but we learn something more import-
ant what a "law of nature" really is.
The first three paragraphs of Chapter
II should be recited repeatedly for
those unfortunate enough including
most members of Congress for the last
three decades to confuse the meaning
"law" has in a courtroom and the one
it has for the men whose work is dis-
cussed in Chapter VIII to X.
Not only the factual material but
also the "method of his mind" makes
this book important.
WALTER J. MILLARD
Investigation of Congested Areas. A
Report of the Congested Areas Sub-
committee of the Committee on Naval
Affairs. Washington, United States
Government Printing Office, 1943. iv,
Speeches on the Constitution of New
Jersey. By Governor Charles Edison.
Trenton, N. J., 1943. 29 pp.
State of New Jersey, Proposed Re-
vised Constitution (1944) Pending Be-
fore Joint Legislative Committee to
Formulate a Draft of a Proposed Re-
vised Constitution for the State of
New Jersey Constituted under Senate
Concurrent Resolution No. 1, Adopted
NATIONAL MUNICIPAL REVIEW
January 11, 1944. Trenton, New Jer-
sey State Library, 1944. 26 pp.
County Government in Illinois. 1 By
Clyde F. Snider. Springfield, Illinois
Tax Commission, 1943. vii, 132 pp.
Directory of Tennessee Municipal
Officials. Knoxville, Governmental Ref-
erence Service, University of Tennes-
see, 1943. 43 pp. $1.
Final General Summary of Public
Employment in July 1943. Washington,
D. C., Bureau of the Census, 1944. 13 pp.
Political Activity of Public Officers
and Employees. Laws and Rules Ad-
ministered by the United States Civil
Service Commission. Washington, D.C.,
Superintendent of Documents, 1942.
49 pp. 10 cents.
Public Service Recruitment in Aus-
tralia. By R. S. Parker. Melbourne,
Melbourne University Press, 1942. 296
A Selected Bibliography on Planning
in South America. By Caroline Shilla-
ber. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Libra-
ry of the Departments of Landscape
Architecture and Regional Planning,
Harvard University, 1944. 6 pp.
Salary and Working Conditions of
Police Patrolmen in 214 Major Cities.
Basic Schedule, Step-rate Increases,
Emergency Bonus Payments. Wash-
ington 6, D. C., The United States Con-
ference of Mayors, 1943. 3 pages, tables.
Population, Unincorporated Com-
munities United States, by States.
Total Population of Unincorporated
Communities Having 500 or More In-
habitants for Which Separate Figures
Could be Compiled. By Bureau of the
Tor a review of this publication see
p. 157, this issue.
Census. Washington, U. S. Government
Printing Office, 1943. 15 cents.
Regional Shifts in Population, Pro-
duction, and Markets, 1939-43. By K.
C. Stokes. Washington, D. C., Bureau
of Foreign and Domestic Commerce,
Department of Commerce, 1943. 69 pp.
Farm People and the Land After
the War. Washington 6, D. C., Nation-
al Planning Association, 1943. 26 pp.
It's Up to You. Clayton 5, Missouri,
St. Louis County Planning Commis-
sion, 1943. 20 pp. illus.
Municipal Postwar Reserves. Legal
Authorization for Such Reserves. Chi-
cago 37, Municipal Finance Officers
Association of the United States and
Canada, 1944. 4 pp. 25 cents.
Postwar Highway Planning. A Se-
lected List of Pamphlets, Books, and
Articles. Washington 5, D. C., Auto-
motive Safety Foundation, 1943. 18 pp.
Taxation and Finance
Recommendations Concerning the
Finances of New York City. New York
City, Committee of Fifteen, 1944. 18 pp.
Report on a Survey of the Financial
Structure and Operations of the City
of Newport, Rhode Island. New York
4, Norman S. Taber and Company,
1943. v, 60 pp.
Intercity Buses at War. The Story
of Highway Passenger Transportation.
Washington 5, D. C., National Associa-
tion of Bus Operators, 1944. 32 pp.
An Ordinance Providing for a Com-
prehensive Unified Local Transporta-
tion System for the City of Chicago
and Its Metropolitan Area. Chicago,
City Clerk. 95 pp.
Units of Government
Governmental Units in the United
States: 1942 (Preliminary Summary).
By Richard C. Spencer. Washington,
D. C., Bureau of the Census, 1944. 5 pp. 1
also p. 144, this issue.
What's Wrong with Our System?
