Hearing before the Senate Committee on Public Lands (Sixty-third Congress, First Session) on H.R. 7207, a bill "granting to the city and county of San Francisco certain rights of way in, over, and through certain public lands, the Yosemite National Park and Stanislaus National Forest, and certain lands in the Yosemite National Park, the Stanislaus National Forest, and the public lands in the state of California, and for other purposes."
FRANCISCO, CAL., SUPERVISOR, CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN
Mr. Vogelsang Mr. Chairman and gentleman of the committee, I will take but a few moments. Like the eloquent speaker from the San Joaquin. I have come from the other side of the continent to Washington in the hope that I might do something in expediting what we believe to be the most important legislation affecting the State of California that has come before Congress in recent years. We believe it is so important because it benefits so many citizens of the State.
I am a native of the State of California; my birthplace was in the mountains of California, not more than 60 miles from Hetch Hetchy. I went myself last August with Mr. Freeman and the Board of Army Engineers to the Hetch Hetchy Valley. And I know all about it.
In fact, I may say that I know more about it than the gentleman who has so eloquently discussed the rights of a water district formed since the report of the House committee was made.
Senator Thomas. What was the district you referred to?
Mr. Vogelsang. I refer to the Waterford district. That district was not in existence at the time the report of the House committee was made. It was represented in its tentative form by Mr. Dennett, a report of whose statement is contained in the latter part of the hearings.
We are very friendly to the people of the San Joaquin Valley, who are tributary to this watershed of the Tuolumne. They are our friends; we have attempted always to treat them as friends; we have guaranteed them always, and always voluntarily, as entitled to the rights they originally claimed. We have filings subsequent to theirs which can only fulfilled by the conservation of the storm waters of that section. We are asking the right to conserve the storm waters by building this dam at the mouth of the Hetch Hetchy Valley and flooding it. That will flood 720 acres of land owned by the city and county of San Francisco, which we have the right to use, of course, as we please, as any other citizen has the right to use his own land.
I am a nature lover, second to one, not even Mr. Johnson. Every summer of my life my vacation is spent among the crags and we streams and the lakes of the mountainous sections of California and Oregon. I am a disciple of Izaak Walton, and I have my chief pleasures in studying nature and following the gentle art of angling.
As representative of the city and county of San Francisco here officially I have come to ask you to extend a hand to us. I do not want to revert to what has gone before in our city. We have made a struggle now for 12 years in order to get this water; we do not desire to harm the face of nature; we do not desire to injure the people in the San Joaquin Valley who have rights there, for their prosperity is our prosperity; they are our friends and our customers. We have come together with them here before the House committee and have settled every difficulty with their official representatives, their attorneys, their engineers, the representatives of the entire district, and with the judge of the superior court of the county of Stanislaus at their head.
I have had conferences with their representatives since their return concerning this bill in San Francisco. They are unanimously in favor of it. They have held mass meetings, not only those reported, but many others; they have canvassed the counties, and since they have returned have explained their attitude and explained the provisions of this bill. At least they so reported to us at our conference in San Francisco, and they reported that their communities were unanimously in favor of this measure.
Now, gentlemen, there is a great necessity for it. There are many other reasons why we should not take some other source that has been mentioned. It is possible that by extreme expenditure we might find a supply that would suffice, but if we did that we would be forced to take a very large area of the State of California that might better be left for the people and devoted to beneficial uses and production.
There is probably no other water source on the face of the earth equal to the Hetch Hetchy, for its waters will never be polluted by mining, by milling, by lumbering, by agriculture, or anything of that sort. The face of nature is too stern to ever be softened by the hand of man to his profit. It is there, a natural granitic watershed, partly covered with underbrush, interspersed with trees. There is no forest in commercial quantity on it whatever, no mining has ever been done there, and it will never be used for agriculture. It will only be a pleasure ground for the American people in the summer season, and it will have upon it in thee way of restrictions only the ordinary rules of common decency. That is all that we shall require; that is all that is required by the bill; and that will give in perpetuity, not only to San Francisco but to the city of Oakland, the city of Berkeley, the city of Alameda, the city of Richmond, and the city of San Jose, a pure domestic water supply forever.
