendments to the
codes die in committees or on the files.
On the other hand, the machine element, even before a member had reached
Sacramento, had their work for the session carefully outlined. This
session the bulk of the machine's work was negative; that is to say,
with a majority in both houses opposed to machine policies, the machine
recognized the difficulties of passing bad laws except by trick - and
spent the session in amending good measures into ineffectiveness, or,
where they could, in preventing their passage. Down to a comma the
machine leaders knew what they wanted for a direct primary law, for an
anti-racetrack gambling law, for a railroad regulation law. From the
hour the Legislature opened until the gavels fell at the moment of
adjournment the machine element labored intelligently and constantly,
and as an organized working unit, to carry its ends. There were no false
plays; no waste of time or energy; every move was calculated. By
persistent hammering the organized machine minority was able to wear its
unorganized opponents out.
(3) The third reason for the failure of the reform majority is found in
the fact that the minority was permitted to organize both Senate and
Assembly. In the Assembly the machine element named the Speaker without
serious opposition. The Speaker named the Assembly committees. It
developed at the test that the important committees of the Assembly
were, generally speaking, controlled by the machine.
The Lieutenant-Governor is, under the State Constitution, presiding
officer of the Senate, under the title of President of the Senate. But
the Senators elect the President pro tem., who, in the absence of the
President, has the same power as the President. The reform element,
although in the majority, permitted the election of Senator Edward I.
Wolfe as President pro tem. Wolfe was admittedly leader of the machine
element in the Senate. At critical times during the session, the fact
that both the President and President pro tem. of the Senate were
friendly to machine interests gave the machine great advantage over its
The reform majority in the Senate made the further mistake of leaving
the appointment of the Senate committees in the hands of
Lieutenant-Governor Warren Porter. Governor Porter flaunts his machine
affiliations; is evidently proud of his political connections; indeed,
in an address delivered before the students of the University of
California, Porter advised his hearers to be "performers" in politics
rather than "reformers." It was not at all surprising, then, that the
Senate committees were appointed, not in the interest of the reform
element, but of the machine. And yet, the reform element, being in the
majority, could have taken the appointment of the committees out of
Porter's hands. In the concluding chapter it will be shown there is
ample precedent for such a course. But the reform element let the
opportunity pass, and Warren Porter named the committees. Thus in both
Senate and Assembly the strategic committee positions were permitted to
fall into machine hands.
The importance of this on legislation can scarcely be over-estimated.
Under the system in vogue in California, the real work of a legislative
session is done in committee. When a bill is introduced in either House,
it is at once referred to a committee. Until the committee reports on
the measure no further action can be taken. Thus a committee can prevent
the passage of a bill by deliberately neglecting to report it back to
the main body.
When a measure passes either Senate or Assembly, it goes to the other
House, and is once again referred to a committee. Again does the fate of
the bill hang on committee action. Thus, every measure before it can
pass the Legislature must, in the ordinary course of legislation, pass
the scrutiny of two legislative committees, either one of which may
delay its passage or even deny Senate or Assembly, or both, opportunity
to act upon it.
To be sure, one of the rules of the Assembly of 1909 required that all
bills referred to committees should be reported back within ten days,
while the Senate rules provided that committees must act on bills
referred to them as soon as "practicable," with the further provision
that a majority vote of the Senate could compel a report on a bill at
any time. But these rules were employed to little advantage. In the
Assembly, for example, the Commonwealth Club bills, referred to the
Judiciary Committee on January 15, were not acted upon by the committee
at all. These bills, in spite of the ten days' rule, remained in the
committee sixty-seven days. The Direct primary bill was held up in the
Senate Committee on Election Laws from January 8 until February 16, and
at that late day came out of the committee with practically unfavorable
recommendation. It was noticeable that few, if any, important reform
measures were given favorable recommendation by a Senate committee. Thus
the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill, the Direct Primary bill, the Local
Option bill, received the stamp of Senate committee disapproval. They
were returned to the Senate with the recommendation that they do not
pass. The same is largely true of the action of the Assembly
If machine-controlled committees could delay action on reform measures,
they could at the same time expedite the passage of bills which the
machine element favored, or which had been amended to the machine's
liking. Thus the Change of Venue bill, which reached the Senate on March
15, was returned from the Senate Judiciary Committee the day following,
March 16, with the recommendation that it "do pass." The Wheelan bills
reached the Senate on March 17, and were at once referred to the
Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee that very day reported them
back with favorable recommendation. Had they been delayed in the
committee even 48 hours, their final passage would have been improbable.
Curiously enough, the Judiciary Committee was the one Senate committee
whose members President Porter did not name. Following a time-honored
custom, every attorney at law in the Senate was made a member of the
committee. It so happened that ten of the nineteen lawyers in the Senate
were on the side of reform as against machine policies, eight generally
voted with the machine, while the nineteenth gave evidence of being in a
state of chronic doubt. This gave the reform element a majority of the
Senate Judiciary Committee. But President Porter had the naming of the
chairman of the committee, and the order of the rank of its members. The
Lieutenant-Governor's fine discrimination is shown by the fact that the
Chairman of the Committee and the four ranking members were counted on
the side of the machine.
The Assembly committees acted quite as expeditiously on measures which
had passed the Senate in a form satisfactory to machine interests. Thus,
the Wright Railroad Regulation bill, which reached the Assembly on March
12, was reported back to the Assembly by the Assembly Committee on
Common Carriers the day following, March 13.
It will be seen that the reform majority unquestionably weakened its
position by permitting the machine minority to organize the Legislature.
This phase of the problem which confronts the State will be dealt with
in the concluding chapter.
 One of the best witnesses to the viciousness of this measure is
Governor Gillett, surely an unprejudiced observer. In giving his reasons
for vetoing the bill, Governor Gillett said:
"I have several reasons for saying that I will veto the bill. One reason
is that I have always been opposed to it. When I was in the Senate in
1897 I was against it and again in 1899 I fought it in the Judiciary
Committee. Two years ago I ignored another such measure that had passed
through the Legislature, so that I would not be living up to my policy
of the past if I should sign this bill."
"But even if I had never had the opportunity to record my opposition on
these different occasions, I should have vetoed the bill anyway, because
it is a vicious bill. The bill is not a change of venue bill in the
strict sense of the word. It simply gives the man on trial the right to
disqualify the Judge on the ground of bias on the slightest pretext."
"The worst feature about the bill is that it grants this right to the
accused after the jury has been secured. Why, if the defendant didn't
like the adverse rulings of the Judge he could easily claim bias and the
law would upheld his demand for another Judge. Think of how that would
operate in the Calhoun trial in San Francisco. Such a law would cost the
State thousands of dollars. It's vicious and I will not sign it."
 Most suggestively shown in the amendment of the Direct Primary bill.
 The seriousness of the mistake made by the reform element in
acquiescing in Wolfe's election, was emphasized at the time of the
deadlock in the Senate over the Direct Primary bill. The President of
the Senate, Lieutenant-Governor Porter - and in his absence the
President pro tem., Wolfe, - was charged with the duty of calling the
Senate to order. Inasmuch as it did not suit the machine's interests
that the Senate should be called to order, the Senators were obliged to
sit in idleness for hours at a time, while the machine leaders and
lobbyists were working openly on the floor of the Senate to force
certain of the pro-primary Senators to join the machine forces. Had
the President pro tem. been one of the group of Senators who were
opposing the machine he would have called the Senate to order, thus
permitting the regular work of the session to proceed. See Chapter 10,
"Fight on Assembly Amendments."
 The action of the Assembly Committee on Public Morals on the
Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill was a notable exception to this. See
chapters 6 and 7.
Organization of the Senate.
Anti-Machine Republicans, Led Into a Caucus Trap, Surrendered the
Appointment of President Pro Tem., Secretary and Sergeant-at-Arms to the
Machine - Machine Given the Selection of the Standing Committees.
In the light of the events of the session, the division between the
machine or "organization" and anti-machine forces in the Senate for
purposes of organization may be regarded as follows:
Anti-machine - Anthony, Bell, Birdsall, Black, Boynton, Burnett,
Cutten, Estudillo, Hurd, Roseberry, Rush, Stetson, Strobridge,
Thompson, Walker (labeled Republicans), Caminetti, Campbell, Cartwright,
Holohan, Miller, Sanford (labeled Democrats) - 21.
Machine - Hare, Kennedy (labeled -Democrats), Bates, Bills, Finn,
Hartman, Leavitt, Lewis, Martinelli, McCartney, Reily, Savage, Weed,
Willis, Wolfe, Wright (labeled Republicans) - 16.
Doubtful - Curtin (Democrat).
Seekers of the winning side - Price and Welch (labeled Republicans).
Curtin is put down as doubtful because, justly or unjustly, he was at
the opening of the session so regarded. But Curtin's record shows that
generally speaking from the beginning to the end of the session he voted
with the anti-machine element. Had the anti-machine forces made a
determined effort to organize the Senate and demonstrated a strength of
twenty-one votes, which would have been enough to organize,. Curtin
would certainly have been with them. The same is true of Welch, and it
is probably true of Price. This would have given the anti-machine forces
from twenty-two to twenty-four votes, a safe margin to have permitted
them to organize the Senate to carry out anti-machine policies.
The machine claquers will no doubt point gleefully to the fact that when
the test on the Railroad Regulation bills came, Anthony, Burnett,
Estudillo, Hurd and Walker strayed from the anti-machine fold. This
objection would have more weight had there ever been an anti-machine
fold. As a matter of fact, the anti-machine element in the Senate from
the day the session opened until it closed was unorganized, and without
leaders or detailed plan of action.
Admittedly Estudillo and Burnett strayed on the railroad regulation
question, but they did so believing the absolute rate provided in the
Stetson bill to be unconstitutional. All this will be brought out in the
chapters on railroad regulation measures, but in passing, it may be said
that Burnett, in the closing hours of the session, stated on the floor
of the Senate that he had voted against the Stetson bill and for the
Wright bill on the understanding that a constitutional amendment would
be passed setting at rest all question of the constitutionality of the
absolute rate. The machine leaders misled Senator Burnett. Machine votes
defeated the amendment.