Louisiana Clings to Reform
Harlan W. Gilmore
Occupancy Taxes in Britain
Model County Faces Problems
Julian Cary Houseman
What Price City Government?
V. J. Wyckoff
Controversies between Cities and Organized Labor
H. M. Olmsted
Vol. XXXIII, No.
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National Municipal Review
Vol. XXXIII, No. 4 Total Number 332
Published monthly except August
By NATIONAL MUNICIPAL LEAGUE
Contents for April 1944
EDITORIAL COMMENT Alfred Willoughby 162
LOUISIANA CLINGS TO REFORM Harlan W. Gilmore 164
OCCUPANCY TAXES IN BRITAIN Arthur Collins 170
MODEL COUNTY FACES PROBLEMS Julian Gary Houseman 179
WHAT PRICE CITY GOVERNMENT? V. J. Wyckoff 183
RESEARCHER'S DIGEST: APRIL Miriam Roher 189
ON THE LOCAL FRONT Zilpha C. Franklin 192
CONTRIBUTORS IN REVIEW 194
NEWS IN REVIEW
CITY, STATE, AND NATION H. M. Ohnsted 195
CITIZEN ACTION 203
TAXATION AND FINANCE Wade S. Smith 209
COUNTY AND TOWNSHIP Elwyn A. Mauck 211
PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION George H. Hallett, Jr. 213
BOOKS IN REVIEW .. . .Elsie S. Parker 215
The contents of the NATIONAL MUNICIPAL REVIEW are indexed in the
Engineering Index Service, the Index to Legal Periodicals, the Inter-
national Index to Periodicals and in Public Affairs Information Service.
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National Municipal Review
What's Wrong with Our System?
11/|"OST of us are pretty sure Hit-
^*-*- ler's opinion of democracy is
wrong. Yet we are uncomfortably
aware of serious faults in our system
and we wish, albeit vaguely, we knew
what to do to correct them. We some-
times think we WOULD do some-
thing about exercising our responsibil-
ities as citizens if only we had more
The place to begin to do some-
thing is in the primary cell of self-
government right in our own home
town. How? First, by carefully ex-
amining public affairs and identify-
ing the faults which need correction.
The distressing experience of one
man who went from business to part-
time public service in a small town
is described in a letter he wrote to
the National Municipal League. His
penetrating observations on condi-
tions which are all too common are
set forth in the following excerpts:
During my four years as supervisor
of this township I have frequently felt
doubt as to my own good judgment in
my analysis of the functioning of demo-
cratic government in these small units
of the state. This is largely prompted,
I believe, by the apparent complacency
of my associates in office. Is it possible
that I alone expect too much?
Taxpayers are always complaining, yet
they return to office year after year the
same personnel usually those officials
who say little, straddle the fence, and
are all things to all men. With few ex-
ceptions the people's representatives are
content with the status quo. Often this
attitude is due, I think, to inability to
understand the machinery of govern-
ment. There is seemingly no premium
on courage and competence.
For many years I earned a substan-
tial part of my livelihood through ac-
counting through attention to those
smaller items influencing costs and
there are many of them in industry
which in the aggregate can mean profit
or loss. It has been necessary to be
thrifty. Thus, the disappointment and
indignation from my recent contacts
with county, township, and village gov-
Just how inefficiently we manage our
common affairs is not apparent to many
of our multitudinous jobholders. Their
backgrounds leave little hope for much
insight on their part. If their number
could be reduced we would have an op-
portunity to make better choices and
we would be encumbered with less dead
wood in rebuilding as the times require.
As in probably all other communities,
we have some very nice people holding
down public jobs. In their personal af-
fairs they are honest and economical
and outstanding citizens, but on civic
bodies their standards of intellectual
honesty and aggressiveness undergo
changes of which, with great generosity,
I will say they may not be fully con-
As these boys grew into manhood
and began to assume the so-called re-
sponsibilities of citizenship, they devel-
oped, perhaps reluctantly, an acceptance
of the idea that there MUST be a con-
siderable degree of these shortcomings
that it is part and parcel of democracy,
that all this is "politics." They lack
any broader understanding of the term
than that it is a scramble for easy jobs
in which conscientious workmanship is
The great satisfaction some of our
elected and appointed officials obtain
from the title of their office, with so
little to support that pride, is an inter-
esting commentary on human nature.
