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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 69, no. 1770: February 15, 1902

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February 15,1902. RECORD AM) CxUIDE. 291 BusifjESS Ait>Themes Of GEriER^-.IjftEBpJ. 1»RICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS Published eVery Satardas Oommunicatlons sbould bo addreBBed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street, New Yorh J!. T. IJNDSBT, BuBlness Manager Telephone, Cortlandt S167 "Entered at the Post OMee a( Jfeu? York, N'. Y., as second-class matter.' Vol. LXIX. FEBRUARY 15, 1902. No. 1770 One; of the daily papers reports President Greatsinger as asking an interviewer who wanted to know the prospects fordividendsiinder the bond issue plan announced this week "Did you ever hearofaBrooUlynRapid Transit dividend? I never did." This is what it is to be a newcomer like President Greatsinger! Why Wall Street has heard of dividends on Brooklyn Rapid Transit for years; not cash ones, hnt still dividends, the same kind that are being declared daily on a number of securities whose finances are in about as good a shape as those of B. R, T, Was it this thought striking home to the minds of the sanguine that helped to break the market at the close of the week? The main cause was, of course, the decision regarding the taxation of securities in loans. In the early part of the week the market was surprisingly strong considering the nature of current news. The conflagration at Paterson is but little short of a local calamity, and the disclosures at Detroit answer a thought that has been in the minds of the recollecting of some things that always lie under the surface of a boom and a period of unusual enterprise. Of .course, the buying lacked real spirit. There was some commission house business, but it was small and suspicious, and the pools with a tailing of professionals really made all the activity seen. The pools seem of late to put the market up ou their own buying and down on their own selling, which must be cheerless and expensive business. When the only support to the bull side comes from pools we have surely reached a bear opportunity. That has been shown to be the case after every boom, for seemingly pools are made up of people who cannot see that the time has gone by for operations in any given direction; people who have been drawn into speculation by some great movement in which they have made money, but do not know how to get out of it again until by some sharp experic:-:ce they receive enlightenment or their money is all paid away in repeated small losses, interest and commissions. Current reports of railroad earnings show a good many declines, but as these cover a week of storm they are not signiflcant of much, and railroad men say they are not only doing a good business but are making good money at it. Wall Street remains the one dull and doubtful spot; elsewhere there is the utmost activity and cheerfulness. SOME steps are being taken to educate the public up to the value of trade consolidations as cheapeners of production aud, inferentially, as profit makers for their owners. The result should eventually modify the attitude of the public towards in¬ dustrial securities, which is one of rather more uncompromising suspicion than is probably warranted by the real facts. The In¬ dustrials offer room for discrimination as well as other secur¬ ities. It cannot be denied that, without any exception that we can call to mind, their capital represents much water. Even accepting, for the sake of argument, the theory that the capitali¬ sation of prospective profits is justifiable,this theory has beenin- variably put in practice in the most profuse way. The investing public cannot always hold the Industrials at arm's length, but their confidence is only likely to be a reciprocation of confidence on the part of the Industrial managers. For instance, the strength seen in the steel stocks this week is probably due to the evidence that is being given by the technical press of the in¬ creased efiiciency and economy in working of the plants of the United States Steel Co. under the consolidation, These appear to arise from two causes; competition among the managers in their individual eiforts to produce the best results from the several plants and departments in their charge and their co¬ operation through specialized committees, so that the processes by which the best results are obtained in one plant or depart¬ ment may be available to all. "The Iron Age," which has had an opportunity of examining the details of management and working of the Steel Co., says; "The changes in method which have been initiated have already borne fruit to an astonishing degree and promises for the future really astonishing results. * * * Pew have realized until the present era of consolidation how considerably even the best records of economy in manu¬ facture can be beaten by co-operative effort." Reform in Condemnation Proceedings. IT will be good news to owners of property, especially in the yet undeveloped sections, to learn that measures are being taken to honestly carry out those provisions of the charter in¬ tended to expedite and to reduce the cost of proceedings for tak¬ ing property by condemnation. For many years the duration of such proceedings and the cost thereof constituted something in the nature of a public scandal, and yet it was difficult to find out where the blame lay precisely. Naturally the cost of a proceeding was in proportion to its duration, and the equally natural inference was that it was prolonged by those who profited most by it. Neither the prop¬ erty owner directly interested, nor the taxpayer, less directly but as the final payer just as acutely interested, got satisfaction from the explanations that were made. It was clear that the system was bad. and some of the more public spirited of the property owners' representatives attacked the system and suc¬ ceeded in amending it when our present charter was before the Legislature in the spring of last year. Some of the most important of these amendments are; The re¬ quirements that the Corporation Counsel in street opening pro¬ ceedings, and the Comntrollev jn others, shall certify to each item of expense as having been necessarily incurred in the pro¬ ceeding; the provision by which agreements can be reached between the city and the property owner as to values, and the re¬ quirement that a commission must make a report within six months under penalty of losing all their fees, unless the court grants an extension of time. In the latter case the power of the court is subject to quite reasonable conditions to show the reasonableness and necessity for the extension and is accom¬ panied by a further power to remove any commissioner whose neglect may have caused the delay. In making up the commis¬ sion's accounts, the dates and hours of service of each commis¬ sioner have to be noted, so that when they are passed upon by the Supreme Court, that authority will have full information upon which to base a decision as to whether any or all the items shall be allowed or disallowed. Knowing that not only his at¬ tendance but its duration will be noted, no commissioner will feel at liberty to go away, perhaps to repeat the operation in another proceeding, as soon as the stenogi-apher has noted his presence as has happened before this, but each will feel tho necessity he is Under of sitting out the session. Moreover, the commissioners in each case will, in their own interests, knowing that extensions of time cannot be lightly granted even by the most indulgent court, endeavor to close up the proceeding within the specified time, so that the provision of the Charter which sets -this limit will be of itself one of the greatest time savers. We understand that the Corporation Cotmsel has issued in¬ structions, under which, so far as his of&ce is concerned, the spirit as well as the letter of the charter provisions shall be observed. Strict account is to be kept of the attendance of commissioners and of the work of clerks, stenographers, etc.; work is to be prepai'ed for each session in advance so that there shail be no merely formal meetings and adjournments to speciflc dates, with indefinite knowledge of whether there will be any work for the cominissiou to do ou those dates are to be discouraged, so that an excellent beginning has been made. But there are still reforms that can be made in the forms of pro¬ cedure. Outside of the fact that the old system practically en¬ abled the commissioners to name their own compensation fay putting DO bar to the length of time a proceeding might endure, there has probably been nothing that has delayed matters more tlian the taking of proof as to title. We have heard complaints of this from gentlemen who were members of commissions for something more worthy than the mere fees attached to the ofRce. These took the position in order to hasten needed and important improvements and were chagrined to find themselves compelled to sit through weekly, or more frequent sessions extended over months, to attend to the formal and technical work of receiving proof of title, in which they felt that their time was wasted and the improvement they desired to obtain unnecessarily delayed. A change in the system that would relieve the commissions from the details of this work would be of great help in reaching con¬ clusions quickly aud that in ttn-n would be in the interest of economy. I