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Work contracted for prior to June 30, 1884, but not completed at
that date.

The Legislature at the session of 1877-8, by an Act approved March
15, 1878, authorized the Board of State Harbor Commissioners to pile,
cap, and plank, or solidly fill in, the blocks and parts of blocks made
by the change of the water-front line, and the extensions of the
streets to the seawall; and required the Board to subdivide the blocks
and parts of blocks, thus formed, into lots of a frontage, as nearly
equal as jjossible, not exceeding forty-five feet ten inches; and con-
ferred on it power to control and regulate their use, to cause the
removal of obstructions from them, and, in general, gave it exclusive
jurisdiction over them.

The Board does not seem to have exercised the power conferred on
it by this Act. There is not much question that' the Act looked to
the ultimate sale of the lots, into which the Board was directed to
have the blocks divided, though it did not confer on the Board power
to make such sale.

At the session of 1880, the Legislature amended the Act of 1878, so
as to make it read as follows:

The blocks and parts of blocks, formed by the change of the water-front and the extension of
the streets to the thoroughfare, aforesaid, are hereby set apart and dedicated to public use as open
sj^aces to be used in connection with said thoroughfare, and for the same purpose, and the said Coin-
missioners shall put the same in proper condition for such use. Said spaces when prepared for
use, shall be on a level with said thoroughfare, and the sidewalks shall be constructed with
proper openings for the passage of vehicles. The Commissioners shall have the same jurisdic-
tion and control thereof as over said thoroughfare and the wharves.



11

It is equally clear that this amended statute looks to the retention
of these blocks by the State, and to their use for public purposes.

But equally wifh the Act of 1878, it charges the Board with the
duty of putting the blocks in proper condition for the public use to
which it dedicates them.

In pursuance of the authority conferred and the duty imposed, the
Board determined to fill in the fractional blocks, and parts of adjoin-
ing streets, bounded by the center lines of Montgomery and Chestnut
Streets, and the inner line of the seawall thoroughfare.

The contract for doing the work was awarded to John Kelsoe, April
3, 1884, at $7,900; paid on contract June 13, 1884, $2,518 12.

In addition to the above, there have been paid, for placing filling
in blocks, as follows:

To W. D. English, for placing in the block bounded by the central
lines of Sansome and Lombard Streets, and the inner line of the sea-
wall thoroughfare, 4,512 cubic vards, at 20 cents per cubic yard,
$902 40.

To W. D. English, for placing in the block bounded by the center
lines of Kearny and Bay Streets, and the inner line of the seawall
thoroughfare, 2,497 cubic yards, at 20 cents per cubic yard, S489 40.

WORK DONE, WITHOUT LETTING CONTRACTS.

The following improvements have been made, mainly by the regu-
lar force in the street repairing department:

First — Windmill and tank, located on the seawall and thorough-
fare, at the junction of Sections 2 and 3. Cost, $1,219 31.

Second — Enlargement of premises occupied by Swanberg & West,
on bulkhead between Washington and Jackson Streets. Cost, $413 29.

T/urd— Inclosing shed on Steuart Street Wharf. Cost, $1,050 70.

Fourth^-l^ew Wharfinger's office on Jackson Street Wharf. Cost,
$425.

Fifth— OmceioY collectors at Ferry Slips 1, 2, 3, and 4. Cost, $259 87.

Sixth — Ticket office, baggage room, and other improvements for
the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad Company. Cost,
$1,024 16.

Seventh — ^Ticket office for the North Pacific Coast Railroad Com-
pany. Cost, $659 20.

Eighth — Improvements to office of California Steam Navigation
Company on Washington Street Wharf. Cost, $206 81.

Ninth — Construction of office for collector on Spear Street Wharf.
Cost, $105 43.

PRESERVATION OF PILES FROM DESTRUCTION BY THE TOREDO AND

LIMNORIA,

On February 9, 1882, the Board passed an order directing the Secre-
tary to give notice to all persons having patents or devices for the
preservation of piles from the attacks of the toredo and limnoria,
that an opportunity would be given them to test the efficacy of their
respective patents or devices by furnishing the Board prepared piles
which w^ould be used in Mission Street Wharf, then about to be con-
structed.

