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How amazing it is, then, to find respectable members of that class resorting to tricks and devices, legal and otherwise, to evade competition and to thwart its rules. How amazing to find them supporting a bill aimed directly at the system to which they owe their very existence. More and more we find business unwilling to compete or resorting to competition in nonessentials only. The spread between the cost of production and the price exacted from the consumer has more than doubled in the last 15 years. Much of the competition that remains consists in advertising and other distribution methods, from which the consumer derives little or no real benefit and which, hence, is an almost total economic loss. This process can not go on indefinitely. If business men will not compete voluntarily, legal means must be found to compel them to do so. Failing this, our system is marked for downfall. If the general public can not find in competition protection from extortion, they will resort to a more drastic collectivism. There are three economic systems—first, competition; second, the compromise of regulation by law; and third, socialism. Which will sensible business men choose?
5. An effort is made to present the bill under the cloak as being aimed at the chain store. The effort is to capitalize the opposition to the chain-store system. In truth, the bill has no bearing whatever upon the chain-store problem.
6. The larger producers and packers support this bill. It will increase their profits and make them more secure. Numerous retailers have also been induced to support the bill, by the propaganda that it will relieve them from "price cutting” and other competition. They do not realize that they are to be the ultimate victims of the measure. More and more the retailer will become a mere "agent” and his store a mere depot through which advertising producers distribute their products. More and more he will be driven toward the position of servant for the large producer master, and the good will which he may strive to build will belong to the latter. The retailer can get no permanent benefit from this bill. To retain his independence, he must face in the opposite direction, refuse to handle advertised specialties, and assert his right to handle his goods under his own labels, upon merit and price, according to old-time competition.
The foregoing is confined to the general principles applicable to the bill. Its objectionable detnils, of which there are a number, are obvious. Respectfully submitted.
GEORGE HUDDLESTON. O
SALE OF IRON PIER IN DELAWARE BAY NEAR LEWES,
JANUARY 27, 1930.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
state of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Houston of Delaware, from the Committee on Rivers and
Harbors, submitted the following
[To accompany H. R. 4767)
The Committee on Rivers and Harbors, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 4767) to authorize the sale of iron pier in Delaware Bay near Lewes, Del., having considered the same, report thereon with the recommendation that the bill do pass.
The construction of this pier was authorized by the sundry civil act of July 15, 1870, for the benefit of commerce that was expected to develop at this locality. The pier consists of wrought-iron screwpile substructure and a yellow-pine superstructure. Its total length is 1,701 feet. The construction work was completed in 1882.
The annual report of the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, for 1922, states, in regard to this pier, that partial repairs and renewals of decayed and damaged portions of the superstructure have been made from time to time, but the general condition of the pier has grown steadily worse. At present the iron substructure is badly rust eaten and the supporting piles are considerably reduced in diameter. Some of them are bent and others have been pushed out of line. The sender system is dilapidated, many of the fender piles having been broken or washed away. The timber superstructure is so far gone in decay as to be unsafe for any commercial load, while rotten planks and holes in the flooring render it dangerous even for foot passengers. The cost of rebuilding the floor system, using steel I beams and wood decking, and repairing the fender system, with a view to putting the pier in condition for Government use and commercial use by teams, was estimated at $78,000. At this time (1922), due partly to the further deterioration of the pier since report was made in 1916, but chiefly to the great increase in cost of all materials and labor, the cost of similar repairs is estimated at $259,000. Maintenance of this structure, after rebuilding according to this plan, is estimated at about $5,000 per annum, under normal conditions, but this would be subject to large and indeterminate increases in case of damage to the structures by storms and when the progressive deterioration of the substructure (now over 47 years old), reaches the point where its renewal will be necessary. The design of the substructure is too light to carry modern railroad equipment, so that even if the superstructure were to be renewed throughout the pier would carry nothing heavier than team or light motor-truck or tramcar traffic. To fit it for use by modern railroad equipment the pier would require entire redesign and reconstruction, at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars. The depth of water at the head of the pier is only about 14 feet, so that considerable expensive dredging would be required to permit the larger vessels to land at the pier.
In January, 1871, the State of Delaware ceded title to the United States to a tract of land having a front of 500 feet and a depth of 1,000 feet for the erection thereon of the shore end of the pier.
The pier is not used commercially, and never has been used to any extent for commercial purposes. When the project was adopted it was contemplated that the pier would be used in connection with the railroad, to handle a considerable commerce that was expected to develop through Lewes. Those expectations were not realized. The commerce through Lewes remains small in amount, and such business as there is, involving interchange between land and water carriers, is handled over the Queen Anne Pier, belonging to the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. This pier, built in 1900, is considerably nearer Lewes than the Government pier, and has rail and highway connections. Even if the iron pier were rebuilt strong enough for modern railroad equipment it is unlikely that it would be used for railroad purposes, since the Queen Anne Pier, which is more conveniently situated and already has rail connections, is more than adequate to handle the small business that follows this route. The pier is two miles from the city of Lewes and the roads leading to it are not improved.
The outer end of the pier for a length of about 350 feet was damaged by fire of unknown origin on May 12, 1923, which destroyed all decking, cap logs, fender piling, and other woodwork in the superstructure, and warped or twisted out of shape the iron tie-rods and railroad tracks,
No expenditures of Federal funds have been made on this pier since 1921, and the Chief of Engineers in his annual report for 1929, page 351, states that:
It is expected that no estimate for further appropriations, either for additional work or for maintenance, will be submitted.
