ALDERMAN PENDERGAST "GETTING TIRED." ~ "I Am Getting Tired of This Utilities Controversy"

November 12, 1907

"I Am Getting Tired of This Utilities Controversy"
-- Alderman Pendergast in the Council
Meeting Last Night.

Here is a note of cheer for the friends of a Public Utilities commission from an unexpected source. When Alderman Pendergast begins to display signs of weariness it is then time for the fighters on the other side to "buck up" and put new spirit in the game. Not meaning, of course, that as long as Alderman Pendergast holds out there is no use to contend against him, or that he can hold the fort in the Lower House against all comers, or that he is invincible, or anything of that kind; but meaning, nevertheless, that he does cut considerable ice in the Council and in local politics, and that it is more encouraging to the cause inviting his opposition to see him inclined to capitulate than to witness a disposition on his part to persist in an attitude of defiance, even when he knows and the public knows that such a position is futile.

In short, it foreshadows something when Alderman Pendergast gets tired and proposes to quit. And more indicative, by far, is such a confession coming from a man who is husky and tenacious than would be that style of admission by a "welcher" who is given to squealing before he is hurt. Of this latter breed Alderman Pendergast is not a sample. It is only fair to him to say that he is "nervy" on any reasonable margin, and that his instinct and habit is to play the game as long as he can see anything in it.

But you may have noticed that this sort of pluck is not to be confounded with the foolish temerity that leads men to batter up their heads against stone walls. It is habitually combined with the brand of shrewdness that causes even the most obstinate fighters to know when they have had enough and to realize when they are up against a losing proposition.

Alderman Pendergast, we must remember, has been in the Council for seventeen consecutive years. This means that he is no slouch of a politician. It indicates that he keeps his fingers on the pulse of his constituency, so to speak. He is engaged in a business which brings him in touch with the people who send him to the Council, and he must have learned that wage earners and the common run of voters are not going to pay onerous tribute to the corporations -- if they know it -- for the mere sake of politics. In the wards of all the Aldermen in the Lower House who are fighting for the corporations, the people are directly concerned in good service by the Public Utilities at a fair price. You can't convince people who know enough to live in Kansas City, that is is sane or reasonable to sacrifice their own interests to those of the corporations. Groves and Bulger and Woolf and Launder and others seem to think you can. But don't forget that the man who talks about getting tired, knows more politics and can see farther ahead than all of the other corporation allies in the Lower House, and it may be suspected, too, that he had found out that there are other folks whom he sees frequently and talks with "close down" who are "getting tired" also.