Surely we should at least UNDER-
TAKE to make government a business
and not a grab bag for supplementing
If I could present some concrete plan
the people would understand and appre-
ciate, I might render my community a
Study City Finance,
HPHERE is a human quality to city
financing. It overspends, then
plunges into a thrift drive, often
pulling the purse strings too tight,
then lets the spending roll again un-
til we go far into debt.
The reason is obvious. Cities as a
whole react as individuals because
they are made of people. They spend
too much and too little, never quite
living exactly on their incomes.
There should be a sensible way in
which to look at city finances.
Politicians love to spend. It is not
that they wish to squander the peo-
ple's money. Instead they really want
to be efficient. But they must be
elected. And they like to give the
people all the city can buy with all
of the money available, and all of
the money they can borrow, to win
the good will of the voters.
They want to remain in office, of-
ten not for their salaries but for the
prominence and prestige attached to
public office. So they buy improve-
ments for the people parks, repaved
streets, public buildings, water sys-
tems, garbage disposal plants, sewer
lines, and other usual municipal pro-
They are influenced by politics, or
human behavior. This is well, in a
way, because the citizens should be
pleased by officeholders.
But officeholders overdo it. They
spend too much. They borrow too
Then Go into Action
The Toledo Times)
much. They run up a debt against
the taxpayers and leave that debt for
later generations to pay. Toledo,
for example, is so far hi debt that
about half the city's income goes to
retire the city's debt. This means
the city must operate at about half
Toledo should have, as do many
other cities, an independent, non-
political, research organization to
study municipal costs and make sure
we are getting full value for our
This organization should be highly
respected by all citizens because it
has nothing but common sense and
thrift to sell.
Such an organization should be in
a position to study impartially the
model governments of the country
and to recommend such improve-
ments as the city's operating routine
The services of such a research bu-
reau should not end there. Digging
up the information and getting it to
the people are two separate problems.
So there should be another kindred
organization to educate and put rec-
ommended improvements into ac-
This second organization would be
political. There is no disputing this.
But it is the only means whereby
the impartial recommendations of a
(Continued on Page 178)
Louisiana Clings to Reform
New administration under "Jimmie" Davis pledges itself
to continue policies initiated by Governor Sam H. Jones;
many unsolved problems offer challenge to new executive.
By HARLAN W. GILMORE
Tulane University of Louisiana
CONTRARY to national press and
^ magazine notices, the election of
James Houston ("Jimmie") Davis
as governor of Louisiana for the next
four years indicates a great deal more
than the mere approval of his hill-
billy band and music. In fact, it was
generally agreed in Louisiana that
the issue was whether or not the
state would return to the "liberal"
government which characterized Lou-
isiana from 1928 to 1940 or whether
it would retain the "reform" govern-
ment exemplified in the administra-
tion of Governor Sam H. Jones,
whose term expires May 10, 1944.
Jimmy Davis' music was inciden-
tal ; to most voters the issue was sub-
stantially the same as that in the
last gubernatorial campaign (1940)
when the "reform" elements of the
state combined with other forces to
elect Sam Houston Jones 1 over the
heirs of the Huey P. Long machine
led by then Governor Earl K. Long. 2
With the end of the first reform ad-
ministration in two decades fast ap-
proaching, the writer has attempted
to evaluate its contributions to the
^ee "It Won't Be Long Now!" by S.
S. Sheppard, NATIONAL MUNICIPAL RE-
VIEW, April 1940, pp. 228-231.
2 Louisiana Governors are prohibited
from succeeding themselves. Governor
Earl K. Long was eligible in 1940 be-
cause he was serving out the unexpired
term of former Governor Richard W.
cause of better government in Louisi-
ana and its failures.
Perhaps the greatest single achieve-
ment of the Jones administration 3
has been the change in the concept
of government from an instrument-
ality of personal enrichment to one
of public service.
It is not contended that all the
members of the administration have
been lily white in their motives nor
that politics has been absent from
the scene. Many appointments to
key positions which should have been
filled by professional administrators
have gone to professional politicians
instead. With rare exceptions, how-
ever, the state government has been
largely free from dishonesty, graft,
corruption, double-dipping, dead-
heading, and widespread use of the
public treasury and public office as
a means of personal profit. Those
who had been on the "Louisiana Hay-
ride" from 1928 to 1940 found that
it was abruptly cut short, and al-
though they fought Jones for four
years at the polls, in the courts, and
in the legislature, voters still turned
them down in 1944.
