San Francisco (Calif.). Board of Supervisors.

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Tevis water scheme. In making his
final determination, the city engineer
excluded all unnecessary lands, in-
cluding about 38,000 acres of this land
that did not produce water, such as
the Coyote Creek lands of 11,977
acres, and the Pleasanton Valley lands
of 5,616 acres.

Agreement to Sell

The water company agreed with the
city attorney, as set forth in letter
dated July 27, 1914, to sell to the citv
all these segregated properties for
$34,500,000. and payments of capital
expenditures made by the company
from January 1, 1913, and interest,
allowing the city to select such lands
as set forth in the city engineer's
recommendations, and with the .state-
ment that all of the other tracts of
land retained by the Spring Valley
Water Company were of no value to
San Francisco for water supply pur-
poses, except in certain cases, and in
such tracts the water rights appertain-
ing to the land would be conveyed to

I'alai'fraj Dam Is onf of
the big farth-fill Jams of
the vxrlJ. It closes the
outlet of the long, narrov!
'ialley thai has been (on-
i-erleJ into Calaveras Res-
iTvoir. The 'white loieer
houses the gate-valves that
control the release of v;aler
through a tunnel to the
ireek channel h.lov: the




The placid lake — the San
Mateo hills — the storm-
biaten tree — in this settincf
Hermann Schussler is re-

Typical view of one of the
many beautiful pieces of
property acquired by San
Francisco in its purchase
of the Spring Valley
If'aler Company.

the city, thus giving to San Francisco
all the value that can attach to them
as water supply lands.

1913 Water Revenue

The gross revenue from water sales
in 1913 was $3,322,048.10. It was
deemed a wise measure to acquire the
properties as the, company owned a
monopoly of reservoir sites on the San
Mateo Peninsula and its system lent
itself admirably to a merging with the
completed Hetch Hetchy supply.

Five separate elections were held
before San Francisco was able to suc-
cessfully carry the purchase of this
water system, and it was not until
May, 1928, that a two-thirds majority
was obtained for a price of $41,-

The 1929 revenues from the water
company measure up to $7,000,000
yearly, which will net San Francisco
about $1,200,000 annually from public
ownership, after paying the bond re-
demption and all operating expense.

Spring \'alley purchase elections :

Yes No

January 14, 1910.. 22,068 11,722

April 20, 1915 39,951 33.455

March 8, 1921 43,073 30,992

June 14, 1927 41,463 28,611

May 1, 1928 82,490 21,175

Since those days, the city has ex-

panded the use of the Alameda sources
by an early building of the portion of
the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct between
Irvington and Crystal Springs, prac-
tically twenty-two miles of pipe and
tunnel. The general size of the pipe
is five feet in diameter. It crosses the
bay at Dumbarton by means of 3800
feet of an elevated bridge, capable of
carrying two 7-foot pipes, and crosses
the channel by means of 3165 feet of
42-inch submarine pipe. This leads
the water from Niles, across the bay,
to a pumping station on the west side,
which lifts the water into Crystal
Springs Reservoir, elevation 290. By
this means, thirty-four million gallons
per day of additional supply from the
transbay regions was obtained to safe-
guard the supply for San Francisco.

Much credit is due Mayor Rolph
for his participation in the various
campaigns to acquire the property,
which have been controversial and
vituperative, from 1915 to date.
The 1910 Campaign

The campaign of 1910 for purchas-
ing all the properties for $35,000,000,
was very nearly successful, except for
the antagonism shown by two labor
leaders, IMayor P. II. McCarthy and
Commissioner Michael Casey of the
Board of Public Works.

