THE MAYORAL ELECTION.
Me. Hugo Friedlander at the Town Hall. Last night Mr. Hugo Friedlander addressed the electors at the Town Hall. There was a very large attendance of the general public, fully 500 people being in the room. All the sitting accommodation was utilised, and the open apace below the gallery was well filled lip by those who were unable to obtain a seat. Mr. Bullock, the Mayor, occupied the
Mr. Bullock, the Mayor, occupied the chair, and introduced the candidate. Mr. Friedlander said that in coming before them that evening, he did so with a certain amount of pride. He had received what was to him a very flattering requisition to stand for the Mayoralty of Ashburton, and it was very gratifying to himself to know that the interest he had always taken in the town and district was so far appreciated He could assure them that, whether elected or not, the interest he had always taken in this rising borough would be continued. He did not think they would be disappointed when he told them he was no orator. He was not an orator, and he spoke under a difficulty they could sympathise with. Ho WAS A FOREIGNER, speaking in a language he had learnt since growing up to manhood, and he craved their forbearance with him if his articulation was not so clear as an orator’s, nor his English so accurate as a college professor’s. In 1870 he came to this colony, and at that time he could not have asked in English his way up the street. But oratory was only one of the graces of a public man ; and so long as he combined good, sound, common sense with firmness and caution, and was competent to discharge the duties required of his position, he could afford to dispense with afay great gifts of oratory without any great loss to the community whose interests he was called upon to serve. In fact, it had been proved at many public meetings that a glib tongue could wag in the head of a fool, and the smoothest speech flow from the lips of a soapy sycophant. He hoped, however, that he would not be judged by the quantity nor the grace of his remarks, but by the sense and spirit of what he had to say. The first subject presenting itself for notice was the
WATER SUPPLY for the town, and its next neighbor was the
DRAINAGE QUESTION. Both these questions had been fully dealt with by the Borough Council, and how the proposed schemes were to be carried out had already been decided upon by the Councillors. It was idle, then, and a waste of time to go into details of these questions. But there was a question that had to be dealt with before either of these could be handled, and that was the question of FINANCE. This was a matter wanting very serious consideration. He was confident he expressed the views of the most of the ratepayers when he said that in the present depressed state ofthe Borough’s finances, it behoved them to be very cautious how they spent their money. Not that he wished to say the works referred to were not necessary, and useful; but that until such time as their prospective abundant harvest was reaped—and this ho sincerely hoped for, —and until we had in a measure recovered from the present commercial gloom and seen more prosperous times, they ought not to burden themselves with INCREASED TAXATION, They ought to wait with patience and step with caution. If they went in for the proposed £15,000 loan they must be prepared to pay a drainage and water rate of 2s. in all upon their rateable property. He need not say this would fall hardly upon many if not most of them the many still unpaid rates were ominous of the difficulty people had in making both ends meet without extra rating. So far as he was concerned, these works could bo on, if the ratepayers were willing ; but he would certainly be in favor before this heavy debt was contracted, of being certain that the ratepayers were willing to pay the heavy interest on a big loan. Then, the raising of this loan must not be lost sight of. It was too small a sum to be floated in the English market. He knew that only too well, as a business man, and to try here just now would only be a waste of time arid money. He believed, however, that if they waited a while till times were more prosperous, as he knew they would be,
THE LOAN COULD BE FLOATED in the Colonial market at far better terms than they could possibly obtain now. The Councillors would perhaps forgive him for thinking they had made a great mistake in expending their COUNTY COUNCIL GRANT OF £SOOO in ordering mains, instead of allowing the money to lie in the bank until it was wanted. If they had allowed it to be at interest the nice little sum of £275 per annum would have accrued upon it, whereas the pipes, now almost due from England, would be of no service whatever for some time to come. The present supply of water from the wells had been proved to be sufliciont in case of fire, and all that was needful was
A SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF TUBE-WELLS sunk throughout the town to enable the hose to reach all the buildings. If these were found, the Fire Brigade would be able to cope with tl e great enemy in any part of the borough. This question of water supply led him to the subject of the FIRE BRIGADE. The work of this most useful body ought to be better appreciated than it had been. He should be in favor of the Borough, if found at all possible, supplying the Brigade with a suitable uniform. He considered the cost of this ought to be a first charge upon the revenue raised, so that faith could be kept with a resolution proposed by Mr. Ivess when he was a member of the Fire Brigade Committee. The uniform was of more importance than most people thought. It was of a kind that formed a protection from heat to the men, and this was even a greater matter than the distinction it gave them, preventing them from being mistaken in the crowd. As it was at present, there was no knowing at a fire who was and who was not a fireman, and as a result outsiders were found coming in—with the best intentions, no doubt—and interfering,