There were paid to the persons who furnished prepared piles, pur-
suant to this notice, sums as follows:



12

1882, July 8, to James McRea $65 00

1882, July 13, to W. H. Raye.. 129 00

1882, July 27, A. -W. Von Schmidt 60 00

SECTIONS 1 AND 2 OF THE SEAWALL.

It was found in the Spring of the year 1883, immediately after the
present Commissioners assumed office, that the rocks composing the
outer face of Sections 1 and 2 of the seawall had, to a large extent,
heen displaced, presumably by the action of the waves, and carried
outward beyond the line intended as the outer line of the embank-
ment. Occupying a position outside of the line of the wharf they
made it unsafe and impracticable for vessels drawing any consider-
able depth of water to occupy berths at those sections of the seawall.
The only practicable remedy for the difficulty which presented itself ,
was to dredge out the rocks which had rolled or caved outside the
line of the wall into the spaces intended for ships' berths. Accord-
ingly Dredge No. 2, the more powerful of the State's dredges, was set
at this work, and was engaged in it about six weeks. The rocks were
lifted from the water and placed on the wharf. The wharf was then
taken up and the rock used for reconstructing the face of the slope of
the wall, from low-water mark up to its top. The rock thus dredged
from the outside of the outer line of the seawall and used for this
purpose was estimated at about seven thousand cubic yards.

The cost of taking up and replacing the floor of the wharf, and of
replacing in the embankment the rock which the dredge had placed
on the wharf, and reconstructing properly the slope of the wall, was
as follows:

For labor $3,194 26

For tools, etc 327 12

For lumber i-, 254 93



Total $3,776 31

DREDGING.

The exhibit of the cost, etc., of dredging, included in the exhibits
appended to, and made part of this report, shows that- there was
dredged, during the last two fiscal years, 1,278,422 cubic yards of
material, at a cost of §112,237 90, or 8.7 cents per cubic yard. The
cost, as therein stated, includes, in addition to the wages of the
employes, the cost of fuel, ship chandlery, and water, all expendi-
tures for repairs on dredges, tugs, and scows.

This exhibit also shows that the material dredged, during the last
two fiscal years, was 94,067 cubic yards less than that dredged during
the last two preceding fiscal years; also, that the cost of dredging
during the latter period was 1.4 cents greater per cubic yard than
during the former one. '

Why this increased cost of dredging? The smaller amount dredged
will account in part, but not wholly, for the increased cost per cubic
yard of material dredged. But the smaller amount of material
dredged is itself a fact which needs to be accounted for. Why then
was the material dredged during the last two fiscal years less in
amount than that dredged during like periods in. the past?

The smaller amount of material dredged was due in part to the
fact stated elsewhere in this report, to wit: that the larger dredge



13

was employed about six weeks in dredging out rock which had slid
or caved over the line established as the outer line of the seawall,
and that during this time the dredge took out only about 7,000 cubic
yards of rock, while if she had been engaged in ordinary work she
would have taken out at least 70,000 cubic yards of material; and,
in part, to the fact, that the same dredge was employed for several
weeks in excavating a channel for Section 5 of the seawall. It is
impossible for a dredge to take out anything like the number of cubic
yards in this work that she does in ordinary dredging, both on account
of the depth of the dredging, and the hardness of the material in
the lower sections of the trench.

These two causes we think quite sufficient to account for the smaller
number of cubic yards of material dredged during the last two fiscal
years as compared with the amount dredged during the next pre-
ceding two fiscal years.

They do not, however, account in whole for the increase in cost
per cubic yai'd of material dredged. That must be accounted for in
part bj' some other cause. What cause can be assigned, or exists?

We have already stated that in the cost for dredging, as set out in
the exhibit referred to, the cost of repairs to plant, that is, the cost of
repairs to the dredges, tugs, and scows, is included. This exhibit
shows that while the cost for repairs for the two fiscal years, ended
June 30, 1882, was 119,753 20, the cost for the tvs^o, ended June 30,
1884, was $33,058 41, or $13,305 21 more for the latter period than for
the former.