Anthony, Estudillo and Walker stood out against the machine in the
direct primary fight which followed the defeat of the Stetson bill, and
before the fight was over, Burnett had returned to the anti-machine
The case of Senator Hurd is not at all creditable to the machine. But
Hurd's instincts and sympathies are not those of Gus Hartman, Hare,
Wolfe and Leavitt. Had the anti-machine forces had even semblance of
organization there would have been no straying, and the accomplishment
of the legislative session of 1909 would have been more satisfactory to
the best citizenship of the State.
The fact that the anti-machine forces, without leaders and without
organization, stuck together so well as they did is one of the most
extraordinary and at the same time encouraging features of the session.
Although the anti-machine forces numbered a majority of the Senate,
nevertheless a bare majority of the regular Republican Senators - those
who were eligible to admittance to the Republican caucus - were with the
machine. The division in the Republican caucus, counting Welch and Price
with the machine element, was on machine and anti-machine lines as
Anti-machine - Anthony, Birdsall, Black, Boynton, Burnett, Cutten,
Estudillo, Hurd, Roseberry, Rush, Stetson, Strobridge, Thompson, Walker
Machine - Bates, Pills, Finn, Hartman, Leavitt, Lewis, Martinelli,
McCartney, Price, Reily, Savage, Weed, Welch, Willis, Wolfe, Wright -
By time-honored custom it has become a rule for the majority[5a] in the
Senate - and the same holds in the Assembly - to meet in caucus to
decide upon the details of organization. This is done on the theory that
the House should be so organized as to permit the majority to carry out
its policies as expeditiously and with as little friction as possible.
By the unwritten rule of the caucus, the majority governs and each
member who attends the caucus is bound in honor to vote - regardless of
his individual views or wishes - on the floor of the Senate or Assembly,
as the majority of the caucus decides. Thus, by going into caucus with
the sixteen machine Senators, the fourteen anti-machine Senators were
placed in a position where they were, under caucus rule, compelled to
vote on the floor of the Senate as the sixteen machine Senators
dictated. This gave the machine on the floor of the Senate thirty votes
out of forty on questions affecting organization, and permitted it to
name the President pro tem., the Secretary of the Senate, the
Sergeant-at-Arms, and gave it filial voice in the appointment of the
Had the line of division in the Senate been Republican and Democratic,
the Republicans in the Senate might very properly have caucused. But
inasmuch as the machine Republicans stood during the entire session for
one set of policies, and the anti-machine Republicans for another, the
caucus was at best an incongruous affair. Especially is this true when
it is considered that the anti-machine Republicans immediately after
they had left the caucus united with the anti-machine Democrats in a
three-months contest with the united machine Democrats and machine
Republicans. But having surrendered the organization of the Senate to
the machine, the anti-machine Senators, although in the majority, fought
under a handicap, finally lost the weaker of their supporters, and in
the end went down in defeat. Had the real majority, rather than the
artificial majority, of the Senate caucused on organization, that is to
say, had the anti-machine Republicans and the anti-machine Democrats
caucused, and organized to carry out the policies for which they stood
and for which they fought together during the entire session, the
Republican-Democratic-machine element would have been defeated at every
turn. But no such policy governed, and the anti-machine Republicans
waddled after precedent into the caucus trap that had been set for them.
Later on in the session the anti-machine Republicans and anti-machine
Democrats did go into caucus together, and by doing so won the hardest
fought fight of the session.
In the Republican Senate caucus on organization, the machine Senators,
under the crafty leadership of Wolfe and Leavitt, worked their unhappy
anti-machine associates much as a playful cat, with a sense of humor,
toys with a mouse. As the cat lets the mouse think that it has escaped,
the machine let the anti-machine forces think they were organizing the
caucus. Leavitt had been leader of the Republican caucus at previous
sessions but he suffered "overwhelming defeat" at the hands of a
"reformer." The "reformer" in question was Senator Wright, who had been
well advertised as the father of the reform Direct Primary law. Before
the session closed, the anti-machine element was to learn just the sort
of "reformer" Wright is. Wright, however, in the interest of "harmony,"
was nominated for caucus leadership by Senator Wolfe. Leavitt's name was
not even mentioned. The unanimous vote went to Senator Wright, who was
duly declared elected Chairman of the Senate Republican caucus for the
Thirty-eighth Session of the California Legislature.
The reformers were also permitted to name the Secretary of the caucus.
This time a genuine anti-machine Senator was selected, A. E. Boynton.
And then came a question which brought out the gleam of the machine's
teeth. Senator Boynton moved that Senator Bell, of Pasadena, be admitted
to the caucus. Somewhat to the discomfiture of the reformers, Bell was
Senator Bell's case is a suggestive one. He is a Republican, having been
elected from one of the strongest Republican districts of the State, the
Thirty-sixth Senatorial District, which takes in Pasadena. But Senator
Bell was not named by the machine; in fact, he was elected as protest
against machine methods. The Pasadena Republicans tolerated machine
domination as long as they could. Then, in 1906, they induced Bell to
run against the "regular" machine nominee for the State Senate. Bell ran
as an independent Republican. He overwhelmingly defeated his machine
opponent. Arrived at Sacramento at the session of 1907, he applied for
admittance to the Republican caucus.
There was ample precedent for his admittance, but curiously enough no
anti-machine Republican who had defeated a machine Republican had ever
been admitted to caucus privileges. In 1902, however, Charles M.
Shortridge, having failed to receive the nomination for the state Senate
from Santa Clara County, ran as an independent candidate against the
regular Republican nominee. The machine supported Shortridge's
candidacy, and by most questionable methods succeeded in defeating the
regular Republican. But Shortridge was admitted to the Senate caucus of
1903 without question. Senator Bell, however, was denied admittance to
the Republican Senate caucus of 1907, on the grounds that he had
defeated a regularly nominated Republican. Shortridge had defeated a
regularly nominated Republican. But Shortridge stood for machine
policies; Bell stands opposed to machine policies. The machine's policy
is to keep the caucuses of the dominant party in the Legislature as much
a close corporation as possible. So in 1907, Bell's application was
rejected. Bell, throughout the session, opposed machine policies. Both
for the session of 1907 and of 1909, Senator Bell's record is absolutely
clean. The machine does not approve such men, nor want them to
participate in party caucuses.
Senator Bell, who had, although refused admittance to his party caucus,
done very well in 1907, did not propose to apply for admission to the
caucus of 1909. But the reform element in the Senate insisted upon
presenting his name. From machine sources it was intimated to Senator
Bell that if he would make his peace with Walter Parker, the Southern
Pacific lobbyist who acts as machine leader south of the Tehachepi, no
opposition would be offered his admission to the caucus. Bell rejected
the offer with characteristic promptness. So the anti-machine Senators,
since they had "organized the caucus," proceeded to admit Bell in the
face of machine opposition.
But the inexperienced political mouse discovered that it was not out of
the reach of the claws of the experienced political cat. Boynton's
motion to admit Bell to the caucus was lost by a vote of 16 to 14.
Had the reform element been organized, however, Bell would have been
admitted to the caucus. Three Senators, Reily, Savage and Welch, who
ordinarily voted with the machine, because of personal friendship voted
to admit Bell to the caucus. But their votes were offset by those of
Burnett, Estudillo and Hurd. The vote was as follows:
To admit Bell to the caucus - Anthony, Birdsall, Black, Boynton, Cutten,
Reily, Roseberry, Rush, Savage, Stetson, Strobridge, Thompson, Walker,
Welch - 14.
Against admitting Bell to the caucus - Bates, Bills, Burnett, Estudillo,
Finn, Hartman, Hurd, Leavitt, Lewis, Martinelli, McCartney, Price, Weed,
Willis, Wolfe, Wright - 16.
The Bell matter out of the way, the real work of organizing the Senate
was taken up. Curiously enough, the only contest came over the election
of the Chaplain of the Senate; the naming of the President pro tem., of
the Secretary of the Senate and of the Sergeant-at-Arms was not opposed.
Senator Price moved that Lewis A. Hilborn be the caucus nominee for
Secretary of the Senate, and J. Louis Martin for Sergeant-at-Arms. His
motion carried unanimously. Price also nominated Senator Wolfe for
President pro tem. Not an anti-machine Senator protested. Wolfe was
accordingly declared the caucus nominee, with the thirty Senators
present, machine and anti-machine, obligated to vote for him on the
floor of the Senate.
The election of a Chaplain was then taken up and several candidates
nominated for the office. Rev. Father H. H. Wyman being finally
selected, which, of course, was equivalent to election.
The caucus was held at 9 o'clock of the morning of January 4. At noon of
the same day a second caucus was held at which it was decided that the
division of patronage[8a] should be on the following basis: That $18 a
day should be set aside for the Secretary, Sergeant-at-Arms and
Chaplain; that the Lieutenant-Governor should be allowed $22 a day, and
each of the thirty caucus Senators $15 a day. This practically concluded
Republican caucusing for the session. At previous sessions the
Republicans caucused practically every day. But before the session of
1909 had advanced far, the real line that divided the Senators, the line
that separated the machine from the anti-machine members, had become so
pronounced that caucuses of machine and anti-machine Republicans became
impracticable. Senator Wright, toward the end of the session, made
frantic efforts to get the caucus together; but he failed. The caucus on
organization was about all that the anti-machine Republicans could
As they had left the election of the officers of the Senate to the
machine, the anti-machine element left the appointing of the Senate
committees to the machine Lieutenant-Governor.
How well the machine, given the appointment of the committees, fortified
itself is shown by consideration of practically any one of the
committees. A few examples will suffice.
There were, for example, three great issues before the Legislature;
namely, the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill, a moral issue; the Direct
Primary bill, a political issue; and the Railroad Regulation bills, a
The Anti-Gambling bill was to come before the Public Morals Committee,
and the machine took good care that not an anti-machine Senator should
be given a place on that committee. The committee consisted of Weed,
Wolfe, Leavitt, Savage (labeled Republicans), Kennedy (labeled
Democrat), all machine men. The committee reported back the
Anti-Gambling bill under pressure, with the recommendation that it "do
not pass." Public opinion was such at the time that Savage and Kennedy
did not vote for the unfavorable recommendation. But Weed, Wolfe and
Leavitt, a majority of the committee, stood out against the bill until
The Direct Primary bill was to be considered by the Election Laws
Committee and the machine took good care to keep hand upon that
committee. The committee was made up of seven machine and two
anti-machine Senators, as follows:
Machine Senators - Leavitt, Hartman, Wolfe, Savage, Wright (labeled
Republicans), Kennedy and Hare (labeled Democrats).
