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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - November 22, 1912, Lethbridge, Alberta ragC;12. THE LETHBRTDOE PAliY HERALD rrirtay. Novemltcr 22,1012. LAST OPPORTUNmr " t Take advantage of this Bargain Feast in Men's and Boys' Wear. Purchase what you require for the winter season at a great deal less than you ever paid before-at the same time you stand a chance of winning a $20 suit. Last guess just as good as the first. Eight days are up Sunday. Saturday is your last opportunity of guessing Clothing $20.00 Men'.g^^**^^ $2.50 Men's PanU ^50 price $13.45 $1.75 $7.95 $3.45 Boots and Shoes $6.00 Men's Shoes Sale price $5.00 Work Boots Sale price $5.50 High Cut Boots Sale price One-buckle Overshoeg Sheep Moccasins $4.50 $3.75 $4.00 $1.50 95c Furnishings President Suspenders 40c $1.50 Shirto $1.00 40c Heavy Socks 25c $1.25 Mitts 85c $2.50 Underwear $1.90 $4.00 Sweater Coats $2.50 THE CLOTHIERS Next to Bentley's EN Comprehensive Sketch of Civic Movement from "Canadian Courier" By W. F, BURDITT St: John having been the lirst of Caniidian cities to adopt .the so-called �Coininlssiou" form of government, the experiment now on. trial here will im'turally-attract the .attention of all thoBe throughout Canada who are interested in questions relating to civic government. Therefore, although it may be too soon as yet to farm any eafo conclusion as to the ultimate result, it will doubtless interest Courier leaders to learn something of the inception and promotion of the movement for better government-better management of civic affairs-in this city by the sea. The former city (fouucll of St. ,Iohn consisted of a mayor and aeventeeji aldermen, from which was tcrme^l a sub-organization of hoards ai\d i:oni-luilteeB-a treasury board, board of public 'works, water and sewerage �bbard,- board of public safely, and three or four committees of minor importance. The hoards averaged about a dozen mwnbera each, from vhich It follows that most of the ftWermen served on more than one board. Thirteen of the aldermen chance of the right kind being elected. So after a little agitation, a plebiscite was taken, and the people voted for a change, introducing the system before mentioned, by which every elector could vote not only for the Topresentative of his own ward, but, as Well, for the representative of every other ward, and for the aldermen at large. This change did not bring about the hoped for Improvement in the personnel of  the city .,,1 council. By a species of log-rolling four rooresented the city sit large. .\11 ... ,, , , ...... .,...,.i!and vote-swapping, a cliciue-formed ticket could always be elected, while were supposed to represent one each of the thirteen city wards, the other the aldermen, however, were elected by the entire vote of the city; all were, therefore,,representative of the city at large, and the status of the ward alderman differed from that of the alderman at large, only in the fact that he was required to be a resident of, the ward he represented, and was supposed to have an especial oversight of its interests. This anomaly In representative government was the result of one of the spasmodic efforts at civic reform, which have aroused the community from time to time during the last quarter of a century. At one time the alderman representing each ward was separately elected iby the people of the 'ward he represented, hut, in St. John, as in other cities, It was complained that the most capable men would not offer their services to the city as aldermen, and that, even if they did, they could not be elected. Fotr want of any better reason, the ward system of electing ,was blamed tor this state of affairs, and It was thought that it each aldermanic candidate had to appeal to the city at large, a bettor class of men Vould offer, and there would be a better Scotch, "pony" that yoti'll always find "kind aud geotle"-WHITE HORSE the successful business man and the prominent citizen still preferred to discuss the management, or mismanagement, of chic affairs from outside the city council. To enumerate all the drawbacks and disadvantages of the old system -the reasons for which it was condemned-would be but to narrate the ?.\perlenc6 of almost every city throughout Canada, and the United States, where that system is in operation. The policy with regard to almost every public question was uncertain and vacillating. A lino of policy adopted at one monthly meeting of the council would frequently be reversed at the next, and the cumbersome organization of council, boards and commltteeB, impeded Instead of accelerating the despatch of public business, rendering it, besides, almost Impossible to fix the responsibility for things that were done, or loft undone. City hall, under the old regime, was tt llrst-class circumlocution oflice. It seems strange that a system, practically the same as that which ha-H enlisted the services of the most capable men with such splendid results in the cities of the old country, should so signally fail on the continent of America. Social conditions are, of course, widely �different. In a new and rapidly developing country, In-dlviduallam Is rampant, men are absorbed in personal gain, or, having amassed wealth, are absorbed in personal gratification; high ideals of public service are almost wholly wanting. Those who have the means, th� lei-sure, and the opportunity to serve the community, have not the, Incllna-tloD, they would rather hire some one else to do public, as they can to do private, service, and reeerve the right to scold if the service (b not well per-formed. It Is not the purpose of this article, however, to propound theories, or to attempt to solve the enigmas of civic, political economy, hut merely to relate the recent experience of one city. � From what Uitit bneu said, it will be inferred thalt in St. John, as elsewhere, the mismanagement of civic affairs has beeu attributed mainly to the fact that the right class of men were not choscu to sit at the council board, and the occasional efforts at reform had always for their object the Improvement of the personnel of the city council. Occasionally men were elected under these spasmodic reform movements, with a special mission to effect economies In administration, and secure more elllclent service, but, the results were usually disappointing, and it was complained that the efforts of the reformers were thwarted by those who seemed to, havQ an interest in maintaining the existing order of things. As a matter of fact, the council was usually fairly representative of the community; it almost alwayg included a good proportion