Obrázky stránek

of all sanitary and economic questions connected with the city's food supply and that it shall publish a daily list of prices. The report, however, does not advocate direct city control of marketing. The framers of the report estimate that, if their detailed plans were adopted, the saving to New York City alone would amount to $60,000,000 per year.

All but eight of the forty-two amendments to the constitution of Ohio were ratified by the voters at the special election held on September 3. Among the more important amendments adopted were those providing for the initiative and referendum on future state legislation, for the use of direct primaries, for municipal home-rule charters, for placing all appointive officers in the service of the state, the counties and the cities of Ohio under civil service regulation, and for the taxation of state and municipal bonds. For the student of municipal government the two most important of these amendments are those relating to home-rule charters and civil service appointment. Under the homerule amendment three methods of securing a city charter are made possible. In the first place, a city may elect a charter commission of fifteen members to draft a charter and submit it to the people for their acceptance or rejection. In the second place, the legislature of Ohio may enact the charter and this will come into force whenever the voters of any city accept it by a majority. In the third place, any city may decide by popular vote to be governed under the terms of the present municipal code. A number of cities are already considering the advisability of establishing charter commissions, among them Cleveland and Dayton.

The legislature of Minnesota at a special session held in June enacted three laws which have been supported by the municipal reform element for several years, namely, an act for the prevention and punishment of corrupt practices at election, legislation providing for a statewide primary, and provision for removing party designations from the municipal ballot in the largest cities of the state. The three cities concerned in this last-named arrangement are Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth. It is regarded as probable that at the next session of the legislature a successful effort will be made to secure the enactment of a civil service law applying to all administrative officials employed by the state and by the larger cities.

The Department of Industrial Research at the University of Pitts

burgh has begun an investigation of the smoke nuisance and the means of mitigating it. A comprehensive study of the problem in all its phases is being carried on by twenty-five specialists, of whom seven are giving their entire time to the work. The investigation will cover such matters as the effect of smoke on the atmosphere, on plant life and on physical structures, as well as upon public health. An examination will be made of every known mechanical device for abating the smoke nuisance and the merits of such devices will be given a thorough test. Likewise, there will be a compilation of all important state laws and city ordinances relating to the smoke problem and an attempt will be made to bring together trustworthy data concerning the degree of strictness with which these laws are enforced.

Two new centers of information on municipal matters have recently been established in Chicago. One is a civics room in the Public Library. In this room all the library's material bearing directly on municipal affairs (such as charters, ordinances, reports and statistical compilation) have been brought together and systematically arranged. The establishment of the civics room is intended to be of especial value to citizens interested in local civic progress.

The other center is the Bureau of Information and Publicity, provision for the establishment of which was made by the city council some months ago. This new bureau will have a regular permanent staff, headed by a commissioner of information and publicity. This official will be assisted by statisticians and special investigators. The city's Bureau of Statistics will be absorbed by the new department and will serve as the nucleus of the latter. The ordinance establishing the Bureau of Information and Publicity authorizes it to collect the laws and ordinances of other states and cities and all municipal reports that are worthy of preservation. All this material is to be indexed and members of the city council are to be enabled to call for and obtain information on any branch of municipal government. The bureau is also required to keep on file all reports published by the city of Chicago, so that it will become, in the course of time, a sort of official depository. It is interesting to note that all officials of the bureau, from the commissioner down, are placed under the operation of the civil service laws.

The Bureau of Information and Publicity, which is a strictly official establishment, must not be confused with the Chicago Bureau of Public Efficiency, an institution supported by private contributions,

which has for its chief purpose the investigation of work done by the city departments.

The first permanent municipal museum to be established in any city either of this country or abroad, has been provided for by New York City. The old building at the corner of Twenty-third Street and Lexington Avenue, formerly occupied by the College of the City of New York, is to be utilized in part for this purpose. The nucleus of the museum will be the municipal budget exhibit which the New York Bureau of Municipal Research was instrumental in having gathered together a few years ago. This exhibit will be supplemented by new accessions from time to time until it affords concrete illustration of every municipal activity great or small. The museum will be, in a sense, part of the instructional machinery of the College of the City of New York, and the trustees of this institution have already started to develop courses of instruction in municipal government with a view to utilizing fully the resources of the museum in practical instruction. These courses are under the immediate charge of Prof. H. B. Woolston.