Every one of the seven opposed the State-wide plan for the selection of
United States Senators.
The anti-machine Senators on the committee were Estudillo and Stetson.
It is an open secret that the machine expected to control Estudillo
through Walter Parker, the Southern Pacific political agent. Its failure
brought some confusion upon machine circles. Thus, the machine really
thought when it picked the Committee on Election Laws that it controlled
eight of the nine members.
The Railroad Regulation measures were to be passed upon by the Committee
on Corporations. The machine took care to be in control of that
committee. It consisted of eleven members. Seven of the eleven, if
Burnett who voted with the machine on this issue be counted with them,
were machine, one was "band wagon, which is a trifle worse than
machine, and three anti-machine, as follows:
Machine - Bates, Wright, McCartney, Burnett, Bills, Finn (labeled
Republicans), Kennedy (labeled Democrat).
Band wagon - Welch.
Anti-machine - Walker, Roseberry (labeled Republicans), and Miller
But here again the machine was more generous than it intended to be. It
figured on controlling Walker. But in the committee Walker stood out
manfully for the Stetson bill and against the Wright bill. On the floor
of the Senate, however, Walker made his one slip of the session, by
voting for the Wright bill and against the Stetson bill.
It is not necessary to continue consideration of the committees. Enough
has been said to show how thoroughly the machine minority, given the
appointment of the committees, strengthened itself in the Senate by
seizing every strategic position. Indeed, the machine fortified itself
with such far-seeing intelligence, that one marvels that the
anti-machine majority was able to offer even temporarily effective
 Anthony's vote was in the majority of cases cast on the side of the
machine. But the determined stand that he took on the Direct Primary
bill issue, demonstrated that Anthony, had the anti-machine forces
maintained any sort of organization, or had they had definite plan of
action, would have been found consistently on the side of good
government. Burnett was unquestionably misled by the machine leaders.
Neither Burnett nor Anthony can be justly classed with Hartman, Wolfe,
Leavitt, Bills, etc., etc. Hurd, who toward the end of the session voted
constantly with the machine, and is considered hopeless by many
observers, nevertheless took active part in the anti-machine caucus on
the Direct Primary bill, and, had the organization of the Senate been in
the hands of the anti-machine element, the writer firmly believes, would
have continued with the reform forces. At any rate, he was available for
any anti-machine movement that might have been started to organize the
Senate. Hurd, like Burnett, will have his opportunity in 1911. Both
Senators hold over.
[5a] In this instance, the Republican Senators. The Senate minority was
made up of the Democratic Senators, if we make the division on party
lines. But as a matter of fact, when it came to the real business of the
session, the Senate did not divide on party lines. The actual division
was between the machine and the anti-machine Senators. Thus the real
majority consisted of anti-machine Senators, and the minority of the
Senators controlled by the machine.
 Hurd's case illustrates this very well.
 See chapter nine - Machine defeated in the Senate.
 Burnett of San Francisco, voted against Bell on partisan grounds,
and inability to grasp the situation. Estudillo's vote was inconsistent
with the majority which he cast during the session, while Hurd's was
inconsistent with those which he cast up to the time of his vote with
the machine forces against the Stetson bill.
[8a] Up to the session of 1909, the members of the Legislature fixed the
amount of patronage. At the session of 1907, the payroll of the officers
and attaches of the Assembly alone ran up to nearly $10,000 a week, or
more than $1300 a day. But in 1908, the People adopted a constitutional
amendment limiting the amount of patronage, the money to be expended for
legislative officers and attaches, to $500 a day for each House. This
cut the Patronage down something more than one-half, which gave the
Senators and Assemblymen who divided it great concern.
The development of the patronage scandal during the last decade is
interesting. At the session of 1901 the Assembly patronage ran about
$580 a day the Senate patronage about $610. This was only $80 a day more
in the Assembly, and $110 more in the Senate than the limit now fixed by
In 1903, the patronage in the Assembly totaled $6312.50 a week, more
than $900 a day. In the Senate it was $5612.50, or $800 a day.
The increase continued in 1905. in that year Assembly Patronage totaled
$7956.50 a week, or $1135 a day, while the Senate patronage was $6002.50
a week, or $857 a day.
The climax came in 1907, when the Assembly patronage went to $9660.50 a
week, or $1350 a day, and the Senate patronage to to $6893.50 a week, or
$985 a day. What it would have been in 1909 had there been no
Constitutional restriction placed upon it, is a matter for speculation.
 See concluding chapter as to how this could have been avoided.
 The term "band wagon" was applied during the session to those
members who were in the habit of joining the winning side at the last
Organization of the Assembly.
Independent Movement to Resist the Machine's Program Failed - Reform
Element Rallied and Rejected Rules Prepared by Committee Appointed by
Stanton, Which Would Have Placed Majority at Mercy of the
The machine-free members of the Lower House at least did better than the
reformers in the Senate; they made an attempt to organize the Assembly
independent of the machine. The effort was, however, as uncertain as
that of a nestling taking its first lesson in flying. Nothing came of
the venture; but it indicates what may be done in future.
The organization of the Assembly hinges on the election of the Speaker.
The machine ordinarily picks the Speaker before the November elections,
so his election need not stir up any particular enthusiasm. But there is
always something of a contest started - for the sake of appearances,
This year the machine had picked Phil Stanton, of Los Angeles, for the
job, but Bob Beardslee, of Stockton, was permitted to give Stanton "a
The San Francisco newspapers along in November and December recorded the
political ripple of the contest, but the fight was a dead affair, and
nobody enthused. The play came to a tame ending when Beardslee nominated
Stanton for the Speaker's job and got the Chairmanship of the important
Committee on Ways and Means for being good, or taking program, however
one may view it.
But at one time a real fight for the Speakership threatened. Assemblyman
Drew, of Fresno, and other stanch anti-machine men, conceived the
radical notion that it was idiotic for them to sit around like lambs
waiting to have their throats cut, while the machine organized the
House. They accordingly decided to take a hand in the organization of
the Assembly themselves by refusing to vote for any man for Speaker who
was known to be under the influence of the machine.
Forty-one votes are required to elect the Speaker. The reformers figured
on the nineteen Democratic members as with them. The Lincoln-Roosevelt
League had elected Assemblymen from several counties, including Alameda.
These were naturally counted on. Other reputable Republican members were
expected to join the movement in numbers sufficient to secure the
necessary forty-one votes.
The purpose of the leaders of this departure from the regular rules of
the political game should have commended itself to every good citizen.
Their idea was to organize the Assembly, not for self-advancement, or
the promotion of special privileges as the machine leaders do year after
year, but that good bills might be passed and bad bills defeated; that
the waste of the public funds might be stopped; that worthy citizenship
might be placed above predatory partisanship. And yet, they were
compelled to proceed with the utmost caution; were discouraged at every
turn, and abused like pickpockets, even by those upon whom they depended
for support. Gradually it dawned upon them that not a few of the
Democratic members were not in sympathy with reform legislation. But
more discouraging still was the fact that certain Republicans elected to
the Assembly by the Lincoln-Roosevelt faction of the party were as
little to be depended upon. By consulting the tables "B" and "C" of
Assembly votes in the appendix, it will be seen that Democrats like
Baxter, Collum, Hopkins, O'Neil and Wheelan, and Lincoln-Roosevelt
Republicans like Mott, Pulcifer and Feeley, as a general thing voted
with the machine Republicans. There were, to be sure, Democrats like
Gillis, Johnson of Placer, Juilliard, Maher, Mendenhall, Polsley,
Preston, Wilson, Odom and Stuckenbruck, who were against the machine on
every issue, but the record shows the utter foolishness of regarding
either party free of machine influences. Without being able to
understand just how it was, Mr. Drew and his associates failed to secure
the encouragement for their independent movement which they expected.
The stealthy move upon the Speaker's chair was found in some
unaccountable way to be blocked. Then some cautious soul suggested that
if they should fail the machine would hold up the appropriation bills of
those identified with the movement. That settled it. The attempt to
elect as Speaker some member free of machine influence ended right
there. The reformers skurried for cover.
The part which the appropriation bills play in the enactment of bad laws
is one of the least understood of a legislative session. Each session
money must be appropriated by legislative enactment for the maintenance
and enlargement, where necessary, of the various State institutions,
such as hospitals for the insane, reform schools, normal schools, and
the like. These institutions are not local at all, but State. But the
Senators and Assemblymen from the counties in which they are situated
are, by custom, charged with the responsibility of securing the
appropriations necessary for their support. The San Jose Normal School,
for example, and the Agnew Asylum for the Insane, are situated in Santa
Clara County. They are no more Santa Clara County institutions than they
are Del Norte or San Diego institutions, but the Senators and
Assemblymen from Santa Clara County are held responsible for the passage
of the appropriation bills affecting them. Too often, the ability of the
Assemblyman or Senator is measured, not by his real work in the
Legislature, but by the size of the appropriations which he manages to
secure for his district. Under the present system by which the machine
organizes the Legislature, it is in a position to defeat or materially
reduce practically any appropriation bill. The member of the Legislature
who would oppose the machine thus finds himself between the constituents
at home, who demand that he secure generous appropriations for his
district, and the machine, which he understands very well requires
support of its policies as one of the prices of the constituent-demanded
appropriations. Thus those who would have opposed the machine in the
organization of the Assembly realized that failure would probably mean a
hammering of their appropriation bills, which would result in their
political undoing at home. So the independent movement to organize the
Assembly came to a sorry ending.
Stanton was elected Speaker without opposition. The "defeated" Beardslee
placed him in nomination. Complete harmony prevailed. Stanton started
proceedings by appointing the Committee on Rules. This committee was
charged with drafting rules for the government of the Assembly during
the session. It was made up of Assemblymen Johnston of Contra Costa,
Transue, Johnson of Sacramento, Beardslee and Stanton.
