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The District Commissioners have recommended it and the citizens' association has indorsed it.
About 90 per cent of the people of Langdon use this street when possible to do so. All of the residents of Langdon want this street improved.
The District Commissioners will not accept of and improve, because it is now only 25 feet in width, and will not accept and improve less than 50 feet in width.
It is the most direct route to the electric cars, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad station, the post-office substation, the public telephones, and market stores.
The bill seems fair, and provides payment for ground taken, and the entire cost is to be assessed against the properties benefited and will cost the Federal Government nothing
This street is and has been in a deplorable condition, at times impassable for loaded teams, and at all times dangerous and disagreeable for both vehicles and pedestrians.
It is not in the interest of any real-estate speculation, but is desirable as a necessity and relief of a large majority of the citizens of Langdon.
As proposed by the bill in question, land should be taken from the southwesterly side, on which no buildings are located, as on the opposite side there are now some twenty houses, many of which are near the present road line.
This measure was referred to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, who have reported upon the same favorably. The suggestion of the Commissioners that an amendment be added to the bill giving them authority to prepare a new highway plan for the section of the city through which Mills avenue will extend has been adopted by your committee and is contained in section 4 of the substitute bill. The Commissioners' report is as follows: OFFICE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
Washington, March 6, 1906. DEAR Sir: The Coinmissioners of the District of Columbia have the honor to submit the following on H. R. bill 9326, Fifty-ninth Congress, first session, “For the widening of Mills avenue northeast from Rhode Island avenue to Twenty-fourth street,” which you referred to them for report touching the merits of the bill and the propriety of its passage.
A map is inclosed, showing in red the land proposed to be condemned, the estimated cost of which is $7,500.
The title of the bill is for the widening of Mills avenue. As what is known as Mills avenue is merely a private road about 25 feet wide, it will be necessary to condemn the entire width proposel for the avenue, and the title should therefore be amended to read as follows: "For the condemnation of Mills avenue northeast from Rhode Island avenue to Twenty-fourth street.” The extra width is taken entirely from the eastern side of the private road.
The object of the bill is to make this private road a public thoroughfare in order that it may be subsequently improved. It is now in very bad shape, both as to grades and as to the condition of the surface, but being a private road can not be improved with public funds. It would not be good policy to improve it without widening, as 25 feet is not sufficient for a roadway and sidewalks.
The bill provides that the whole cost of the opening shall be assessed against property benefited, and as the street will be of local benefit only this provision is a proper one.
The only objection of the Commissioners to the opening of the avenue is that in line it does not conform to the plan of the permanent system of highways. Lots, however, have been sold along this street, and they have been largely built up. There are 14 houses built or in course of construction. They are from 15 to 25 feet from the edge of the private road, so that it would not be practicable to widen on this side without extra cost.
When the subdivision was first put upon the market in small lots this private road was the means of communication to tne city, being laid out about perpendicular to Bunker Hill road. It also leads to the Bladensburg road to the northeast and to the Langdon railroad station. It would be more expensive to cut through and improve streets in accordance with the highway extension plan on account of the topography of the ground, which is very uneven, and it is questionable whether the character of the improvements which will be made in this vicinity would at present warrant the opening of streets in accordance with the approved system of highway plans.
The tract abutting this proposed street is divided into small lots which are not recorded in the surveyor's office, as they are not in accordance with the system of street extensions. Immediately to the east and west of the tract lies unsubdivided property, and beyond these and to the south the property is divided in accordance with the highway plans. This tract lies close to the District line, however, and the streets will probably never be of importance as through streets, so that the necessity of following the system is not so great.
The owners of the property which would be taken for this opening are opposed to it, both because they do not desire to dispose of their land and because they fear assessment. It is the opinion of the Commissioners that there would be less assessment in the proposed plan than if the land were taken to the east, as the cost of moving the houses might have to be taken into consideration and form a part of the assessment for benefits.
While, therefore, the Commissioners believe the street-extension system should, as far as is possible, be carried out, yet on account of the fact that this tract is built up they recommend favorable consideration of the bill, though they regard it not as important as some other street openings.
They believe that if this bill is passed a section should be added to it authorizing the Commissioners to prepare a new highway plan for that portion of the District of Columbia lying west of said Mills avenue, north of Frankfort street, east of Twentieth street, and south of Rhode Island avenue NE. They therefore recommend that the following section be added to the bill and the bill be amended as indicated on inclosed substitute bill:
“Sec. 12. That the Commissioners of the District of Columbia are hereby authorized to prepare a new highway plan for that portion of the District of Columbia lying west of said Mills avenue, north of Frankfort street, east of Twentieth street, and south of Rhode Island avenue northeast, under the provisions contained in the act of Congress approved March second, eighteen hundred and ninety-three, entitled 'An act to provide a permanent system of highways in that part of the District of Columbia lying outside of cities, and an amendment to said act, approved June twenty-eighth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight; that upon the completion and recording of said new highway plan it shall take the place of and stand for any previous plan for said portion of the District of Columbia." Very respectfully,
HENRY B. F. MACFARLAND,
President Board of Commissioners District of Columbia. Hon. J. W. BABCOCK,
Chairman Committee on District of Columbia, House of Representatives.