Subsequent purchase campaigns were
opposed by Rudoljih Spree kels and
Adolpli Uhl, two obstructive citizens

who showed aversion to the city's
policies. The final campaign in 1928
was led 'by Supervisors I'ranck R.
Havenner of the Finance Committee,
assisted by myself. Chief Assistant
Engineer Eckart, and Mayor Rolph,
and resulted in the final conclusive
declaration of policy by the citizens,
of more than 4 to 1, to acquire this
large property for the sum of $41,-

It took the citizens of London one
hundred years to acquire the private
water companies, so it is a worthy
record for the city of San Francisco
to be able to do so after thirty years'
combat in our diversified democracy.
Giannini Syndicate

During 1928 and the early part of
1929 the market for bonds retro-
graded, so that the citv could not dis-
pose of its $41,000,000 of bond issue
until December 16, 1929, when a syn-
dicate formed by A. P. Giannini,
leader of the Bank of Italy and the
National City Bank of New York, and
others, arranged to buy the bonds, so
that the city took possession of the
Spring Valley property under munici-
pal operation on March 3. 1930, hav-
ing redeemed the $22,000,000 outstand-
ing Spring Valley bonds, which will
be retired November 1, 1930, under a
financial arrangement satisfactory to
the city, and satisfactory to the Spring
Valley Water Company.




Spring Valley




By Nelson A. Eckart

General Manager, San Francisco ff'ater Department

IV JL the birth of the San Francisco
^V'ater Department, at which time the
:ity of San Francisco actually took
jossession and commenced the opera-
ion of its water supply system ac-
quired by purchase from the Spring
('allev \Vater Company at a price of
ippro'ximately $40,000,000. Techni-
rally. the San Francisco Water Depart-
iient may have been considered to
lave been established on February 26
ivhen an ordinance creating the De-
partment was finally enacted by the
Board of Supervisors and approved
3y Mayor Rolph. On the same day.
:he Board of Public Works appointed
IS head of the Department the writer,
with the title of general manager, said
appointment, however, to be eflfective
March 3, and it was not until then that
the Board of Public Works, by reso-
lution formally appointed as employees

of the new department the entire per-
sonnel of the operating staff of the
Spring Valley Company, with the ex-
ception of a very few individuals who
were not citizens of the United States
and consequently, by authority of the
state law and the charter, ineligible
for municipal employment, so that al-
though the legislation had been com-
pleted on February 26, there was no
substance to the Department until
ilarch 3.

Extent of Properties

The properties which were acquired
covered all of the properties of the
Spring Valley Water Company which
had been designated by the Citj' En-
gineer as being used, or useful, in con-
nection with the production and dis-
tribution of water. In area the proper-
ties acquired covered approximately

62,500 acres and, in addition, riparian
rights on nearly 20,000 acres of land.
Most of these lands are in the water-
sheds tributary to the main storage
reservoirs, including Calaveras reser-
voir. San Andreas reservoir, Pilar-
citos reservoir, and Upper and Lower
Crystal Springs reser\-oirs. Also the
land immediately adjoining Lake Mer-
ced within San Francisco. Included in
the purchase, of course, are all the
pipe lines and aqueducts for conveying
the water from the points of produc-
tion and storage to the city, and the
distribution system within San Fran-
cisco, together with all of the local
distributing reservoirs, the pumping
plants, and also the office building at
425 Mason Street, which now houses
the San Francisco \\'ater Department
and is the headquarters for the same.
The capacity of the Spring Valley
svstem, although heretofore rated as

yrtega, the grrat scoul.
fxplored this region of
Crystal Springs Dam, and
the main body of the
■expedition camped near

fht southern end of the




i.^ -—












, •■ •- .^V

apgBiKs^^- ^

' '- " ■ '■■ :


.JMiui. jM


T/ie first built of Spring
Valley's three major dis-
tributing reservoirs in
San Francisco is Laguna
Honda, at Seventh Ave-
nue opposite Ortega Street.
When Pilarcitos <water
•was first brought to the
city in 1862, it vias deliv-
ered here, and this "deep
lake" has been part of the
city system ever since. At
elevation 370 feet, it sup-
plies high city areas.

65,000,000 gallons daily, due to the
recent series of years with abnormally
low rainfall, will be severely taxed
during the coming year to supply the
present needs of San Francisco
amounting to about 50,000,000 gallons

In addition to the properties of the
Spring Valley Water Company, the
Department takes over the properties
and organization of the Municipal
Water Works, a small local system
taken over by the city some years ago
and serving about 800 customers. The
total number of services supplied by
the Spring Valley Water Company at

the time of taking over the properties
was approximately 103,740.

