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Archive for July, 2013

The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 22, 1919

Mr. Ringer’s $300 Assistant Says Many Names On Petition Are Illegally Entered

Desperation Seizes Officialdom

Recall Petitions for Four Councilmen Throws Big Scare Into Elmer Thomas’ Forces; Prepare to Use Every Legal Means for Its Defeat.

Every effort known to political chicanery is to be used to defeat the recall petition out for four city commissioners – Ringer, Smith, Ure and Towle. That has been shown during the last week when the first attack on these petitions was made. The World-Herald has seen fit to make itself a party to the scrap.

The protestants, led by Elmer Thomas, $300 per month superintendent of police (ex-officio), have undertaken the checking of these petitions. Up to date it has been discovered that fourteen persons are illegally registered, if the check engineered by “Police Superintendent” Thomas is correct. It is alleged by the checkers that several times that number is nearer the proper figure. Their statement may be correct.

This is the first time the recall has ever been attempted in Douglas county. The gentlemen who prepared and had signed these petitions took good care to see that the proper number of bona-fide voters signed it. They understood that, in such an undertaking, a considerable number of names would be discarded because of changes of address, duplication and other such contingencies. The law makes the same provision. As a matter of fact, nearly half of the registered names could be thrown out and still enough would be left to make the petition legal.

The object of the men who are protesting the petition is not against the sufficiency of the petition, in fact, but they are looking for some excuse to prevent the recall proposition actually going to a vote of the people of Omaha. It is a cold turkey proposition.

There has been a very general dissatisfaction with the manner in which the municipal government has been operated under the present regime. The people have become disgusted in a measure uncomputable. They have asked for a recall of the officials they believe are responsible for the conditions now existing, in opposition to the general principles of what is considered the proper government of this cosmopolitan and metropolitan city. They have asked, in lawful form, for a recall for those officials. A hired man, paid a salary of $300 per month by men with ulterior motives, is attempting to stop the action of the law.

The last two or three months has shown beyond question that the men in office have done everything in their power to promote the position of the “squeezers” as against the common people. The abortive food profiteering investigation has been a farce. While cities like Chicago were sending profiteers to jail, Omaha has been hanging a medal on them. This has been shown during the last week when hungry citizens have flocked to food sales to save themselves from highway robbery.

It is everlastingly too late. When this recall petition came on to the market a bunch of interested city commissioners immediately showed themselves in front with an alleged investigation. Last Monday it was shown that city warehouses and cold storage plants had enough food in them to last the city five years. No arrests were made. No person was forced to sell his holding for the benefit of the people. On the other hand, a superficial examination was made, reports received and, not in words, but by action, the profiteers have been told to shoot right along.

And these same city officials are attempting to retain office by alleging that some 150 signers to the recall petition out of nearly 7,000 are irregular.

Get the idea?

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 15, 1919

Omaha’s Fun Center Again to House Best Shows in Town.

The large array of Broadway beauties that comprise the chorus of Al Reeves’ newest and best show which is underlined at the popular Gayety theater for the season’s opening, commencing Saturday matinee, have, local theater-goers will be interested to learn, just emerged triumphant

Ruth Hayward

With Al Reeves’ Famous Beauty Show, the opening attraction at the popular Gayety week starting Saturday matinee, August 16. Matinee daily.

from the severest ordeal any set of chorus girls were ever called upon to face – a singing test. Al Reeves, who owns and produces his ever popular show, has laid down a new rule to the effect that every member of his chorus must possess vocal ability, regardless of her charm. His show has always earned the distinction of having the best looking chorus on the Columbia circuit, and his girls at any time would be strong contenders in any beauty contest. Their charming appearance was always a favorite topic in every city the show played. But as has often happened in the past, voice had been sacrificed to good looks in some instances, and it was discovered that some of these beauties could pass as singers only in a crowd.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 15, 1919

Police Courts Bring Out Evidence Against Several Ringer Officers

One Poker Player Relieved Of $180

Seven Witnesses Testify They Saw Policeman Take Money Which Was Not Returned: Crap Shooter Says Herdzina Got Sack With $23 and Returned $6.

