In a short address in the Union last night Mayor Hibbard of Boston outlined the present political conditions of the city and what he believed to be the best method for their betterment and reform. The Boston elections, he said, coming as they do in December, place the mayor in a hard position for immediate remedies, as his petitions for improvements and general city management are due almost at once, before he realizes what is most necessary; this, together with the enormous amount of improvement needed, is responsible in part for the present situation in Boston.
The city of Boston is also handicapped by a heavy debt, $116,000,000, and pays tremendous taxes to the state for the benefits she gets from its systems, her share of the metropolitan debt amounting to some $38,000,000. Although saddled with such a financial burden, Boston is in many respects one of the most fortunate communities on earth. The metropolitan park system, consisting of some seventy parks and playgrounds, is one of the finest in the world; the system of boulevards connecting the metropolitan reservations is nowhere excelled; the metropolitan water system has received encomiums the world over; and the sewer system is, for the greater part, very efficient and has made great advances in its work.
Municipal ownership is not practical at present, said Mayor Hibbard, and it never will be until it can be entirely freed from politics. In Boston it has particularly been a failure because of its corruption. A good example is the Municipal Printing Plant of the city, which has been a sort of bank for politicians and their constituents during the last few years. This year, however, it has been placed on a firm basis, with a practical man at its head, and it will be given two years' fair trial to show whether or not municipal ownership is a success.
The Finance Commission was instituted to investigate the city's salary list and the needs of the city, and found hundreds of people receiving good salaries and doing not the slightest work for the city. Since then, there has been some reform, but not until this year was there any great change. The Legislature is also helping with a bill to give the Civil Service Commission the power to regulate the salaries of all city officials.
The real problem before Boston, he concluded, is to set its municipal government and the city itself upon a safe, honest and good business foundation.