Under the charter the operation of
all municipally owned utilities is un-
der the control of the Board of Public
Works in accordance with such ordi-
nances as the Board of Supervisors
may adopt. The charter provides that
the Board of Public Works shall ap-
point a head of the Department who
shall have full executive control under
such rules and regulations as the
Board of Works shall adopt.

Some time ago there was submitted
to the voters a proposed charter
amendment creating a public utilities

commission in which body would have
been vested complete authority ovei
the construction, operation and main-
tenance of all utilities. This, however
failed of passage and until such char
ter amendment may be adopted the
Board of Public Works in the opern
tion of the utility will be governed b
an ordinance adopted by the Board oi

This ordinance is quite an elaborati
instrument. It may be said that ii
general it follows the intent of th(
proposed charter amendment as far a:
the existing charter provisions permit
It is a very lengthy document and th<



of the

San Francisco



D. W. COOPER, Assistant Auditor






following is intended to indicate briefly
the important provisions of the same :

I'irst, it provides for the creation of
the "San Francisco Water Department"
for the purpose of supplying w^ater
to the inhabitants of the City and
County of San Francisco and to such
other persons and places as may here-
after be supplied with water by the
City and County of San Francisco, and
as above mentioned initially covers the
Spring Valley Water Company system
and the County Line Water Works.

It provides that all new construction
work and major extensions shall be
done under the direction and the
supervision of the city engineer, and
that no extension, addition or major
improvement or replacement shall be
made except on the recommendation
of the head of the Department, or the
city engineer.

It gives authority to the Water
Department to use all legal means to
collect revenue due for sale of water
either by discontinuance of service or
by civil action in the name of the City
and County of San Francisco.

It empowers the Board of Public
Works to authorize such banks as it
may elect to receive payment of water
bills for the Department, and to issue
receipts for the same in the name of
the Department. In this connection it
may be pointed out that the following
banks have made application and have
been authorized to act in this capacity :
American Trust Company, Bank of
Italy, The San Francisco Bank, Anglo-
California Trust Company, Hibernia
Savings & Loan Society.

The Water Department is also re-
quired to observe all ordinances of the
city and county, and all rules and



San Francisco



regulations of the Department of
Public Works relative to street open-
ings, barricades, excavations, etc., and
pay the necessary fees exactly as any
other private utility operating in San

As previously referred to, it pro-
vides for taking over the entire oper-
ating staff of the Spring Valley Water
Company and brings them within the
provisions of the Civil Service sections
of the charter insofar as the same may

In the matter of compensation of
employees, the minimum of $150 per
month is established by the ordinance
for all employees in the clerical
service. With regard to other classes
of service, the ordinance provides that
these employees shall receive at least
the minimum entrance salary or com-
pensation paid for similar service in
any other utility at present being
operated by the Board of Public
Works, and for positions not other-
wise covered at least the minimum

On Sloat Boule^'arJ at
Tv:enly-second Avenue,
against the background of
Lake Merced, stands Cen-
tral Pumps, the largest
pumping station in Spring
I'allcy's distributing sys-
tem. The •ii.ater coming
into the city reaches these
pumps through a concrete
reservoir near by. and is
pumped to Leiguna Honda
at the rate of eight mil-
lion gallons per day.




Some Departmental Executives of

Hydraulic Engineer

Superintendent, Peninsula System

Superin i

Assistant Superintendent, City Distribution

Manager, Water Sales Department


entrance wage or compensation paid
for similar service paid in other de-
partments of the city government. It
also provides that there should be
no reduction of compensation except
where the duties were diminished be-
low that received by the employees as

indicated by the January, 1930, pay
roll of the company.