Now, gentlemen, I am a conservationist of human life, of human activity, and of human comfort, and I say, when I speak for San Francisco, that I am speaking for the conservation of the men, women, and children of this great, rich, popular section of California, which suffers to-
If every known resource local to us was developed to-
That is the condition of the water supply of the City of Vallejo, which has never occurred before in the history of that city, and that some condition exists to-
I do no want to extend these remarks any further than to say that the city of San Francisco is a good city, a great city, a magnificent city; a city with a great spirit and a great determination, as she has exhibited before. We have had our troubles and our tribulations. We have had our grafters, and, please God, we will never have them any more. We think our laws are so complete now that there never can be a recurrence of that sort. We are here pleading and begging for this; we are begging for an opportunity to make an investment eventually of over $77,000,000 in order that the future as well as the present may be protected.
Mr. Johnson said that if this grant was made it would not be long before other parks and other reserves would be opened upon similar pretext. Gentlemen, I am not a Member of Congress, but I say to you that whenever a similar pretext to this is presented to your attention that you can not be true to your country unless you grant it.
I am pleading for the conservation of humanity at the present time, the protection and delivery to them of the second prime necessity of life to the extent of almost a million resident inhabitants, and that is certainly all the excuse which could warrant a representative of the people in casting an affirmative vote in favor of the passage of this bill.
Gentlemen of the committee, I thank you.
Senator Thompson. Mr. Vogelsang, I want to ask you a question. As I understand this, practically and simply, it is a city proposition. There is no concern between the city and the proposition. There is no intermediate corporation or anything of that kind.
Mr. Vogelsang.No, sir. If this grant is made the ownership of this grant, the ownership of this water, the ownership of this power, is in all of the people of San Francisco, all of the people of Alameda, Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, San Jose. They are the owners.
Senator Thompson. What population is that; about?
Mr. Vogelsang. That population to-
Mr. Dunnigan. Mr. Chairman, a gentleman, the chief engineer of the Hetch Hetchy project, Mr. John R. Freeman, whom you probably know is one of the noted hydraulic engineers of the world, is here. He is willing to answer any question any Senator may ask him regarding the engineering or other features of this proposition.
IN CHARGE OF THE HETCH HETCHY PROJECT.
Senator Thomas. Mr. Freeman, it was stated that there was an available source of supply from the Coast Range in connection with the Spring Valley works, close by in that section of the State and contiguous to San Francisco, which would give an available daily supply of 230,000,000 gallons of water to these communities. I would like to know something about that.
Mr. Freeman. That matter has been investigated most carefully, and I am as certain as I am of any engineering fact that no such quantity of water can be obtained. If anything approaching that quantity were to be obtained it would render sterile large areas in the Livermore Valley.
Senator Norris. That would be obtained by pumping?
Mr. Freeman. It would be obtained largely by pumping, partly by dams.
Senator Thomas. And by tunneling?
Mr. Freeman. Yes; and by tunneling.
Senator Norris. How would that take the water away? You mean they would not have enough left to irrigate with?
Mr. Freeman. Yes. The amount of water is being lowered by the diversions of the Spring Valley Co., and if they were to take away any such quantity as has been estimated it would very seriously injure the agricultural lands in the Livermore Valley.
When an estimate is made which takes in the supply which can be obtained from the coast streams, like San Gregorio and Pescadero, and the coast creeks it is misleading. It looks like there is a lot of water there on paper. The Spring Valley Water Co. has consistently turned its back on developing those resources and has gone all the way across the bay. To develop that water it would require very long tunnels, storage facilities, and other engineering difficulties, which makes this source on the west side of the Coast Range and its cost so utterly impracticable for the supply of the city that it ought never to be considered.
Senator Thompson. Is there any other place where they can get such a supply as at the Hetch Hetchy?
Mr. Freeman. No. I am sorry that so good a man as Mr. Johnson should feel that he should try to discredit the motives of others.
Mr. Johnson. Mr. Freeman, please specify, will you kindly?
Mr. Freeman. I will. I refer to your statements of partiality; I refer to your statement that I have been working practically to try and swell the estimate.
Mr. Johnson. I have made no such statement.
Mr. Freeman. I refer to your statement that I am trying to swell the estimates of the competing sources.
Mr. Johnson. I made no such statement. It was not made by myself; it was made by another speaker.
Mr. Freeman. Have you not, at least, made the statement that a report by an assistant in the city engineer's office was suppressed that should have been given to the Army board?
