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Mr. KIBBEY. That is one of the sections that I have been talking somewhat about. It is the section which provides for the repayment of any moneys which the Government may be required to expend, and provides for their security by the issuance of bonds. Now, there are the districts organized as we know. All of the lands to be benefited which are not included in a district are to be organized into an irrigation district, and in that way those who acquire lands
from the Government will have to repay the cost by means of their
irrigation district bonds. Now, in California we have a law which provides for the confirmation of bonds issued by irrigation districts. Before their sale we may go into court and test their validity, and for that reason I think that California irrigation district bonds are more salable than those of any State not having such a provision. Mr. SINNOTT. We have that provision in Oregon, but a conclusive test may be made at any time. Mr. KIBBEY. Our courts have determined that it is an action in rem. That is provided for, and those who fail to come in and contest after the notice required are forever barred. Mr. HUDSPETH. Do you have the same provision, Mr. Kibbey, in your State that we have in my State, that the attorney general must pass upon the legality of those bonds as to form, and so forth? Mr. KIBBEY. No; it goes directly to the court. Mr. HUDSPETH. They are not passed upon by any State officer before they are offered for sale? Mr. KIBBEY. No, sir; that is determined in the court proceedings themselves, and that is binding and conclusive. The CHAIRMAN. It is done by the department of justice or the auditor in Nebraska; it used to be the auditor. Mr. HUDs PETH. Before the bonds can be issued in my State they have to be passed upon by the attorney general of the State and O. K.’d by him. The CHAIRMAN. That is a very wise provision. Mr. TAYLOR. It is a good provision, but still that doesn't make it a judicial determination. r. HUDs PETH. No; it is not a judicial determination. The CHAIRMAN. That gives them their day in court. Mr. HUDSPETH. They, furthermore, have to have the permission of the State bond commission to issue the bonds in your State, Mr. Kibbey? Mr. KIBBEY. Yes, sir. Mr. SINNOTT. Do the State laws limit their bond issue to a certain valuation of the property? Mr. KIBBEY. No; not in the irrigation districts. Mr. HUDSPETH. It does in my State. Mr. SINNOTT. And it does with us. Mr. KIBBEY. That is left with the corporation commission. Mr. HUDSPETH. They can only issue up to 50 per cent of the value in our State. Mr. KIBBEY. I have a memorandum of those authorities here. Mr. TAYLOR. You can put that in later on. f Mr. KIBBEY. I have it and I will say that that is the law in Cali. Ornia.
The CHAIRMAN. We must hear Dr. Mead before we adjourn this morning, and I suppose he will take all the way from half an hour to three-quarters of an hour, or maybe an hour. That is owing to how many questions we ask. Mr. HAYDEN. Dr. Mead said that he would prefer to have an explanation made of the bill to the committee so that they could understand what it meant. Mr. MEAD. I might say, gentlemen, that I am here at the request of the State authorities, who are greatly concerned in the situation in this district. I have left my duties there and I must be back by the 6th. I can not be with you any longer than to-morrow. Now, whatever I can do to aid you I'...i be very glad to do. The CHAIRMAN. I would rather not have a meeting to-morrow. Mr. TAYLOR. Is Mr. Kibbey going to stay here? Mr. KIBBEY. I will stay here just as long as is necessary. Mr. MEAD. If you are not going to meet to-morrow, then this will be the last chance that I will have to appear. Mr. HAYDEN. If that is the case, Mr. Kibbey will be at our service later. I did not understand that Dr. Mead's time was so limited. Mr. KIBBEY. Just one thing, if I may suggest it. Dr. Mead asked me to make a statement before he does upon the general situation. Mr. BARBOUR. Mr. Chairman, why wouldn’t it be possible to hear Dr. Mead this afternoon? The CHAIRMAN. We don't know when we will be called over to the House on a point of no quorum. Proceed with your general statement, Mr. Kibbey. Mr. SINNOTT. Mr. Kibbey, on this section 3, what is the cost to be incurred by the United States? I was not clear that the United States was to put up any money. Mr. KIBBEY. There is only a possibility that it may. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Sinnott, Dr. Mead has got to go, and I think we had better hear him now. Mr. THOMPSON. I would like to make a suggestion here just a moment. I am the only member of this committee that is from east of the Mississippi River, and I have been sitting with this committee for some time. I am not very well versed in these questions of irrigation, but I have been becoming educated, but here you have able men on both sides of the table that understand this question. This bill has now been up since the first session; we are not getting anywhere with it, and these men are from the far distant parts of the Republic, and why wouldn’t it be a good idea to get permission to sit during the sessions of the House and get this out of the way and report the bill and get some action on it and let the House wrestle with it; then if it goes to the Senate, if it is necessary let the conference committee wrestle with it, but let us do something. The time is going and we are doing nothing, and if we are going to do anything for these people I think we ought to do it. Mr. SMITH of Idaho. I think you are laboring under a misapprehension. The bill prepared by the subcommittee is now being considered, is a new bill. Mr. THOMPSON. Several bills have been prepared since last June, but we don’t get anywhere.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, we will take it up, Mr. Thompson, after we get through at the next meeting.