High Jacking has become the big game in our fair city and everybody is doing it. Our city officials wink at reports, always sworn to, that their hirelings are in the business and getting away with it. Innumberable reports are being heard daily of doings of this sort. Not less than four policemen have been caught at it recently.

The business is said to be profitable. Last Monday morning there appeared in central police court a coterie of fellows who were picked up the night before in the midst of a poker game. The story was that they all grabbed their money and jammed it in their pockets. One fellow, however, who was said to have an interest in the game, slipped out for a moment, but was grabbed before he could escape. Seven witnesses testified that a police officer took this fellow’s watch and $180 in money from his pockets. When the visible evidence was turned loose on the court the watch was there, but the $180 was missing. No steps have been taken, so far as known, to either punish the offending officer or to secure the return of the $180 taken from the man’s pockets.

On the South Side another crowd was picked up. They were shooting craps, it is alleged. The fellow taking the rake-off had $23 in the bag which the proprietor of the game had taken in. When the bag was produced in court only $6 was in evidence. Morals Squad Officer Herzina took the bag from the prisoner.

The high-jack game began with the sequestering of hard liquor. A lot of officers learned how easy it was to grab a bunch of booze and ease things up and retain the booze. It was valuable and with a “family fence” in good working order it was not hard to dispose of the booze at fancy prices, to say nothing of the amount they retained themselves. Numerous instances of such actions have been brought to light. The result has been that a large number of officers, whose integrity could not be doubted, have come under suspicion with the high-jackers.

Witnesses have testified under oath that more than one officer has been active in the high-jack game. In one instance an officer is declared to have gone into partnership with one of the booze peddlers. They pulled off a high-jack game together and then the bootlegger high-jacked the officer himself. Chief Eberstein and Superintendent Ringer have both been given information about this deal, it is stated, but nothing has been done. The officer is pretty sore about getting trimmed at his own game, it is said, but is afraid to squeal on the other fellow.

Under the new state-wide, city-wide and nation-wide bone dry law the way to fast fortunes has been easily learned and everybody who has become active in the movement of contraband liquor has been building new homes or buying those already built. On the South Side are a number of fellows rolling in money and the law has become a joke. Hundreds of persons who formerly preserved good reputations for fair dealing are now under cover or are still grabbing off the soft money that comes with law violation.

It is a remarkable truth that whereas police courts used to clean up the daily grist in an hour, it is seldom before 1 o’clork that these courts are adjourned and many afternoon sessions are necessary to hear the hundreds of cases that are now before these courts. Seldom a morning passes that the clerk of the police coort does not have $1,000 in the safe put up for appearance bonds. Sometimes it quite exceeds this amount.

Among habitues of the police court the presence of hundreds of faces regularly is becoming a joke. Fellows who are presumed to be devout church goers may be seen there nearly every day. they mingle with the riff-raff and pay their fines when their cases are called. Newspaper men could write a book about them each day.

It is a case now of catch-as-catch-can, with the high-jackers leading the aravan in securing the big take-off.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 15, 1919

Profiteers in Human Living Conditions Attempting to Take Last Ponnd of Flesh

Leigh Apartment Tenants Victims

Receive Notice of Perpendicular Raise In Rents; New Prices Used to Pay Interest on Inflated Prices for Property; Court Action Threatened.

The most monumental robbery ever attempted by a combination of lawbreaking profiteers is the one now being undertaken by the Omaha combination of real estate men who are preparing to raise the rental price of every living place in Omaha. Unless the law quickly gets into action they are going to get away with the most high-handed robbery that has ever been committed in the name of “respectable business.”

During the last week the mayor of Omaha undertook an investigation of the high cost of living. He discovered before he had gone very far that Omaha, like other cities, was infested with food robbers of the most cussed kind that were ever permitted to keep out of the penitentiary. He did not go into the rentals at all. Although prices have soared higher by degrees every five minutes for the last two years for homes to live in, the real estate combination, headed by men who call themselves Christians, is right now attempting to gouge out of the renter the last pound of flesh.