8 As Louisiana has a one-party system,
the term "Jones administration" is used
in this article to identify those political
leaders in both the executive and legisla-
tive departments who established and
carried out state policies in the past four
LOUISIANA CLINGS TO REFORM
Some of the more important con-
crete accomplishments of the past
four years which promise permanent
1. Establishment of Merit System
The spoils system developed in
Louisiana during the Long regime
equaled any ever developed by polit-
ical machines in other states and mu-
nicipalities. Few public employees
in any jurisdiction state, parish, or
city were free from pressure and
political servitude if they were to
retain their jobs. One of the most
vicious of these was the system of
"de-ducts" or forced contributions
at fixed percentages of salaries re-
ceived from the state or other public
agency to the political slush fund.
The adoption and successful de-
fense in the courts of comprehensive
civil service systems for both the
state and city of New Orleans give
promise of a better type of civil ser-
vant for the future, and of even
more importance, the restoration of
reasonable economic security and
the ordinary privileges of citizenship
to the public employees.
2. Administrative Reorganization
For many years Louisiana was
plagued by an administrative organ-
ization which virtually defied proper
administrative control and direction.
Numerous agencies for which the
public holds a governor responsible
were legally independent of execu-
tive control. The gap was bridged
through a variety of political and
patronage channels during the Long
era. Jones sought to consolidate cer-
tain of these agencies and in general
to establish a more orderly scheme
of administrative organization.
An out-of-state group was em-
ployed in April 1940 to draft legisla-
tion for presentation to the legisla-
ture in May 1940, which would im-
prove administrative structure and
formalize lines of executive direction
and control. The reorganization act
and the accompanying fiscal code
provided for a vastly improved organi-
zation; however, it was attempted in
too short a period of time with the
consequent omission of the deliberate
consideration to which such far-
reaching legislation was entitled. The
result was almost disastrous for the
Validity of the legislation depended
largely upon a constitutional propo-
sal or rather some forty constitu-
tional proposals presented as one
which was approved by a narrow
majority at the polls in November
1940. Immediately this and most
of the other important legislation
adopted in 1940 was tested in the
courts by the group opposed to
Jones. Shortly Louisiana was treated
to the unique spectacle of having the
constitutional amendment (s) upon
which reorganization hinged declared
unconstitutional by the State Su-
preme Court on the grounds that the
legislature had not complied with
constitutional requirements in sub-
mitting the proposition to the people.
Reorganization was stopped abruptly
in 1941 midway 1 of the process of in-
Most of the objectives of this ill-
fated legislation were subsequently
incorporated in a series of individual
acts adopted by the legislature in
NATIONAL MUNICIPAL REVIEW
1942. However, numerous desirable
objectives had to be foregone due to
constitutional limitations. In general,
the administrative machinery of the
state has been substantially im-
proved; but the compromises forced
in the legislature left many rough
spots which will continue to be a
source of difficulty to the chief exec-
3. Fiscal Reorganization
Prior to 1940 the state had a highly
decentralized system of financial ad-
ministration. Budget requests were
made by spending agencies without
an opportunity for effective review
by the governor. Appropriation com-
mittees were forced to rely largely
upon their own personal knowledge
or that supplied by the spending
unit for information as to the needs
of the agency. Once made, appropria-
tions became the authorization for
the treasurer to make monthly pay-
ments to the agencies without oppor-
tunity to weigh changes in circum-
stances and requirements during the
biennium. No centralized purchasing,
pre-auditing, or other financial con-
trols, except a quite delayed post-
The situation was further compli-
cated by the existence of an ex-
officio Board of Liquidation of the
State Debt composed of chief elec-
tive state officials who were empow-
ered to make additional appropria-
tions, transfer balances, incur debt,
and otherwise adjust the financial
affairs of the state as it deemed ne-
As already indicated the first fis-
cal code adopted in 1940 was thrown
out by the courts in 1941; however,
a second code adopted in 1942 has
been sustained. It provides for a
Department of Finance in which
budgeting, accounting, purchasing,
and pre-audit for most state agencies
is concentrated. This department
has begun to function effectively and
now appears to have eliminated the
favoritism and graft which charac-
terized so much of the period from
1936-1939. The executive budgets
being presented to the legislature
biennially now afford both the legisla-
ture and the public an opportunity
to evaluate trends in state finances.
Unfortunately, the Board of Liq-
uidation's powers were not abolished
and fiscal administration continued
to be upset by this Board which
made loans and appropriations freely.