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,-PUBLIC MEETING OF RATEPAYERS…

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PUBLIC MEETING OF RATEPAYERS AT THEFOREST. FORTHCOMING LOCAL BOARD ELECTION. THE REV. D. W. WILLIAMS, M.A., TO BE RE-ELECTED WITHOUT OPPOSITION. SPIRITED ADDRESSES. THE CHAIRMAN ON WORKING MAN REPRESENTATION. On Friday evening a public meeting was held at the Oddfellows' Hall, Treforest, for the purpose of taking into consideration the matter of selecting a candidate to fill the seat which will shortly be- come vacant for the Treforest Ward on the Pont- ypridd Local Board. There was a goodly atten- dance of ratepayers from Treforest and Rhydfelen, and the chair was occupied by Mr F. Judd. The Chairman, in opening, dwelt in suitable terms upon the treatment of Treforest by the Local Board for the last 15 or 20 years. It was at one time difficult to obtain any concessions, in the way of lights, public improvements, &c., from the Board, but since they had been more actively represented by such men as Messrs Roberts and James they had been more fortunate in this res- pect. He invited all present to give expression to their views freely and fairly upon the question they had come together to consider. Mr John James, one of the members of the Local Board, said it was not a new thing for them to meet in that way. Similar meetings had been held before in connection with the candidature of himself and Mr Roberts, so that there was nothing exceptional in what they were doing that evening. He did not wish to say a word derogatory or other- wise of the Rev. D. W. Williams. He should like to have seen Mr Williams present, and he had -asked him the previous day to attend, but perhaps the lateness of the hour prevented his being pre- sent, as his health did not permit him going out at night. That was a ratepayers' meeting, and, as the chairman had remarked, he hoped that not a word would be said against any member, but that they should approach the subject in a fair spirit, and, at the same time, not be afraid to give due utterance to their views. Mr John John said he was going to ask a ques- tion. He should like to know if the retiring mem- ber, the Rev. D. W. Williams, Fairfield, had been any obstac'e 'n the way of any improvements in the place. He had never heard so. Mr Williams had been a member of the Board for many years, and if he was a man who was against any good work in the interests of the ratepayers it would be but right forHhem to see if they could replace him by another gentleman. However, as Mr Wil- liams hadjbeen a member of the board for many years,he fought they ought to re-elect him. (Hear, hear.) A ratepayer asked if Mr Williams would stand. 'They (as ratepayers) did not know whether, or not, he was prepared to do so. Mr John He will stand. Mr R. T. Richards: Yes, he will stand; he said SO yesterday. Mr John Morris, Treforest, thought it would be right for them to consider the question of the ad- irisability of infusing fresh blood into the board. As had been stated by the chairman, Treforest had been greatly neglected for many years. He remembered that 17 or 18 years ago there were scarcely any improvements made at Treforest. The question then was who were the persons that were looking after their interests ? If there had been neglect, he did not know whether it was their members who had been neglecting their duty to- wards the ratepayers. He was sa) ing this to show that it was quite possible that the older members of the ward thought more of Pontypridd than Treforest. He did not know whether they should not have asked Mr Williams to attend that meet- ing. Other members had attended, and had given ) tlJem an account of their stewardship. Hedid not j 1!ay anything against Mr Williams, but he should like to have seen him present. They had persons, perhaps, who could represent the ratepayers as well as Mr Williams, and the ratepayers had a per- fect right to put whoever they liked to look after their interests, and if they nominated a gentle- man that evening against Mr Williams they would only be acting consistently with their rights. '(Hear, hear.) There were persons in the room be- fore his mind's eye who were at the disposal of the ratepayers, and were willing at any time to look after the interests of the ward. He did not think there was one in the room who would say a disres- pectful word in regard to Mr Williams, but before they made any proposition he should like to hear others speak. (Cheers.) The Chairman did not winli the question to be discussed outside the room, but let them do it in- side. (Hear, hear.) Let no one be afraid to speal I their minds. The question was one open to every- one, and they had a perfect right to name as can- didates as many as they thought proper to repre- sent them. Mr James Richards, Treforest, remarked that when he saw the notice convening the meeting he was highly pleased that the ratepayers were called together respecting the election, or otherwise, of their present member or members. He thought much good could be derived from such meetings, Thev were all human, and when they saw that the ratepayers were looking closely after them, they might depend that their members would do their best for them. (Hear, hear.) He was of opinion that they should have meetings of that kind, not only in connection with sanitary boards, but the board of guardians and other bodies as well. They should have those meetings very often. As had been said, Treforest was neglected and Pontypridd received all. The ratepayers drew attention to what was required, and the answer the local mem- bers gave was—"They are too strong for us." But the time arrived when they sent proper members to