One of the most glaring instances that has come to the notice of this newspaper is that of the Leigh apartments, 205-7 South Twenty-fifth avenue. Until a few weeks ago it was owned by Samuel Mort, a gentleman of quality, who was satisfied with the income on his investment. This apartment home contains thirteen apartments. The rental of these places has been, in former years, while owned by Mr. Mort, as follows:

Six apartments, facing the front, $40 summer and $45 winter; six apartments facing the rear, $35 summer and $40 winter; one basement apartment, $25 summer and $30 winter.

Tenants in the Leigh have just been given notice of a perpendicular raise of $10 and $15 per month. This property was sold by Mr. Mort two weeks ago at an inflated price – a price which Mr. Mort was very fortunate to secure, but on which the buyers expect to secure a very fine investment by squeezing it out of the tenants. The property was purchased by the new owners for that very purpose, if all concrete evidence is of any value. The next purchaser of this property, after financial affairs become normal, will doubtless purchase if at about 25 per cent less than the last selling price, ebcause, aside from the natural deterioration, the water in it will have all leaked out. In the course of ten years the buildings on it will be obsolete and the ground value will be the only thing left to it. In fact, part of the buildings on the property, which covers three lots, are ready for condemnation, except for rooming house purposes. In the meantime, it is proposed to squeeze thetenants to force a return on this big watered investment. Court action, it is said, is already in the making to prevent these profiteers getting away with what they have started.

The facts about Omaha rentals are that the slowing up of building operations during the war is being taken advantage of by these real estate robbers to squeeze their tenants to the utmost. It is a condition that can be met by enforcing present laws. Tenants are being advised by those in position to know the facts to oppose all such attempts.

“Everybody’s getting theirs and we are going to be in on the big game,” is the way one realtor expressed himself. “Of course, there is a real estate boom. If I owned very much residence property I would get rid of it while these big prices are on. They cannot last more than another year and when the bottom drops out the dropping is going to be a good one.”

The natural adjustment that is bound to come is going to bust a lot of the small property owners who have been mortgaging their property for more than it will be worth when the explosion comes. The big dealers, meanwhile, will get out from under and let the small fry, the working class take the big jolt that is bound to come sooner or later.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 15, 1919

Dr. J. S. Long of Washington D.C., president of the Gallaudet College Alumni association, will attend the Nebraska State Association of the Deaf, which meets in Omaha, August 15-18, as one of the principal speakers, and will talk on “How the Deaf of Iowa Organized and Accomplished Results.” Henry W. Rothert, former superintendent of the Iowa School for the Deaf, will speak on ,’My Experience with Methods of Educating the Deaf.” “Vital Problems Confronting the Nebraska Deaf” will be discussed by R. E. Stewart. Mayor Ed P. Smith will welcome the visitors and Tom L. Anderson of Minden, Neb., will respond to the mayor’s welcome.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 15, 1919

T. W. Blackburn of Omaha, secretary-treasurer and counsel of the American Life convention, which is national in scope, has just issued an attractive program for the fourteenth annual meeting of the convention. Men nationally prominent if life insurance will take part in the discussions. E. G. Simmons, vice president of the Pan-American Life Iusurance company of New Orleans, is president of the American Life convention and will preside. The legal section of the convention will meet two days, September 22 and 23, preceding the regular sessions. E. M. Grossman, general counsel Central States Life Insurance company, St. Louis, is chairman of the legal section and will preside over the meetings of this section. The American Life convention membership is composed of 118 leading life insurance companies in thirty-six states, and is the largest insurance company organization in the world. The volume of risks carried by these companies is over four billion dollars ad assets $600,000,000.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 15, 1919

Things That Never  Happen 3

“Mamma, I found this cat and nine tails down the road and I thought you might be able to make use of it sometime when I’m a bad boy so I brought it home!”

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