The bill has been referred to the War, Treasury, and Commerce Departments, and the reports of these departments thereon, in which no objection is made to the passage of this bill, are as follows:
Washington, December 2, 1929. Hon. S. WALLACE DEMPSEY, Chairman Committee on Rivers and Harbors,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. DEMPSEY: I have the honor to refer to your letter of November 4, 1929, requesting the views of the War Department as to the desirability of enacting House bill 4767, Seventy-first Congress, first session, a bill to authorize sale of iron pier in Delaware Bay near Lewes, Del.
The pier in question was constructed between 1871 and 1880 under authority of section 12 of the sundry civil act of July 15, 1870, (16 Stat. 310). Section 13 of the same act authorized the Junction and Breakwater Railroad to extend its railroad upon and over the pier and to use the pier freely in connection with the railroad, subject to such regulations and charges for maintenance and repairs as the Secretary of War may adopt. The company never availed itself of this privilege and there is no expectation that it ever will.
The pier is in very bad condition, the wooden decking being badly rotted, the wrought iron piles considerably corroded, and the bracing between the piles very badly rusted. In 1923 a fire destroyed the deck stringers and almost all of the fender piles of about 340 feet of the pierhead. This damage has not been repaired. In times past, the pier has been used for mooring schooners and barges when ice conditions were bad inside the breakwater, but it is now seldom used for that purpose: The Lighthouse Department is using approximately 75 feet of the pier for storing and painting buoys used in the lower bay. The Coast Guard Service has a lifeboat house and runway on the east side of the pier just inside the space used by the Lighthouse Department.
The parcel of land on which the shore end of the pier is located is 500 feet in width and averages about 1,000 feet in length. It has an area of about 1134 acres, more or less. It was ceded to the United States by an act of the Legislature of the State of Delaware, passed January 26, 1871.
The pier and land serve no useful purpose in connection with river and harbor works and are of no present use to this department. Accordingly, there is no objection, so far as the interests committed to this department are concerned, to the favorable consideration of the accompanying bill by Congress.
However, inasmuch as the Lighthouse Department and the Coast Guard Service are now using portions of the pier, it is suggested that the Department of Commerce and the Treasury Department be afforded an opportunity of expressing their views concerning the proposed legislation. Sincerely yours,
PATRICK J. HURLEY,
Acting Secretary of War.
DECEMBER 19, 1929. Hon. S. WALLACE DEMPSEY, Chairman Committee on Rivers and Harbors,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of December 6, 1929, inclosing a copy of bill H. R. 4767, Seventy-first Congress, first session, “To authorize sale or iron pier in Delaware Bay near Lewes, Delaware," and asking for my opinion as to the desirability of enacting the bill into law.
Following the enacting clause the bill reads:
"That the Secretary of War is authorized to sell, if in his judgment it is for the best interest of the United States, the iron pier constructed by the Government in Delaware Bay near Lewes, Delaware, together with the parcel of land on which the shore end of said pier is located, and to execute and deliver the necessary conveyance to effectuate such sale: Provided, That the sale of said pier and land shall be by public sale, after such advertisement and under such regulations as the Secretary of War may prescribe.”
You state that the War Department reports that there is no objection to the passage of this bill, so far as the interests of that department are concerned, but they suggest that inasmuch as the Coast Guard is using a portion of the pier, that the bill be referred to me for my opinion.
The jifeboat house attached to the Lewes Coast Guard Station is situated close alongside and about midway of the pier. The personnel of the station use the pier in going to and from this house, in which the lifeboat is kept. This is the only use, so far as the department knows, that is made of the pier by the Coast Guard station. This department has no objection to the passage of the bill. Very truly yours,
OGDEN L. Mills, Acting Secretary of the Treasury.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE,
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,
Washington, January 21, 1930. Hon. S. WALLACE DEMPSEY, Chairman Committee on Rivers and Harbors,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR CONGRESSMAN: I have your letter of the 6th ultimo, requesting a report from this department on H. R. 4767, entitled “To authorize sale of iron pier in Delaware Bay near Lewes, Del.”
For the information of your committee, I am inclosing herewith a memorandum dated December 18, 1929, from the Commissioner of Lighthouses, regarding this bill, also a letter from the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, dated January 21, 1930. Very truly yours,
E. F. MORGAN. Acting Secretary of Commerce.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE,
Washington, December 18, 1929. Memorandum for the Secretary of Commerce.
1. Referring to letter of December 6, 1929, from Hon. S. Wallace Dempsey, chairman of the Committee on Rivers and Harbors, requesting a report on H. R. 4767, authorizing the sale of iron pier in Delaware Bay near Lewes, Del.
2. A small portion of this pier has been utilized by the superintendent of lighthouses, Philadelphia, Pa., without cost, for the storage of buoys for emergency use in his district and for convenience in connection with the relief of buoys in that vicinity. It is not considered advisable, however, for the Lighthouse Service to take over any portion of this pier, on account of the large expenditure that would be involved for repairs and upkeep. It is considered that it would be more economical to make other arrangements in the locality in the event that a satisfactory lease covering a small portion of the pier from the purchaser could not be arranged.
3. Therefore, so far as the Lighthouse Service is concerned, there is no objection to the sale of the pier, and report on H. R. 4767 may be made accordingly by the department.
G. R. PUTNAM, Commissioner of Lighthouses.
JANUARY 21, 1930. Hon. ROBERT P. LAMONT,
Secretary of Commerce. MY DEAR R. SECRETARY: I have the department's letter of the 20th ultimo concerning H. R. 4767, a bill "To authorize sale of iron pier in Delaware Bay, near Lewes, Del."
You are advised that the proposed legislation would not be in conflict with the financial program of the President. The inclosures accompanying the letter are returned herewith. Sincerely yours,
J. Clawson Roop, Director.