Baltimore Evening Sun (30 April 1913): 6.
Ingenuous remark of the dutiful and humorless Hot Towel:
City Solicitor Field * * * will represent the taxpayers at the hearing to be held this afternoon at the City Hall by the Paving Commission.
The taxpayers are running in luck. This Mr. Fleld, no doubt, will display all of the traditional zeal of the recent convert. Three years ago he was the attorney and agent of Padgett, and until very lately he stood up boldly for Padgett in the City Hall, but now, like the super-Mahon, he has suddenly gone over to the side of the taxpayers. An affecting and unexpected flop. A memorable leap to the mourners’ bench.
The Hon. Mr. Field was chief lobbyist for Padgett during the legislative session of 1910, when the Annex paving loan was on the mat and Padgett was trying to knock out the so-called “alternative bidding” clause. The effect of this clause would have been to put Padgett’s asphalt into competition with bithulithic, vitrified brick and other such materials. Padgett, through the Hon. Mr. Field, fought for “straight” bidding, the effect of which would have been to give a great advantage to Padgett’s asphalt, as the cheapest material. Field got his amendment through the House of Delegates, but it was knocked out in the Senate by Senator Charles P. Coady. Coady was punished for his contumacy later on, when he sought the Congressional nomination in the Third district. Padgett put up a straw candidate against him, and so helped to beat him.
The same S. S. Field came to the front again about a year ago, when the super-Mahon tried to help Padgett by inserting the notorious two-year clause in all city paving contracts. The effect of this clause would have been to bar out Mexican asphalt and so give a great advantage to the Bermudez asphalt of Padgett. The newspapers exposed the trick, and three members of the Board of Awards--the Hon. Messrs. Thrift, Hubert and Gwinn--refused to stand for it. But Field, unless I err, stuck to the super-Mahon until the last galoot was ashore.
The super-Mahon, who now raises a pathetic bellow against Padgettism, is actually its father and mother, and has nourished it ever since he came into office. Up to ten days ago, when the present scandal sent him flying for cover, he was the principal and undisguised champion of Padgett. So recently as April 17 he went to Philadelphia and made a roaring and donkeyish speech in favor of Padgettism, certifying that political contractors were “much-maligned men” and that they did the taxpayers a service “worth that of all the college professors and reformers taken together.” And for two years past, as everyone knows, he has bawled out the newspapers which oppose Padgettism, in season and out of season--at banquets, at church fairs, at picnics and in his annual messages.
The super-Mahon is now sitting as trial judge in the case or the People vs. Padgett--and the attorney for the prosecution is the Hon. S. S. Field. The principal witness for the prosecution is the Hon. McCay McCoy, perhaps the most assiduous and useful of all Padgett’s janissaries. It was McCay who split paving contracts up into $500 jobs, so that Padgett might get them without competitive bidding. It was McCay who sent Inspector Pilert to Padgett’s asphalt plant to learn the art of inspection. It was McCay who dismissed Assistant City Engineer James A. Paige at the behest of the super-Mahon, because Paige was obnoxious to Padgett, and McCay who appointed engineers who were not obnoxious. It was McCay who announced unblushingly that “we stand frankly for the organization” and that “we will take care of the men who voted for us.”
Judging by current articles in the Hot Towel, which prints whatever the super-Mahon orders it to print, his present plan is to dismiss “at least one dozen paving inspectors.” The idea is, I suppose, that the public will be placated by this pious butchery, and hail the hon. gent. as an ardent agent of decent government. If the public is so fooled, then the public is truly an ass. As a matter of fact, the blame for whatever acts of neglect and chicane these inspectors may have committed rests squarely upon the Hon. McCay McCoy and upon the Hon. the super-Mahon behind him. No melodramatic punishment of subordinates is ever going to blind any intelligent man to that fact.
These inspectors, in the main, are fellows with no expert knowledge of paving. Some of them are just out of college; others are ward heelers; one is an ex-cow driver. I do not say that they had specific orders to help Padgett--but certainly they knew which way the wind was blowing. They heard the super-Mahon whoop and roar at the newspapers which objected to Padgett; they saw him woo and fight for Padgett in the Board of Awards and elsewhere; they knew that Padgett was getting contracts without competitive bidding; they knew that he was being favored in all possible ways. What is more, they knew that his enmity was something to be avoided, that the inspector who fell afoul of him was a dead duck. If they “closed their eyes,” as the current report has it, is it any wonder?
No; the sacrifice of “at least one dozen” of these little fellows will not satisfy the public. What it wants to know is why the Hon. McCay McCoy should continue to serve the city of Baltimore as City Engineer. And what it wants to know, in the second place, is why the Hon. S. S. Field should continue to serve the city as city Senator. Do the past performances of these gentlemen indicate that they are likely to give us good service in future? When it comes to a showdown between Padgett and the taxpayers, on which side are their sympathies? How would they vote if they could vote in secret?
The more Dan Loden thinks it over, the more gladder he is he sticks to jobs, and don’t bother none about no contracts.--Adv.
Paving Bob may have his ups and downs, but ex-Sheriff Bob don’t need to worry none.
Posted as overdue and missing at the Maritime Exchange:
The super-Mahon’s hand-picked Charter Commission.
The Hon. the super-Mahon, the Hon. S. S. Field, LL. D., and the Hon. McCay McCoy, C. E., are all Sunday-school superintendents. Let us rejoice that Padgettism to being judged by specialists in virtue. Pavng Bob himself is a vestryman. This makes it unanimous.
Boil your drinking water! Help the boozehounds to save Besotted Baltimore! Read the purified Baltimore Southern Methodist!