(Contributed by Oakland Pioneers - No. 30)
Oakland in Early Days (No. 12) by Chas. G. Reed
At the election of March 5. 1855, Charles Campbell was chosen mayor to succeed Carpentier and a new city council was chosen. On May 2 the city treasurer reported to the council that he had received from Carpentier $20.16 wharfage percentage and $50 for ferry money.
The council at its meeting of May 16th passed a resolution "to reject and not receive" the money paid in, as it did not belong to the city, thereby showing that, in the opinion of the council, the agreement entered into with Carpentier was illegal.
The new city fathers, intent upon restoring the waterfront to the city, passed an ordinance on June 6 repealing the ordinance of October 27, 1853, by which the waterfront had been ceded to Carpentier "in fee simple forever," and abrogated all concessions made in regard to the waterfront. The new ordinance was duly approved by Mayor Campbell and was never cancelled by official decree. It is however, not clear how the cits council could legally revoke such ordinance passed by the town trustees as the two prior ordinances had been passed, one under the town charter and the other under the city charter, and the school house called for had been built and conveyed to the city.
The next move of the new council was an attempt to give the death-blow to all monopolies connected with the city government, The initial step was directed against an ordinance passed on March 5, 1853, giving to E. R. Carpentier, brother of the mayor, the exclusive ferry privileges between Oakland and San Francisco. The council sent to the legislature a petition earnestly remonstrating against the passage of any law granting a monopoly to any person or persons of ferry privileges between Oakland and San Francisco. They followed this up on June 14, 1855, with the repeal of the ordinance mentioned; and from this date war was on against all monopolies and Carpentier's waterfront claim in particular. An ordinance was passed authorizing the street committed to advertise for proposals to build a wharf at the foot of Bay street (West Oakland), the wharf to be not less than 850 yards long with a T at the end 100x50 feet. The proposed wharf was commenced but never completed, and its remains have long since passed away.
The passage of the ferry ordinance was the cause of the establishment of a ferry by James B. Larue later on, and to which reference will be made in a future article. The affidavits of Town Trustees Amedee Marier and Edward Gibbons, city clerk and treasurer, in connection with the waterfront matters are of interest and importance.
(To be continued)