In this connection the Civil Service
Commission, upon the request of the
Public Utility Committees of the
Board of Supervisors and the Board
of Public Works, made a hasty survey

of the duties of all of the Spring Val-
ley Water Company employees prior
to taking over the properties and
classified them in accordance with
their duties to correspond with the
proposed standard classification of




San Francisco Water Department


Superintendent, City Distribution

Engineer of Water ProJuetion


Assistant Manager, Water Sales Department

Purchasing Agent

positions now before the Board of

The Civil Ser\'ice Commission is to
be commended for the manner in
which they handled this task, which
involved the study and classification
of the duties of more than 450 em-

plovees within a period of about two
weeks. Naturally, however, within
this limited time it was not possible to
make a complete field survey of all of
the positions and no doubt there will
be found some few inequalities and
discrepancies which may have to be

ironed out and some adjustmenti
made. This standard classification
paves the way for the standardization
ot salaries now being considered with
its aim of equal pay for equal service
in the city's employment.







FSKflBsHrHHn ^ff '







__*^' ^""lllllllMii^



^i^aJ^^^^^ -^


■HT^ l..i.aiiHpH|

Photo by Chaffee
Mayor Ralph (standing in center) accepting from Samuel P. Eastman (standing to the left of the Mayor) deed that transferred Spring
f'alley properties to the City of San Francisco. Seated are the other city officials and 'water company representatives

<who tuitnessed the transfer.

The ordinance requires that the
accounts of the Water Department be
kept in accordance with the standard
practice of the Railroad Commission
for similar utilities and provides that
the amount of taxes which would
have been paid to the city on the
properties used in the water system
shall be oflfset by furnishing without
charge such amount of water which at
the current rates would equal the
amount of the taxes.

It is also required that the Water
Department pay into the Hetch Hetchy
bond interest fund the sum of $250,-
000 per year as rental for the bay
crossing aqueduct.

These provisions all have the effect
of requiring the Water Department
to stand on its own bottom, and pay
its own way, exactly as if it were a
privately owned system with the ex-
ception of the payment of state taxes,

Department Budget

The ordinance provides that in
April of each year a budget be pre-
pared to show the estimated amounts
of revenue to be received during the
year and likewise an estimate of all
amounts to be paid out for all pur-
poses, indicating in detail the require-
ments for salaries and wages and for
all improvements and other expendi-
tures. Upon the approval of this bud-
get by the Board of Works and the
Board,-,o.f Supervisors, the sums set
forth 'tfi the budget are automatically
appropriated for the various purposes
set forth therein. Any expenditures
or- commitments in excess of these
amounts, or for other purposes, may
only be made upon the submission and
approval of a supplemental budget,
except in the case of emergencies.

Provision is made for the establish-
ment of a proper depreciation reserve
fund, for bond interest and redemp-
tion funds, and for water extension

reserve fund, in addition to the so-
called charter reserve fund, in which
is retained a minimum of one-half of
the operating expenses of the previous

The ordinance provides that the
water rates in effect under the Spring
\"alley Company management at the
time of taking over the properties shall
remain in effect for a period of at
least one year, and thereafter changes
in the water rates shall only be made
upon the written recommendation of
the head of the Department and the
Board of Supervisors, and it specific-
ally provides that no rates shall be
made which will not be sufficient to
produce the revenues to safely cover
all operating expenses and provide for
the maintenance of the proper reserve

The Water Department is required
to pay for all services rendered by any
other department of the city and
county at cost out of revenues of the
Water Department.

The city attorney is designated as
the legal adviser of the Department,
with provision for appointment of
additional assistance when required.
Provision is made for the proper
bonding of employees of the Depart-
ment based on the faithful perform-
ance of their duties.

Payment of Employees

The ordinance provides also for the
payment of employees on the work,
rendering unnecessary the loss of time
otherwise involved where the em-
ployees are compelled to go to the
City Plall to collect their salaries or

A revolving fund is provided for
by means of which petty expenses of
the Department and other payments
that can not be completely made by
demands upon the treasurer may be
paid. This revolving fund is to be
reimbursed from time to time by pay-

ments from the treasurer upon pro-
duction of proper receipts and the
approval thereof.

The purchase of all materials, sup-
plies and equipments by the Water
Department is to be made through the
city purchaser of supplies, with pro-
vision that specifications may be pre-
pared under the direction of the head
of the Water Department for all
equipment required by the Depart-
ment, or for materials or supplies
peculiar to the Department's operation.

