A thumb-nail history of the city of Houston, Texas, from its founding in 1836 to the year 1912

THE CITY OF HOUSTON, TEXAS 23
incompetent men to be elected. If the commission
had nothing else to recommend it, this placing the
voters on their guard would be a sufficient indorsement
of its merits.
The evolution of the Commission idea has been
slow and tedious, and it is remarkable that it has
taken great disasters to impress its merits on the
minds of interested communities. Following the
two great yellow fever epidemics of 1878 and 1879
in Memphis, Tenn., the people of that city found
themselves bankrupt and forced to adopt the untried
and desperate remedy of ceasing to be an incorporated
city and becoming a taxing district under
a commission. That was, as a matter of fact,
the first time the commission idea was applied praetically
to the management and direction of municipal
affairs. It was not until the great disaster at
Galveston on September 8, 1900, that anything like
a practical commission for the government of a city
was devised. Galveston, by act of the Legislature,
was granted a new charter which did away with the
old mayor and board of aldermen and placed municipal
affairs in the hands of five commissionersa
mayor, or chairman, a commissioner of finance,
a commissioner of streets and alleys, a commissioner
of water works, lights, etc., a commissioner of police
and fire departments. These are all elected by
the whole vote of the city and each commissioner is
given full charge of his department and held responsible
for its working. The other commissioners
have the authority to overrule and veto any undesirable
act of any one of their members, but this has
never been neessary, for the ality and honsty of
the mn thus fr eleed by the people have b

Young, Samuel Oliver. A thumb-nail history of the city of Houston, Texas, from its founding in 1836 to the year 1912. Houston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24649/. Accessed July 26, 2014.