POLITICS IN WATER
IT is always a source of the greatest gratification to right thinking citizens when politicians, who wish to make municipal offices a reward for mere political services, are “downed” by the voice of the people; and this comes to pass so seldom that any such triumph of right over might deserves more than a mere passing notice. Harrisburg is the capital city of Pennsylvania. In Mr. Edmund Mather it had a water commissioner who had been well tried and had never been found wanting—except in one respect, which was, that, as a ward politician, he was nowhere. This did not suit a certain political clique in the council, whose intended successor to Mr. Mather was a man altogether after their own hearts. Wherefore, Mr. Mather was to be turned down and the other man was to be installed in his place. It was true Mr. Mather was acknowledged by all classes in the community to be the right man in the right place—competent, conscientious, and thoroughly versed in all the details of the department. It was likewise true that, just at this time, when the question securing filtration for the by no means inviting water of Harrisburg is the burning topic of the day, none but a practical man (such as Mr. Mather confessedly is) should be elected to the board of water commissioners, and that, even more than ever it was required that such an office should again lie filled by one whose management had always been efficient as well as economical—who had raised the water department of the city from being a very small and insignificant branch of the public service to a position which commanded the respect and admiration of adjoining cities. All that was practically admitted—but Mr. Mather was not of the right stripe for the politicians.. That was enough to seal his fate,and so, go he must. This, however, was just a little too much for the citizens of Harrisburg to stomach. They rose as one man, and, backed by the entire press of the city. Republican as well as Democratic, demanded that Mr. Mather, and none other than Mr. Mather, should be elected to the vacant commissionership. The politicians saw that on this occasion they could not afford to defy the popular will; wherefore, wisely accepting the inevitable, they bowed to the openly expressed determination of the people to see justice prevail and home rule victorious. And thus it came to pass, that, instead of “ recognizing ” the candidate of a clique, they changed their minds for the better and unanimously nominated Mr. Mather, the citizens’ candidate, for reelection to the board of water commissioners. The victory was not won easily; the odds against the triumph of right and in favor of that of the political machine were heavy. But in the end right prevailed. To other politician-beridden municipalities, we would say, go and do ye likewise.