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to a better establishment of these public relations, absolutely necessary to the welfare of the whole people with respect to its public services ?
The public have a strange notion about their purchases and a strange method of carrying that notion into effect. Where a thing they desire is a luxury, they disregard the price, no matter how extravagant, because somehow or other the human being loves to pamper itself and to indulge in things that are not general in the lives of the members of their own community; but just the very moment that a service or a commodity becomes a necessity the public mind reacts at once to a most niggardly position toward those who are supplying these necessities, whether it be service like that you supply, or commodities which enter into our daily living. The result is that all thought is lost of the equity and justice in respect to the return that may be enjoyed by the purveyors of these services and commodities. A return of 20, 30, or 40 per cent may be conceded without complaint on an indulgence, but the thing that enters into their daily lives, that moves from place to place, or that feeds the body, or that shelters them, that service or that commodity is deliberately demanded upon an earning power nearest to zero, not taking into account the fact that as a necessity it must be had, thus taking advantage of the fact that having a franchise and investment which must be operated, it may be dealt with even upon conditions of great injustice, in view of the fact that it has got to serve.
Now, in your own business, wherever you are transporting men and women, you are performing a tremendous function in the economic life of the country. That is not a function only that reacts favorably to large business, where great plants are organized and your service makes it possible for them to draw their labor supply from a further field than would be possible if your service did not exist, but it is just as much an advantage to the workman, who by virtue of that flexibility of transportation is given a choice of application for work in various plants and over a wider range of territory.
But how much of commendation and of practical thought have you, in your business, received from many of these factors in the economic life of the nation? Does the workman ever thank the transportation company for making available a broader market in which to sell his labor ? He does not. Does the manufacturer who avails himself of these agencies of transportation do anything to show his appreciation for the extended territory that you have permitted him to tap for his labor supply? I have not found it so. Have you ever had the people you serve voluntarily and aggressively come out in your behalf when political agencies and a thoughtless public were trying to grind the last ounce of service at the lowest cost out of your companies ? Action is more apt to be negative or passive, whereas it is only affirmative action that will be able to uphold and strengthen the transportation service in this country.
You need money and credit for extensions and improvements, and there is a world of money in this country awaiting investment, but investors look with doubt upon the securities whose earning power is controlled by a political body that may at any time change the rules of the game and be in fact a dictator of the conditions under which operation shall be carried on.
What it all comes to is this,— There is not a satisfactory understanding on the part of the public as to the economics of transportation, nor is there a recognition of the importance to the public of public utility service by which a large majority of the inhabitants of our cities live and move. If your organization in following out your plan developing a better public understanding will work through all of the ramified mediums by which the public can be reached, you will ultimately make a dent in the public mind, but remember, if the public is enlisted in your behalf, the public will expect its dividends out of every improvement that it helps to secure. If you simply say that justice and equity demand that you give us your support, help us to accomplish this improvement and that extension, or gain increased return, the public will nod and say “Possibly that's so, but we are very busy.” The public goes after something that can be lodged in its pocket, and you have got to convince the public, whose help you want in the political controls which exist and in the relation of buyer and seller of transportation, that the plan that you are evolving and the proposition you are making, and for which you ask their support, has in it some concrete, definite return to them which they can see and feel and know.
This association, I have no doubt, like those that I am familiar with in the industries of the country, and in my own profession, grew out of a well developed need for protection. Mass protest rather than individual protest. As the individual organizations carried on their work, they soon found that valuable as was the protection feature, of much greater value were the personal contacts and technical discussions by which the art of the industry was tremendously improved. Your association typifies this in stimulating the art of transportation and awakening all of the genius and ingenuity of the men of your craft to best provide for this service at the lowest cost.
That is perfectly splendid, but if you could move along the public mind in the same definite manner toward a better understanding of your requirements, as you have been able to move along the mechanical mind, and if you could today see the fruition of that effort in a closer public relationship, as you can see the development of the art of transportation, as exhibited yesterday in the parade, and as exhibited on this pier in such profusion, if you could see these two things go together, you could say, “We are saved.” You have produced the one. Are you going to produce the other?
There is need for a public relationship. How can you get the public into your confidence? How can you educate them to the requirements of urban and rural transportation? How can you teach them to be just and fair in their consideration of this subject? I have said, “The public will expect a dividend out of every improvement that it helps to secure.”
Better service, greater safety, increased speed, more comfort are the same as cash dividends, and the public will not be slow to recognize it if in place of the indifference and suspicion that is all too common there can be restored confidence in the integrity of the corporate management and in the accuracy of the facts upon which is based the appeal for better treatment, straight out-from-the-shoulder, provable facts, no juggling
Of equal importance is the task of keeping before the public the public values of the service rendered and the comparative improvements enjoyed today.
Now, coming to my last point, this Association can best formulate the general program of publicity, but in its interpretation and application, it is sure to be changed to meet local conditions, and no matter how wisely conceived and how skillfully adapted, it has in it the disadvantage of propaganda put forward by the interest to be first benefitted. The question naturally arises, can this disadvantage be overcome, and if so, how? To find this answer I think that we must recognize the organized forces that are at play in this country, each moulding a section of public opinion. If we exclude the organized political force, as a force from which we may expect no voluntary and constructive aid, and if we exclude the organized social forces, which do not relate themselves directly to the economies of life, but rather the moralities of life, we have three very definite forces which have, as I have found, no present point of co-ordination and yet which exercise a tremendously potent influence upon the powers that control our goings and our comings.
