Goodwin Knight

31st Governor, Republican
1953–1959

Second Inaugural Address

Delivered: January 3, 1955

Second Inaugural Address - October 5, 1953

MR. SPEAKER, LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR POWERS, MR. PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE, MR. SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE, MR. CHIEF JUSTICE, MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE, AND MY FELLOW CALIFORNIANS:

I bid you all a warm welcome to our Capitol City for the 1955 Session of the Legislature, and I extend the season’s greetings to all of you. In accordance with the Constitution of the State of California, I report to you on the condition of our State. California has competed a prosperous year and the outlook for the forthcoming year is an even more encouraging one than it was 12 months ago.

As I begin my duties for the four-year term of office to which I have recently been elected, I also feel it is appropriate for me to re-state some of the general policies which will govern my administration.

We will be confronted at this session of the Legislature with many problems of vital concern to the people of California. I solicit your cooperation and assistance in their solution and I pledge that you shall have mine. I believe that my nearly eight years of experience with the legislative branch of our State Government has given me a comprehensive understanding of the responsibilities, traditions, and procedure of the Legislature. This background will be helpful to me in performing my duties as Chief Administrator of the State of California. With your help I will be able to administer the State’s affairs so that California may keep apace with the constantly growing requirements of our State.

I propose to deal directly and vigorously with the task which confronts us.

I stand firm on the premise that economy in our State Government is an essential ingredient in the conduct of its affairs. Costs of operation should be restricted as far as is consistent with the public welfare. But economy, solely for economy’s sake, should not be practiced at the sacrifice of important services required by the public, provided our purse can afford them without undue economic burdens being imposed on selected segments of our citizens.

I am a staunch proponent of the fundamental American principle of “private enterprise.” This system has made the United States the greatest Nation on earth. It has brought our people more of the finer things in life than are enjoyed by any other people in the world. Through it, we have been able, time and time again, to defeat enemies who have sought to overpower and to enslave us. There is no conflict between the principle of “private enterprise,” and the theory of government that people, working together through their state, can best serve their proper collective purposes. They go hand-in-hand in our American way of life. One supports, encourages, and enhances the other.

I believe in maintaining our State Government at the highest possible point of efficiency. I am committed to the elimination of useless duplication of effort and unnecessary expense wherever they may be found. This policy has been carefully and closely followed thus far during my tenure as your Governor, and improved efficiency has been effected in many areas under my jurisdiction. I shall continue to review administrative and procedural policies with the object of achieving even grater efficiency, economy, and stability. Every effort will be made by the State’s administrative officers to simplify procedures in carrying out their respective responsibilities.

Governmental procedures tend to become more complex and more burdensome if allowed to develop unguided. Constant review is essential in keeping them simple and preventing the development of unnecessary routine and resultant rising costs.

Several of the larger departments of our Sate Government, by careful review of the methods, by eliminating unnecessary functions and particularly by changes in procedure permitting high efficiency, have effected savings of hundreds of thousand of dollars.

I shall encourage the other departments to accomplish comparable increases in efficiency and proficiency, by similar means, and without reducing the quality of quantity of their appointed services to the people.

General Progress

The soundness of California’s broad-based economy is attested by the manner in which this State has adapted itself to successive business readjustments. The grand total income of our people was higher last year than it has been in any year in our history. From wages and salaries, interest, dividends and other sources, the people of California received will over 25 billion dollars during 1953.

The continuing rapid growth of our State is additional evidence of our economic and social health. Not only have we attracted several hundred thousand new residents each year but we are raising larger families, healthier families, and, I hope, happier, more contented families. Indeed, it is in this tremendously rich resource that we find one our most pressing problems. We face a great need for the service of government in all fields. With a larger school enrollment, the requirements for school support are rising sharply. Growth is increasingly important in our planning for educational facilities, institutions and all of the other physical requirements of government. I shall deal with these matters explicitly and submit specific recommendations to you in my Budget Message. In passing, however, I emphasize that our financial problems arise not from deterioration and decline, but from vigorous growth and sound development.

Agriculture

It is consistently our purpose to exert every effort to aid our agricultural industry in achieving its soundest possible position through research, educational, regulatory, and service activities. No other state has such a well-rounded program for agricultural assistance as California offers through its state agencies.

Our population increase has resulted in greater consumer demand for our many and varied crops and other agricultural products. Consumption here at home increases as our population grows, reducing costly marketing charges in moving our farm surplus to more distant outlets in other states.

During the past year two serious insect pest situations have developed, one involving the Kharpa beetle, a serious pest of stored grain and certain other products, and the other involving the Mexican Fruit fly, which threatens our citrus and deciduous fruit industries.

The Kharpa beetle has been found in nine counties of California and the Mexican fruit fly has been found along the Mexican border. The California Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the counties, the Federal government, and other State agencies, is taking prompt preventive action.

Both of these pests will require extensive control programs, and it will undoubtedly become necessary to provide funds for such campaigns. A more detailed presentation of these and related problems will be made later.

State Buidling Construction Program

In my budget message last year I discussed the need for sound, long-term planning in our efforts to provide the facilities required by the inescapable expansion of our state colleges and university, mental hospitals, correctional institutions, and other activities for government. Too long we have relied on the hope that once we had caught up with our needs, we could keep abreast without strenuous effort. Our continued growth makes this easy solution impossible. We must now plan not only for next year, but for many years ahead.