Without the people knowing much about what is going on, the rules
governing legislative bodies are being amended from time to time, so
that the power of influencing legislation is being taken out of the
hands of the duly elected representatives of the people and placed with
presiding officers and important committees. The "system," or the
machine, call it what you may, finds it easier to control presiding
officers and committees appointed by presiding officers, than to control
Legislatures. This stealthy advance upon the liberties of the people,
seems to have reached its climax at Washington, where the independent
members of both parties are in open revolt against "Cannonism." But
"Cannonism" is not confined to the National Congress alone; in a small
way it has its hold on the California Legislature. The rules prepared by
Speaker Stanton's committee were well calculated to give "Cannonism" a
stronger hold in California, which would have influenced not only the
session of 1909 but, as a precedent, many sessions to come. The
proposed rules in saddling "Cannonism" upon the Assembly were well
calculated to strengthen the machine's grip upon the Legislature.
The departure from the rules of 1907 was most radical. Under the rules
that governed the Assembly in 1907, committees were required to report
on each bill referred to them within ten days after the measure had been
The rules proposed by the committee provided that the report should be
made as soon as "practicable."
The rules of 1907 provided that a mere majority could recall a bill from
Under the proposed rules a two-thirds vote would have been necessary.
Under the rules of 1907 a measure could be advanced on the files at the
request of its author.
Under the committee's rules unanimous consent of the Assembly was made
necessary for such advancement.
The proposed rules would have enabled the machine forces to smother in
committee any measure the machine wished to defeat. A two-thirds vote
would have been necessary to suspend the rules to have a bill recalled
from committee, that is to say, the votes of fifty-four Assemblymen.
Twenty-seven Assemblymen could then have held the measure in committee
until the session closed.
Had the committee-prepared rules been adopted, the probabilities are
that the battleground of the session would have been transferred from
the Senate Chamber to the Assembly.
But the proposed rules were not adopted. A fight against adopting the
committee's report was started by Drew of Fresno. Mr. Drew introduced a
resolution rejecting the rules submitted by the committee, and
substituting the rules of 1907, to govern the session of 1909. Johnson
of Sacramento led the defense that rallied to the committee's report.
But Johnson's wit failed against the argument which Drew, Callan,
Preston, Young and Cattell offered. The gentlemen denounced the rules
which the committee had offered as "vicious, despotic and gagging."
Drew's resolution was adopted by a vote of 41 to 32, the committee's
report rejected and the rules of 1907 accepted for the session of
1909. It was a decided victory for the anti-machine forces, and
brought gloom to the scheming machine leaders. But it developed later
that not a few who had voted for the Drew resolution were safely
machine; while many who had voted against it were anti-machine, but had
voted against the resolution under misapprehension of just what it stood
Although the reform majority in the Assembly could prevent the adoption
of the "gag rules," it could not, after it had failed to elect the
Speaker, govern the appointment of the committees. By and large, the
Assembly committees were controlled as were the Senate committees by
machine standbys. The Election Laws Committee, which was to pass upon
the Direct Primary bill, was safely in machine hands. Grove L. Johnson,
as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, herded the young lawyers thereon
like so many sheep. Johnson was in effect the committee.
The Committee on Corporations and the Committee on Common Carriers,
before which railroad regulation bills might come, were safely in
majority for the machine.
One apparent exception to the rule was the Committee on Public Morals,
which gave the Anti-Gambling bill its start toward passage. But this
committee, which did so much to secure the passage of the Anti-Gambling
bill, held up the Local Option bill at Speaker Stanton's request, until
the last week of the session, thus making its passage in the Assembly
A curious mistake was made by the machine, when Telfer of San Jose was
made Chairman of the Committee on Contingent Expenses. Telfer is not
only anti-machine, but possessed of a non-political honesty which proved
very distressing to the machine before the session was over.
Telfer as Chairman of the committee refused to "O. K." extravagant
charges for the materials furnished the Assembly. As a result, bills for
hire of typewriters had to be reduced, pencils counted and other
astonishing reductions made.
Telfer saved the State several hundred dollars, but caused many a
heartache. Telfer's appointment to a committee which he made important,
shows that the machine element as well as the anti-machine sometimes
makes mistakes. But in spite of its minor mistakes, in spite of the
anti-machine majority, so admirably did the machine organize the
Assembly for its purposes, that in the closing days of the session not
only were vicious measures passed without much difficulty, but the
Assembly was made the graveyard of good bills.
 If ever the People of California secure control of the State
Legislature through machine-free representatives with the courage to
dare and the ability to do, one of the most important pieces of work
will be to sweep aside the mass of precedent which the machine has for
years been gradually embodying into the rules of Senate and Assembly.
What is needed is a set of rules that shall promote the expression of
the wishes of the majority. The curse of technicality does not hamper
the Judiciary alone; it hampers the legislative branch of government as
well. Note Wolfe's ability to deadlock the Senate after the Assembly
Amendments to the Direct Primary bill had been rejected. Chapter XI.
 The vote by which this was done was as follows:
For the Drew resolution and against the committee rules: Assemblymen
Black, Bohnett, Callan, Cattell, Cogswell, Collum, Costar, Cronin, Drew,
Flint, Gibbons, Hammon, Hanlon, Hayes, Hewitt, Hinkle, Hopkins, Irwin,
Johnson of Placer, Juilliard, Lightner, Maher, Melrose, Mendenhall,
Odom, Otis, O'Neil, Polsley, Preston, Rech, Rutherford, Sackett, Silver,
Stuckenbruck, Telfer, Wagner, Webber, Wheelan, Whitney, Wilson and
Young. - 41.
Against the Drew resolution and for the committee rules: Assemblymen
Barndollar, Beardslee, Beban, Coghlan, Collier, Cullen, Dean, Feeley,
Flavelle, Fleisher, Gerdes, Greer, Griffiths, Hans, Hawk, Holmquist,
Johnson of Sacramento, Johnson of San Diego, Johnston, Leeds, Macauley,
McClelland, McManus, Moore, Mott, Nelson, Perine, Pugh, Pulcifer,
Schmitt, Stanton, Transue - 32.
 A gentleman who for a number of years has been identified with the
reform element in the Assembly, writes of this feature of the machine's
hold on the Legislature as follows: "One of the principal difficulties
with the Legislature as it is now constituted and has been for many
years past, is that the machine or organization always endeavors to
secure the election of young men who haven't very fixed opinions and who
are easily influenced; not knowing the machine tactics and the real
object behind the legislation they do not seem to see the necessity for
standing firm and for that reason are often led into voting for or
against measures which they would not were they more familiar with the
tricks of the machine men. A new grist of legislators is what the
organization is always looking for. They want a certain number of old
"stand-bys" who will do their dirty work for a mere pittance or some
paltry reward, real or anticipated, and with these men to influence and
control the younger members their purpose is easily, accomplished."
 See Passage of Wheelan Bills, chapter XVII; Passage of Change of
Venue bill, chapter XVI. Examples of good bills defeated in the Assembly
in the closing days of the session were the Judicial Column bill, and
the Holohan measure removing the party circle from the election ballot.
The Machine in Control.
Deliberately Held Up Measures in Committees Until the Close of the
Session, When Senate and Assembly Were Forced to Take Snap Judgment on
Hundreds of Measures - In the Confusion Thus Created, Good Bills Were
Defeated and Bad Ones Passed.
The Legislature organized, the machine and anti-machine forces settled
down to the work of the session. The situation was unique. The
anti-machine element had a comfortable majority in the Assembly and at
least a bare majority in the Senate. But the machine controlled the
committees of both Houses, had selected the presiding officers, and had
dictated the selection of the majority of the attaches. When, for
example, it was suggested that in the event of a close vote in the
Senate on the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill, it might be found necessary
to send the Sergeant-at-Arms after Senators who might attempt to dodge
the vote, not a single attache of the Sergeant-at-Arms' office could be
named who was in sympathy with the movement against the gamblers.
Incidentally, however, it was discovered that the clerk of the important
Senate Enrolling and Engrossing Committee had been an employee at Frank
Daroux's notorious Sausalito poolrooms. These were disquieting
discoveries for the reform element.
Although the machine controlled the strategic positions of the
organization of the Legislature, it was still in the minority in each
House. This meant that the machine could not, in open fight, pass a
vicious or undesirable measure, or put through any of its schemes. The
machine's course soon became apparent. If the machine could not put laws
on the statute books to its liking, it could block the passage of good
measures. Having crafty leaders in both Senate and Assembly, and, above
all, controlling the committees, the machine was admirably prepared to
do this. By employing delaying tactics which would have done credit to a
specialist in criminal defense, the machine devoted the first two months
of the session to the blocking of legislation.
The methods employed were very simple. As soon as a bill was introduced
it was referred to a committee of the House in which it originated. The
committee would hold the measure until the reform element gave
indications of protesting. The bill would then be returned. If
possible it would be further delayed by amendment on second or third
reading. If finally passed by the House of its origin, it would be sent
to the other House, where it would be referred to a committee. In the
majority of cases the committee could hold it indefinitely. In such
cases as the committees were forced to report on measures that had
passed the other House, the measure would be amended, which necessitated
its being reprinted, and again acted upon by the House of its
origin, all of which made for delay.
But it must not be thought that the Senate and Assembly were left in
idleness during the first two months of the session. Such is by no means
the case; Senators and Assemblymen never worked harder. The machine
leaders during the first month of the session craftily kept the members
wrangling in committees. During the second month the Senate was kept
working day and night passing comparatively unimportant Senate bills,
and the Assembly working as hard passing Assembly bills; but the Senate
passed very few Assembly bills and the Assembly very few Senate bills.
As a measure must pass both Houses to become a law, few bills were sent
to the Governor for his approval. Thus during the first two months of
the session many bills passed in one house or the other, but pitifully
few passed the Legislature.
The reform element, working sixteen hours a day not unlike so many mice
in a wheel, were apparently in complete ignorance of the situation which
they were creating. Senators whose bills had passed the Senate began to
complain that they could not get the measures out of the Assembly
committee; Assemblymen whose measures had passed the Assembly were as
loud in their charges that their bills were being held up in Senate
committees. The machine actually turned this early dissatisfaction to
its advantage. Soon it was being announced on the floor of the Assembly:
"If Senate committees will not act on Assembly bills, then the Assembly
committees will not act on Senate bills." The Senate made the same
threats as to Assembly bills. So, for about a week, Senate committees
openly slighted Assembly bills, while Assembly committees in retaliation
slighted Senate bills. The situation was very amusing; it was, too,
highly satisfactory to the machine.