of men' of at least average capability, but they were all, as a rule, men who had their own business affairs to attend to-the business of the city was only a matter of occasional and secondary concern. Gradually It began to dawn upon some people that perhaps the system was at fault-that there might possibly be some other system of civic government better adapted to our needs and conditions. Just about that time, a number of the more progres sivo members of the Board of Trade organl'/.ed what was termed a Now Industries Committee-subsequently merged with the advertising committee-whose special object it was to make known the many natural advantages ot the city of St. John as a location tor manuilicturing oiitorpiiso, and to induce new Industries to locate here. As a result of their publicity propaganda, enquiries began to come in, but, it was discovered quite early In the campaign, that but little could bo accomplished without the co-op oration of the city authorities. Ques tlons arose as to the availability of city lands for factory sites, as to tax ratos and exemptions, water Bupply, and kindred matters. The cumber-somo paraphernalia of our city gov ernment, with its monthly meotlngs a'3d references from council io board, and board to council, was found to be 111 adapted to the prompt and decisive consideration of a business proposition, and, aa a consetiuence, the advertising committee came to the con elusion that the flrst step uecesitary m a movement for the city's advance meat, was to effect some changa In the system of managing the city's affairs. This was In the fall of 1910. About then articles with reference to city government by commlBslon were frequently appearing in American periodicals, The system had been Cor ten years In successful operation In the city of G.ilveston, Texas, In Houston for a aomowhat shorter period. and within a few years prior to 1010 had been adopted by nearly a hundred other Amerioan cities. The I3oard of Trade advertising committee began to look into it; the more they examined It, the ibetter they liked it, and speedily came to the conclusion that the new system was well calculated to remove the dlfnculty they had encountered, of getting things done, under the system then in operation. The Hoard ot Trade as a whole, unwilling to advocate without due consideration, a change so momentous, decided to call a public meeting, to discuss the question. In the meantime the subject was taken up by the newspapers, and a very lively Interest throughout the community Immediately became apparent. There was a large attendance representative of every class at the mass meeting, held on January iSlh, 1911. The commission plan of city government was outlined and explained. It was unan Iniously decided to apply to the provincial legislature for power to hold a plebiscite on the question, whether or not such form of government should be adopted In St. John, and ti large cltl-iens' committee was formed to conduct a campaign. A bill au-thcrizing the plebiscite was passed on March 29th, 1911, and the question was put to the vote of the people at the annual civic election iVeld in 1911. There was a majority of more than 2 to 1 In favor of commission goverunient. The cam])algn had been a lively one, for there was abundant opposition to the change. Many public meetings were held, some under the auspices of the citizens' committee, in favor of, others opposed to, the proposition. These raeetlngs wore as largely attended as those of an ordinary political campaign. The daily newspapers took up opposite sides on the 'question; every Imaginable argument,, pro and con, was adduced, and no subject was over more thoroughly discussed. While the Citizens' Committee imported lecturers from cities In the United States, where commission government was in operation, to explain its advantages, an enterprising dally paper, in opposition, sent its own commlsBloner to several of Uioae cities to Investigate, on its own account, and for the Information of Its readers, the workings of comnilBsion government on the spot. Of course It was not dlf'lQult to find evidence against as well aa In -favor of the BOW system. The principal objections of those who opposed the change were'; That the ^proposal had been launch, ed without duo consldoratlon. That so far as Canadian coudltions were concerned. It was an untried experiment. Conditions being entirely ditl'erent lu Iho Uult^jd States, we should not be guided by the experience ot American cities, even if tavora'ble. That It was a departure from representative government, and undemocratic. That the commissioners would be given a degree of autocratic power, such as It would be unwi.se to entrust to so few meu, who would possibly be Indiscreet. On the oihei- hand, It was objected that the fear of recall would make the commissioners too amenable to public opinion, and deprive them of the requisite independence. Again, that the prlvilogo of inltia live, referendum, and recall, put too much power In the hands of the people-in short, was too democratic, and would, keep the city to a constant turmoil of elections. That five commissioners could not occupy their whole time with the affairs of tho city without engaging in executive work that could be better performed by the ofliclals in {he different departments. All these contentions were squarely opposed by the advocates of government by elective commission. The Ave months' dlscnssion in tho press, at public meetings, and through, out the city, prior to the plebiscite, it was contended, afforded ample tlnio and opportunity for consideration ot the proposals, after which there wouUl bo nearly a year in which to proparo the new charter. That, while conditions here differed from those prevailing in the United States, and St. John was free from the rampant evils which afflicted many American cities, yet, wo had much to complain of in the way of neglect and mismanagement of public business that could be remedied 'by a more business-like system of oversight and control. So far from being undemocratic, and a departure from reprcsentativo government. It was contended that the new system was in many respects even more democratic than the old, and the conflicting arguments used against It supported the contention. fContinued on page 13). Have You Ever Inve^igated Fit-Reform ? Ever tried on a Fit-Reform Suit or Overcoat ? Ever examined the quality of the fabrics and trimmings ? Ever noted Fit-Reform values ? If you have, it is almost certain that you now v/ear Fit-Reform Clothing, If you have not, you are missing something. Come in now and investigate Fit-Reform. % FIT McKELVIE & McGUIRE, ;