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The Commonwealth Club of California was founded in 1903 with the purpose of investigating problems affecting the State and affording an open forum for their discussion. It has been the steadfast policy of the Club to secure all data possible bearing upon any subject under investigation, to have this data digested and presented by competent committees, to secure open discussion that may bring out all sides of a question, and to publish the material for the information of the public.
The results of this policy may be found in the eleven volumes of the Transactions of the Club covering reports on a large number of subjects, most of them of vital importance to the welfare of the State.
The Club has developed into one of the largest civic organizations in the country, and is the only one, other than the official bodies, that endeavors to regard all problems from a state-wide point of view. It promotes but few policies, and none unless its membership is substantially agreed on what should be done. Its influence on public opinion, through free discussion, has been very great, and a large part of the recommendations of its committees has been enacted into law.
The Club holds monthly dinners at the Hotel St. Francis, usually on the second Wednesday, at which the reports of committees are presented and discussed from all points of view. These are the meetings at which the general business of the Club is carried out, and the results are published.
Weekly luncheons are held at the Palace Hotel, at which members listen to speakers on topics of the day. As the luncheon addresses give no opportunity for discussion, they are rarely reported.
The Club is organized into sections and committees, which take up questions for investigation. Besides the administrative committees, the year ended with twenty-eight sections, many of them being subdivided into committees for investigation of special phases of a question. Including the administrative committees, the various sections and committees held in 1916 a total of 286 meetings.
The dues of the Club are set at $3 a quarter; the initiation fee at $10. The dues meet the current expenses; the initiation fees go into a permanent fund, which has an estimated cash value in excess of $26,000.
At the Club election, December 13, 1916, the following officers were chosen: President, Beverly L. Hodghead; vice-president, C. E. Grunsky; members of Board of Governors, J. M. Kepner and Grant H. Smith, vice Charles de Y. Elkus and R. Knight Smith, term expired. The officials for 1917 are as follows:
OFFICERS OF THE CLUB, JANUARY 1, 1917 President...
. BEVERLY L. HODGHEAD Vice-President..
.....C. E. GRUNSKY Secretary..
.GEORGE W. MERRITT Treasurer..
.JOHN P. YOUNG Chairman Executive Committee.
.T. D. BOARDMAN Executive Secretary...
E. A. WALCOTT
Board of Governors
EDWARD F. ADAMS..
.Life Term Dec. 31, 1918 .Dec. 31, 1918 ..Dec. 31, 1919 . .Dec. 31, 1917 Dec. 31, 1918 .Dec. 31, 1919
..Life Term Dec. 31, 1917
The Executive Committee
The routine business of the Club is conducted by an Executive Committee from the Governors composed as follows: T. D. Boardman, Chairman; J. M. Kepner and Grant H. Smith. President Hodghead and Vice-President Grunsky are ex-officio members of the Committee.
The Board of Governors meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. The Executive Committee meets each Friday.