Now, Dr. Mead, will you just state who you are? You have a chair in Berkeley College, Calif.?
STATEMENT OF MR. ELWOOD MEAD, CHAIRMAN OF THE STATE LAND SETTLEMENT BOARD, BERKELEY, CALIF.
Mr. MEAD. I am one of the professors in the University of California, and I am chairman of the State Land Settlement Board. Mr. TAYLOR. I might say also that he is one of the most distinguished irrigation authorities in the world. He lived in Colorado and Wyoming for several years, and nobody in the United States ranks higher than he does. The West is proud of him. The CHAIRMAN. And was called to go to Australia to help that government inaugurate a system of irrigation, where he served for many years with distinction. Mr. MEAD. Every one who knows the situation feels a great admiration for what this district has done and realizes that it is now in a very precarious situation. Their prosperity, their rapid growth, has added to the gravity of the situation. There are 50,000 people producing a crop worth last year over $50,000,000. That is menaced by three things. One is the fact that the land is below the sea level. It is menaced by floods from a turbulent river. There is an insecure headgate in that river, a temporary dam, that menaces the crop each season by danger of drouth. Then, there is a very grave international situation. The canal going through Mexico, the protective work being in Mexico, the levees that save it from flood, there is the need of some means of dealing adequately with another government in regard to these international questions. In 1917 I was a member of a board created by the Reclamation Service and the State of California to deal with the question of protection from floods. The other members of the board were Mr. Joseph Jacobs, of Seattle; Mr. D. C. Henning, of Portland, Oreg., both prominent engineers; and our report was to the effect that it was of the highest importance that the Government itself become a party to this development, so that its aid could be secured in dealing with international problems as they arose. Then there was a contract between the district and the Reclamation Service for an investigation of the all-American canal. I was h member of the commission and I have the proof sheets of its report ere. The CHAIRMAN. Pardon me, Doctor, just a moment. I will suggest here, if it does not seem rude, that we let Dr. Mead proceed until he makes his statement clear through—until he says he is ready for us to ask questions—without interruption. Mr. MEAD. There again, that board believes that, independent of every other question, it is highly desirable—in fact, it is neces-sary—that the Government become a party to the control and management of these works and in a position to deal directly with the Mexican Government in regard to international questions; that the construction of this canal does not at all change that situation. Now, I make that as explanatory of my understanding of the situation. I have been connected with the investigation of it for a number of years. My connection with this legislation grew out of a letter from ex-servicemen who were not satisfied with a provision of the bill, and asking the opinion, our opinion, as to the provision for the sale of land in advance of settlement. Now, we regard that as bad business. We regard it as not calculated to promote the carrying out of this enterprise, but calculated to defeat it, and as leading to nonresident ownerships of land reclaimed—something that the State would greatly regret to see, for a reason that I wish to make clear to you gentlemen. The legislature of California, mindful of the growing problems of tenantry and the need, if this is to be a real democracy, of keeping open the opportunity for poor landless men to obtain homes, which we had under the free-homestead act, passed in 1917 an act known as the State Land Settlement Act. Under that a board was created and provided with money to buy privately owned land, to subdivide that into small farms and sell those farms to worthy landless people on long-time payments; help them to form cooperative organizations; help them in their development, financing them, furnishing a kind of credit that is not furnished anywhere else in this country—a credit based on character and experience; and by giving them advice and direction, too, in numberless ways aid people to establish themselves permanently on the land with less risk of loss of time and money than is possible in any unorganized, unplanned development. Now, that was begun as an experiment. The board was limited to 10,000 acres of land and given a small appropriation, but it bought a tract of land and began this kind of settlement. It was an immediate challenge to public attention. Before it was six months old it had been investigated by 20 States and by 5 foreign countries. At the end of the two-year period a committee appointed by the legislature investigated it, and it reported to the legislature that it was an entirely solvent proposition; that the social and political benefits were so great that there was no limit to the extent in which the States could go in carrying out this kind of rural development, and the State, without a single dissenting vote, did all our board asked them to do. They voted $1,000,000 out of current