San Francisco Genealogy
City and County Federation of Women's Clubs
San Francisco 1918 - 1920
Report of the Civic Department
Transcribed by Elaine Sturdevant

Report of the Civic Department
Miss Rusella WARD, Chariman

The Civic Department has held many interesting and instructive meetings during the past two years. The meetings were not always well attended, but those present were benefitted by the discussions.
In order for the Department to do effective work, there should be a representative from every affiliated club at the meetings called by the chairman.

If the influence of the City and County Federation is to be a power in this city, its departments must cooperate with one another, and in turn cooperate with the different departments of the city government.

The Civic Department is often called upon by organizations and by individuals to render assistance in some specific work. In October, 1918, the Chairman called a meeting of the department and
several prominent men and women to discuss ways and means to reduce the high cost of living. After many meetings and much discussion, it was deemed wise to organize a Consumer's Cooperative League.

The chairman was elected a director. She served for one year and at the election in March was elected to the educational committee. It is most gratifying to report that the League has a large store in the Mission and is doing a big business. A store has been opened on Russian Hill for the
Russians. It will not be long before stores are opened in the Richmond, Sunset and Crocker Districts. The Consumers' Cooperative movement in this city has come to stay.

When the Board of Supervisors was about to cast its final vote on the disposal of the garbage, the Civic Department with other organizations appeared before the Board with a protest. The chairman asked the Board to reconsider the question of segregation as such a method would bring a hardship on the householders. Most of the Supervisors, who expected to vote for segregation, voted against it. What to do with the "garbage" is still unsettled.

The Chairman was asked to serve with the Mayor's Committee to investigate the milk situation. After listening to the pros and cons of the Dairymen's Association, the Milk Producers, Milk Distributors, and the Milk Consumers, the chairman was convinced, and so stated that good pasteurized milk could be brought into the city at a lower rate than that asked by the milk producers' association.  Many meetings and much discussion took place with the Supervisors, and it was decided by the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors to amend that section of the Charter that had to do with milk, to make it possible to pasteurize milk outside of the city and then bring it to the city for
distribution. This action caused milk to sell for fourteen cents per quart instead of sixteen cents.

Through the cooperation of the department with the Women's Court, the bill before the Legislature asking for a farm for delinquent women was passed.

The department entered a protest with the Police Commissioners against issuing a license for any more dance halls, particularly in that section known as "Barbary Coast."

We fought long and hard to have the Police Commissioners grant to the policewomen and to the matron of the jail the same benefits as the policemen receive. The case went to the Superior Court but was lost. Therefore, the department will use every effort to have the Charter amended at our next election so that the women of the police force may have the same consideration as the policemen.

A woman who had been defrauded by a real estate firm of six hundred and fifty ($650.00) dollars and two valuable lots in Texas, asked the chairman to help her to recover damages. When the firm was faced with a case in court, they returned all money and lots.  As this report goes to print, the Chairman is waiting the decision of a Superior Judge in a similar case with the same firm.

The following resolutions have been endorsed by the department:

A resolution asking for a Clinic for drug addicts.
A resolution asking an increase in the teachers' salary.
A resolution asking full citizenship for the American Indians.

The department has been addressed by Mr. AMES on the Cooperative Movement in Europe.
Mrs. SAYLOR on Women in the Legislature.
Miss Elizabeth LIVERMORE on the Consumers' Cooperative League in San Francisco.

At the Convention in March, the Civic Department was responsible for the motion picture and a very instructive talk on Fire Prevention by Fire Chief MURPHY and Chief STEPHENS.

Mrs. F. M. SPONOGLE, Financial Secretary of the Federation, and the Chairman of the Civics Department worked as captains of teams in the Salvation Army Drive for funds for a Home for
Working Girls. The first team collected $779.75 and the second $285.00.

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Contributed by Elaine Sturdevant