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The Iowa Magazine, 1918

Published Every Two Months by

The Greater Iowa Association

Davenport, Iowa

Vol. 2            December ---1918            No. 6


Page 5


       The stage is being set for American leadership throughout the world. Our cities and towns pulsating with energy and linked together with transcontinental lines of railway, are, on one hand, converting the power that helped win the war into a power that should dominate the arts of peace.

        Our cities and towns are ready.

        Back and away from these market places, on the other hand, lies the country, fenced off into more than six million food-producing farms.  On the 220,000 farms of Iowa there are 194,000 automobiles.

        Our farms are ready.

        Between farm and market place the highways are filled with mud and dust -- with ruts and holes and bumps, interfering -- many times altogether obstructing -- the passage of produce. In Iowa alone this is costing the producers and consumers of food thirty million dollars a year.

       Our roads are not ready.

       Sooner or later they must be improved in order to complete our transportation system. In improving, we must recognize the demands of the traffic that is here, today -- and the greater traffic that is to come.

       We should discuss these matters in every community in Iowa -- but we should discuss them fairly, and without prejudice. Road improvement is not a problem if we will apply calm business judgment.

       Upon the Greater Iowa Association has been placed the responsibility of coordinating the state-wide desire for road improvement. Manifestly there must be developed one general plan that will conform to the ideas of a majority of the people of Iowa, or progress will continue to be retarded. This association has a county chairmen in each of the ninety-nine counties of the state. Some of these chairmen are farmers, some are merchants, some are lawyers and some are bankers. They have been selected because they have evidenced an unselfish interest in the public welfare. They know what the sentiment is in their respective counties.

       These chairmen were called for a conference at Des Moines on December 12, but the meeting was indefinitely postponed because of the influenza epidemic. The conference will be held as soon as health conditions permit.

       The purpose of this conference was to ascertain the predominating sentiment in the state toward highway improvement, as reported by these county chairmen; to prepare a plan of procedure that would meet the approval of the majority, and ask each chairman to return home and place the plane before the people of his county for discussion.  The suggested plan, together with the result of the referendum meetings in each of the ninety-nine counties, would then be placed before the roads committees of the house and senate in the Thirty-eighth General Assembly, with the thought that this information would be helpful to the members of these committees in preparing proposed road legislation.

       Surely this is not "dictating" to the legislature.

       On the contrary, this is merely carrying out the avowed purpose of democracy. In the years gone by we have not gathered at community meetings and discussed such matters as road improvement.  If Iowa will rediscover the old "town meeting" habit; if the rural and urban business men will get together every now and then and discuss state affairs -- and county affairs -- we will be making great headway toward the ideals of democracy.

        Let us make a test case of the road question.

        If we can get together on that -- we can get together on anything.

       The Greater Iowa Association has not prepared or endorsed any particular plan for road development. This necessarily must await the conference of county chairmen and the subsequent county referendum meetings.  A sub-committee of the Highways Improvement Bureau of the Association met at Des Moines, November 27th,  and recommended that as a basis for real road improvement in Iowa, that the "Florida Plan" be adopted, in so far as possible.

      This sub-committee was composed of W. J. Tobias, a farmer of Cass County; John G. Abraham, a farmer, of Henry county, and W. W. Powell, head of a large insurance agency, of Cedar Rapids. The committee met with Joe L. Long, chairman of the bureau. Here is the report of the committee:

      "We recommend that the Association give its endorsement to the so-called Florida plan of 'selling roads marked in plain figures.'

      "That in order to make this effective, the Iowa law must be so amended as to restrict expenditures outside of current revenues to extraordinary emergencies, and provide that any board of supervisors may, with the approval of the state highway department, advertise for bids and let a contract for any road improvement they may desire to undertake; such contract to be conditional upon a favorable vote at a general or special election, within thirty days after such contract is let, and due notice given, on this question:

       " 'Shall the board of supervisors of  ____________ County be authorized to issue not more than $________ in bonds, to pay for  ____________ contract?' "

      The Florida plan was explained in detail in the September issue of THE IOWA MAGAZINE.


      Do you think Big Bill Haywood, notorious leader of the I. W. W., should be released from the penitentiary?

      Do you think Debs and Kate Richards O'Hare, whose Socialist preaching' convicted them of disloyalty to our country, should be released from the penitentiary --- to      

cont. on  Page  6



~ scanned and contributed by Steve Harken cranken@inav.net


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