Mr. Johnson. I did make that statement.
Mr. Freeman. Are you still so sure about that?
Mr. Johnson. I think so.
Mr. Freeman. Would be willing to state your source of information? Was it your friend, Mr. Sullivan?
Mr. Johnson. Not at all. I beg of you that you will not speak of Mr. Sullivan as my friend.
Mr. Freeman. He seems to be the chief author for your circulars.
Mr. Johnson. That is offensive. I have said nothing offensive to you. I certainly do not wish to have you put words in my mouth. What I said was that conservation of the scenery is the highest conservation. I do not like to have you asperse my motives. I have not aspersed the motives of those who have been here. I beg of you that you will not speak of Mr. Sullivan as my friend. I have not said or done anything here that could be in the least sense offensive to you gentlemen. I wish to be entirely square.
Mr. Freeman. Well, I wish to be fair also.
Senator Norris. Mr. Johnson, is it or is it not true-
Mr. Johnson. No; it was from Mr. Aston, Mr. Taggart Aston.
Senator Norris. Mr. Sullivan represented the same company here.
Mr. Johnson. Mr. Taggart Aston. He is the author for my statement. I simply stated what is claimed by everybody. I am not taking; my information from Mr. Sullivan at all.
Senator Norris. Well, in that letter you sent out, you say, "It is claimed so and so." I would not have any objection to it if it were true, but I think it has been demonstrated to be absolutely false.
Mr. Vogelsang. I simply wish to make the statement that Mr. Aston, referred to by Mr. Johnson, is an alleged engineer whom we have never met, and who has never appeared before the House committee. The testimony of Mr. Sullivan shows that he and this man Aston were associated together.
Senator Norris. That is in the evidence.
Mr. Vogelsang. That is in the evidence.
Senator Thompson. They had some private interest which they wished to sell to the city.
Mr. Johnson. May I ask a question? And that is, whether, in connection with the Tuolumne as a source of supply, the city would not consider its purchase, even though Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Aston were both interested in it?
Mr. Vogelsang. Mr. Johnson, I would not hold that for an instant against the project, as a representative of the city, if we felt that it afforded a source of supply in any respect equal to what we need. But is absolutely worthless; it is worth absolutely nothing.
The Chairman. Mr. Freeman, you may now proceed.
Mr. Freeman. Referring to the Bartel report, I would say that Mr. Bartel was one of the assistant engineers in the office of the city engineer. I was constantly in communication with Mr. Bartel. The report which he made on the Mokelumne source was at my suggestion and at the suggestion of the then city engineer, Mr. Manson Mr. Bartel's report was made to me. He was asked to take all the estimates and submit a report relative to the Mokelumne source. That report was not in any sense suppressed. I wish to deny that most emphatically. It is here to-
Mr. Johnson. Why was it not given to the board at the time they were in San Francisco?
Mr. Freeman. For the same reason that papers which would fill a Saratoga trunk, including reports made by 40 or more assistant engineers, were not given to the board. The work of myself and Mr. Grunsky and the other engineers associated with us was to take that mass of material brought in by the assistant engineers, digest it, put it into partial shape to get it within reasonable compass for the Army board. Mr. Bartel was available to the Army board. There never was the slightest attempt to suppress anything of that kind.
The Chairman. Then that report was available for the use of the Army board. Is that true?
Mr. Freeman. It was. I was with Mr. Bartel for two or three months last summer, and I have taken the trouble to look at the figures in connection with Mr. Bartel's report,and to go over the report. It was simply one of a series of estimates in which he figures the greatest possible amount of water that could be obtained by developing all possible storage reservoirs on the Mokelumne River, no matter who might own the site, and taking all that water, without allowing anything for irrigation; without allowing anything for the 200,000 acres of land lying down stream from the point of diversion which constantly needs that water, he figured out the total flow of the stream. His estimates merely covered those points and showed the amount of water that could be developed. It was simply a step in the work. It was to show how much water was available. That figure, 200,000 gallons, which has been stated here by Mr. Johnson and others, was reached before making any deductions whatever for irrigation purposes and for other prior rights along the stream. It was simply one step in an estimate which the assistant engineer never carried through.
