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able, industrious, and law-abiding. There is not much occasion for conflicts as regards the rights of the citizens. There is not much opportunity for wicked persons to exercise their arts. But this is all changed when we come to a city or town. The presence of a large number of people and of much property, and the crowded condition of dwellings, stimulate vice. The contagion of crime and disorderliness easily spreads. The health of the community, too, is more readily endangered where the population is compact. There is always danger of conflagrations.
7. Duties of a City Government. The duties of a city government, then, are in general such as these: To repress crime and turbulence; to take precautions against epidemics and disease; to make provision against fires; to have the streets well paved and clean; to regulate the traffic and travel in the streets; to construct sidewalks and sewers; to maintain suitable police; to construct and manage almshouses, hospitals, jails; to oversee the public markets; to regulate places of amusement; to provide public parks; to maintain schools; and so on through an almost endless list of things designed to restrain all that is evil, vicious, and lawless, and to promote all that is productive of the peace, comfort, and prosperity of the community. The larger the city, the greater its cares and perils, and the more need of a forcible and energetic government.
8. City Officers.-The number and character of the officers in a city or town vary according to the size and population of the place. In the larger cities and towns we find the following classes of officers: (1) A board which has general power to make laws or ordinances for the welfare of the city, the members of which are called councilmen, aldermen, trustees, supervisors, etc. (2) A
mayor, who is the head of the city government, the chief officer for executing the laws. (3) Police Courts, for trying and punishing persons who break the laws. In addition to these there may be a police department, a street department, a fire department, a treasurer, a prosecuting attorney, and many other officials.
Questions on Government in Cities and Towns.
If you live in a city or town, answer the following questions with respect to the one in which you live; if not, answer them with respect to one near where you live or with respect to one with which you are familiar. If your answers relate to a smaller town, by-andby get all the information you can with regard to one of the large cities of California, and make out a list of answers with respect to that city. 1. Draw a map of the city or town in which you live, or of one 8. Draw a plan of the city hall. Name all the officials who have
which is near you, or of one with which you are familiar. 2. How many inhabitants has this city or town? 3. How many children between the ages of five and seventeen?
Why is it of interest to know this? 4. How many school-houses? How many teachers ?. 5. How many persons entitled to vote? 6. How many wards or precincts? In which one do you live? 7. Give an account of the city under the following heads, naming
the chief persons in office and giving their residences: (a) The mayor; (b) The fire department; (c) The police department; (d) The street department; (e) The water system; (f) The lighting system; (9) The public parks; (h) The public libraries; (i) The hospitals; (j) The almshouses; (k) The jail; (1) Any other public institutions or buildings; (m) The council; (n) The judges; (0) The assessor; (p) The tax collector; (9) The treasurer.
offices in the city hall, and tell what room each occupies. 9. How is the money raised to carry on the city government? 10. How much a year does it take? 11. What officials are elected by the people? What is the term of
each? 12. When do these elections take place? 13. How many polling or voting places are there? 14. Who may vote at these elections? 15. May women vote? 16. May women hold any offices in the city government? 17. What officers are appointed (not elected), and by whom?
What difference in meaning is usually made between “appointing” and “electing?”
GOVERNMENT IN THE COUNTY.
9. The County.-As each one of us lives in a school district and in a township, so each one lives in a county. A county is usually made up of many school districts and townships. Sometimes, when the population is very large and dense, constituting a great city, the school district, the township, the city, and the county, all coincide and cover the same area.
10. County Officers.-Each county has a complete set of officers, who have all the powers necessary for carrying on the affairs of the county. There is, in the first place, a board of general superintendence, with the power of making laws, called a board of supervisors. Then there are the following officers, whose duties are chiefly in executing and administering the laws: Treasurer, clerk, auditor, recorder, surveyor, assessor, tax collector, superintendent of schools. And thirdly, there are the judicial officers: Superior judge or judges, sheriff
, district attorney, coroner, public administrator.
All these officers are elected by the voters of the county, and hold office, except the superior judge, assessor, and superintendent of schools, for two years. The term of office for the superior judges is six years, for assessor and superintendent of schools, four years.
11. Board of Supervisors.—Each county board of supervisors consists of five members. The county is divided into five supervisorial districts as nearly equal in population as possible. One supervisor is elected by the voters of each district, and he must himself be a voter of that district.
The powers of the board of supervisors are: To superintend the conduct of the county officers; to divide the county into townships, and into school, road, and other districts; to establish election districts, supervise elections, and canvass election returns; to establish and maintain roads, bridges, and ferries; to provide for the poor and sick; to levy taxes; to equalize assessments; to grant licenses; to grant franchises, etc.
12. Treasurer and Auditor.—The treasurer receives and pays out moneys on account of the county, while the auditor examines and adjusts its fiscal concerns.
13. Clerk.—The county clerk acts as clerk of the board of supervisors and of the Superior Court; he keeps all county books, papers, and records; he keeps a public record of all suits brought in the Superior Court. He issues certificates, such as marriage licenses; he usually attends to the registration of voters.
14. Recorder.-The county recorder is an important officer in all the American States. It is a feature of our system of law that a public record is kept of all the more important transactions relating to land, or real property. The evidences of these transactions, such as deeds and mortgages, are kept in carefully indexed books in the recorder's office.
15. Assessor and Tax Collector.-It is the duty of the assessor to appraise the value of all property, both personal and real, for tax assessment. The taxes of each county are determined after the amount to be raised for the State has been fixed. The rate of taxation is determined by dividing the amount of the tax by the valuation of the property on which the tax is to be levied. The quotient is the rate.
The duty of the tax collector is to receive from the property owners the tax which has been assessed upon their property. Such taxes as are not paid by the time appointed by the law are declared by the tax collector to be delinquent. Between the day of becoming delinquent and another fixed date, a certain percentage is added to the tax. Then, at the latter date, a public auction is held; and so much of each piece of property having delinquent taxes as will satisfy the tax upon it is sold to the highest bidder. At any time within six months after such sale, the owner of the property may “redeem” or recover it from the purchaser by paying the amount of the taxes with fifty per cent added.
16. Surveyor.—The surveyor is a public official who makes such surveys of land as may be required of him by order of court or of the board of supervisors, or upon the application of any private person. He receives fees for such work as he may do, but no salary.
17. Superintendent of Schools. It is the duty of the school superintendent to supervise the schools of his county; to apportion the school moneys among the districts of the county; to preside at teachers' institutes; to enforce the county course of study; to issue temporary certificates to teachers.