About the first week in March - the Legislature adjourned March 24 - the
anti-machine members awoke to the fact that in spite of their day and
night sessions, little had been accomplished. The further disquieting
discovery was made that the bulk of the Assembly bills which had passed
the Assembly were being held in Senate committees, while the Senate
bills which had passed the Senate, were apparently anchored in Assembly
committees, and that the machine controlled the committees. The reform
members of each House had good cause for alarm. Every Senator and
Assemblyman has his "pet" measures. The reform Senators and Assemblymen
found that to get their bills out of committees they would have to treat
with the machine. Such a Senator or Assemblyman, with his constituents
clamoring for the passage of a bill held up in a machine-controlled
committee, had some claim to pardon if he turned suddenly attentive to
the machine olive branch. And the machine, by the way, always has the
olive branch out. Stand in with us, is their constant advance, and we
will see you through.
As a result of these delaying tactics, literally hundreds of bills which
had needlessly been held up in committees were forced upon the
consideration of the Senate during the last three weeks of the session.
Each House made records of passing more than 100 bills a day. There was
little pretense of reading the measures as required by the State
Constitution. The clerk at the desk mumbled over their titles; they were
voted upon and became laws. In the rush to get through, as will be shown
by example in other chapters, Senators and Assemblymen voted for
measures to which they were openly opposed. The machine minority was
merely reaping the benefits of a situation which the cleverness of its
leaders had created.
Although machine-advocated and unimportant measures could be passed in
such a situation, bills which the machine opposed could not be.
Machine-opposed measures were either held up in committees until their
passage was out of the question, or they were denied consideration in
Senate or Assembly, or their advocates worn out by the tactics of the
machine leaders. Senate Bill 220, which removed the party circle from
the election ballot, passed in the Senate after a bitter contest, was
held up in the Assembly until five days before adjournment, and then
denied a second reading. Boynton's Senate Bill 249, providing for the
arrangement of judicial candidates on the ballot without designation of
party affiliations, intended to take the Judiciary out of politics,
which after a long contest passed the Senate, was held up in the
Assembly until the day before adjournment, when it was denied passage.
This bill was introduced in the Senate on January 12. So popular was it,
such was the demand for its passage, that it was not openly opposed. It
was finally defeated on March 23, the day before adjournment. Thus two
months and eleven days were required to wear out its advocates.
About March 1, the machine began to crowd the anti-machine element for
early adjournment. At that time not far from 2000 bills were recorded in
the Senate and Assembly histories. The action had the effect of a good
stiff push to a man sliding down hill; the anti-machine forces had the
votes to prevent adjournment but the machine's adjournment plans added
considerably to anti-machine discomfiture. Senator Wolfe actually gave
notice that on Friday, March 5, he would move that the Legislature
adjourn on March 13. This would have given a fortnight for consideration
of nearly 2000 bills. At the time of Wolfe's motion, there were pending
the Direct Primary bill, the Railroad Regulation bills, the Commonwealth
Club bills, the Islais Creek Harbor bills, and scores of other important
measures, the passage of which had unnecessarily - albeit most cleverly
- been delayed.
As a result of clever manipulation, dating from the first day of the
session, the machine was thus in the closing days, in spite of the
majority against it, able to pass, amend or defeat measures, pretty much
as its leaders desired. The anti-machine forces, Republican and
Democratic, were during those last days, merely reaping the harvest
which they had sown when they permitted the Democratic-Republican
machine to take the organization of the Legislature out of their hands.
 The Senate Committee on Election Laws, for example, held the Direct
Primary bill for thirty-eight days, and finally reported it back so
amended that it had to be rewritten. See chapters VI and VII on efforts
of the machine to hold the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill in committee.
 It was stated on the floor of the Assembly, that were the Ten
Commandments to be adopted by the Assembly, the Senate would find some
excuse for amending them.
 The most astonishing example of this was furnished by the passage
of the Change of Venue bill in the Senate. See chapter XVI.
Election of United States Senator.
Opposition to Perkins Overcome by the Dead Weight of the Machine
- Movement Against His Re-election Failed for Want of Leadership
- Proceedings Without Warmth or Enthusiasm.
No funeral was ever attended by greater somberness than was the
re-election of George C. Perkins to the United States Senate, January
12-13, 1909. The nominating speeches were made without enthusiasm; not a
cheer greeted Senator or Assemblyman charged with the task of putting
the aged Senator in nomination. Pulcifer of Alameda, who made the
nominating speech in the Assembly, was received with icy calmness. Even
when the Alamedan referred to the veteran Senator as "one whose hair has
grown white and whose eyes have grown dim in the service of his
country," not so much as a ripple of applause stirred the chamber. When
the speaker concluded his review of the Senator's life and political
career, the incipient murmur of approval which somebody started died
away for want of vitality.
In the Senate, the task of nominating Perkins fell to Stetson of
Alameda. But Stetson's nominating speech was received with no more
enthusiasm than was that of the shifty Pulcifer. The "system," the
"organization," the "machine," have it as you will, returned George C.
Perkins to the United States Senate. The people of California had no
voice in it, nor, for that matter, the Legislature, although the
majority of the Legislature was opposed to the machine. In carrying out
the ignoble part prepared for them - prepared for them by the "machine"
which a majority of them opposed - the members of Senate and Assembly
went through the forms prescribed without a hand clap and without a
But it must not be thought that the re-election of Senator Perkins was
without opposition. Indeed, it met with the same sort of honest but
ineffective resistance that attended the election of Stanton to the
Speakership of the Lower House. And like the campaign against Stanton
the opposition to Perkins got nowhere because of the lack of leadership,
organization and plan of action on the part of the resisting
The machine had been preparing for Perkins' re-election for months; but
the opposition to Perkins made no move until after the November
The first outward sign of opposition came from Assemblyman E. J. Callan
of the Thirty-ninth District, the fighting reform district of San
Francisco. Callan, three or four weeks before the Legislature convened,
fell into a trap which the wily Alameda County politician had set some
time previous. Perkins had long before invited criticism of his
"record," which meant his votes on issues that had been passed upon by
the United States Senate. As a matter of fact, such votes mean little,
for the misplaced "courtesy of the Senate," under which schemers betray
the people, makes it possible for even recognized "reformers" to be
forced to vote against most desirable measures. The other fellows of the
Perkins stripe when brought to book on their "record" can always give in
defense: 'Why, your reformer, Senator So and So, did the same thing.' To
be sure, a La Follette does kick over the traces once in a while, in
which event he usually votes alone, while the solemn victims of
"courtesy" vote against him according to Senatorial custom, not to use
the more expressive word, stupidity.
Thus, when Perkins craftily invited his opponents to attack him on his
record, they dodged the trap gingerly, all save Callan. Callan didn't
walk, he rushed into it, sending a scathing letter to Perkins on that
gentleman's Senatorial record. Perkins' reply and explanation came as a
counter blow. The fire was tempered out of Callan's letter. Callan had
permitted Perkins to select the fighting ground, and Perkins had
exhibited admirable judgment.
The attack on Perkins had better been made on his attitude toward the
shipping interests of California - the development of the isthmian route
to New York, for example; on his attitude toward the machine, whose
strangle-hold upon the State is locked with federal patronage; on his
attitude toward the so-called "Roosevelt policies"; on his attitude
toward the Roosevelt administration, upon which he hung with the dead
weight of crafty, persistent obstruction. There were plenty of
vulnerable points in the Perkins armor, but naturally in selecting the
point of attack, Perkins carefully avoided them. So Callan's bolt
rebounded harmlessly, to the astonishment of the various well-meaning
reformers, and the intense satisfaction of the machine, whose somewhat
anxious leaders recognized full well that Callan's discomfiture would
discourage attacks from other possibly effective sources.
The next move against Perkins came the week before the Legislature
convened. A number of anti-machine Republicans met at San Francisco to
canvass the situation, and formulate a plan to defeat Perkins if
possible. It was found that on joint Senate and Assembly ballot, the
Democrats would have twenty-nine votes and the Republicans ninety-one.
Sixty-one votes are required for the election of a Senator. The
Republicans at the meeting considered these twenty-nine votes as with
them in the selection of an anti-machine Republican for Perkins' place.
The anti-machine Republicans thus in revolt against the machine,
themselves numbered twenty Senators and Assemblymen, which made
forty-nine votes against Perkins. In addition, an even dozen Republican
Senators and Assemblymen were counted upon as willing to vote against
Perkins if his defeat could be shown to be certain. This would have
given the anti-Perkins element sixty-one votes, just enough to elect.
For one of their number to fail, meant a deadlock; for two, if
Republicans, to fail meant Perkins' election. It was a slender chance,
but the possibility of success kept the movement alive until the hour of
the Senatorial caucus.
Those who were promoting the movement were not at the time aware that
six of the Democratic Assemblymen and one of the Democratic Senators
were governed by such high conceptions of their duties as citizens and
responsibilities as legislators, that they were to cast their votes in
the Senatorial election for a San Francisco saloon keeper, on the ground
that he is a "good fellow" and had "spent money liberally for the
party." This of itself made the defeat of Perkins impossible.
The anti-Perkins forces were also handicapped by the fact that they had
no candidate. The machine had been craftily booming Perkins for years;
the reformers had boomed nobody. They were, then, without material
for a positive fight; all they could do was negative, which is always
confession of weakness. In addition, aside from the Bulletin, there was
no San Francisco publication that could be counted upon to back their
movement. The Call was openly supporting Perkins. The movement against
Perkins, while it admittedly represented the attitude of the majority of
the electors of the State, and the feeling of a safe majority of both
Houses of the Legislature, was without one element of real strength.
Under the United States Revised Statutes, the Legislature was called
upon, to proceed on the second Tuesday after organization, to elect
Senator Perkins' successor. As the Legislature had organized on January
4, the second Tuesday fell on January 12. The call for the Republican
caucus to go through the form of selecting a candidate for the Senate,
was circulated the third and fourth days of the session. The Republican
Senators all signed it, not a few of them with the non-resistance of a
wretch in the hands of a hangman.
More opposition developed in the Assembly. Callan and three or four
others kept up their resistance to the last, but when the caucus
assembled on Friday evening, January 8, all the Republican Senators and
Assemblymen who could do so were in attendance.
The caucus was of course hopelessly programmed for Perkins.
