R.L. Polk & Co.

Polk's Oakland (California) city directory (Volume 1928) online

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of all bay cities the agents of this world famous organization chose the Oakland Muni-
cipal Auditorium for its only Bay District performances, four of which were given with
an aggregate of over 25.000 paid admissions.

To accommodate the great crowds, the arena, normally seating S800 persons, was
used. A sloping floor, built in numbered sections, was constructed on the main arena
floor which in size is normally 118 by 213 feet. This sloping floor faced a sectional stage,
also constructed by the Citizens Committee guaranteeing the opera company, which can
be made any size up to 50 by 90 feet and can be erected at any place in the arena. The
cost of these demountable facilities, which in twenty-four hours' time can convert the
arena from a ball room to an opera house, was approximately $16,500. The Citizens Com-
mittee and the opera company turned this valuable equipment over to the city at the
conclusion of the opera season — and in return the Public Works Department through
council action returned the $2500 rental to the committee. This was little enough com-
pensation to the 100 or more citizens who sponsored the operatic season with $25,000 of
their own funds, and I wish to convey to this group, headed by such men as Ralph
Fisher. Wm. Jurgens and Al Lavenson, the city's appreciation of the public spirit that
actuated their guarantee.

Let it here be recorded that the Chicago Grand Opera Company has again chosen
Oakland for Bay appearances of March, 1929, when it again will present four operas of
its discriminately chosen repertoir.

In this connection I wish to recomanend to the Department of Public Works and to
your honorable body the purchase of opera chairs for the new removable opera floor of
the auditorium arena. The net profit to the city in the facilities built by the opera
backers and presented to the auditorium 'is in the neighborhood of $10,000, and the two
thousand new chairs needed would come to not much more. The acquisition of such com-
fortable seats would be greatly appreciated by the public, and I urge their purchase
most strongly.


The I'iyl.t.-,,!! In, I,. :,t lli,' i.nkl;in.l Mniiiripal Golf Coursf
near Uik,- (;lialiot— i.iilj- six jjiiles fiom the C'ily Hall.


Many shows and conventions also used the Municipal Auditorium during the past year.
Among them were the following, with attendance given:

Name of Convention Date Delegates

National Business and Prof. Women's Club July 1927 4,000

Aneient Order of Hibernians of California Aug. 1927 1,000

Santa Fe Railroad Executives — Loss and Damage Dept Julv, 1927 250

Pacific Slope Dairy Sliow Nov. 1927 32,000

Pacific Coast Tailors Association Feb. 1928 300

Pac. S. W. Annual Confer. BIdg. Owners and Managers ... Feb. 1928 500

Rebekalis Mar. 1928 750

Teachers' Assn. and Council of Education Apr. 1928 2,000

De Molay Apr. 1928 500

Oakland Kennel Club Show Apr. 1928 10,000

Alameda County Pood Show (Natl. Assn. Retail Grocers). Apr. 1928 22,000

American Keg. Pharmacists of Calif June 1928 1,000

California Assn. Dvers and Cleaners June 1928 1,000

Woodmen of the World June 1928 1,200


At this point, I wish again to urge definite action in the coming year on the matter
of the Corporation Yard. The Street Department, which I understand has been arranging
with the Port Department for a site on harbor lands south of Eighth Street near Fallon,
should place a definite amount in this year's budget for construction of a modern Corpor-
ation Yard plant, and rid the city of the present unsightly, unsanitary, unhealthful, and
uneconomic shacks south of the Municipal Auditorium which is constantly being visited
by strangers from all over the country. I do, however, congratulate the Street Depart-
ment upon its efforts to level and pave space for Auditorium parking on Corporation Yard
land — this at least is one definite improvement in that vicinity.

F'or ten years I have placed in previous budgets appropriations amounting individually
from fifty to seventy-five thousand dollars tor this purpose. Each year, however, has
expired discovering the fact that the Corporation Yard fund has been transferred, over
my vote, to other channels of expenditure. I hope that during the coming year no such
manipulation of appropriated sums will be allowed by this council.