DOING MORE HARM THAN GOOD, and preventing the prompt and efficient discharge of the Brigade’s duties. He would like to see the Fire Brigade in possession of a steam fire-engine. If elected he would endeavour to interview their indefatigable member, Mr. Wright, on the subject, and point but to him the necessity of such a useful machine for the protection of the town from fire, and induce him, if possible, to influence the Government to place a sum on the estimates for such a purpose. It would also be the speaker’s duty to urge upon the Insurance companies to aid the brigade in this matter. The Ashburton Borough had been unfairly treated by the Government in the matter of the RURAL LAND they ought to have granted—namely* 2,000 acres. To this extent of ground the borough was fairly entitled under the Municipal Corporations Act. The boroughs of Lyttelton, Akaroa, and Kaiapoi, had each been granted that extent of land in this county. Although none of them grudged those boroughs their endowments it must be patent to all that had that land been sold a considerable amount of money would have accrued from the sale to the Ashburton County funds. But the Borough had been a still more heavy sufferer, as up to the present time it had only been granted 422 acres. On this matter he should also feel it his duty to interview the member for the district and the Minister for Crown Lands. The speaker then
COMPLIMENTED THE PRESENT MAYOR Mr. Bullock on the untiring energy he had displayed, in this and other matters, in endeavouring to obtain justice from the Government for the Borough. Another matter which he intended to bring ■ before the authorities, should he be placed in a position to do ■ so, was the danger to ordinary traffic arising from the UNPROTECTED STATE OF THE RAILWAY RESERVE, and to request them to place upon the estimates a sum for fencing the line, or appointing a watchman at the principal crossings in the borough ; also to
OPEN ALL CROSSINGS ON FORMED STREETS. The increase of accommodation in the matter of
BUILDINGS, such as the railway station, railway platform, Courthouse, and a new traffic bridge over the Ashburton' river were subjects under Governmental consideration, and he was sure they were not likely to be neglected by our energetic member of Parliament, Mr. Wright. It ought, how;eyer, to be the duty of the Mayor to urge ’these works upon.the Government. Having touched upon most public matters of interest to the borough, he would now say a few words in regard to
HIS OPPONENT, MR. IVESS.
He bad, he must admit, two very great advantages oyer himself (Mr. F.) —advantages very important to a candidate at election times. He had the
GIFT OF TALK to an extraordinrry degree, and could use it, as he had proved, to some purpose. He also held the reins, of an organ which did not stick at trifles when necessary for its owner’s interest. They would all remember the character of a paper which emanated from Mr. Ivess’ office, and the manner in which it PROSTITUTED THE POWER OF THE PRESS to injure his opponents. Could they con aider it a credit to their Borough that they should elect as their Chief Magistrate a man who condescended, under the veil of A BORROWED NAME to slander respected and respectable citizens in such a malicious and cool-blooded spirit as he had done. He thought the good sense of the burgesses would carise them to hesitate before placing such a man in power. A HOW. [Here a loud clamour was raised by the larrikin element, and then hisses and applause commingled fora time. Mr. W. Leggat requested Mr, Friedlander to avoid personalities, and some one in the back of the hall wanted to know, about Munroe’s bill of sale. The speaker proceeded after the tumult had to some extent subsided.] A good deal of comment had been made on the fact that
ONE OF HIS BROTHERS was a Councillor and another held office as collector, &c. [AVoice —£40.] Should he be elected Mayor, ithad been said too much of the governing power of the Borough would be in the hands of one family. He would only answer to this that if the Borough’s business were managed as sue-
cessfully as their own had been the j burgesses would not have any reason to | complain of his elec; ion. He did not | wish to be egotistical v hen he said so, and he risked the possible charge, but he thought he could safely say that no movement for the advancement of the town had ever met with any opposition on the part of himself or his family. Mr. Friedlander then thanked the audience for the hearing accorded to him, and would be prepared to answer any question put to him upon any subject of interest to the borough. Mr. William Leggatt asked whether, as Mr. Friedlander considered his opponent unfit to sit as magistrate, he considered himself qualified to hold that position. Mr. Friedlander said he thought he was—(laughter)—as the requisition he he had received was signed numerously and influentially, and contained the names of the most prominent burgesses in Ashburton, so that if they considered him fit, ie must feel himself so. A long pause ensued, and no more questions being put, Mr. Gun dry moved —“ That this meeting considers that Mr. Friedlander is a fit and proper person to hold the position of Mayor of Ashburton.” This was seconded by Mr. A. Orr. Mr. St. Hill was astonished at the candidate before the meeting speaking about the conduct of Mr. Ivess.—(Laughter.) Mr. Friedlander had said that Mr. Ivess had been guilty of scandalous conduct in issuing the “ Evening News ” from his office.—(Hear, hear). There was a great deal more in the Guardian than in the “Nows.”—(Cries, “Right you are, George,” and laughter). He meant the Herald. That paper had been the cause of more ill-felling than anything else that had ever happened in Ashburton. He would propose the following amendment : ‘ ‘ Having now heard the addresses of both candidates for the Mayoral honors, this meeting desires to confirm the resolution passed last evening in Mr. Joseph Ivess’ favor.”
Seconded by Mr F. Duncan. The Chairman put the amendment, and declared it carried by 44 to 27. Mr. E. Thomas wished to know if nonvoters were entitled to hold up their hands, because if they were he would like to hold up his. The Chairman replied that although many had voted without being qualified it was most difficult to tell in so large a meeting who were electors. Mr. Friedlander returned thanks to those who had voted for him, and expressed his conviction that he would again thank them to-morrow night as a successful candidate.
A vote of thanks to the Mayor terminated the proceedings.
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