Evarts I. Blake.

Greater Oakland, 1911, a volume dealing with the big metropolis on the shores of San Francisco Bay .. online

. (page 20 of 30)
Online LibraryEvarts I. BlakeGreater Oakland, 1911, a volume dealing with the big metropolis on the shores of San Francisco Bay .. → online text (page 20 of 30)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the supervision of the Mayor.

3. Department of Revenue and Finance,
under the Commissioner of Revenue and Fi-

3. Department of Health and Safety, un-
der the supervision of the Commissioner of
Public Health and Safety.

4. Department of Public Works, under
the supervision of the Commissioner of
Public Works.

5. Department of Streets, under the su-
pervision of the Commissioner of Streets.

The several departments enumerated
above, with the exception of Department
of Public Affairs, to be assigned amongst
the various Commissioners after election
by the City Council.

Oakland's New Charter


Board of Education.

The Board of Education to consist of
the six school directors and the Commis-
sioner of Revenue and Finance.

Public Officials to Devote Their Entire
Working Time to the City.

One of the intents of the charter is that
all public ofTicials shall devote their en-
tire working time to the city's business,

lie service capable of checkmating the
greed of astute private grafters, the greater
the likelihood of municipal governments
rising to the duty of properly conserving
the rights and interests of the people.

Civil Service.

Under the new charter, practically all
the city employees are placed under the
civil service, excepting a few of the chief


who has written an article analyzing Oakland's New Charter,
which, though mildly critical, gives a good idea
of its salient points.

though the wording of this important provi- appointive ofificers of the city. It is pro-
sion of the charter has more elasticity of vided there shall be appointed by the Mayor

evasion than the public good would seem
to warrant.

The remainder of the officers and em-
ployes of the city are appointive. The
salaries allowed to the Mayor and Com-
missioners, while not in keeping with the
magnitude of their responsibilities, are,
nevertheless, a marked advance in the right

a Civil Service Board, consisting of three
members, whose duty it shall be to classify
the employees of the various departments
of the city; to examine applicants for of-
fice, and to dismiss from service after pub-
lic trial and conviction, incapable or venial
employees. The civil service provision
seems to be in the main a wise thought.

direction, for the sooner it is realized that yet it may be a question whether it would
due compensation must be paid to munici- not have been better to have provided an
pal employees, if men are desired in pub- elective board in order to remove as far


Greater Oakland, 1911

as possible the men occupying the delicate
trust of civil service commissioners of the
municipality from the influence of the ap-
pointive power.

The Recall, the Initiative and Referendum.

Perhaps no feature of the new charter
is more expressive of modern civic thought,
than the provisions providing for the Re-
call, the Initiative and Referendum.

Whatever blemishes this charter may
contain seem almost redeemed in the pos-
session of these salient provisions, which
enable the people at all times to sit in mas-
tery and judgment over their representa-

The percentage for the recall is 15 per
cent, of the total vote cast for Mayor at the
last preceding general municipal election.

When a special election is desired, the
percentage for the initiative is 15 per cent,
of the votes cast for the Mayor at the last
preceding general municipal election. When
the question sought to be presented to the
voters is to be voted on at a general muni-
cipal election, only 5 per cent of the total
votes cast for the Mayor at the last general
municipal election is required.

The provision for the referendum requires
a petition of 10 per cent, of the entire vote
cast for Mayor at the last preceding gen-
eral municipal election.

With these provisions in her charter the
public official must needs realize that he is
no longer an autocrat, but a servant of the
people and that he must act modestly, pru-

dently and justly in his position of trust.

Under the Initiative and Referendum a
watchful people can at all times interpose
the sovereign power to checkmate the sac-
rifice of the public weal by incompetent or
dishonest representatives.