I would say that Mr. Grunsky, who succeeded to the work which Mr. Manson had begun, after Mr. Manson, city engineer, had been stricken by nervous prostration, Mr. Grunsky had Mr. Bartel's report, and he inserted extracts from that report in the report presented to the Army engineers, and that report contained at least four of the charts taken from the Bartel report.
The Bartel report is merely part of the groundwork in his report to the Army engineers.
The. Chairman. Then the Bartel report was available to the board of Army engineers and was in the office of the city engineer of San Francisco.
Mr. Johnson. Do not misunderstand me, Mr. Freeman, I do not say that anybody took this report and put it in the safe when the Army board came to San Francisco. What I mean to say was that this report, in all candor and all frankness, should have been presented as part of the evidence. If it had been there never would have been such a great discrepancy. I am not discussing the quality of the report. I do not mean to discuss it. I do not mean to be led into a discussion of the water supply of the Tuolumne River. I am only discussing the question of whether this has been candidly and fairly presented.
Mr. Freeman. I wish to say to the committee that the matter has been carefully, candidly, and fully presented, to the best of my knowledge, judgment, and belief.
The Chairman. Are there any further questions?
Mr. Freeman. I would like to go a little bit further with this, because I am not fully satisfied with Mr. Johnson's explanation, in view of my recollection of the record. When I was first approached by the city engineer of San Francisco to make my investigations. Something over three years ago, I declined the city's retainer, because I had read many times in magazine articles of this plan, and I believed that I did not feel in sympathy with what they proposed to do. He replied to me, "Wait until you get out there and then decide." The first three days that I visited San Francisco l put in on my own time before I was willing to undertake the work. I did not undertake the work until I was fully satisfied that it was thoroughly meritorious and just and proper.
I have taken some pride in the work that I have had a share in doing. I am something of a nature lover myself. I have worked hand in hand with Frederick Law Olmstead and some of the other noted landscape artists of the country. For many years I was consulting engineer to the Metropolitan Park Board of Boston, and I developed the plan for the Charles River basin in Boston and for the drainage of the Fresh Farm marshes in Cambridge. For many years I have been liberal of my time upon these public works, because I fully believed in them.
I came to this work in that same spirit, and I think if anyone will go through my report they can find everywhere the handiwork of a man who tries not to tear down but to leave things more beautiful. That is one of the matters in which I take great pride. I was one of the original members of the Boston Metropolitan Water Board, and we have, more than any other board, beautified these reservoirs and made those reservoirs beauty spots for the recreation of the people of that city.
As I say, I approached this work in the same spirit. The scenic road which is shown in my report going around the lake was proposed by me with the idea of making the reservoir more beautiful and more available to the people of San Francisco and to the people who go up to escape the heat of the great valley. Long before I was connected with this Hetch Hetchy enterprise I have done engineering work in the Sierras all the way from the Los Angeles water supply in the southern part of California to the water supply of Seattle on the north, and even beyond that to the water supply of some of the cities of British Columbia. My first effort was to leave this valley more beautiful than we found it.
I explained the matter to Mayor Rolph and to Mr. Manson, and they at first thought I was rather extravagant in my plans, which will add to the cost to the city practically half a million dollars and which will add not a gallon of water to the supply. It was purely to make the valley more accessible to the people of California and to the people of the great valleys of California.
As that report now stands and as the works are proposed to be built the city will practically be spending a million dollars for purposes beyond those of a water supply. That expenditure is made for the purposes of making that valley available to a thousand people where only a dozen or fifteen can go in to-
The Chairman. Well, now, it is nearly 6 o'clock, and I think a motion to take up this bill would be in order.
Senator Pittman. I move the committee report this bill out favorably.
The Chairman. It is moved that the committee make a favorable report to the Senate on this bill. Does any member of the committee wish to make any remarks?
Senator Pittman. I would just like to say one word in respect to this matter, and that is that I am a lover of nature just as much as any of the gentlemen who have spoken here to-
The Chairman. The question is, gentlemen of the committee, whether we shall report this bill to the Senate. Is there anything else to be said by any member of the committee? If not, I will put the question.
(Thereupon the question was put to the committee, and the resolution offered by Senator Pittman was unanimously carried.)
The Chairman. The vote is unanimous, and it is therefore ordered that the committee favorably report the bill.
(Thereupon, at 5.25 p.m., the committee adjourned.)