They are the forces of organized agriculture, organized labor, and of organized business. These three forces control the companies and a knowledge by which the economic life of our country and of the world is made sound and whole. They are today in some degree of conflict with each other. Common interests are not yet recognized because there exists a lack of confidence the leadership, or motives, or both, which is unfortunate because it delays social and industrial adjustments of the greatest importance to the country. We must, however, accept the conditions as we find them, hoping for that better leadership which will recognize the community of interest and some day replace conflict with an understanding at least of the right of the general public to be considered first and not last in the settlement of inevitable differences between the forces.
For reasons that must be obvious, neither organized agriculture nor organized labor can be depended upon at this time to help solve the intricate problems of transportation or other public utilities, but you may, I am sure, rely upon the cooperation of organized business, of which you are an essential and important part and to which you should be linked with hooks of steel. Organized business is old enough and has wisdom enough and selfishness enough to have begun to see its relation to the common welfare and to recognize the imperative need that we stop our experimentation in socialistic government and return to our old constitutional moorings which guarantee equality of opportunity and that genius and merit will have their reward in life, no matter in what field of effort they may be developed. Organized business does stand honestly and consistently for this better public relationship to life's industries and life's services.
Then, this is the point. Technically, the machinery of your craft is safe in your hands, and you will develop it and build it for the common good, and for your own good, jointly. Practically the relationships which you ought to and would like to see developed are capable of development out of your own knowledge and daily contact with the people whom you serve. Then it remains for you to pass on these conclusions reached out of your expert knowledge to that great body of organized business ready to understand and to give constant thought and attention to your problems as well as the other problems of industry and service, and though the medium of a nation-wide movement, that has no selfishness in its purpose, other than the enlightened selfishness of service, demonstrate to the public and to the political forces of the country that the desire for public cooperation in the great field of improving the service of the utilities generally is not the desire of a craft selfishly interested in bettering its condition at the expense of the public, but that it has been examined and approved as sound justice and sound economics and in consequence the great body of organized business, intelligent and thoughtful as it is, will stand behind an intelligent and thoughtful and worth-while program of yours and will develop with you and for you these public relations and that public support and that public contribution to your capital that is absolutely necessary to the welfare of the craft.
PRESIDENT TODD :—We are certainly very deeply indebted to Mr. Wheeler, speaking in behalf of the Association, for his very able and instructive address.
We are very fortunate in having with us today the Mayor of Toledo, who was for fourteen years Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Lucas County, Ohio, and elected Mayor of Toledo in 1921. He is known universally for his squareness and fearlessness, and he takes the greatest interest in all public matters and is running the street railway utility in Toledo as a business institution.
I take great pleasure in introducing to you Hon. B. F. Brough, Mayor of Toledo.
ADDRESS OF HON. B. F. BROUGH, MAYOR OF TOLEDO
TOLEDO, OHIO Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: I came up here a night or two ago with my very good friend and booster, Mr. Frank Coates, of Toledo and New York, and I came for the purpose of a little vacation, and certainly not with the intention of making any speech. I can do that at home when I am working as part of the job, and when I get away as far as I am from home it is not my desire to make speeches, especially during these hot, “ dry” days here in Chicago.
Now, Gentlemen, I just want to say one word to you, and the thought I have was brought to my mind when I listened to the very able address of Mr. Wheeler. I am not going to stand here and discuss Americanism or discuss the Constitution of this great big country of ours, but I do want to say to this fine body of business men who are gathered here from all parts of the country, that this nation of ours is a republic and not a democracy. I would like you to study your federal constitution, and to determine for yourselves what I mean by that remark, that this is a republic and not a democracy, and I am not going to discuss it any further, but the time has come, Gentlemen, when every one of us must fully realize that there is a great big duty confronting us and we have got to meet the situation.
I am here because my problems, to a certain extent, are your problems. I am interested in your business, and want to talk about that. I do not wish to talk about the Constitution at this time. I am just as much interested in the transportation problem in the whole United States, and particularly in the city of Toledo, as you men are interested in transportation.
We have a peculiar situation in our town. We are operating our local street railway system under the plan of service-at-cost, and therefore our street-car fares are determined entirely by the amount of business which our company does. When I entered into the office of Mayor of Toledo on the first of January of this year that is the time during which I have been the mayor — and ceased to be a judge, we found the ridiculous situation of a practically municipally owned transportation system being run down by the fact that the City of Toledo was permitting direct competition of jitney buses with that line. As I have said, the city was directly interested in this line, because the people were interested in the fares, but notwithstanding that, the system was running down because of the competition of the jitneys.
I want to say to you that we had to meet that problem, and we are still meeting it, and before this year of 1922 has expired, I think we will have the problem solved so far as the competition is concerned.
I do not care what anyone says to the contrary, I do not believe any sensible man will dispute the fact that a transportation system in a