But why this disparity in the cost of repairs for two periods of the
same duration? Can a probable cause be assigned for the necessity
of expending over $33,000 for repairs during the latter two years, when
less than $20,000 sufficed for the former two?

The necessity for an increased amount of repairs during the latter
period over those required in the former, was due mainly to the age
of the plant and the natural decay and inevitable wear and tear from
use, of hulls, boilers, and machinery.

All the boilers in the dredges and tugs, five in number, have been
over six (6) j^ears in hard service, and those in the " Governor Irwin,"
both day and night. The hulls of both dredges, and all the scows,
except one, are of the same age. One dredge. No. 1, one tugboat, the
"Anasha," and three scows were found, on examination, to be very
rotten in vital parts, and had to receive very extensive repairs at a
very heavy expense.

From a report made about the close of the last tiscal year by Colonel
Lucas, Superintendent of dredging, to Mr. Manson, Chief Engineer of
the Board, we make the annexed extract:

The present condition of our plant deserves especial attention. All parts are more or less
seriously impaired by time, and are continuously worked to their utmost capacity. The boilers,
being upon a constant strain and having nearly outlived their time, are only kept up by con-
stant attention and costly repairs.

The tug, Anasha, is very old and should be disposed of and another boat built to take her
place.

Dredger No. 1 should be hauled up and more thoroughly repaired than can be done while
afloat. Her boiler, now undergoing repairs, cannot reasonably last more than another year,
when a new one will be required. Her machinery has been repaired within the last year, and
will run for some time without serious expense.

The scows of this dredge have been repaired at considerable cost, and are now in good condi-
tion, though one of them is quite old. * * *

The boilers of the " Governor Irwin " must soon be renewed, or subjected to a more thorough
repair. She has been in constant service, both night and day, for the past six and a half years,
and there are signs of decay too positive to be ignored.



14

The condition in which nearly the whole of the dredging plant
was found, when the present Board came into office, and in which,
on account of the natural exhaustion and decay due to wear and age,
it, in a great measure, still is, has made extensive and costly repairs
an ever recurring necessity.

THE DUTY OF KEEPING THE WATER-FROXT STREETS IN REPAIR.

An Act approved March 5, 1864, provided, among other things,
that all the streets of the City and County of San Francisco lying
along the water-front should be extended to a uniform width of one
hundred and fifty (150) feet; that the outer half of such streets should
be constructed, and maintained in repair, by the Harbor Commis-
sioners, or parties holding under them, and might be used as a land-
ing place or pier, for the use of which dockage, wharfage, and tolls
inight be collected; and that, until such extensions should be made,
the Commissioners might use as a landing place, and collect dockage,
wharfage, and tolls for such use, so much of the streets then (built)
fronting on the Bay of San Francisco as could be used for such pur-
pose, without obstructing the same as a thoroughfare. (Statutes
1863-64, page 143.)

Before the passage of this Act the water-front streets, north of
Market Street, with the exception of Broadway, were but sixty-eight
(68) feet nine (9) inches in width; those south of Market, as well as
Broadway, north of it, were eighty-two (82) feet six (6.) inches in
width. But the effect of the Act was to establish all the water-front
streets, with a uniform width of one hundred and fifty (150) feet.

The Act also, by its very terms, devolved on the Harbor Commis-
sioners the duty and the burden of constructing and maintaining in
repair the outer half of the extended streets; that is to say, the sev-
enty-five (75) feet of such streets next the water. The Act did not,
however, in terms, prescribe how the inner half — that is the seventy-
five (75) feet of these streets next the buildings or private property —
should be built and kept in repair. But the Consolidation Act was
then in force, and the Act of 1864 did not repeal it, except so far as
the provisions of the latter were in conflict with it. All the pro-
visions of the Consolidation Act remained in force after the passage
of the Act of 1864 precisely as they were before its passage, except as
it became necessary to modify them to give effect to the provisions of
the latter Act.

Now, the Consolidation Act (Section 38) provided, "that in all the
streets constituting the water-front of the city * * * the expense
of construction and repair of that portion of said streets from the
center line thereof to the said water-front * * * should be pro-
vided for by the said city and county."