Nevertheless, the better element of the party endeavored to secure some
expression from Senator Perkins as to his attitude toward the Western
transportation problem. This led to a heated debate which kept the
caucus in session until a late hour. The debate turned on the celebrated
For years, the Southern Pacific Railroad Company has been able to
prevent effective water competition by way of the Isthmus of Panama. The
Government has a line of steamers running from New York to the Isthmus,
and a railroad line across the Isthmus. With an additional line of
steamers running from San Francisco to Panama, the Government would have
a through line from San Francisco to New York. This would give genuine
competition with the Southern Pacific system, and free the State from
the grasp of the transportation monopoly.
In August, 1907, Hon. J. L. Bristow, now United States Senator from
Kansas, was appointed a Special Panama Railroad Commissioner, to
investigate the necessity and feasibility of putting on the Pacific
line. Mr. Bristow, in a report that fairly sizzled with criticism of
Southern Pacific and Pacific Mail Steamship Company methods, recommended
that the government line be established. When Pacific freight rates were
arbitrarily raised just before the Legislature convened, shippers of the
State appealed, not to Senator Perkins or to Senator Flint, but to
Senator Bristow from interior Kansas, asking that he concern himself
with having government steamers put on the San Francisco-Panama route.
Bristow replied that he would do what he could, that he was receiving
many letters from Western shippers who favored the plan, but that the
chief difficulty in the way was the opposition of the California
delegation in the Senate.
This Bristow letter caused all the trouble at the Perkins caucus. The
suggestion was made that Perkins owed it to the State to explain the
charges brought against him by the Senator from Kansas. A resolution was
accordingly introduced providing that a telegram be sent Senator Perkins
calling upon him to state whether the charge made by Senator Bristow
Immediately the pro-Perkins people assumed the dignified position that
such a telegram would be an insult to the venerable Senator from
California. Nobody seems to have taken the trouble to state that the
Bristow charges were untrue, but that the requesting of the Senator to
answer them would be an insult to that dignitary was made subject of the
warmest oratory. So warm was it, that the opposition to Perkins melted
away like wax - or putty, if putty melts - until but five members of the
caucus had the courage to vote to ask Perkins to declare himself on the
transportation problem. Callan of San Francisco voted for it, so did
Drew of Fresno, so did Young of Berkeley and two others. But 77 members
of the caucus voted against the resolution. Senator Perkins was
permitted to maintain a dignified silence on the Bristow charges. After
the vote on the resolution, Assemblyman Callan left the caucus.
But even with the Republican caucus nomination, Perkins did not receive
the entire Republican vote. In the Assembly, Callan voted for Chester
Rowell of Fresno, and Sackett for Thomas R. Bard of Ventura. Fifty-six
of the Assembly votes, however, were cast for Perkins.
In the Senate, Perkins received thirty-two votes. The thirty regular
Republicans voted for him, as did Senator Bell, the
Independent-Republican, and Senator Caminetti, Democrat. Senator
Caminetti voted for Perkins because Caminetti regarded Perkins, as
nearly as could be determined, the choice of the electors to whom
Caminetti owed his election. Caminetti believes that the United States
Senator should be selected by the people of the State. The nearest he
could get to this was to ascertain the wishes of the people of his
district. He was convinced that the people of his district wished to see
Perkins re-elected. So, regardless of partisan considerations, Caminetti
the Democrat voted for Perkins the Republican. Caminetti's explanation
of his vote is worthy of the most careful consideration.
The regular candidate of the minority for the Democratic complimentary
vote was J. O. Davis, a gentleman of the highest character. But eight of
the Democratic members voted against him. Seven of the eight,
Assemblymen Black, Collum, Hopkins, Lightner, O'Neil and Wheelan and
Senator Hare voted for Harry P. Flannery, a San Francisco saloon-keeper;
the eighth, Senator Kennedy, voted for William H. Langdon. Six
Democratic Senators and thirteen Democratic Assemblymen voted for Mr.
Davis. They were: Senators Campbell, Cartwright, Curtin, Holohan,
Miller, and Sanford; Assemblymen Baxter, Gibbons, Gillis, Irwin, Johnson
of Placer, Juilliard, Maher, Mendenhall, Odom, Polsley, Preston,
Stuckenbruck and Webber.
 It is interesting to note that when a good citizen gives effective
resistance to the machine, that the machine invariably starts the cry -
"He is a candidate for the United States Senate." The open candidacy -
and liberal advertising - of a machine man for the Federal Senatorship
causes no adverse comment. For an anti-machine man to so aspire - or the
suspicion in machine breasts that he so aspires - is heralded as
evidence of his complete unworthy and irresponsibility.
 But when the machine Republicans of a State unite with Democrats to
elect a machine man to the Federal Senate, no such difficulties attend
them. Note the election by a coalition of machine Republicans and
machine Democrats in Illinois of "Billy" Lorimer, the notorious "blond
boss" of the stockyards, to the United States Senate.
 Senator Bell, although a Republican, was excluded because he would
not make his peace with Walter Parker, the Southern Pacific boss of the
political district lying south of Tehachepi. See Chapter 11,
Organization of the Senate.
 Caminetti's explanation of his vote, as printed in the Senate
Journal, is in full as follows:
"Mr. President: During the campaign of 1906, in the Tenth Senatorial
District, resulting in my election as Senator, I made the question of
'The election of United States Senators by direct vote of the people'
one of the leading issues upon which I asked the suffrage of the people.
I then pledged myself in all my speeches and in the press, to endeavor
to secure the passage of a law by the Legislature in case of my election
having that object in view, and in case of failure in the effort I would
nevertheless follow that principle and vote for the choice of a majority
of the qualified electors of that district in the selection of a Senator
during my term of off cue.
"The last session of the Legislature failed to enact the necessary
legislation on the subject, but the people of my district have
nevertheless plainly indicated to me that Hon. George C. Perkins was at
the last election, and now is, their choice for the United States
"Under these circumstances I feel in honor bound by my pledges to the
people of the Tenth Senatorial District, to record the choice of a
majority of the qualified electors thereof for Hon. George C. Perkins
for United States Senator, hoping in so doing that it will never again
be necessary for a member of the Legislature to vote the choice of the
people of his district in this, or any other, indirect way, but that
this Legislature will rise superior to partisanship and give to the
people hereafter an opportunity, under suitable laws, to vote directly
for candidates for that office. Should this Legislature fail in this
high duty to the public, I trust that the people, in whom all power
resides, will hereafter take up this matter in the way the people of the
Tenth Senatorial District did two years ago, and thus be able in all
legislative districts of the State to record their choice for the
exalted office of United States Senator."
The Anti-Racetrack Gambling Bill.
Supporters of the Measure Knew What They Wanted, Drew a Bill to Meet the
Requirements of the Situation and Refused to Compromise with the Machine
Element - Suggestive Series of "Errors" Attended Its Passage.
Of the three principal reform measures considered by the Legislature of
1909 - the Direct Primary bill, the Railroad Regulation bill and the
Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill - the last named was the only one to
become a law untrimmed of its effective features. The Anti-Racetrack
Gambling bill passed the Assembly, passed the Senate and was signed by
the Governor precisely as it had been introduced; there was not so much
as the change of a comma allowed. The result is an anti-gambling law on
California statute books which if it work as well as it has in other
States will prevent bookmaking and pool-selling, thus relieving horse
racing of the incubus which has made the sport of kings
Since the reform element succeeded in passing the Anti-Racetrack
Gambling bill without amendment, there is widespread opinion that there
was no opposition to its passage. As a matter of fact, nothing is
farther from the truth. Before a legislator reached Sacramento, the
pro-gambling lobby was on the ground, and continued its hold-up process
until the Assembly, by a vote of 67 to 10, passed the measure, and by a
vote of 57 to 19 refused to grant it reconsideration.
The writer remembers his first poll of the Senate on the anti-gambling
issue, when only nineteen Senators could be safely counted for it;
twenty-one were necessary for its passage. To be sure, a number of the
Senators not included in the list of the nineteen who were from the
beginning safe for the measure, were pledged to vote for an anti-pool
selling bill, but this did not necessarily mean the effective
Walker-Otis bill which had been drawn to prevent pool selling and
bookmaking. Not a few unquestionably figured on voting for a bill that
would place them on record as against racetrack gambling, but do
racetrack gambling little or no harm.
These uncertain ones were blocked in their plan of action because the
proponents of the Anti-Gambling bill knew just what they wanted to do,
namely, close up poolrooms and bookmakers' booths. They took the most
effective way to close them up, namely, adapted to California
Constitution and criminal practice, the Hughes anti-gambling law, the
adoption of which Governor Hughes forced in New York, and which in New
York State had proved most effective.
The bill was drawn carefully and its backers in the Legislature and out
of the Legislature let it be known that no amendment, not so much as to
change a comma, would be tolerated. The measure was introduced in the
Senate by Walker of Santa Clara, and in the Assembly by Otis of Alameda.
It was known as the Walker-Otis bill.
This determined stand for the passage of the measure just as it had been
drawn thoroughly alarmed the gambling lobby. "Reformers" who would not
"compromise" proved a new experience. The machine never compromises
until it is whipped. Accordingly, when public opinion demanded action on
the Walker-Otis bill, the machine Senators began to talk of compromise.
In fact, up to the hour of the vote on the bill in the Senate, Senator
Wolfe did not stop whining compromise. In his speech against the passage
of the bill, just before the final vote was taken he insisted: "There
should have been a compromise measure agreed upon, a bill for which we
all could have voted."
The moment before Wolfe had been warning the Senate that to pass the
Walker-Otis bill would tend to wreck the Republican party in California.
Just what the Walker-Otis bill had to do with Republican policies Mr.
Wolfe would no doubt have difficulty in answering. But the measure did
have much to do with machine policies. The machine had prevented the
passage of the Anti-Gambling bill two years before, and was prepared to
prevent the enactment of an effective anti-gambling law at the session
of 1909. Senator Wolfe undoubtedly fell into the common error of
mistaking the machine for the Republican party.
However, the spirit of no compromise which gave Senator Wolfe so much
concern saved the Walker-Otis bill, and has given California an
effective law. The lesson of the incident is that if effective laws are
to be placed on the statute books, there can be no compromise with the
machine. There was compromise with the machine in the direct primary
issue, with the result that the Direct Primary law is in many respects a
sham. But that is another story to be told in another chapter. The
anti-machine element did not compromise with the machine on the
Walker-Otis bill, with the result that an effective law was passed.
