Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 6 Num. 96

("Quid coniuratio est?")


Says the Gas Companies Control Legislation at Albany and Throttle Relief Bills

[New York Times, February 3, 1904]

Julius Harburger, Under Sheriff and Tammany leader in the Tenth District, declared that the gas companies control legislation and throttle relief bills, in a speech which he made last evening at a meeting of the Tammany Club of the Tenth District at 42 Second Avenue. Sheriff Erlanger(?) was another speaker at the meeting over which Judge Boesch presided.

Mr. Harburger said that while a member of the State Legislature, from 1898 to 1901, he introduced bills for the reduction of the price of gas and also to compel companies to give better and purer gas. None of the measures was passed because the Gas Committees of the Legislature were packed by members supposed to be in the pay of the corporations, while a horde of lobbyists thronged the chamber, reinforced by the best legal talent which the companies could employ.

"Some members of the Legislature," declared Mr. Harburger, "are nominated and elected for the especial purpose of protecting the interests of the corporations in whose pay they are."

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To the Editor of The New York Times:
[February 4, 1904]

Commenting on the remarks made by John De Witt Warner before the Acorn(?) Club concerning home rule for the city, published in your edition of the 1st inst., in alluding to the matter of gas and electricity, "that it was only a matter of time when all the companies serving the city would be in one vast combination unless the citizens of New York stepped in and demanded the control of their own affairs in their own way." It is a singular fact that a gentleman so well versed in matters pertaining to this city should not be better informed as to its gas and electric lighting.

As a matter of fact, for several years the Consolidated Gas Company has practically owned and now controls every gas and electric light company of Manhattan. A more outrageous monopoly never existed. There is scarcely a consumer that cannot bear witness to the imposition practiced upon the patrons of gas and electricity by this octopus and the impossibility of obtaining redress, however obvious the imposition is. If their demands are not complied with, a threat is made to cut the lighting off, in which case the sufferer must either go back to kerosene and dips or submit.

It seems impossible that an intelligent community permits this wrong to exist. The Legislature during its present session, it is hoped, will come to the relief of the people; if not, the subject promises to be made a leading one at the next election of representatives to Albany. No longer will they submit to the arbitrary action of this gigantic lighting monopoly.

PRO BONO PUBLICO New York, Feb. 1, 1904

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