If any serious criticism were ventured to
Oakland's New Charter, it would be to the
effect that it is rather encumbered by a
prolixity of safeguards: that tlicre have
been too many checks placed upon the ex-
ercise of the sovereign power l)y the elec-
tive officers of the city; for it would seem
that great amplitude of power should have
been conferred upon the Mayor and Com-
missioners, in order that delay in public
business might not be occasioned by need-
less restraints and unnecessary restrictions
of power. With the Recall, Initiative and
Referendum at command, there is little to
fear public servants transcending beyond
the sovereign power of the people to cor-

Doubtless, under the new charter for the
first few years the expenses of the munici-
pality may be increased, for new charters,
"like our strange garments, cleave not to
their mould, but with the aid of use." But
as the charter is better understood and its
profusion of detail gradually eliminated by
judicious pruning, it will be found that its
framers moulded faithfully and well the
ground work of a charter which will speak
for them lasting credit and for Oakland,
the City of Destiny, the glory of possessing
a charter without peer amongst the muni-
cipalities of the world.

Hon. Frank K. Mott


Hon. Frank K. Mott

Mayor of the City of Oakland, California

HE names of "Oakland" and
"Alott" are heard in conjunc-
tion so often that it indicates
a pretty close affiliation, apart
from the executive office he
holds, and the reason for this is apparent.
Mr. Mott is not only Mayor, he is some-
thing more: he is the organizer of the Oak-
land Chamber of Commerce, practically the
founder of the Merchants' Exchange, a
business man of solid financial standing
and a progressive and conscientious citizen.

The life and struggles of most successful
men of the self-made type provide an inter-
esting story, and this is true of Mayor Mott,
whose career is typically American.

Mayor Mott is a native son, born in San
Francisco in 1866. When he was two years
old, his parents, Peter D. Mott and Mrs.
Fannie K. Mott, removed to Oakland where
they established their home. Frank was the
eldest of six children; he began his educa-
tion at the old Prescott School and con-
tinued in attendance there until he was
eleven years of age.

About that time the father died, leaving
the family dependent upon the efforts of a
mother who had already been almost im-
poverished by the expenses incurred in pro-
viding her husband with medical attendance
during his last illness, which extended over
a couple of years. The cause of death was
a second stroke of paralysis.

As a consequence of the first stroke, the
elder Mott became incapacitated for work,
and the maintenance of the family depended
on the savings which he had accumulated
during his years of labor, which, however,
were not overly liberal because of the ex-
pense of maintaining a family which was
both youthful and helpless. The father was
a stationary engineer and at one time was
engaged in that capacity in the United

States Mint in San Francisco, and at the
time of his death, in 1877, was fifty-two
years of age.

The present Mayor continued his educa-
tion at Degen's Academy after leaving the
Prescott School, but after two terms, feel-
ing that he had now acquired a good aver-
age education, and having a strong desire
to lend his aid to the support of the family,
left the academy and looked for employ-

He found his first work with the Western
Union Telegraph Company as messenger,
and for his carefulness and reliability was
soon promoted, first to a position in the
office and later to lineman and collector.
His next work was with George S. Brown,
who had a hardware store at Tenth and
Broadway. It was in this business that he
first showed his business acumen and able
management, for, despite a number of
changes in the firm, he showed a strong de-
gree of continuity and finally became sole
proprietor of the business, which he suc-
cessfully conducted for a number of years.
He eventually sold his interests in the hard-
ware business to Brittain & Co. at a profit-
able figure.

He is now at the head of the Frank K.
Mott Company, one of the best known and
most solid real estate firms in the city of

Mr. Mott was appointed by Mayor Pardee
to the City Council in 1894 from the old
First Ward, to fill the vacancy from that
section caused by the retirement of Henry
P. Dalton, who had been elected County

In the city election of that year he was
nominated by the Municipal League to suc-
ceed himself as councilman from the First
Ward and was elected by a handsome ma-
jority. In the second year of the term of


Greater Oakland, 1911


Hon. Frank K. Mott


two years he served as President of the
City Council.

He was renominated at the expiration of
his term, but owing to the pressure of pri-
vate business was compelled to decline to

Two years later his friends insisted on
his again returning to the Council and he
was again elected, having been nominated
by the Republican convention and endorsed
by the Municipal League. At the end of his
term he again returned to private life and
devoted all of his attention and energy to
hi.'^ business.