From the beginning, the anti-gambling element let it be known that no
suggestion of compromise would be entertained. They announced boldly
that if the machine succeeded in amending the measure, they, the
anti-gambling Senators and Assemblymen, would work to prevent the
passage of the amended bill. The position of these members of the
Legislature who did not propose to be sidetracked by machine trickery is
well illustrated by an interview with Senator Walker, which appeared in
the Sacramento Bee on January 19.
"If the Hughes bill can not pass the California Legislature in the form
that it was passed in New York," said Senator Walker, "I shall vote
against the compromise or the amended bill. The people of California
have made clear their desire that an effective anti-gambling law, such
as New York enjoys, be placed on the statute books. To substitute
anything else would be betrayal."
So there was no compromise with the machine on the Walker-Otis bill, and
the people were not betrayed, as they were to be later in the passage of
the Direct Primary bill and the, Railroad Regulation bill, where there
was compromise with the machine.
When the machine found there was to be no compromise, a curious series
of mishaps became the lot of the Walker-Otis bill, particularly in the
Senate. The measure, when introduced, was, in the ordinary course of
legislation, referred to the Senate Committee on Public Morals. But it
did not reach that committee until several days after its introduction.
When the discovery was made that it had not reached the committee, a
sensation budded but never bloomed. The facts, however, were brought out
that the measure had been reposing in the pocket of a clerk instead of
going to the committee. This "error" was corrected, and the bill turned
over to its proper custodians.
Then came the discovery that the bill had not been properly printed;
three words had been left out of the printed bill in the State printer's
office. This "error," as soon as discovered by Senator Walker, was
corrected. It was declared to be "trivial." But the "trivial"
typographical and clerical errors in the Direct Primary bill in the
final count gave the machine its opportunity to amend the measure to
machine liking. The writer has no doubt in his own mind that the machine
aimed to delay the passage of the Walker-Otis bill until the end of the
session, as it did the Direct Primary bill, and then amend it to suit
machine purposes or defeat it altogether.
Error even attended the recording of the passage of the bill. After a
measure has passed the Senate, its title must be read and approved, and
an order made transmitting it to the Assembly, all of which must be
recorded in the Senate journal. The printed Senate journal of February
4, however, the day the bill was passed, merely recorded the passage of
the bill. Nothing appeared about its title having been read, or that it
had been transmitted to the Assembly. Walker discovered this "error,"
and a hasty inspection of the original minutes followed. The original
minutes contained the proper record as follows: "Title read and
approved. Bill ordered transmitted to the Assembly." But the two
sentences had been omitted from the printed journal. The patient Walker
had the correction made. None of these irregularities, however, resulted
in serious delay. Those behind the measure watched their opponents
closely, refused utterly to treat them with the "courtesy due Senators,"
in fact, acted under the assumption that the gambling element would stop
at nothing to defeat the bill. This watchfulness is an important
although comparatively minor reason why the bill was passed.
Then came the machine's move to pass "an anti gambling bill" as a
substitute for the Walker-Otis measure. Martinelli in the Senate and
Butler in the Assembly had introduced an Anti-Pool Selling, Anti-Book
Making bill. The measure had much to commend it but was by no means so
effective as the Walker-Otis bill. As a last straw, the gambling element
grasped at the Martinelli-Butler bill, and threw their influence on the
side of its passage. But here they again met with the uncompromising
resistance of the reform element. There was nothing left for the machine
to do but make its fight on the floor of Senate and of Assembly. And the
fight came on in a way and with a suddenness which brought consternation
upon the machine forces.
 The Walker-Otis bill is in full as follows:
Section 1. A new section is hereby added to the Penal Code to be known
as Section three hundred and thirty-seven a thereof and to read as
aye. Every person, who engages in pool selling or bookmaking at any time
or place; or who keeps or occupies any room, shed, tenement, tent,
booth, or building, float or vessel, or any part thereof, or who
occupies any place or stand of any kind, upon any public or private
grounds within this State, with books, papers, apparatus or
paraphernalia, for the purpose of recording or registering bets or
wagers, or of selling pools, or who records or registers bets or wagers,
or sells pools, upon the result of any trial or contest of skill, speed
or power of endurance, of man or beast or between men or beasts, or upon
the result of any lot, chance, casualty, unknown or contingent event
whatsoever; or who receives, registers, records or forwards, or purports
or pretends to receive, register, record or forward, in any manner
whatsoever, any money, thing or consideration of value, bet or wagered,
or offered for the purpose of being bet or wagered, by or for any other
person, or sells pools, upon any such result; or who, being the owner,
lessee, or occupant of any room, shed, tenement, tent, booth or
building, float or vessel, or part thereof, or of any grounds within
this State, knowingly permits the same to be used or occupied for any of
these purposes, or therein keeps, exhibits or employs any device or
apparatus for the purpose of recording or registering such bets or
wagers, or the selling of such pools, or becomes the custodian or
depositary for gain, hire or reward of any money, property or thing of
value, staked, wagered or pledged, or to be wagered or pledged upon any
such result; or who aids, assists or abets in any manner in any of the
said acts, which are hereby forbidden, is punishable by imprisonment in
a county jail or State prison for a period of not less than thirty days
and not exceeding one year.
 Had not the people of the Twenty-ninth and Thirty-first Senatorial
Districts revolted against the machine at the general election of 1908,
the Walker-Otis bill would probably have been defeated in the Senate. In
the chapter dealing with the passage of the Miller-Drew Reciprocal
Demurrage bill, it will be shown how the Democratic Senators Holohan and
Campbell were elected in the Republican Twenty-ninth and Thirty-first
Senatorial Districts, not because they were Democrats, but because the
Republicans of those districts, recognizing the real issue before the
State - the machine against the anti-machine element - voted for Holohan
and Campbell, knowing them to be for good government and a "square deal"
for all. Holohan and Campbell were from the beginning foremost in their
support of the Anti-Racetrack Gambling bill. To be sure, at the final
vote, only seven Senators voted against the measure. But it is generally
conceded that when the session opened, the gamblers had nineteen
Senators who could have been prevailed upon to vote against an effective
anti-gambling bill. Had machine men sat in the seats occupied by Holohan
and Campbell, the gamblers would have had twenty-one votes in the
Senate, and the Walker-Otis bill would have been defeated.
 Much of the credit for this determined stand is due Earl H. Webb,
president of the Anti-Racetrack Gambling League, who managed the fight
for effective anti-racetrack gambling legislation not only during the
session of the Legislature, but before the Legislature convened. Mr.
Webb first convinced himself that the Walker-Otis bill would stop pool
selling and bookmaking; and that the measure would stand the test of
honest interpretation by the courts. Then he made his fight for it. To
Mr. Webb, more than to any other one person, is due the credit for its
Passage of the Walker-Otis Bill.
Anti-Machine Element Forced the Issue and Compelled Early Action on the
Measure - Evidence That Machine Planned to Defeat or Amend the Bill by
Delaying Its Passage Until Toward the End of the Session.
As one looks back over the exciting first five weeks of the session,
when the Walker-Otis bill was under consideration, it is plain that the
machine would have preferred to have made its initial fight in the
Senate. If defeated in the Senate, the enemies of the measure could have
jockeyed for delay, prevented the passage of the measure until the
closing hours of the session, and then killed it or forced its
supporters to accept amendments.
But the initial fight did not come in the Senate. The Assembly was the
battle-ground. The reason for this lies principally in the fact that
while Assemblyman W. B. Griffiths, of Napa, raises fast horses, he is not
a gambler, and is as much opposed to the bookmaking, pool-selling
features of the track as Senator Walker himself. Griffiths was made
chairman of the Assembly Committee on Public Morals. While this
committee has sundry sins to answer for, nevertheless it made an
astonishingly clean record on the Walker-Otis bill. On January 18, less
than three weeks after the Legislature had assembled, Chairman Griffiths
called his committee together to take up the Walker-Otis bill.
Of the nine members of the committee, seven were present, Mott and
Mendenhall alone failing to answer to their names. Those present were:
Griffiths, Cattell, Young, Dean, Perine, Fleisher and Wilson. The seven
members went through the bill paragraph by paragraph and decided
unanimously to recommend it for passage.
Had a dynamite bomb been set off under the Emeryville gambling
establishment, greater consternation could scarcely have seized upon the
pro-gambling element. The gamblers realized that the committee's prompt
action threatened the machine's plan to delay action on the measure
until the closing days of the session. For the moment all interest
centered in Mott and Mendenhall, the two members of the committee who
had been absent when the measure had been considered. Twenty-four hours
developed the fact that Mendenhall sanctioned the action of his seven
associates. This made eight of the nine committeemen for the bill. But
the ninth member, Assemblyman Mott of Alameda County, was very much
offended at what the committee had done.
Assemblyman Mott was elected as a Lincoln-Roosevelt League member.
Probably the Lincoln-Roosevelt League does not like to be reminded of
that unfortunate fact. But the lesson of Mr. Mott is so necessary for
the Lincoln-Roosevelt League and all other reform movements that the
conspicuous part which Mott played against reform policies cannot be too
much insisted upon. To be sure, Mr. Mott voted for the bill when it was
up for passage - the Lincoln-Roosevelt Republican platform of his county
pledged him to it. But there is a deal of difference between supporting
a measure and voting for it.
Mott was very much offended at what the committee had done and demanded
that another meeting be held. Such a meeting, to accommodate Mr. Mott,
was held - held in the office of Speaker Phil Stanton; held behind
closed doors; held with Jerk Burke, Southern Pacific lobbyist, safely
entrenched across the hall from Speaker Stanton's office in the back
office of Sergeant-at-Arms Stafford.
But Mott failed to change the position of his eight associates. The
further consideration of the measure by the committee which he demanded
was denied. He accordingly took the fight for reconsideration to the
floor of the Assembly. The fact that eight of the committee were against
him, apparently had no weight at all with Mr. Mott.