Following the example of New York, a municipal budget exhibit was held in Cincinnati during the first two weeks of October. The material was brought together under the superintendence of officials sent to Cincinnati by the New York Bureau of Municipal Research. A somewhat similar exhibition covering a more specialized field, however, was held about the same time in Philadelphia under the auspices of the Department of Public Works. The exhibit was of a popular nature and was confined mainly to matters connected with the city's water supply, particularly illustrating the use and abuse of water by consumers. The per capita waste of city water in Philadelphia is believed to be larger than that in any other city of the country, and it was hoped that by means of the exhibit a realization of popular extravagance could be brought home to the voters of the city.

The principle of excess condemnation has received an emphatic endorsement in the adoption of the Ohio constitutional amendment permitting cities to acquire for public improvement more land than is actually needed for such undertaking. The Ohio amendment goes somewhat further than similar provisions in other states in that it permits cities a wide latitude in determining the amount of land to be acquired.

A year or two ago mention was made in the Review of a novel experiment inaugurated by the town of Staunton, Va., in the way of employing a municipal manager. The precedent is now to be followed by the town of Norwood, Mass., which voted at its last town meeting to employ a town manager who will have charge of all the business affairs of the municipality and will handle all the town's expenditures. He will be town engineer, superintendent of public works, director of the water supply and lighting system, as well as supervisor of all work performed on the town highways.

The Municipal Assembly of St. Louis has passed an ordinance providing for an amendment to the city charter which will permit the use of the initiative and referendum in municipal affairs. This ordinance will be submitted to the voters of the city on November 5. Meanwhile a conference composed of delegates from twenty-one civic and business organizations of St. Louis has voted that in its opinion an entirely new charter is needed.

In the Schweizerisches Zentralblatt für Staats-und Gemeinde-Verwaltung (vol. XIII, 1912, Nos. 2, 4, and 7), Dr. Eugen Grossmann has published a series of articles on "Swiss Municipal Administration during 1910." These articles give the best available summary of current municipal affairs in Switzerland, and Doctor Grossmann plans to develop this work later into a Swiss Municiapl Year-Book.

One of the most recent examples of Swiss communal organization is afforded by the new Gemeinde-Reglement of the city of Herisau, adopted during 1910. The inhabitants rejected a scheme to center the administration of the city in the hands of three paid experts, and retained its former council of twenty-one members. An interesting feature is the provision of a fine of two francs for those not attending the "town-meeting."

The Housing of the Working Classes Bill, presented to Parliament last spring, which was practically annihilated on its second reading, contained three chief provisions. A special housing bureau was to be set up, as a separate department of the Local Government Board; the central authorities were to be given power to take over the duties of local authorities that proved inactive or negligent; and an annual grant from the national exchequer of £500,000 was to be expended

on improved housing. None of these features was retained by the Standing Committee that amended the Bill.

The operation of the Housing and Town Planning Act of 1909 may be studied in the current number of the Town-Planning Review and the Surveying and Housing World. The studies of Sheffield and Middlesbrough in the former journal, and the reports of the National Housing and Town Planning Council Conferences in the latter, are especially valuable, as showing in detail the actual workings of the Act.

Among recent publications in Europe, in the general field of municipal affairs, may be mentioned: Douglas Knoop, Principles and Methods of Municipal Trading (London, Macmillan, 1912, pp. xvii, 409); Mrs. Bernard Bosanquet, Social Conditions in Provincial (English) Towns (London, Macmillan, 1912, pp. 82); Léon Morgand, La Loi Municipale (8th edition, 1911, 2 vols.); Annuario Statistico delle Citta Italiane (Anno iv, 1911-1912, Florence, 1912); Cami No Corradini, L'Istruzione Primaria e Popolare in Italia (Turin, 1911); G. Wolf, Die Schöne deutsche Stadt, Mitteldeutschland, and J. Baum, Die Schöne deutsche Stadt. Süddeutschland (Munich, 1912, with many illustrations) ; Die deutsche Gartenstadtbewegung (Berlin, 1911); 0. Munsterberg, Die Bodenpolitik Danzigs (Danzig, 1911, pp. 61 with map).

A series of articles on City Government in Europe, by Frederic C. Howe, is appearing in the Outlook, under the general title of City Sense. These articles are the result of Mr. Howe's study of municipal conditions on the trip arranged by the Boston Chamber of Commerce in the summer of 1911.

Scribner's Magazine for October contains two intersting articles on the problem of the modern railroad station, with a large number of illustrations of railroad stations in America and abroad. The importance of the terminal, from the point of view of city-planning is particularly well brought out.

Of perhaps even greater interest to students of municipal problems is the series of articles in Scribner's for July, on the “New Suburb.”

[ocr errors]
« PředchozíPokračovat »