Friend Richardson

25th Governor, Republican

Inaugural Address

Delivered: January 9, 1923


At the recent primary election there was one paramount issue before the people. At the general election there was presented the same issue. The people by their vote at these two elections indicated that they want the State conducted on an economical, efficient and businesslike basis, that they want to stop the orgy of extravagance which has prevailed during the past few years, and that they want to put out of power the political machine which has dominated the State government. The expressed will of the people must be carried out without weakening any of the humane, charitable, progressive or educational functions of the State government.

In 1911 the people did a good job of political house cleaning. During the past few years another great political machine has come into power which has cost the people millions of dollars. It will be necessary to first wreck this political machine before the State can be put on an economical basis and the government again handed back to the people.

Economy in government is not entirely a matter of the form of government, but must depend primarily upon the spirit and purpose of the officers in control of State affairs. The State should improve its form of government by elimination of unnecessary boards and officers, by consolidation, and by doing away with overlapping functions. Two years ago this State combined certain offices into departments, and the result has shown that it is difficult to find supermen to head these departments, that not a single office has been eliminated and that the cost of these departments has increased rather than decreased. Efficiency and economy were not desired, hence were not secured. Primarily the people must depend upon the men in government rather than upon form of government, but with men dedicated to good public service much can be done, and with an improved plan still more.

The State highways are in a deplorable condition. Millions of dollars of the people's money have been squandered on roads which have proved a failure. The specifications under which the roads have been built have proved defective. The original four-inch cement highways intended to be permanent roads broke down in a very few years. The five-inch concrete highways have been nearly a total failure. The roads themselves and the Pittsburg test show the State specifications defective. After several years of experience the engineering department in charge of the highway work has shown itself incapable of learning, even through the experience of its blunders. The people who pay the bills will not soon forget those who are responsible for this result. The task of reconstruction and maintaining these broken down highways will be a tremendous undertaking.

Upon the Legislature rests the grave responsibility of passing new laws and repealing old ones. The value of your work will depend upon its merit, and not upon its volume. Let us hope that the statute book of 1923 will be the smallest in size in a score of years. Civil service has proved its worth, and the defects complained of are mainly those of administration. Civil service to be truly appreciated must be contrasted with the old spoils systems. Civil service employees who become inefficient should be promptly recommended for discharge, as the State should be protected as well as the employees. In the recent primary election the law against collecting political assessments from civil service employees was violated. This should be investigated and the offenders brought to justice.

The people have indicated that they want the Volstead Act enforced, and every peace officer in California should do his full duty. The rigid enforcement of this law will result in moral benefit to the whole State, and will also save the cities, counties and the State many thousands of dollars. The constitution of the nation and of the State must be respected, and all good citizens, regardless of opinion, should unite in this worthy object.

Some time during the present month an executive budget will be presented to you. This budget will represent the expressed will of the people in the matter of State economy and will carry into effect the purpose of the budget amendment adopted at the recent election.

There is a demand for a more speedy trial of cases before the courts. The remedy seems to be in more activity on the part of the judiciary and less delay on the part of the attorneys. As the State pays part of the salaries of the superior judges of the counties, the State has a right to insist upon efficient service and the resignation of those who become derelict or incompetent. The matter of simplifying court procedure should have your careful attention.

Legislatures heretofore have succeeded in a measure in limiting and controlling lobbying. While you are supreme in this matter, the executive can assist you in checking a form of lobbying which is objectionable, and that is the attempt of State employees and members of boards and commissions to exert undue influence upon the members of the Legislature. At the last session of the Legislature there were State employees who spent weeks in Sacramento at State expense trying to influence and seeking to intimidate the members of the Legislature. Political bosses drawing State salaries and on State expenses shocked the people of California by their brazen action. Some of these bosses are now in the employ of the corporations which they then opposed. If such employees are not needed in their various departments they should be removed from the pay roll. No State employee should come to Sacramento except upon the request of the Legislature, or some of its committees, or upon official business. Employees residing in Sacramento should assist the Legislature when called upon, but should not assume the role of lobbyist.

The Industrial Accident commission has been a beneficial humane agency in safeguarding workmen and their families. This commission should be composed of strong, able, competent men who can and will do the great work placed in their charge. This commission must be protected and, if possible, put on a more efficient and systematic basis. In the buying of securities for investment for the compensation fund there should be a strict limit placed upon the character of the purchases so as to prevent speculation and the purchase of doubtful bonds and questionable stocks.

The value of the direct primary law was signally demonstrated in the primary election when the great State political machine aided by most of the county politicians went down to defeat. The machine politicians were united in their opposition to good government, but the people by their votes showed they were tired of extravagance and boss rule.

The education of the youth of the State is one of the most vital matters and while California ranks high in educational standards, it should be our endeavor to have it rank still higher. Education should not be confined to book learning, but should embrace good morals, unselfish citizenship, manual training, thrift and loyalty to national ideals. The people are willing to contribute liberally to education because it promotes better citizenship, but they are not willing to have their money squandered. The educational departments of the State should be placed on an economical and efficient basis, waste should be eliminated, and advocates of thrift should be placed in control.

You will undoubtedly join me in support of every possible aid to farmers, good roads, fair dealing to labor, Oriental exclusion, justice to our war heroes and the protection of life and property. It is my purpose to remove from office the members of the present political machine, to substitute business for politics in State government, to abolish unnecessary offices and commissions, to restore efficiency to the various departments, to put highway construction in the hands of skilled road builders, to attend strictly to the business of my office, and, while meeting all the necessary needs of the State, to save the people many millions of dollars. Your cooperation and support will be of great aid to me in my plan, and you undoubtedly realize that you are under the same obligations to the people and should be responsive to their wishes in as full a measure.

California should be kept in the foremost ranks of progressive States, all forward looking legislation must be cherished and every effort should be exercised to extend those humane functions of government which will help mankind in their struggles.

This message is submitted to you in the confident hope that you will seriously consider the suggestions, and will give them expression in the legislation you may enact.