In 1901 and again in 1903 he was strongly
urged to be a candidate for the mayoralty,
but declined on account of business reasons.
In 1905 his friends again insisted on naming
him for the office of mayor. After some
consideration he consented and was nomi-
nated for the office in the city convention
in February, his nomination being endorsed
by the Municipal League and the Demo-

At the end of his term he was renomi-
nated by the Republican city convention
and was endorsed by the Municipal League,
the Democrats and the Union Labor Party.
There was practically no opposition, which
is something that rarely happens in politics.
He was, of course, re-elected, and when
his second term came to a close he was
again nominated by the Republicans and
endorsed by the Democratic, Union Labor
and Municipal League parties, and was
again returned to the mayoralty.

Mr. Mott has the distinction of being the
first mayor to be elected under the new di-
rect primary law. The people proved last
spring that he is not a "machine" mayor
when, by direct popular vote, he was again
nominated and subsequently elected by a
handsome majority to serve as chief execu-
tive for the fourth time.

The work which Mayor Mott has per-
formed during his three terms as Mayor
has been almost superhuman when com-
pared with that accomplished in former
times. He has brought harmony into the
councils of the administration. There is a
bond of sympathy and appreciation between
the people and the local government for the
reason that the public has come to realize
that the administration is inspired with the

purpose of upbuilding and expending the
taxes where they will do the most good.

It is not necessary to write in generalities
in telling of Mr. Mott's work. In 1906 the
people voted over a million and a half bond
issue for park and sewer improvements.
During his first administration the police
department was doubled and two new en-
gine houses were constructed. During his
second term there was a settlement with
the Southern Pacific with respect to the
water front, the corporation yard was estab-
lished, the street department was reorgan-
ized, the project for an auxiliary salt water
plant for fire purposes was inaugurated,
and this has recently been brought to com-
pletion. Fire protection was further im-
proved, three more engines and two engine
houses were provided. Lake Merritt was
dredged, a museum was established on the
shores of the lake, and a playgrounds sys-
tem was inaugurated, and a park commis-
sion was created for the special purpose of
looking after the parks of the city.

During the last term there were con-
structed more engine houses, ordinances
were passed for the betterment of sanitary
conditions, suburbs were annexed, and Oak-
land is to have one of the finest city halls
in the West.

Mr. Mott's record is clean. We have had
prosperity under his administration because
he is a good business man. He has brought
about harmony because he is fair, gives
close attention to the arguments and sug-
gestions of his colleagues and does not
claim all the credit for the good work of
the administration. He has always been on
the side of improvements, reforms and bet-
ter conditions. We do not think it too
much to claim that the excellent work of
the present administration under Mayor
Mott has had no small influence in the rapid
commercial progress Oakland has made
during the past few years.

Extensive water front improvements are
under way. $2,500,000 being already on hand
for this work. Large and permanent docks
are under course of construction along the
southern and western water front and a
system of belt line railways is to be con-
structed at the earliest possible date.

The Mayor is a member of a dozen fra-
ternal orders, including the Knights of


Greater Oakland, 1911

Pythias, the Elks, F. and A. M. and is a
member of the Union League Club of San

He has been both a wage-earner and an
employer, which has given him a particu-
larly broad insight into general conditions
and has made him popular among all
classes. He fairly radiates energy, is al-
ways accessible and transacts the large
amount of business coming before him sys-

tematically and promptly and seems to cre-
ate an atmosphere of good cheer amongst
his fellow workers.

In the natural sequence of events, it
would not be at all surprising if Mr. Mott
would be called upon to serve the public in
a broader field, for he has built up a repu-
tation which places him among the fore-
most men on the Pacific Coast.

Harold A. Wilkinson


Harold A. Wilkinson

Secretary to the Mayor

NE of the clean-cut and active
young men of the administra-
tion is H. A. Wilkinson, Sec-
retary to the Mayor. His po-
sition in the Mayor's office is

one of no little responsibility and one that
involves a large amount of detail work, as
well as a thorough knowledge of the work-
ings of the various departments of the city's

Sec'y to the Mayor

Mr. Wilkinson was born in Oakland on
October 16, 1880, and is a son of Albert E.
Wilkinson, who came to Oakland some
thirty-five years ago. The elder Wilkinson
has large dredging and manufacturing in-
terests throughout the State and is inter-
ested in the Golden State Miners' Iron
Works of San Francisco.