represent them, and they had made their voices heard. (Applause.) By being properly repre- sented they might expect to have their share of improvements. Respecting the Rev. D. W. Williams he should not like to say anything against him. They could not get a better man to represent them, and it would not be wise at present to bring an opponent against him. (Hear, hear.) They were safe in the hands of the present mem- bers, and considering the high position and age of Mr Williams, he hoped they would let matters stand as they were. H i (Mr Richards) would speak his mind, and tha was his opinion. (Ap- plause.)' They were met together as ratepayers, and all had a perfect right to state their views. (Renewed cheers.) Mr Christopher Rees, Treforest, claimed that Mr- Williams was an old and useful member. Pontypridd had all it needed, Treforest had the same, but there was no sign of Rhydfelen yet. Mr R. T. Richards, auctioneer That will follow. Mr Rees (continuing) said he would be very sorry to see Mr Williams thrown out of the ward. Let him have fair play. They had two good members in Treforest, therefore let Rhydfelen have Mr Williams so long as he was able to serve them. (Cheers.) Mr James Roberts, Taff Vale House, (another member of the Local Board), said the question be- fore them was one which appertained to the rate- payers as a body, and he was glad to. see so many present. It showed that they felt an interest in the Local Board. He was also there as a ratepayer, and not to support or oppose anyone. He was there to take his part with them m the nomina- tion of a member to represent them. The days of "one man, one all" were at an end. It was their place, as ratepayers, to nominate and elect anyone they thought proper, and not, as in former days, allow persons to be nominated and elected behind their backs. (Hear, hear.) Let the decision of the majority be the decision of the meeting. Mr D. Evans, butcher, Rhydfelen, said as a rate- payer he had been thinking of the matter which they had met that evening to discuss, and the con- clusion he had come to was this, that they had had sufficient contests at present, and the ratepayers -would have to "pay the piper." (Hear, hear.) Let them not find too much fault with the Rev. D. W. Williams. He believed, as to Mr Williams, that, considering the position of influence and honour which he had reached, it was a wonder that he was as good as he was. (Applause.) If they were placed in the same position as him, they might not be SQ effioient in the discharge of their duties towards the ratepayers as he was. He was heartily of opinion that the Rev. D. W. Williams should be re-elected member of the Board for the next three years—(cheers)—and, in order to avoid a contest, if possible, he would propose a resolution to that effect. They had two members already in Tre- forest let them, therefore, keep Mr Williams for Rhydfelen. (Continued applause.) Mr Christopher Rees, in seconding, said he saw no fault in Mr Williams. The Chairman invited an amendment, or dis- cussion on the resolution. For his own part he should like to have bona fide working men as members of the public boards. This was practi- cally the case in many parts of the country. He thought working men could represent them effi- ciently and creditably. The Pontypridd Local Board was not, however, educated up to that yet, and there was still a certain amount of prejudice against working men being elected on such bodies. Some people were in the habit of looking down on working men, and thought that if a working man was placed upon a board he would turn matters upside down. (Laughter.) He had lived long enough in the world to know that a man with a ragged coat was possessed of brains. (Applause.) It was not always gold and broack acres made good business and public men. (Hear, hear.) Since the doors of Parliament had been thrown open to working men their voices had been heard with ad- Vantage to the nation, and he was of opinion that on the public boards and magisterial bench the presence of good, sound, common-sense working men would be particularly useful. They would oftentimes make better justices than the aristoc- racy,because they were practically acquainted with the ins-and-outs of the working classes. The aris- tocracy were more used, perhaps, to fishing rods and following the hounds. (Laughter, and hear, hear.) He hoped the day was not far distant when not only 'squires, but genuine working men, should sit on public boards. He was certain there were men of the latter stamp living in Treforest, Rhydfelen, and Pontypridd. (Hear.) He did not doubt that in years gone by the Rev. D. W. Williams had done good work in the district, but as they had stated old age was coming on. His days, they might say, were numbered. He did not think they should look upon the question from the light that because they had two members at Tre- forest they should have one for Rhydfelen. It did hot matter where the member lived so long as he had the interests of the whole ward at heart. He did not think they had to thank the Rev. D. W. Williams for the lights at Rhydfelen. They were indebted to the two members for Treforest for the many improvements they had in Rhydfelen. Mr Roberts and Mr James had worked nobly and well—not that they had yet gained to perfection. There were many needed improvements yet, and he hoped they would bring pressure to bear upon the Board to have Wood-road widened. The traffic in Wood Road was very different now to what it was twenty years ago. The streets were narrow, and children had to pass along the road to and from school. There was no pavement, and the road was very dangerous. He thought it could be widened very cheaply, and trusted the local