During the year the Street Department consummated the following' improvements:

Miles Cost

Streets paved 37 $1,691,369.93

Sidewalks laid 34.369 182,911.00

Sewers put in 28.651 511,876.54

Improvements completed during the year, or started and soon to be finished, are:
Opening of Fallon Street; improvement and widening of Hopkins as a north-town east
and west arterial; widening of Bond Street; widening of First Street (certain phases
still in court); improvement of 59th Street; widening of Franklin Street; widening and
improvement of Russett Street in the eastern industrial zone; opening of Madison Street
into Lakeside Drive; opening and paving of Hollywood Boulevard; development of plans
for opening Foothill Boulevard (East Sixteenth Street) in Lakeshore Avenue. In addi-
tion to these, some 36 other improvements have been ordereld including a new arterial
highway to go directly from East Fourteenth Street to the Airport and on which work is
well under way.

All of the projects under the bond issue for sewers voted for in 1924 have been com-
pleted, with the exception of one small project, rights of way for which are now being
obtained at a saving of over $250,000 under engineer's estimates.


The Street Department, through economies effected, operated on a sum over $300,000
less than its operation cost in the previous fiscal year. The city is to be congratulated
upon the economies it put in force. I urge similar rigid economy this year.


Here, however, I wish to state that I am on principle opposed to anything but open
specifications for street work. Furthermore, after study of reports of various highway
engineers, and from experience in our own city, I am convinced that black top pavement
is unnecessary and its laying constitutes a waste of taxpayers' funds. The State Highway
Commission is now following a general policy of laying plain concrete pavement — it is
non-skid in any kind of weather, pedestrians crossing at night are shown more clearly
by reason of the concrete's light color, it does not "roll" in hot weather, and it is far
more economical. The same arguments pertain to city streets. I advocate, therefore,
plain concrete streets for our city with all contracts therefor let on open specification.
When the public understands that non-patent plain concrete pavement is as good if not
better than patent paving, and in certain cases is even cheaper by as much as 27 cents
per square yard, there will undoubtedly come in no petitions other than those for such
concrete laid by the ordinarily accepted process. A Deputy on Street Paving to solicit
petitions for street work and fully to inform the public as to type and costs would be
appreciated by all our citizenship.


The Estuary Tube is now practically complete save for installation of ventilation
service. It is expected that busses will be operated in lieu of street cars, and the question
now before the city is as to the latter's routing. I wish to bring the Council's notice to the
inexpediency of routing this bus service on either Broadway or Washington Street. These
main arteries are already overcrowded with traffic, despite valiant efforts of the Traffic
Bureau of the Police Department to remedy the situation. It is my belief that the busses
from the tube should use Webster and Franklin Streets, aiding in the development of the
logical business areas on and contiguous to these thoroughfares.


I also wish to call attention of the Council to the Webster Street Loop service planned
years ago to bring local passengers from far East Oakland into the shopping heart of
this city. From time to time the State Railroad Commission, though previously ordering
the Southern Pacific Railroad Company to install this loop, has postponed the matter on
solicitation from the railroad. It is time that the wishes of the people of this community
were respected in this important matter — the loop should be installed. It is my firm
belief that the State Act giving birth to the Railroad Commission be amended so as to
allow municipalities, by vote of their citizens, to receive back the public utility control
they gave to the Commission some years ago.


City and County Govonnnent

First and foremost of recommendations based upon eighteen years experience as
Mayor of this city, I again urge divorcing the City of Oakland from the duplicating
government of Alameda County, and forming the "City and County of Oakland." The
benefits of such a governmental plan are manifold.