Department Personnel

For purposes of administration, the
organization is divided into various
divisions or departments. The account-
ing is under the direction of J. J.
Sharon, whose title is that of auditor ;
D. W. Cooper, assistant auditor, and
H. M. Kinsey, cashier. T. W. Espy,
with title of engineer of water pro-
duction, is in direct charge of all
operations relative to the production
of water and all work outside of San
Francisco, other than that under the
agricultural department. Under Mr.
Espy, G. J. Davis is superintendent of
the Pensinsula System, and A. W.
Ebright, superintendent of the Ala-
meda System. I. E. Flaa is hydraulic
engineer in charge of design. George
W. Pracy is superintendent of the
City Distribution System, with O. G.
Goldman as assistant superintendent.
V. E. Perry continues as manager of
the Water Sales Department, with
A. M. Cooley as assistant manager.
F. W. Roeding, superintendent of the
Agricultural Department, has charge
of all agricultural operations includ-
ing a walnut orchard of 100 acres, and
the leasing of lands owned by the
Department for agricultural purposes.
J. H. Le Pla is the purchasing agent
under the city purchaser of supplies.





OX MARCH 3, 1930, the efforts of
our citizens for nearly fifty-six
years were rewarded, and San Fran-
cisco became the owner of the opera-
tive properties of the Spring Valley
Water Company, and today those
properties are in possession of our
city and are being operated by the
Board of Public Works under the
name of San Francisco Water De-
partment. The taking over of these
properties was made possible by the
bond issue approved by the people on
May 1, 1928, and while an issue of
forty-one millions was approved and
available for the purchase, the actual
price paid was slightly less than
fort}' millions. Had not the bond
market throughout the United States
suffered a severe depression during the
latter part of 1928, which depression
lasted practically through all of the
year 1929, our bonds might have been
disposed of at an earlier date and the
properties of the company taken over
even as early as March 1, 1929, but
it was not until the Bank of Italy,
during the month of December, 1929,
offered to finance the sale of the bonds
that the actual money to close the sale
was available.

The matter of closing the transac-
tion was by resolution of the Board of
Supervisors committed to the City At-
torney and the City Engineer. The
details were multifarious, but by dint
of hard work and with the sincere
cooperation of the officials and em-
ployees of the Spring Valley Company,
ail of the details were satisfactorily
adjusted so that before noon on

Legal Phase

of the

Spring Valley

By John J. O'Toole

City Attorney

Monday, March 3, a check for
$39,962,606.51 was delivered to the
company, and a deed conveying to the
city all the operative properties of the
company was simultaneously delivered
to the city. This deed was executed
in four counterparts, to the end that
its recordation might be effected in
each of the four counties in which
the properties are situated, prior to
noon on that day. And thus, the
Spring Valley Water Company, which
had been an agencv for the distribu-

tion of water in San Francisco as well
as on the peninsula since 1857, ceased
to function and its duties and obliga-
tions were assumed by the city, which
henceforth must not only perform
these duties and obligations, but also
prepare itself for the additional ones
which will be cast upon it when the
water supply of the Spring Valley
will be augmented by that from the
Hetch Hetchy system, and the duty of
siippl)'ing not only our own residents
but also the residents of our sister

Photo by Chafl«


Left to right: M. M. O'Shauglm^ssy, City Ettginecr; Duncan Matluion. Trcasurrr;
John J. O'Toole. City .Ittorney: John J. DaiUy. .Issislant City .Attorney: Samuel P. East-
man. President, Spring I'alley Water Company: Timothy A. RearJon. President. Board of
Public Works; Mayor James Ralph, Jr.: Selson .1. Eckart. General Manager, San Fran-
cisco Water Department: Supervisor Franck R. Uavenner: Dion Holm. Chief Deputy City
Attorney; Edmond Godchaux, Recorder; Louis Ferrari, General Counsel, Bank of Italy.




cities on the peninsula with pure
water will rest on San Francisco.

While the Spring Valley Company
has retired from the business of the

Online LibrarySan Francisco (Calif.). Board of SupervisorsThe municipal employee (Volume v.3 (Jan. - Sept. 1929)) → online text (page 52 of 84)