After going through the public schools
of Oakland as a boy, young Wilkinson felt
a restless desire to make his own way in

the world and secured a position with the
Oakland "Tribune," where he worked for a
year or so. In his early youth he always
seemed ready for work and enjoyed earning
his own spending money, Although his
father was perfectly willing and well able to
defray his educational expenses, the boy ex-
hibited an unusual degree of independence
by paying his college tuition from his own

In December, 1899, he received the ap-
pointment as Secretary to the Warden of
Folsom Prison, which position he occupied
until 1903. His next appointment was to
the office of Secretary to the Street Com-
missioner of the city of Oakland, where he
remained until 1910.

After the fall election of 1910 he accepted
the appointment as Secretary to Mayor
Mott, to fill the vacancy caused by the
resignation of Mr. Tyrell, who had just been
elected State Senator.

His appointment to his present office was
largely based upon considerations of per-
sonal fitness, due to his considerable experi-
ence and knowledge of municipal affairs.
Since he has had charge of the detail work
of the Mayor's office he has endeavored to
maintain a strict adherence to the prin-
ciples of the administration, together with
a careful regard for the business concerns
of the municipality. His uniform courtesy
and consideration to the public who have
business to transact at the Mayor's office
have made him many friends.

Mr. Wilkinson has been a hard worker
for the success of his party at the polls, and
has been active in the organization of nu-
merous political clubs during the past sev-
eral years, and altogether has become a
valuable acquisition to his party.

He possesses the telling attributes of
youth, vigor, integrity and ability, and is
bound to be heard from in the future politi-
cal history of the city.


Greater Oakland, 1911

Harry S. Anderson

Commissioner of Public Works


the vigorous young commis-
sioner recently nominated by
the direct primary vote, and
subsequently elected by a
comfortable majority over his opponent,
Edwin Meese, one of the strongest men in
Alameda County from which to wrest a po-
litical victory, has, through this election
alone, proven his popularity' and executive

Courtesy of Dorsas Photo

Mr. Anderson is a product of California
soil, born in Oakland on September 3, 1877,
and has lived in this city all his life. Upon
the foundation of a practical public school
education, he entered the carpet business
with his father, S. Anderson, twenty-one
years ago, when but a boy, and has been
a success in this business ever since. The
carpet business was established in the old
Masonic Temple Building, being located

there for three years; it was then moved
to 1114 Broadway, where it remained for
twelve years, and finally to its present loca-
tion at 405 Thirteenth Street.

The young Commissioner's continued suc-
cess in business would seem to argue well
for his success in his present important pub-
lic office. Although this is his first elective
public office, he has been active in politics
for some years past. He was Secretary of
the County Republican Central Committee
of Alameda County, Secretary- of the Sev-
enth Ward Republican Club, and was Secre-
вАҐ;ary of the last State Republican Commit-
tee's Convention under the old regime, be-
fore the direct primary law went into effect.

Mr. Anderson stands for a clean, business
administration and states that he will work
hard toward that end in his department,
which has supervision of some of the
most important matters in the city. As
Commissioner of Public Works he has
charge of the construction work on the new
million-dollar city hall, the development
work on the water front, the construction
of all new school houses and full charge of
all matters pertaining to wharves, docks and

Mr. Anderson is well known in fraternal
circles, being a member of the Elks, all the
Masonic orders, including the Mystic Shrine,
Moose, Owls, Fraternal Brotherhood, Royal
Arcanum, and some half dozen others. He
also enjoys the distinction of holding the
position of "Speaker of the Senate" of the
National Union, which is the third highest
gift of the order in the United States. He
is one of the most active young men in the
city in furthering the cause of all athletics
and is one of the large stockholders in the
Oakland baseball team.

He was married to Miss Edna Frances
Camp of Oakland on April 23, 1901.

In meeting Mr. Anderson one is im-
pressed with the energy with which he
tackles his work. He is thoroughly alive to
all important public issues, he is clean-cut
and direct in his methods and should make
an excellent public official.