Such Avas the law, touching the building and keeping in repair the
outer half of the water-front streets, prior to their extension to one
hundred and fifty feet in width, by the Act of 1864. Prior to the
passage of that Act, the law, in express terms, imposed on the city
and county tlie expense of building and repairing the outer half of
the water-front streets. Was the city and county relieved of this
burden by the Act of 1864, which, in effect, doubled the width of the
water-front streets, and charged the Harbor Commissioners with the
duty, and imposed on them the burden, of wharfing over the new or
added portion of these streets, and keeping such wharves, when built,



15

in repair ? Before the passage of the Act, the city and county was
compelled to build from the center of the street to the edge of the
water. After its passage it was, in our judgment, compelled to build
and maintain in repair those streets from what was originally the
center line thereof out to what was originally the water line, except,
perhaps, in the case of such streets as were originally eighty-two (82)
feet and six (6) inches in width. The Act of 1864 seems to lift the
burden of building and keeping in repair seven (7) feet and six (6)
inches of the extreme outer portion of such streets from the city and
county, and to place it on the Harbor Commissioners.

As we construe the law then, under the Consolidation Act, and
prior to the passage of the Act of March 5, 1864, the expense of
building and ^keeping in repair the water-front streets, from their
inner line to their center line, devolved on the owners of the
adjacent property; from their center line, to their outer or water line,
on the city and county. After the passage of the said Act of March 5,
1864, widening the water-front streets to a uniform width of one hun-
dred and fifty (150) feet, the law devolved on the property holders on
the line of such streets, and on the city and county, the duty and bur-
den of building and maintaining respectively, substantially the same
portions of such streets as they had been required to build and main-
tain respectively before the passage of that Act; while the Act itself, in
express terms, made it the duty of the Harbor Commissioners to
build and maintain the other half — in substance, the added portion —
of such streets.

The construction of the statutes which prescribed the respective
duties of the property holders, the city and county, and the Harbor
Commissioners, as defined above, was, we believe, acquiesced in, and
acted upon, down to 1872. An Act was approved April 1, 1872,
which repealed Article 4 of the Consolidation Act, and substituted
new or amended provisions therefor. The Act of 1872 seems to have
been drawn in ignorance, or obliviousness, of the Act of March, 1864,
which had, by widening the water-front streets to a uniform width
of one hundred and fifty (150) feet, just about doubled their area.
It had, however, been careful to avoid imposing any additional bur-
den on either the property holders on the line of such streets, or on
the city and county, by providing, substantially, that the addition to
the streets should be built and kept in repair exclusively by the
Harbor Commissioners. But the Act of April 1, 1872, though passed
subsequently to the widening of the water-front streets, like the
original Consolidation Act, passed before they were widened, required
the city and county to bear the expense of building and keeping in
repair that portion of the said streets between the center line thereof
and the water-front.

This Act, by express terms, put on the city and county the burden
of building and keeping in repair that part of the water-front streets
which the Act of 1864, when widening them, had placed on the Har-
bor Commissioners. But how, or by whom, the water-front streets
were actually kept in repair from the passage of this Act in April,
1872, up to April, 1876, when Section 2525 of the Political Code, as it
now stands, was enacted, the present Commissioners have no means
of ascertaining.

Section 2525 of the Political Code authorizes the Board of State
Harbor Commissioners to extend (build) any of the streets, lying along
the water-front of the city and county, to a width not exceeding one



16

hundred and fifty (150) feet, where they have not been already so
extended (built). It adds:

The outer half of such streets must be constructed, or built, and maintained in good re[)air by
the State Harbor Commissioners, or parties holding under them, and may be used as a landing
place, or pier, on which dockage, wliarfage, and tolls may be collected. And until such exten-
sions are made, the Commissioners may have and use as a landing place, with full power to col-
lect dockage, wharfage, and tolls thereon, so much of the streets now fronting on the water-front
as may be used for such purpose, without obstructing the same as a thoroughfare. The inner
half of such streets shall be constructed and maintained in good repair by the owners ot the lots
abutting thereon, and the City and Comity of San Francisco.