Last May I appointed, in accordance with a resolution of the Senate, a seven-member committee of key state officials and charged them with responsibility for preparing a balanced long range building program. In the course of its study, this committee and its technical advisors made estimates of our capital outlay needs for the next 10 years. The committee has prepared a comprehensive construction program covering the period 1955-60. I have drawn up recommendations for the project to be undertaken immediately and also a major financing program which will not impose undue burden or hardship upon our taxpayers. These recommendations will be contained in my forthcoming budget message. One of the main features of this study, basic in its conception, is the principle that the users of state buildings and equipment during their lifetime should share in the capital cost, as well as the taxpayers of this day and this period in California life.

Education

One of our most important and pressing tasks lies in the field of education. The heavy increase in the birth rate, which began about 20 years ago, along with our general growth in population, has resulted in a phenomenal rise in the number of children in our public schools and will cause greatly expanded annual enrollments in our university and state colleges. The rate of increase in our college population will be more than three times that of the total population. The future welfare of our State is concerned with adequate planning to meet the educational needs of these young people. We must train more teachers to staff our schools and colleges, we must expand our college and university facilities, and we must have continuing comprehensive examination of the entire education program to see that it keeps pace with dynamic development of the day.

In my budget, provision will be made for anticipated enrollment increases, and for a program of construction to provide more classrooms and other facilities needed for even still greater enrollments.

Los Angeles County faces an acute situation because college facilities have not kept pace with population growth, and immediate steps are being taken to meet this problem. The Public Works Board has recently selected two sites for new state college campuses in Los Angeles, and we are proceeding with plans for construction of these two campuses.

A committee of recognized authorities in the field, under the joint supervision of the Regents of the University of California and the State Board of Education, is making a comprehensive study of the needs of higher education in this State. This committee will, I am sure, give further guidance toward improvements in our educational system, and recommend means by which we can meet the needs of the growing number of young people seeking advanced learning.

Liquor Control

I wish to compliment the Legislature for its bold and progressive action at the special session last March in approving a proposition for the November election calling for a radical change in our method of liquor control. The voters of the State gave the proposal their overwhelming approval.

We must now implement your action, and their approval, by effective and efficient enforcement under the new laws.

The evils which exist in liquor control have gown over the years. Time and hard, devoted work will be required to destroy them. But the determination to destroy these evils is a basic part of my administration’s program. Some time naturally will elapse until our new enforcement procedures are perfected.

To aid our new liquor program, I recommend that the Legislature crate a Liquor Control Advisory Council, , the members of which are to be appointed by the Governor from all sections of the State and to be representative of interested groups of citizens throughout California. This council should possess advisory powers only and should report to the Director of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

I ask that all concerned give the new control program close cooperation and that would be critics confine themselves to judicious and constructive comments until the new system has had an opportunity to establish and to prove itself.

Later in the session I may offer some suggestions on new and additional legislation which may be required to correct any shortcomings which are found to exist n present law.

Youth Problems

We are undergoing a serious increase in the rate of crime committed by young people. Every day reveals another shocking story of juvenile violence. As a result of my personal concern, I requested my advisory committee on Children and Youth to call a state-wide conference of interested citizens to study this problem. A total of 25 local conferences have been held during the past year, and California is taking positive steps to combat juvenile crime. It is well recognized that delinquency prevention must begin in the local community and there is evidence that counties and cities are assuming more of this responsibility. The courts, the probation departments, the law enforcement agencies, and the schools have responded to our call for greater use of local resources.

In my judgement, the expansion of our preventive program is imperative if we are to hold the line against further increase in delinquency. Prevention of delinquency is necessarily a slow process of parent education and constant vigilance on the part of our citizens. In the meantime, the State is faced with responsibility for the rehabilitation of those serious delinquents who cannot be cared for in their home communities.

I am happy to be able to say that for the first time in the history of the State, it is no longer necessary for youngsters to spend long periods in country jails and juvenile halls awaiting delivery of Youth Authority institutions. But as the youth population increases, we shall have to expand our institutions for the treatment and retraining of those youngsters.

In order to round out the State’s training program, there is immediate need for the previously authorized Youth Training School to provide vocational training for young adults. Members of this group—between 18 and 21 years of age—are being committed to the State in increasing numbers. They have, in fact, increased from 20 percent to 35 percent of the total commitments to theYouth Authority this past year. This new vocational training institution will make it possible to segregate those needing only minimum security and maximum training from the more dangerous group, which requires maximum security.

Fair Campaign Practices Act

California needs a substantial revision of its existing Code of Election Laws with reference to the control of campaign funds. The present statutes are outmoded. The requirements are unrealistic and ineffective and do not give proper information to the people on the actual facts concerning the financing of campaigns.

I recommend that the Legislature enact an effective Fair Campaign Practices Act covering the solicitation, collection, disbursement and reporting of campaign contributions. Such an act should contain penalties for violations broad enough, and punitive enough, to command the respect of all individuals and groups concerned with any election campaign.

Subversives

One of the greatest burdens borne by our taxpayers here in California, and throughout the Nation, is the enormous cost of our national defense measures. These measures are vital to our own protection because of the constant threat of thermonuclear warfare. Enemy agents, both foreign and domestic, still ply their nefarious trade within our borders. These enemies, and all who help them, must be curbed, controlled, exposed and punished. I urge that the Legislature, operating within constitutional limits, maintain constant vigilance so that subversive individuals or elements shall not have an opportunity to plot the destruction of the cherished institutions of our free government.

In closing, I wish to stress that California is a rapidly growing State with problems magnified because of our phenomenal growth. Such problems are inherent in a State with constantly expanding population, industry, agriculture, and all of the normal activities of a rich and successful commonwealth. This Legislature is well equipped to meet the challenges that confront it. I wish you all every success in your endeavors. I am confident that, when you have completed your deliberations, you will have helped to move California well along on its obvious pathway to becoming the greatest of all the states of the Union.