William J. Baccus



Commissioner of Streets

Courlay of Biis/imU Photo

William J. Baccus

Commissioner of Streets

BACCUS, who has been in
the public eye as a city official
for nearly ten years, is self-
made and has acquired his
success solely through his own energies and
by making the best of his opportunities,
and it might be stated here that he has him-
self created most of his opportunities.

He has always lived on California soil
and under California environment, having
been born in San Francisco on November

17, 1869. Coming to Oakland when a lad
of ten, he received a practical education in
the public schools here, and has been a resi-
dent of this city ever since.

Mr. Baccus has been brought up on good,
plain, honest hard work. After finishing
his schooling he was engaged in the team-
ing business with W. H. Parrish, and then
learned the bricklaying trade, working at
that for several years. He was not the
young man to stay long at the bottom, how-
ever, and soon saw greater opportunities in


Greater Oakland, 19J1

the contracting business. With a thorough
knowledge of general construction work,
acquired through practical experience, and
by virtue of his honesty, thoroughness and
promptness in fulfilling his many large con-
tracts, he has become one of the foremost
contractors in the city, his most recent work
being the reconstruction of the Syndicate

In 1903 he accepted the nomination on
the Republican ticket for member of the
City Council, receiving the endorsement of
the Union Labor forces with whom he is
strongly affiliated, and was elected by a big
majority. His work in the Council was so
satisfactory to the public that he has been
continuously elected ever since, having
served four terms.

As Councilman he served as chairman of
the Street Committee for four years. He
has always been a hard and consistent
worker for better streets. When he first
went into office the mileage of permanent
pavements in the city was very small, and
it is largely through his efforts and influence

that the number of streets enjoying perma-
nent pavements has been so greatly in-

It was largely through his record as
Councilman that he was nominated by di-
rect primary vote for the office of Commis-
sioner under the new charter and elected
by a goodly majority, and it would seem
that as Commissioner of Streets, Mr. Bac-
cus is assuredly the right man in the right

Mr. Baccus is the son of Benjamin Bac-
cus, one of the early pioneers of California
who came to the Coast overland by team in
1851. The elder Baccus worked with the
Southern Pacific Company and was later
engaged in the plumbing business in San
Francisco. Mr. Baccus married Miss Cath-
erine Muir, daughter of an early pioneer, in
San Jose in 1896. There are three children:
Volma, a daughter of 12; William J. Jr.,
10, and Robert, 7. He is a member of the
Native Sons. Eagles' x\erie No. 7, Red Men,
Moose and other fraternal orders and clubs.

John Forrest


John Forre^

Commissioner of Revenue and Finance and Ex-Officio Member
Board of Education

R. JOHN FORREST, the new
Commissioner of Revenue and
Finance and cx-ofificio mem-
ber of the Board of Educa-
tion, is a self-made man in
every sense of the term. Born in Ireland
about fifty-one years ago, he came to Amer-
ica when a mere lad, in 1873, and arrived in

Commissioner of Revenue and Finance

Courtesy of Stewart Tkoto

Oakland about three years later, in 1875.

He has always made his own way in the
world and took his first job in Oakland with
the old San Pablo cable road, doing con-
struction work. Following this he was with
the Southern Pacific Company for many
years as car repairer and inspector of air-
brake equipment. He left the employ of

the Southern Pacific at the time of the big
strike in 1894, and entered the employ of
the gas company where he also served for
a number of years in various capacities.
He next served the State as water front
paver under Governor Pardee's administra-

His first appointive office in the city of
Oakland was when he was made trench in-
spector, which position involved the duties
of examining and passing upon all trenches
or openings in the city streets or elsewhere
made by the various utility companies for
water pipes, gas mains, telephone conduits,
sewers, etc. In this position Mr. Forrest
did careful, thorough and conscientious

Mr. Forrest enjoys the proud distinction
of having been elected a member of the
freeholders of Oakland in framing the new
charter, and served as chairman of the
board during nearly all of its sessions.

Online LibraryEvarts I. BlakeGreater Oakland, 1911, a volume dealing with the big metropolis on the shores of San Francisco Bay .. → online text (page 20 of 30)