Oakland at present maintains a duplicating governmental system that would break
her if she were a private corporation. No business concern can maintain two presidents,
two boards of directors, two managers, two superintendents of each department, two
secretaries, two paymasters, and so on. Oakland, a municipal corporation, still does. Our


Tuulumne Uoiuuy, thirty miles from Yosemite — S'
Pool at Tuolumne Camp — Under Oakland
Recreation Department.

citizens pay to support two local governments, our own and the government of Alameda
County. We support our City Government to tlie amount of some $6,000,000 per year,
and on top of that turn over millions to Alameda County, from a huge sum of which
Oakland taxpayers get no return. Beside that, we lose annually approximately Seven
Hundred Thousand Dollars that — if Oakland were a county as well as a city — we would
get as our share of the State Gasoline Tax. Tliat sum alone is equal, at present assessed
valuations, of 26 cents on the tax rate — and with that sum we could pave our streets
with little cost to the taxpayer. The millions we pay over to the county with no return,
equal on the same basis well over one dollar. These two items total approximately $1.50
on the tax rate — and this subtracted from the present combined Oakland-Alameda County
rate would leave a total tax rate, with internal economies effected as well, for Oakland —
as the City and County of Oakland — of approximately $3.00.

I submit to your honorable body that the double government we now support is
wasteful, inefficient, illogical, unwise and utterly indefensible. It can only be suffered by
politicians determined to hold the bag of political patronage made available by our sup-
port of the many duplicating offices. Such duplicating offices, which should be consoli-
dated into one each, are:

Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors; City Clerk and
County Clerk; two Auditors; two Treasurers; two Law Enforcement offices with huge
personnel: two Boards of Education and School Systems: two Engineers, Jails, Pur-
chasing Agents, Health Departments, Library Systems, Civil Service Departments, and
so on. Oakland citizens need but ONE set of each of these official groups — just as an
Industry or business corporation needs but one president, one board of directors, one
treasurer, and so on.

It is absurd to support two governments and pay two taxes totalling $5.16, as we did
in the past fiscal year, when Otie Government and One Tax of approximately $3.00 would
do the same work more efficiently and with less confusion.

San Francisco is the most notable example of "City and County" government close by.
Despite the fact that San FVancisco has authorized $160,000,000 bonded indebtedness, has
a huge civil service and teachers' pension list, must support a great traffic and police and
fire system in proportion far beyond our own, has a street program far larger in the same
way, must pay for the upkeep of such a great park as the Golden Gate — nevertheless our
sister city has a tax rate of only $3.80 per hundred. Oakland's bonded indebtedness at
present is but $10,000,000 and other programs commensurately low, yet our tax rate is
$5.16. San Francisco, however, has eliminated all duplication and operates independently
as a City and County — this year alone she will receive directly into her treasury over
One Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars as her share of State Gasoline Funds. I
submit that it is easy to see — if not biased by a view of political patronage lost — that if
our own city adopted the same efficient plan of Independent local government, Oakland
also could operate on a greatly reduced tax rate.

Los -Angeles and Pittsburg Both AVant Consoliflation

In speaking on consolidation in his message of 1927, Mayor George E. Cryer of Los
Angeles, said: "The population of this area is in the neighborhood of 800.000. It would
seem that the greatest need of this great district is a unified and simplified form of gov-
ernment. Separate city and county governments are becoming a thing of the past in
great metropolitan areas. Progressive people all over the country are coming to realize
that there is no function now being performed by either a county or by a municipality
which could not be performed equally as well or better 6j/i a consolidated city and county
governiiK nt."


Mr. Albert W. Atwood, writing in the Saturday Evening Post, describes tlie situation
in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in this way: "Here is a district with more than 1,500,000
inhabitants, all in one economic boat. The idea is to substitute tor the present county
government, which contains more than 120 cities, townships and boroughs, a metropolitan
government. We must bring some order out of the present disorder of the metropolis."

The Oakland Post-Enquirer, speaking editorially on the Pittsburg demand, said on
August 4, 1928 : "Greater Oakland has reason to be interested in Greater Pittsburg.
Pennsylvania, and what it is trying to do — consolidate and cut out the wasteful expense
of duplicate city and county governments. Its problem is similar to our problem. Please
note that in the Pittsburg metropolitan district the people in the outlying communities
approved the consolidation idea. That's inevitable, once the idea of consolidating dupli-
cate local governments is clearly understood."

