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for the general body of Ratepayers when he is only speaking for a section of them. Mr. William Thomas, of Barry, kept a discreet and linusual silence. Mr. Jewel Williams resorted to a quibble. He was glad, he said, that among his sins was not that of being a '-large property- owner." We never accused him of such a thing. We said that he was largely interested in house property in the district. This we said on the authority of Mr. Seward, Mr. George Thomas' partner, who declared on oath at the Barry Dock Licensing Sessions, that Mr. Jewel Williams was a member of the Barry Dock Town Syndicate, of which Mr. George Thomas is managing director. UNFAIR CRITICISM. In his criticism of us, Mr. George Thomas acted unfairly in quoting promiscuously from two separate articles that have lately appeared in our columns, without informing the Board of the fact. After quoting our article on the enforcement of the bye-law, he passed on in a -way that speaks more for his astuteness than for his sense of fairness, to an article which our contributor, Darius Dare," bad lately written. Mr. Thomas objected to the phrase that certain members of the Board sub- ordinated the good of the district to their own selfish interests. The context in which this phrase was used by Darius Dare was quite different from that to which Mr. Thomas sought to apply it. It had not the remotest connection with the question then under dis- cussion. 'Mr. Thomas waxed very indignant that such an aspersion had been thrown on the immaculate Local Board. It was disgraceful," he said, that such a charge should have been made." If the charge is not true, then, indeed, it is disgraceful that it should have been made. But we have no less an authority than Mr. George Thomas himself -who has made the disgraceful charge more than once at meetings of the Board-for saying that some of the members are inclined to subordinate the good of the district to their own selfish interests." THE BOAKD'S DECISION. We do not look upon the possession of pro- perty, either in houses or in docks, as a crime I and we leave it to Mr. Jewel Williams to call it a sin. But we consider it a crime that the health of a great and growing distriat .should be sacrificed at the bidding of property-fomnere. We are sorry that the Board should have once more shown signs* of that fatal vacillation, which has more than once brought it into diffi- culties. We would be the last to advise the Board to resort to harsh or arbitrary methods but, as General Lee and Dr. Treharne well remarked, the Health Committee could have taken into consideration individual cases where it would be advisable not to proceed at once, without passing a resolution which has the effect of putting the Board entirely in the wrong, and of stultifying the Board's bye-law. There are many property-owners in the district -and several wealthy syndicates who can afford to proceed at once with the work of com- plying with the Board's bye-law, while others who are not in a position to do so could be ex- ,ceptionally treated, and allowed some time. However, the mischief is now done, and we only trust that next spring the Board will see that this, its very last resolution, shall be faithfully carried out. THE PROPOSED ACQUISITION OF GAS AND WATER. The Local Board has, as was previously announced, decided to promote a Bill in Parlia- ment to acquire the undertaking of the Gas and Water Company. Before it can, however, do this it must first of all obtain the consent of the ratepayers, and in order to obtain that con- sent a public meeting will be held to-night -(Friday) at the Public-hall, Thompson-street, Barry Dock, where the ratepayers will have an opportunity to make their voices heard, and their opinions respected. The Local Board is practically unanimous in the desire to buy up the company. The Chairman, who was at one time opposed to the scheme, has now, it is un- derstood, decided to support it. The Board, however, has no wish to proceed arbitrarily in the matter. Powers to promote a Bill in Parlia- ment are only sought for in case the amicable advances which have been made by the Board ^are rejected by the company. Even in that case, the Board wishes to deal fairly with the company. It is willing to give the company every credit for what it has done, and to buy up the undertaking only on fair and equitable terms." WHAT HAS BEEN DONE ELSEWHERE. The tendency of modern legislation is to put a stop to the acquisition of articles so necessary to our daily life as gas and water by private -monopolists. It is seldom that Parliament has been known to refuse to allow the local authority to acquire gas and water. All over the kingdom the local authorities of great towns have acquired them and except in one or two instances, the action of Parliament has been fully justified by the success which has attended the management of gas and water by the autho- rities. If the ratepayers, therefore, determine to back up the Local Board in this matter, it is practically certain that the Board will acquire the undertaking of the Gas and Water Com- pany. At present the company makes a profit of about 5 per cent. on the capital, while we believe the directors draw a salary besides. If the Board can manage the business as efficiently as the company, it is contended that the profit will be reaped, not by a private company, but by the ratepayers at large. That a Local Board can manage such a business efficiently has been effectually proved in other towns and there is no reason to believe that the members of our Local Board are worse business men or less efficient administrators than the members of the local authorities elsewhere. THE CASE OF CARDIFF. At Cardiff the water and gas are owned by the Corporation, and the gas rate is much lower ,than it is at Barry. Of course, Barry is a newer town than Cardiff but there seems to be no immediate prospect of a reduction in our heavy gas rate. The capital of the company is well nigh exhausted, and last year the company sought Parliamentary powers to increase their borrowing powers. Had the company succeeded in passing their Bill, there would be no hope for a reduction in the gas rate, and every prospect of a speedy increase. The water, also, that is supplied is not as good as it might be. It is so full of lime that it is very destructive to machinery and no great industry will ever be started in the district till we are supplied with better water. The company, in the Bill they promoted last year, proposed to give to the dis- trict an additional supply of the bad water that is already supplied. There would, therefore, be no chance for many years to come to get, better water, unless the Local Board itself undertakes to supply it. We trust, therefore, that the ratepayers will awake to their responsi- bility in the matter, and attend the meeting to- night to strengthen the hands of their represen- tatives. THE PAINTERS' MEETING. The painters of Cadoxton and Barry held a very successful meeting on Monday night at the Witchill Hotel, and excellent speeches were delivered by Messrs. Thomas, Lamplough, Howells, and Copp. The meeting was called more to keep intact the organisation of the society than for any other purpose. "Thrice armed is he that hath his quarrel just said the poet. The irreverent American humourist has improved on this, and says that Still better he that gets his blow in fust." It is in times of peace that preparations for war should be made, not so much for the purpose of war, but in order to ensure the continuance of peace. The Painters' Society owes a debt to the Executive which cannot easily be repaid. The Executive stood loyally by them during the late strike and it would be. as was pointed out, most ungrateful on the men's part to desert the society now There is no doubt that the existence of a Trades' Union does tend to raise and to maintain the price of labour. It is therefore unfair that men should refip the benefits which have been sown by Trades' Unionism without paying for its support. We trust, therefore, that the local society will have a prosperous future. THE STARR-BOWKETT. We have lately been hearing a good deal—and a great deal too much—of the mysteries of Building Society Finance. The alarms and ex- cursions of the past few weeks, have, we fear, carried misery and desolation into many a humble home. The winding up of the local branch of the Starr-Bowkett Society will not hit any one very hard, but it will serve to point a moral. We have no wish to blame anyone in particular: but it must be evident that no society ought to have been allowed to drag on its rotten existence for so long a period as the Starr-Bowkett has done. It shows how iniquitous, nay, how criminal, it is for men to undertake the work of managing a society or a business, when they cannot afford the time and energy necessary for efficient management. The directors of the Starr-Bowkett seem to have adopted a policy of drift, until at last affairs have been brought to a point where nothing can be done to save the society. The most gross instance of this carelessness was the way in which they allowed their secretary's security to lapse, and their failure to get it renewed. Had the society been properly managed, there seems to be no reason to doubt that, with the large number of shareholders, it would have been a prosperous concern.