SALARIES OF CUSTOMS INSPECTORS.
JANUARY 25, 1907.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state
of the Union and ordered to be printed.
Mr. MCCALL, from the Committee on Ways and Means, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 12222.]
The Committee on Ways and Means, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 12222) authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to fix the compensation of inspectors of customs, submit the following report:
The act increasing the maximum salaries of inspectors of customs from $3 to $f per day was passed in 1864. By an act of Congress passed in 1902 the Secretary of the Treasury was authorized to increase the salaries of the inspectors of customs at the port of New York, as he might think advisable, to $5 per day. The reasons for the passage of the act relating to the port of New York were well stated by Mr. Dalzell in the report from the Committee on Ways and Means, and those reasons are so precisely in point for the support of the pending bill that a considerable part of the report may well be quoted here:
Inspectors detailed to discharge a steamer's cargo are required to be at their vessel ready for business never later than 7 o'clock in the morning, from the time of her arrival until cargo is finally and completely disposed of. From early morning until sunset they must be skillful, alert, and unflagging in their duties. This would ordinarily be considered a long, hard day's work, but in addition they are frequently ordered to report at headquarters at the barge office after sunset and detailed for examination of incoming passengers' baggage at the various steamship docks, where they are often detained until midnight or even later, but it is absolutely necessary that they shall be at their several vessels promptly the next morning ready to resume the discharge of cargo. Compensation of inspectors is now $4 per diem.
By a circular of the Treasury Department, dated April 4, 1894 (synopsis, 14864), collectors of customs were authorized to permit the landing of passengers' baggage under the regulations governing the landing of cargoes at night under special license. This was to be done upon the application of agents or owners of steamships in the foreign trade, who were required to deposit a sufficient sum of money to cover the necessary disbursements of inspectors for this extra service, and the collectors were anthorized to distribute the amount so deposited to the officers in accordance with the time in which they were employed, not to exceed $2.50 for each night.
This practice continued for about one year, when it was decided by the Solicitor of the Treasury-as appears by Department circular of April 18, 1895 (Synopsis, 15917)--that passengers' baggage was not included in the word “cargo," as used in section 2871, Revised Statutes, and therefore the collection of moneys from the steamship companies to pay for this extra service was illegal. The Department, however, continued the practice of examining baggage after sunset, but denied to the officers any compensation for their services in that connection, and such practice continues to this day, thus adding greatly to the onerous duties of inspectors and involving increased personal expense to them.
The evil sought to be remedied is the employment of inspectors for night services in the examination of passengers' baggage and their detention for the purpose of such examination, oftentimes when there is no necessity therefor.
It seems to the committee that the existing evil ought to be remedied, and therefore recommend the passage of the bill.
The condition in some of the ports to-day is precisely that which existed in New York at the time of the writing of the above report. The passenger business of the port of Boston, for instance, has increased about 300 per cent in the last twenty years, whereas the number of inspectors has been reduced during that period from 85 to 77. . With their original duties augmented by those put upon them by the circular of the Secretary of the Treasury above referred to these men not only have to work from sunrise to sunset but often until midnight, and have entailed upon them a considerable extra expense for meals and hotels. Where eight hours constitute generally a day's work in the Departments of the Government it is unfair that in some cases as high as fifteen or sixteen hours a day should be exacted of inspectors-certainly without any commensurate compensation. A similar condition to that existing in Boston, so far as extra night work is concerned, may be found in other large customs districts in the country. The bill is simply permissive and gives the Secretary of the i reasury authority to increase the pay in his discretion and make it a maximum of $5 per day. The bill stands upon precisely the same principle as the law passed in 1902 with regard to New York.
The committee recommend that the bill be amended by striking out the word "limit" in the fourth line and inserting in the place thereof the word “increase," and as thus amended they recommend that the
bill do pass.
VIRGINIA MILITARY, CONTINENTAL, OR STATE LAND
JANUARY 25, 1907.-Ordered to be printed.
Mr. LACEY, from the Committee on the Public Lands, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 19517.)
The Committee on the Public Lands, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 19517) relating to the Virginia military, continental, or State land warrants and Ohio University lands, having had the same under consideration, respectfully submit the following report:
Your committee have heard the claimants, through their counsel, and recommend that the bill do lie upon the table.
A full hearing upon this bill will be found in House Document No. 500 of the second session of the Fifty-ninth Congress.