Mr. Hume, the personal enemy of Commissioner Hammery was made chief of police by three other members of the commission for political reasons.
Who is responsible for the mistakes of Mr. Hume? The people say Hammery. But Hammery says: “I had nothing to do with his appointment.” It has actually happened time and again at the commission table in Des Moines that regulations for the financial department were made by the police commission, the street commissioner and the commissioner of parks and public buildings; that the police commissioner would have the deciding vote on some important school legislation; or the commissioner of education control the appointment of policemen. This defect has given rise to log-rolling. Bridges have been built as a personal favor to one commissioner whose vote is needed to construct a new schoolhouse. Large paving and building contracts are let simply because the police commissioner wanted to oust some unfaithful political dependent. In this way each commissioner gains great favor with the voters and at the same time can escape personal responsibility for technical mistakes by shouldering the blame onto the whole commission where his identity is lost. This department trading has found its way into the Galveston commission, claimed to have the best commission of any city under this form of government. Here we find that at the same time the prosecutor of the city cases in the police court is allowed the right to collect a fee of $10 for every criminal, drunk, or vagrant convicted, and $5 for every one who pleads guilty; a 50-year franchise is granted to the Galveston Street Railway Co. without a vote of the people, the city not to receive one cent of tax and no compensation.
So, Honorable Judges, we must consider that, while the commission form may be a temporary success in a few small cities, its permanent success there is in grave doubt. Under these conditions we do not ask that it be abolished, but that under no circumstances its application be made general in this country where other forms of city government are in practice more successful and in theory more correct.
Mr. Earl Stewart opened for the Negative:
The gentlemen contend that the work of the city is almost wholly of a business nature. Honorable Judges, if the city does not have important legislative duties, what do we mean by local self-government? The courts have held again and again that the work of the city is primarily governmental. Says Judge Dillon: “The city is essentially public and political in character.” Not a business corporation in this country could place vast sums of money in the hands of four of five men without the safeguard of some supervising body. Yet New York City has an annual expenditure of $150,000,000, equaled by the aggregate of seven other American cities of 400,000 population; more than that of