People signed the petition asking that Charter Amendment No. 27, labeled “Local Option for Districts,” be submitted to the voters, merely on the statement that its purpose was to rid the residence districts of saloons.
Few took the trouble to read the amendment through carefully or look up Section 3, Chapter III, Article VIII of the Charter to see if anything besides saloons could be affected by this drastic measure, which pretends to be one thing — local option for residence districts — but in reality would give the Anti-Saloon League an opportunity, by a clever manipulation of 50 blocks or more, to dry up our Exposition site [shown at top] and practically every business street of San Francisco, Market Street not excepted.
Doubtless this statement will come as a distinct surprise to many of our sincere, well-meaning people, but it is true, nevertheless, as may readily be seen if section 7 of the proposed amendment is studied. It reads as follows:
“Section 7. A district for the purpose of this chapter shall consist of any portion of the city and county of San Francisco embracing not less than fifty (50) city blocks, and shall be so arranged that no established election precinct shall be divided, and that such district shall be composed of a single parcel of contiguous territory.”
You will observe that the local option “districts” are not confined to residence sections, but may include any portion of the city, so long as they embrace “not less than 50 city blocks,” consisting of contiguous territory and do not divide an established precinct.
Have you stopped to think what would happen if such a dangerous weapon were placed in the hands of the leaders of the Anti-Saloon League, which took such an active part in framing this amendment and which is using every effort to make California dry by 1915?
Why, it would enable them to create a local option district which could include a residence district and then zigzag considerably in and out so as to take in an important business district miles away!
Do you consider such an amendment fair?
Remember, the proposed “local option for districts” specifies nothing as to boundaries, and as a result the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the Civic League of Improvement Clubs, the San Francisco Real Estate Board, the Mission Promotion Association, and the Labor Council have advised their members not to experiment with a proposition that is vague and indefinite and may lead to all sorts of abuses.
As drawn, Amendment 27 is designed not for the purpose of allowing a residence section to determine whether it shall abolish saloons, but to permit the prohibitionists to create local option districts which will tack business districts on to residence districts.