funds to carry it on, and passed, as I say, without a dissenting vote, an act giving authority for a bond issue of $10,000,000. Now, that bond issue will be voted on this year, but there is no opposition to it. It has behind it the support of all the important commercial bodies; it has behind it the powerful support of the American Legion, and there seems to be no question as to its passage. And I have received since I came here the form of the bonds to be issued, which has been prepared by the fiscal authorities of the Government for our scrutiny. Now, the facts are that this new policy justified itself by results. When the inquiry came to us asking our opinion of a proposal to sell this land in advance of development to anyone who might buy, to the man who needed land or to the man who did not need it, we regarded it as a mistake and was not surprised that it had aroused the opposition of people who hoped to obtain farms, either under the State land-settlement act or under some other land act. We felt that when the State was buying land to get rid of certain conditions, it would be a most unfortunate action for the Federal Government to pass a law to extend those conditions, and that was the ground of their opposition and of the opposition of the State. I want to say that I have here a recent investigation of the State land-settlement act by the executive officer of the Imperial Land Settlement League of the British Empire, and I don't think it would be a bad idea if that went into the record, because it deals with one of the fundamental problems in this bill. The CHAIRMAN. It may be placed in the record. (The paper referred to follows:)
SoME PARTICULARs of THE DURHAM (CALIF.) CoMMUNITY LAND SETTLEMENT.
I By Herbert E. Easton, honorary secretary British Immigration League, who went over the area in November, 1919.]
|AMERICA GETTING BUSY WITH THE LAND–HOW PEOPLE ARE BEING HELPED TO BECOME FARM OW NERS. *
“Nations may battle, and the world rock with revolution, but the land will care for him who cares for it.” Realizing the only prospect of encouraging the birth of healthy children is to provide them with an environment in which they can flourish, and knowing that the root of most of the serious economic and industrial troubles the world has to face can be traced to the congested state of cities and large industrial centers, America is to-day actively engaged in promoting small land ownership on a community basis. In order to ascertain what progress has been accomplished Herbert E. Easton, the honorary secretary of the British Immigration and Land Settlement League, was invited to accompany Judge Shields, Dr. Elwood Mead (chairman of the California State Land Settlement Board), and several representatives of the California Fruit Growers' and Farmers' Association on a tour of inspection of the Durham (Calif.) land settlement. The following statistics and some particulars of the terms and conditions under which settlers are accepted have been kindly placed at the writer's disposal by the department of agriculture of the University at Berkeley. Durham is a concrete expression of the California land-settlement act, the object of which is to help people of Small means to become owners of farms. It was passed because the rapid growth of alien tenantry was causing political and social unrest. It was felt that private enterprise was not doing the things that public welfare required and that as a result the growth of the country was not keeping pace with the growth of the cities. Under this act the State land-settlement board is buying privately owned land, cutting it up into small farms, and selling these to worthy landless people on long-time payments at a low rate of interest. It is giving them the benefits of practical advice and training. It is helping them to organize cooperative buying and selling agencies and in many ways saving them from costly mistakes and enabling them to become self-supporting in less time with less money or effort than is possible in an unplanned development. The California Legislature was the first body to give government aid and direction in settlement in the United States and was regarded as an experiment. The area of land which could be bought was restricted to 10,000 acres. The first appropriation was only £52,000. This is to be repaid in 50 years with interest at 4 per cent. Certainly the State was not overgenerous, and the board, which, outside of its chairman, is made up of hard-headed business men who work without pay, inaugurated this experiment under rather hard conditions. It began by inviting offers of land in areas of from 5,000 to 10,000 acres. Out of about 40 offers, the board bought a tract of a little over 6,000 acres at Durham, 90 miles north of Sacramento, the State capital. Durham is a village of about 500 people. It is served by two railways, the Southern Pacific, a steam railway, and the Northern, an electric railway. These two railways connect the settlement with the State capital and with San Francisco, the State's metropolis and chief seaport. California has an extensive system of concrete highways. One which extends from the southern to the northern boundary passes along the western border of the Durham colony land. This State highway and the dozen or more trains