Failing to force the committee to reconsider its action in recommending
that the bill pass, Mott told his troubles to the Assembly. In the
Assembly Mott moved that the measure be re-referred to the Committee on
Public Morals, eight members of which had joined in recommending that it
The motion was lost by a vote of 53 to 23. This was recognized as the
test vote in the Assembly on the Anti Racetrack Gambling bill. That the
opponents of the bill failed to make a better showing fairly paralyzed
the pro-gambling lobby. Mott, chagrined and discomfited, retired in
Assemblyman Gibbons managed at this point to tie the bill up for another
day, by giving notice that on the day following, he would move that the
vote by which the bill was refused reference to the Committee on Public
Morals be reconsidered. The day following Mr. Gibbons made his motion
but was voted down, thirty Assemblymen supporting and forty-eight
The Gibbons motion having been disposed of, Assemblyman Butler moved to
amend the measure, by substituting for it the Martinelli-Butler bill.
But again did the anti-gambling element force the issue. The motion was
lost by a vote of 23 to 52.
Other proposed amendments having been voted down, Mr. Otis moved that
the bill be put on its passage the next day, January 21. This was a
final blow at the machine's purpose to delay the passage of the bill as
long as possible, and was met with determined opposition. But the motion
prevailed by a vote of 44 to 32.
The bill was on the following day put upon its final passage. The writer
considers the real test vote on the bill was cast on Mott's motion to
refer the measure back to the Committee on Public Morals. The vote on
the passage of the measure counts for little under the circumstances.
Sixty-seven Assemblymen voted for it; only ten - and every one of them
from San Francisco - voted against it.
By consulting the table showing the six votes on this bill - Table "D"
of the appendix - it will be seen that eleven of the twenty-three
Assemblymen who voted for Mott's motion to refer the measure back to the
Committee on Public Morals voted for its final passage. Two, Baxter and
Schmitt, who had voted for the Mott resolution, were absent when the
final vote on the bill was taken, leaving only ten who had voted for the
Mott resolution to vote against the bill. The eleven who had voted for
Mott's motion, but who switched to safety when the vote on the bill's
passage came, were: Beardslee, Greer, Johnson of Sacramento, Johnson
of San Diego, Johnston of Contra Costa, Moore, Mott, Nelson, Odom,
Wagner, Webber - 11.
There was just one more parliamentary move by which the Walker-Otis bill
could be delayed in the Assembly, to give notice of a motion to
reconsider the vote by which the measure had been passed. Grove L.
Johnson came to the rescue with the notice. This tied the bill up for
another twenty-four hours. On the 2nd Johnson made his motion to
reconsider but was defeated by a vote of nineteen to fifty-seven.
The table of the six votes on the Walker-Otis bill shows at a glance who
voted consistently for the measure on all of the numerous roll calls;
who voted consistently against it; and who were pulled backward and
forward, voting one moment to satisfy the public demand that the bill be
passed, and the next on the side of the gambling interests.
Public opinion was running high for the passage of the Walker-Otis bill
by the time the measure reached the Senate, after passing the Assembly,
but the bill might still have been held up in the Senate committee
had it not been for the ridiculous attack which Tom Williams, president
of the California jockey Club, made upon all who supported the measure,
or all who Williams thought supported it.
The occasion was a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Public
Morals, at which Williams was asked to present the side of the opponents
of the bill. The crowd that filled the Senate chamber expected from
Williams some reasons why the measure should be denied passage, but it
Instead of giving reasons in support of his position, Williams
introduced the methods of the barroom into the Senate chamber. He
dramatically gave Rev. Frank K. Baker, of Sacramento, the lie, under
conditions which stamped Williams as a bully and a coward. His
uncalled-for attack on Dr. Baker would have killed his argument, but not
content with this, he made probably the most astounding attack on the
Protestant clergy of the country ever heard in California, certainly the
most astonishing ever heard in the Senate chamber of the State.
The racetrack man's tirade did not give the reasons for continuance of
gambling, which the people expected to hear from him. Finally, when
Williams was swamped by questions which his insolence and tactlessness
had provoked, Senator Frank Leavitt came to his rescue by moving
adjournment. Leavitt's motion prevailed, but not until Williams had
effectively settled the fate of the Walker-Otis bill.
The Committee on Public Morals reported the bill back the next day with
the recommendation that it do not pass. The recommendation was that of
Weed, Wolfe and Leavitt. While Kennedy and Savage failed to vote for the
recommendation, they made no minority report. But even with the
unfavorable report, the measure passed the Senate by a vote of 33 to 7.
In the eleventh hour, uncertain Senators like Welch joined the winning
side, but the showing made by the gamblers was, all things considered,
better than could have been expected.
In the Senate and Assembly, out of a total vote of 120, the gambling
element, which had year after year succeeded in preventing the passage
of an anti-racetrack gambling bill, commanded on the measure's final
passage but seventeen votes. The incident illustrates what aroused
public opinion, when it finds expression in a definite plan of action,
But even with the measure's final passage, the delays that attended it
continued. It passed the Senate on Thursday, February 4. By the
following Saturday, the measure had been correctly engrossed, but could
not go to the Governor until it had received the signature of Speaker
Stanton of the Assembly. Stanton was out of town. As a result, it was
February 10, six days after it had passed the Senate, before it went to
the Governor. Governor Gillett took nine days to sign it, the Senate
History showing that it was approved on February 19. Because of the
delays the gamblers were enabled to complete their season at the
 Of the six votes taken in the Assembly on the Walker-Otis bill
issue, Mott in effect voted four times against the immediate passage of
the measure. See Table "D."
 It was Jerk Burke's first appearance at the capital for the
session. The danger which threatened the gambling element brought to the
capital every machine lobbyist within reach, from Frank Daroux down. It
was an anxious hour for the machine.
 This first test vote in the Assembly on the Walker-Otis bill was as
For Mott's motion, and in effect against the bill: Baxter, Beardslee,
Beban, Black, Coghlan, Collum, Cullen, Greer, Hopkins, Johnson of
Sacramento (Grove L.), Johnson of San Diego, Johnston of Contra Costa,
Macauley, McManus, Moore, Mott, Nelson, Odom, O'Neil, Pugh, Schmitt,
Wagner, Webber. - 23.
Against Mott's motion, and in effect for the bill: Barndollar, Bratty,
Bohnett, Butler, Callan, Cattell, Collier, Costar, Cronin, Dean, Drew,
Flavelle, Fleisher, Flint, Gerdes, Gibbons, Gillis, Griffiths, Hammon,
Hanlon, Hans. Hawk, Hayes, Hewitt, Hinkle, Holmquist, Irwin, Johnson of
Placer, Juilliard, Kiwi, Leeds, Lightner, Maher, McClellan, Melrose,
Mendenhall, Otis, Perine, Polsley, Preston, Pulcifer, Rech, Rutherford,
Sackett, Silver, Stanton, Stuckenbruck, Telfer, Transue, Whitney,
Wilson, Wylie, Young - 53.
 The several votes taken on the Walker-Otis bill will be found In
the table "D" of the appendix.
 Johnson of Sacramento voted for the bill to give notice that he
would the next day move for its reconsideration. Reconsideration can be
secured only by a member voting with the majority. Had Johnson voted
against the bill he could not have secured its reconsideration.
 Attention is called to the vote on reconsideration of Assemblyman
Feeley, of Alameda, another Lincoln-Roosevelt member Mr. Feeley was
absent when the vote on Mott's motion was taken. But Mr. Feeley voted
for the bill when it was on final passage, thus keeping his record
straight. But Mr. Feeley hastened to vote for reconsideration of the
Mr. Feeley, like Mr. Mott, was nominated by the Lincoln-Roosevelt League
because he could be elected. Mr. Feeley furnishes another example of the
folly of which reformers are sometimes guilty, of nominating men whose
best recommendation seems to be that they can be elected. To be elected
is very important, to be sure; but if a man when elected to the
Legislature is to vote against reform policies, why should the
anti-machine element nominate him, thereby losing all the chance they,
might have had of electing a man who would be in sympathy with their
 In 1907, a measure similar to the Walker-Otis bill was killed in
this way. It passed the Assembly and was in the Senate referred to the
Senate Committee on Public Morals. The committee refused to report it
back to the Senate, and friends of the measure could not secure enough
votes on the floor of the Senate to compel the committee to act. The
committee (1907) consisted of Senators Irish, Leavitt, Lynch, Wolfe and
Kennedy. Irish and Lynch did not sit in the Senate of 1909, and could
not be reappointed to the committee. But Lieutenant- Governor Porter
distinguished himself by reappointing to the committee Wolfe, Leavitt
and Kennedy. Weed and Savage were added to take the places left vacant
by Irish and Lynch. Weed in 1907 voted with Leavitt, Wolfe and Kennedy
against compelling the committee to release the Anti-Racetrack Gambling
bill. Senator Savage (1907) voted for the bill's release, but Senator
Savage at the opening of the session of 1909, was at least counted as
opposed to the Walker-Otis bill. The gambling element had no complaint
to make of the Committee on Public Morals which Lieutenant- Governor
Porter had appointed.
 Williams was not the only gambler who injured the gamblers' cause
that night. Frank Daroux, keeper of the notorious Sausalito poolrooms,
interrupted A. J. Treat, of Sausalito, who was speaking for the
Walker-Otis bill, to demand of him how it is that at the polls the
gamblers of that city invariably defeat the anti-gambling element.
"You will remember, Mr. Daroux," came back Treat, "that at the last
general election you and I discussed that question?"
"Yes," was the reply.
"And I asked you why you were in politics?" continued Treat.
"Yes," said Daroux.
"And you told me," insisted Treat, "that you were in politics for
"Yes," admitted the pool seller.
"And I asked you how you spelt it then; and I ask you how you spell it
The crowd that packed the Senate Chamber, even the scores of racetrack
touts that had been rushed to Sacramento to give weight to the side of
the gamblers, went wild at this. Treat was cheered to the echo. Daroux
slunk back into his seat silenced and was not heard from again the whole
 The vote was as follows:
For the bill: Anthony, Bates, Bell, Bills, Birdsall, Black, Boynton,
Burnett, Caminetti, Campbell, Cartwright, Curtin, Cutten, Estudillo,
Holohan, Hurd, Kennedy, Lewis, Martinelli, McCartney, Miller, Price,
Roseberry, Rush, Sanford, Savage, Stetson, Strobridge, Thompson, Walker,
Welch, Willis, Wright - 33.