The construction given to this language by both the Harbor Com-
missioners and the officers in charge of the street department of the
City and County of San Francisco, from the passage of the Act up till
about July, 1883, was, that the outer seventy-five feet of the water-front
streets should be built and kept in repair by the Board of State Har-
bor Commissioners, and the inner seventy-five feet by the owners of
lots abutting thereon, and the city and county, jointly. This construc-
tion of the law was acquiesced in, and acted on, from its passage till
about Julj% 1883. During all this period, no c[uestion was raised that it
was not the duty of the city and county, equally with that of the owners
of the property abutting thereon, to contribute its pro rata share to keep
in proper repair the inner half of the water-front streets, and during
all this period it did bear its half of the burden of keeping this por-
tion of these streets in repair. There was then no question, and there
is none now, that the law imposes on the Harbor Commissioners the
duty of keeping the outer half of such streets in repair. And the
Board has always endeavored, as we believe, and does now endeavor,
as we know, faithfully to discharge this duty. And there is no con-
troversy between this Board and the officers of the City and County
of San Francisco as to what the duties of the Board are in relation to
the water-front streets. The Board acknowledges its obligation to
keep in repair the outer half of such streets, and performs that obli-
gation; and the officers of the city and county do not claim that the
Board is under any obligation whatever in relation to the inner half
of such streets.

What then is the controversy in relation to the inner half of these
streets? And why is it that that portion of the said streets has been
permitted to become impassable and remain in that condition now
for a full year? As already stated, the construction originally given to
the language of Section 2525 of the Political Code, above quoted, was
that it required the city and county to bear half the expense of build-
ing and keeping in repair the inner seventy-five feet of the water-front
streets, and the owners of the property abutting.thereon to bear the
other half. In pursuance of this construction, this portion of these
streets was maintained in this way — half the expense of the mainte-
nance being borne by the city and county and the other half by the
abutting property holders— for a period of seven years. After the lapse
of this period, the Board of Supervisors, as we are advised, applied
to the (Jity and County Attorney for an opinion as to whether the law
makes it the duty of the city and county to contribute to the mainte-
nance of the inner half of the water-front streets. The response of that
functionary was that the city and county stands in precisely the same
relation to the inner half of the water-front streets that she does to
all other streets in the city. That is to say, under the general law in
relation to opening and repairing streets, the owners of the property



17

abutting on the streets are required to build and keep the streets in
repair until they shall be put in condition to be accepted by the city:
that is, till they shall be graded, sewered, and paved. When placed
in such condition, they are accepted by the city, and from the date of
such acceptance, the city and county bears the expense of keeping
them in repair. The opinion of the City and County Attorney placed
the inner half of the water-front streets in the same category with
the other streets of the city, and held that as such half had not yet
been graded, sewered, and paved, nor accepted by the city, it must be
kept in repair by the owners of the property abutting thereon, as are
other unaccepted streets. It is needless to say that the property
holders have not accepted this opinion as either a just or an author-
itative exposition of the law.

It has, however, been recognized ifi the Street Department of the
city and county, ever since its promulgation, as an authoritative
declaration of the law, to be followed by the department until it shall
be overruled by a judicial determination of the question involved.

The rule which the opinion lays down, imposes on the owners of
property abutting on the water-front streets, just double the burden, in
the matter of keeping such streets in repair, they had been required to
bear under the previous construction of the law, and releases the city
and county from all obligations whatever in the premises. The prop-
erty holders have persistently refused to recognize the opinion as of
any validity or authority in defining their duties; and have also
refused, with rare exceptions, since its promulgation, to lift a finger
or contribute a farthing to keep the streets in repair in front of their
premises. And the city and county government, discharged by the
opinion from all obligation to assist in keeping them in repair, con-
templates their impassable condition with unmoved, and, apparently,
serene complacence.

What the law manifestly intended should be the thoroughfare on
the water-front streets, to wit: the seventy-five (75) feet of such
streets next to -the buildings, has been for a year past, in most places
from the junction of Vallejo Street with Front to the junction of Bry-



Online LibraryCalifornia. LegislatureAppendix to the Journals of the Senate and Assembly of the ... session of the Legislature of the State of California (Volume 1885v.1) → online text (page 78 of 83)