Los Angeles and Pittsburg thus see the value of consolidation, and are endeavoring to
beat down the opposition of political bosses and job seekers who care nothing for govern-
mental expense. They already have before them in the City and County of San Francisco,
and in other great cities of the same form of economical and efficient government, what
consolidation means. Again, therefore, I submit the necessity of our own great City of
Oakland and urge swift action toward the same governmental plan.

Low Taxes Aid Industry

In speaking of Oakland is an industrial city, I previousl.v declared the need for a low
tax rate. Tliis administration already has been able to enforce a reduction of the old total
Oakland-Alameda County rate from $G.10 to $5.16 — thus proving to the voters and
taxpayers that their confidence in the administration has not been misplaced. But Oak-
land can do much better than that — we have every natural opportunity demanded by
great industry — but the man-made disadvantage of a high tax rate is decidedly a fclraw-
back. Forming the "City and County" of Oakland, bringing the total tax rate — without
increase in assessments — down to the neighborhood of $3.00, will remove this artificial
disadvantage and place Oakland in the class of being the most desirable city in the
United States for home or industrial location.

I therefore urge upon your honorable body that on the earliest available ballot the
matter of City and County consolidation be placed before the people. Oakland has
40,000 more votes than the rest of the county put together, and by our own power we
can make ourselves independent governmentally and financially.

Golden Gate in the backs


•Hotel Oakland,'

City Hall, to

Charter Amendments

Adoption of the "City and County" plan would take perhaps two years to bring
about. There are, therefore, several charter amendments aimed to make more efficient
our present commission form of government that I urge your honorable body to place
upon the earliest available ballot.
Mayor Revoke Own Appointments

1. An amendment giving the Mayor the power of revoking all appointments now
authorized by charter to be made by himself. The Mayor of most cities, including San
Francisco, are endowed with this right. It is most vital for the proper carrying of the
policy of an administration. The charter would not give the Mayor these appointments
if the peoples' desire was not to have such appointees carry out the policies of the Mayor

they elect. It is but just to the people that should any appointee fail to carry out the
Mayor's policy and principles, they can, through the Mayor's own hand, revoke such
appointments and place new men or women in authority.
Set Sum for Park Development

2. An amendment setting aside at least Ten Cents of each annual tax rate for an
appropriation to the Park Department. This would take Park Department funds out of
political manipulation, giving the department an annual sum that would steadily increase
with the city's growth. In this way the department could place money aside for future

AV'eekly Council Meeting

3. An amendment eliminating the daily Council meeting and setting aside one day
of each week — probably Thursday — as Council Day. tJnder the present system, at least
two hours each iday are wasted by each commissioner and his staff in making ready for
and appearing in Council. This is uneconomical and inefficient. Setting aside one day
of each week for the purpose of public Council meeting will save a large percentage of
each commissioner's time for office duty and — except by the ever-present and apparently
employment-dodging Council Chamber "chair warmers" — will be greeted by the entire
public with appreciation.

Budget Control Officer

4. An amendment creating a "Budget Control Officer." As can be seen from perusal
of previous items in this message, budget appropriations evidently mean little when
Council power falls into conscienceless hands. A Budget Control Officer with power to
enforce expenditures of city funds only in accordance with appropriations made in the


oiidinance adopting the budget itself, would see to it that such illicit transfors would not
take place. He would furthermore be watchful of uneconomic expenditures under such
departmental budget items as "general expense," and would undoubtedly not only pay
for his salary, but perform otherwise strictly and only in behalf of public welfare and
the safeguarding of public funds. I am informed that a movement towards the creation
of such an official is endorsed and already inaugurated by the Commissioner of Revenue
aujd Finance. If such be true and he contemplates introduction and legislation creating
such an official as outlined above, I heartly endorse the move and commend it strongly to
your honorable body.