members would take the matter up. Mr John James said that Mr Roberts and him- self had already brought the matter before the Local Board. He considered Wood-road was now only an ordinary footpath. Plans had, however, been drawn, but they had two parties to deal with —the owners and the lessees. Mr William John, Llantrisant, as one of the owners, was willing to arrange terms with the Board in the matter, but Dr. Lewis, Cymmer, had so far deferred giving a reply. He hoped now that the county council was established, that body would take up the matter, and show that it had a duty to perform towards the public. The Board was willing to pay for the land required to widen the road, but the parties could not come to terms. If they could arrange with the owners, he thought there would be no difficulty with the lessees. Mr Roberts remarked that the school board were prepared to give of their property in Wood-road about six feet of frontage to the board. That might induce others to do the same. (Hear, hear.) They should look after the children of the rate- payers, but there were difficulties in the way. He advised the ratepayers to show that they felt an interest in the work of the board, and if the rate- payers would show that they had their eyes open it would strengthen the hands of the Board. Mr F. Hill was glad to see the two members present, more especially as they could feel them- selves safe in their hands. In years gone by it was dangerous fora member to do anything for particu- lar portions of the district lest it should be said that favouritism was shown. As to the Rev. D. W. Williams he respected him on the grounds of his old age, but he should not like to be left at the tender mercies of that gentleman. It was good for them th it they had two other members in the locality. Mr Williams appeared to him to be a gentleman who was quite unapproachable, and he was seldom to be seen in their neighbourhood. At the same time if Mr Williams chose to exercise his abilities he could be of service to them. There would soon be a large amount of money spent by the board, and he trusted that Mr Williams would do his best to regulate that expenditure. Mr 1. Lyle, Treforest, made a remark as to the closing of an old footpath by Mr Crawshav and proceeded to advocate a change of membars on the board. When old age advanced, he was of opinion that young blood should be introduced. Mr R. T. Richards said comment had been made as to old age and it 3 failings. They should, how- ever, bear in mind that Mr Gladstone was advanced in years, but as he grew older he grew more able and active, so that he was now as enei-getic as any statesman in the house. (Hear, hear, and ap- plause.) Mr T. Brown, Treforest, thought if Rhydfelen people were satisfied with Mr Williams, let Tre- forest people be satisfied. i Mr James Hiscock, Rhydfelen, said Mr Williams I was evidently doing his best on the board. Let Rhydfelen people, then, have the man of their choice. (IJear, hear.) Those present that even- ing from Rhydfelen styid nothing against Wood- road being widened, but they would have to pay their share of the eosts. (Laughter.) Mr John Morris, Treforest, said he did not in- tend proposing an amendment, but perhaps the remarks'which had already been made use of that evening would stimulate Mr Williams to a due sense of public duty. The rumour would go out that they had men ready to be nominated against Mr Williams, and that might have a good effect, not only upon Mr Williams, but upon other mem- bers as well. Mr D. Evans, Rhydfelen, was in favour of work- ing man representation, but under the present re- quirements of the Act, workingmen did not possess the necessary qualifications. In those circum- stances he hoped that Mr Williams would be ac- cepted with the unanimous approval of the meet- ing. (Cheers.) Mr J. Roberts, referring to the public improve- ments at Rhydfelen, said Rhydfelen was very sin- gularly situated. The main road belonged to the County Roads Board, but the by-streets were the property of the Local Board. These and other difficulties prevented the latter board from doing at Rhydfelen, by way of public improvements, what they otherwise would have done. As to the state of the main road he would do his utmost to induce the county council to see to it as soon as the road came into their hands. He hoped they would be able to avoid a contest at this election. They had had enough contests already. (Hear, hear.) He was ashamed the other day to sign a cheque for Y,70 to pay Ms Spickett's bill for the late school board election. (Cries of "Shame.") Let them, therefore, put their heads together to avoid a con- test. The resolution as to the re-election of Mr Williams was then put to the meeting, and it was carried unanimously. The Chairman suggested that a resolution be passed calling upon the Local Board to proceed with the matter of widening Wood Road. After a few remarks, a suggestion by Mr James Roberts to defer the resolution until a special meeting had been called to consider the matter was agreed to. Mr Christopher Rees suggested that Mr Williams be asked to assist in getting up a reading room for Rhydfelen. Mr James Richards would like these meetings to be held annually. They, as ratepayers, wanted to be taught. In this way they would avoid con- tests. In such small places as Treforest and l Rhydfelen, they could not afford to make enemies. They should live as amicably as possible together. He was proud of the noble spirit which had been shown that evening. Votes of thanks to the chairman for presiding, and to the members (Messrs J. James, J. Roberts, and R. T. Richards) for attending, terminated the proceedings.

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