Mayor's Urgent Xecessity Fund

5. An amendment appropriating $1200 a year to be designated as the "Mayor's Urgent
Necessity Fund," and to be expended by or under direction of the Mayor without the
necessity of audit or the submission of vouchers. The cash from such a fund should be
available to the Mayor at all times upon application, and without the necessity of his
stating the reason for such demand or the necessity for such expenditure. The Mayor of
the City of Oakland is under $50,000 bond and can surely be entrusted with proper and
unaccounted expenditure of such a meagre entertainment and travel fund. The present
City Charter allows the Mayor an appropriation of $500 per year as an Urgent Necessity
Fund. Considering the fact that the entertainment of big business men, of foreign
potentates, of industrialists seeking Oakland location, of Army and Navy officers, of
outside officials; and considering the fact that from time to time he is called upon to visit
other cities in line of duty, $500 per year is entirely too small an appropriation, and $100
a month by no means too large. Considering also the fact that much entertainment
comes unexpectedly, the people of Oakland are surely just enough to allow the Mayor to
have some cash ready on hand for such emergencies.

One such trip I made last year, namely to Los Angeles to be present with Mayor Rolph
of San Francisco and over 500 other public officials from all parts of California at the
dedication of the new Los Angeles City Hall, caused be to be out of pocket over one-third
of my monthly salary. Such a situation should never be allowed.

Undoubtedly those responsible for the present charter created the present emergency
fund with the idea that the money was to be at the disposal of the Mayor without his
having in every particular instance, where a luncheon was to be purchased or a trip to
be made, spending his own salary first and then going through the humiliation of
submitting vouchers for meals and transportation to the City Auditor. Under present
circumstances I myself, rather than suffer such humiliation, have spent thousands of
dollars of my own in public entertainment and for official journeys.

In asking tor a Charter Amendment appropriating $1200 per year to such a fund, let
me point out that this is very little compared with our sister city across the bay. At the
present time the Mayor of San Francisco is allowed a cash fund to be expended under his

Oakland Technical Hig-h School on Broadway at Forty-fifth Street — A typical example of the

modern school building that has brought O.akland to the forefront in national circles.

Capacity, 2,700 students.


Athletic Festival — Alexander Hamilton Junior High School — Recreation Department Cooperating.

direction and without submission ot vouchers to the amount of $3600 a year. Oakland,
with her great future, cannot afford to let her Mayor plead poverty In the matter of


Downtown Comfoi-t Stations

With the increased growth and development of our downtown busines center the
need of public comfort stations has increased tremendously. Oakland is perhaps the only
city of its size in the country without them. I have In several past budgets provided
money for their construction but these appropriations, against my vote, also were trans-
ferred to other channels. If funds are available, I urge, as I have for many years in the
past, that this Council seriously consider an appropriation this year sufficient to provide
such conveniences in central locations. I have already taken up the matter with the
City Engineer, who is now engaged in a survey of location, type of construction, and cost.

I'nion Railroad Teiinlnal

In the past, as previously stated. I have reijeatedly urged the development of a
Municipal Union Passenger Terminal to be used by all railroads entering our city. Spe-
cifically it was urged in my messages of 1922 and ot 1927, and I take this opportunity to
recommend it again to your most earnest consideration.

Such a facility would be open to use by the Southern Pacific, Western Pacific, Santa
I'"e, Sacramento Short Line, Hill Lines, and other railroads now contemplating Oakland as
the coming great city of the west. The terminal could be no better located than in the
area bounded by Wood Street or Willow Street on the East, Eighteenth Street on the
south. Thirty-second Street on the north — and on the west should extend down the present
tracks of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company along the western harbor front. Tlie
Western Pacific Railroad today holds a franchise on Wood Street; the Santa Pe has its
lines on Wood Street terminating at Twentieth and Adeline: the Southern Pacific tracks
parallel the western water front. At the present time the Santa Pe Terminal is at Por-
tleth and San Pablo, the Western Pacific Station at Third and Broadway, the Southern
Pacific Overland at Sixteenth Street Station, the Sacramento Short Line at Portieth and
Shaffer. Consolidation of the terminal facilities in the location recommended above.


would be of notable advantage and form a facility convenient of access to all railroads
now in Oaliland, and would allow room sufficient to satisfy traffic problems for many

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Online LibraryR.L. Polk & CoPolk's Oakland (California) city directory (Volume 1928) → online text (page 6 of 432)